How to Dye Your Hair Multiple Colors at Home

April 09, 2020
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal

Changing your hair color at home can be tricky if you’re going from one single shade to another, and dyeing your hair multiple colors at once? That’s even more ambitious. But now that we’re social distancing and we don’t have the option to go to the salon, we asked Deb Rosenberg, assistant vice president of education for Color&Co, and Nick Stenson, artistic director at Matrix, for their best tips on how to achieve a multi-colored dye job at home.

What to Know Before You Start

“If you are looking for a slight change or are wanting to go darker, apply the color from root to tip,” says Rosenberg. But if you’re going for more of a vibrant look, apply your dyes to the ends before the roots to keep the color from looking uneven. If you have color-treated hair, however, these application techniques will differ. “To match your roots to the current shade of your colored hair, apply just to the roots and pull the color 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 Prep

According to Stenson, successfully dyeing your hair multiple colors starts with flawless prep. “Before coloring, make sure your sections of hair are clean and use several clips to separate so that they don’t overlap,” he says. It’s also important to have foils handy, as this will help you isolate each color as you apply. 

The Process

“If you are wanting fun colors or pastels, make sure to lighten your hair to the level of lightness you’re looking for, and then you can tone with the desired shade,” Stenson notes. Once you’re prepped, lightened and ready, you can then start your colors following the steps below. 

STEP #1: 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: Apply back-to-back foils without leaving any hair out in between.

STEP #3: Next, Stenson suggests applying a lightener to those foils. “Make sure to stay one inch away from the scalp, feathering in the lightener, then lift to the desired level. This will create a soft, multi-dimensional look with color coming from the inside out,” he says. 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. 

“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 #4: 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, check out the tutorial by beauty vlogger Jade Madden below. Madden applies the color to her hair by separately sectioning out each portion. For her extensions, she applies the color on foils before drying and clipping them in. 

How to Maintain Your Color

After you’ve completed your multi-colored look, make sure to use color-safe products to keep it looking vibrant. Stenson’s favorite is the Matrix Biolage Colorlast Shampoo and Conditioner.  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.

Photo: Shutterstock

Read more