How to Dye Your Hair Multiple Colors at Home

January 08, 2021
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal

Dyeing your hair at home can be tricky, even if you’re just going from one single shade to another. If you want to dye your hair multiple colors, things get even more complicated. But if  you follow the right steps, it’s totally possible. Here, Deb Rosenberg, assistant vice president of education for Color&Co, and Nick Stenson, artistic director at Matrix, share  their best tips for achieving a DIY multi-colored hair look. 

What to Know Before You Start

“If you are looking for a slight change or want to go darker, apply the color from root to tip,” says Rosenberg. But if you’re going for more of a vibrant look, apply dyes to the ends of the hair before the roots to keep the color from looking uneven. 

If you have color-treated hair, the application is a little different. “To match your roots to the current shade of your colored hair, just apply color to the roots and pull it through only if necessary,” says Rosenberg. You can try the Color&Co Premium System, which includes a personalized color mix and the tools to get you started.

The Process

“If you want fun colors or pastels, make sure to lighten your hair to the level of lightness you’re looking for and then tone the hair with the desired shade,” says Stenson. Once you’re prepped and lightened, follow the below steps to get a multi-colored look.  

STEP 1: Part the Hair

Create triangle sections from the hairline to the back of the ear on each side, with the point placed closest to the hairline.

STEP 2: Grab Your Foil

Apply back-to-back foils without leaving any hair out in between.“If you want an idea of how the color will lay when it’s finished, section the hair that you want colored and place your hand below it. Let the hair drop and you can get a sense of whether or not you need to add more or less hair in that section,” says Rosenberg.

STEP 3: Use Lightener

Next, Stenson suggests applying a colored lightener to those foils. “Make sure to stay one inch away from the scalp, feathering in the lightener, then lift to the desired level,” he says. “This will create a soft, multi-dimensional look with color coming from the inside out.” Make sure you use foils and clips to keep each section as separated as possible throughout the process to ensure that your shades don’t blend together. 

STEP 4: Rinse 

To rinse out your color, protect the lighter shades by starting with the darker shades. “Make sure to rinse the darker color until the water runs clear before releasing and rinsing the lighter color,” says Rosenberg. 

For more tips on how to do rainbow hair dye at home, check out the tutorial below. 

How to Maintain Your Color

After you’ve completed your multi-colored look, make sure to use color-safe shampoo, conditioner and other hair-care products to keep it looking vibrant. Stenson’s favorite is the Matrix Biolage Colorlast Shampoo and Conditioner.  We also love the Garnier Fructis Color Vibrancy Treat 1 Minute Hair Mask for a weekly refresh.

In the case that one color fades faster than another, “you’ll want to re-section those pieces and apply a semi-permanent color to refresh,” says Stenson. One semi-permanent option to try is the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Photo: Guy Tang

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