Considering I grew up with a mother who was a hairstylist and owned her own hair salon, the idea of dyeing your hair at home has always frightened me. Spending my high school and college years working as a salon assistant and seeing the hair transformations that stylists in the salon could pull off on their clients always amazed me, so I could never understand how an untrained person could trust themselves enough to dye their own hair.
On one hand, maybe I just assumed everyone should pay for professional salon services because I was fortunate enough to get them done for free and didn't have to factor in the expense. But on the other hand, I really believed that there was much more to the hair color process than simply running boxed dye through your hair over the bathroom sink — and TBH, that's because there is.
There's so much involved and so much at stake when you take the color process into your own hands — you have to consider the steps to prep your hair, the actual process (and the mess that comes with it), and the integrity of your hair. And god forbid the color doesn't turn out how you want it to — then what? Not to mention, dyeing your own hair is one thing, but bleaching your own hair at home? Forget about it.
So should you dye your hair at home? Eh, while I definitely don't suggest it, I also understand that, sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures, and there will be moments where you just feel the urge to touch up that regrowth really quickly from home.
For those times, I've enlisted the help of celebrity hairstylist Kendall Dorsey to inform you as to why you really should consider leaving dyeing your hair to a professional. But, if you go against that advice and do choose to take matters into your own hands, Dorsey's also provided some tips for how you can change (or touch up) your hair color at home the right way.
You see, Dorsey is an editorial and celebrity hairstylist whose client roster includes the likes of Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Teyana Taylor, Usher, and Yara Shahidi. And you've also probably seen some of his work gracing the pages of publications like 10 Magazine and Dazed. The mane master has styled and colored custom units for countless red carpet moments, so it goes without saying that he knows a thing or two about the importance of a successful and healthy hair color transformation.
If you're considering taking the plunge and coloring your hair at home, read on to find out everything you need to know beforehand from the man responsible for some of your favorite celebs' ever-changing hair hues.
Why You Should Consider Leaving Most Hair Transformations To A Professional
"I could go on forever about why someone should see a professional, as opposed to using box color, but here are a few important things to consider," says Dorsey. "With box color, you risk coloring your hair to something that is not what you signed up for, aka what you see on the box is not always what you get."
Dorsey's absolutely right. How many times have you walked past a boxed dye in the grocery store and noticed how the model on the box looks like she's living her absolute best life with her flawlessly colored, glossy hair flowing in the wind? Probably a lot. However, that model's hair was 1) probably done by a professional, and 2) most likely a lot different than yours IRL. You have to consider that the current state of your hair may not translate to the exact photo, color, or texture you see on the box. When you choose to see a professional stylist to get your hair colored, however, they're trained to know how to achieve your desired look, given the current state of your hair specifically.
Why Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands May Send You To A Professional Anyway
If you aren't a professionally trained hairstylist and you decide to dye or treat your own hair, there's always the possibility you'll do more harm than good. "You can cause damage to your hair, which could result in a shorter haircut," says Dorsey. Often times, non-professionals don't know or realize the proper techniques for coloring their hair, and the process may result in dry, brittle, or damaged hair that may need to be cut off.
Or, as Dorsey says, you may even have to make an emergency trip to a salon for major damage control: "You could end up having to go to a stylist anyway to color-correct your hair, which can include an aggressive color removal procedure before even starting the [color] process." In other words, if you hate the way your hair turns out after dyeing it at home and you have to get an abrasive color-correction treatment done, then you're facing the possibility of damaging your hair even more than you might have already.
What Processes Should You Definitely Not Try At Home?
"When it comes to lifting your hair or adding any style of hair painting for dimension, it absolutely, 100 percent should be left up to the professional," warns Dorsey. "Avoid using any hair lightening system on your own (i.e. bleach). It’s risky business that you shouldn’t chance."
You see, when you lift hair color with bleach, your strands become more porous, reducing their ability to retain moisture. If the hair isn't lifted properly, then it becomes dry, limp, and — you guessed it — damaged. Since the lifting process is both a very difficult art and a science, it's a tricky procedure for anyone who hasn't been professionally trained to master.
If you still don't believe me, see for yourself what happened to this woman who bleached her hair at home.
What's The Biggest Mistake People Make When Coloring Their Hair At Home?
"The most common mistake people make when using box color is expecting an even result from root to end," says Dorsey. "As a non-professional, you don’t take things into consideration such as 'hot roots.'"
"Hot roots" is hairstylist talk for when the roots turn a warmer reddish/orange color as a result of applying hair color incorrectly from roots to ends. Most people forget to consider that, when touching up your roots, for example, your roots are your natural color, while the rest of your hair is a different color. Therefore, if you apply a color all over your head all at once, the roots and the ends of your hair may end up being two different colors. The new dye color will not lighten the color on your ends as quickly or as drastically as it will the natural color at your roots, and this may result in "hot roots."
What To Remember If You Still Choose To Dye Your Hair At Home
OK, so if you've read through all of Dorsey's fair warnings against dyeing your hair at home and you still choose to go the DIY route, the stylist suggests going with a semi-permanent hair color option from Clairol. "It's what I watched my grandma color her hair with for years growing up," Dorsey says. "[I] even continued to use it after I went to beauty school and showed her how to do a root touch up."
Clairol offers a variety of permanent and semi-permanent hair colors that range in color from blonde to black and are offered as root touch-up kits or all-over hair color. What's more is that you can cop all of the Kendall Dorsey-approved dyes at your local CVS, and they won't break the bank. Just remember, if you do choose to take your hair color into your own hands, follow the directions exactly as they are listed on the box, pay attention to how long you leave the color on, and condition, condition, condition afterward to maintain your hair's moisture. Godspeed!