How to Make Sure I Cover All My Hair When Dyeing it Myself

Achieve rich hair color with a DIY dye job.
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If you're sick of your same old hair color, lighten your locks a few shades or give your self an all new look with an at-home dye job. It's cheaper to dye your hair yourself, but it's also easier to make a mistake and miss a patch. Coloring hair in sections lets you know where you've already applied dye, so you won't miss a thing.

Put on an old button-down shirt, so you won't risk damaging your good clothing with hair dye stains. Alternatively, wrap a towel around your shoulders.

Dip your finger into some petroleum jelly. Spread the jelly around your hairline from ear to ear, then apply a dab around your neckline. This helps prevent dye from staining your skin.

Mist the ends of your hair with lukewarm water from a spray bottle. If you don't do this, the ends might color darker than the rest of your hair.

Use a rat tail comb to separate your hair into four sections. Part hair down the middle, then make another part from ear to ear. Secure each section in place with a hair clip.

Read all packaging directions and put on the latex gloves provided in the dye package. Unclip one section of hair, starting at the front.

Squirt a small amount of dye on the roots of the hair you just unclipped. Use your gloved fingers to work the dye through your hair from the roots to the ends.

Unclip another section of hair and repeat the dye process on it. Continue until you've covered all of your hair.

Use your bathroom mirror and a hand-held mirror to check your hair for spots you may have missed. You can remove one glove to avoid staining the mirror. If you've missed any spots, put your glove back on apply dye to the area. Alternatively, ask a friend to check and put on a pair of gloves to help dye hard-to-reach spots.

Rinse your hair off in the shower after waiting the time indicated on the dye package. For most dyes, you'll need to wait about 20 to 30 minutes.

Shampoo your hair as usual. If your dye came with a post-coloring conditioner, use it. If not, use a separate conditioner formulated for colored hair.

  • Before coloring, do a strand test to determine whether the color works for you. Dye a 1/2-inch section of hair about 1 inch above your ear, but behind the top layer of hair. Let the dye soak in for half of the time suggested on the package, then wipe it off with a wet washcloth. If you like the color, proceed with dyeing.
  • If you're not ready to commit to a permanent color change, try a semi-permanent dye. These typically last for about 10 shampoos, and they don't contain any ammonia or peroxide. Don't expect a drastic color change with semi-permanent dyes, however. They will only darken your hair, not lighten it.
  • Deep condition your hair at least one week before coloring. Do not shampoo for two to three days before dyeing.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.