There’s a handful of things in a girl’s life that are of GREAT importance, and on the top of that list you’ll find a four letter word that means the world to us — hair. Nothing can ruin a day like untamable hair, or even worse (WAY worse), a dye job gone awry. You picked out an at-home hair color with high hopes of achieving blond locks like Britney Spears, and ended up with more of a Marge Simpson hue. Or maybe your caramel highlights are a little more on the zebra side (Halloween is over!) — this is not a look that you were intentionally going for. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your at-home hair job is successful! Along with our own professional experiences, we’ve got some tips from L’Oréal Paris consulting celebrity colorist, Kari Hill to help you land the perfect color!

at-home hair dye
Choosing the Right Formula. 
When shopping around, choose a color within reasonable expectations. “It is very key to be realistic with your desired look by avoiding extreme changes (i.e., blonde to black),” says Hill. It just isn’t gonna happen! Pick a color that is no more than two shades lighter or two shades darker than your current tone.

Most hair color companies will offer online guides to finding your perfect shade. L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Mousse Absolue offers an online consultation to finding the right color with simple application steps to follow. Since it’s an automatic color, there’s no mixing involved (whew!) and it’s reusable — brilliant!

Color Coding Tips.
According to Hill, if you want to achieve a natural golden caramel look, you should remember to stay lighter around the face and ends. “L’Oréal Paris Mousse Absolue Shade 630 is a great Golden Brown Color. For those who want to color their hair a cooler, dramatic shade of brown, an Espresso Brunette shade is great. This beautiful brown can be achieved at home by using L’Oréal Paris Mousse Absolue Shade 415,” says Hill.

Not Ready for Commitment? Try Semi-Permanent.
For those who prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to their hair, a great option is picking out a semi-permanent formula. Try L’Oréal Paris Healthy Look Crème Gloss for temporary color-enhancing shine.

t Trust the Pretty Girl on the Box.
Odds are, you aren’t starting off with the exact same color as her. Check the chart on the top or sides of the box to find the final results you get from a range of different shades. We might both want chestnut brown, but like fingerprints and snowflakes, we don’t have the same hair color or texture — meaning different results!

Preparation Is Key!
You don’t just walk into an exam without a #2 pencil, do you (OK, maybe sometimes)!? Before touching color to anything, make sure you wear some clothes you don’t mind staining and have an old towel on hand in case you make a little mess. Once your at-home station is all set up, swipe a thin layer of petroleum jelly on your skin, along your hairline to act as barrier and keep skin color-free. MDC Quick Tip: The perfect time to color your strands is when they are not exactly squeaky clean. You natural hair oils will protect your scalp from the tingle and allow for even color distribution.

Follow the Rules!
We all love breaking the rules, but now is not the time! “To avoid mistakes, following the directions with a dose of patience and confidence is a necessity.  Allow yourself the proper amount of time, no hurrying your way through the process,” says Hill. If the box says leave on for 30 minutes, then you better do so! OK? Good.

You Absolutely Must Condition.
Most at-home color kits will come with a post treatment deep conditioner. If you accidentally tossed the tube, or your box didn’t have one included, use paraben and silicone free Matrix Biolage ColorLast Mask. Once you fully rinse the color out with only water, apply the conditioner for 2-3 minutes and relax, the hard part is over — not that it was really that hard to begin with! MDC Quick Tip: Wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair so that the color can settle into your cuticle properly.

Taking Care of Your New Color.

Use shampoo and conditioners that are specific to color-treated hair to preserve your beautiful locks.  “To ensure your color is protected and to prevent fading, make sure that you are using a good shampoo and conditioner that is not stripping your color. The Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Shampoo and Conditioner from L’Oréal Paris helps shield the color from fading while keeping your hair moisturized and beautiful, ” says Hill. To maintain shine and nourishment, we recommend using the antioxidant active Kérastase Paris Masque Elixir Ultime weekly for 10-15 minutes. 

Photo: thinkstock

Let's Stay in Touch

Get our top stories straight to your inbox!