How To Dye Your Hair At Home: Pro Tips & Step-By-Step Instructions

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Playing How To Dye Your Hair At Home: A Step-by-Step Tutorial | #StayHome With Gretta Monahan

Maybe salons in your area are still closed, or they're starting to open but you still feel more comfortable staying home. Or perhaps you're just trying to save money by skipping the salon altogether. Whatever the case, you can always dye your own hair at home. 

Beauty expert Gretta Monahan's step-by-step tutorial for how to dye your hair at home is easy to follow and takes the guesswork out of using box dye to cover up grays or to touch up roots.


  • Box kit of color
  • Hair clips
  • Barrier cream for the hairline — can be chapstick, vaseline or EVOO
  • Gloves
  • Towels you don't care about
  • Garbage bag
  • Scissors 
  • A buddy to help you with the back (Gretta's buddy is her husband Ricky)

PRO TIP #1: Protect Your Clothes & Skin From Dye

Use scissors to cut a neck space from the top of a garbage bag, as well as arm holes on each side. Now you have a DIY color smock to protect your clothing.

You don't need to wash your hair first, Gretta says, unless it has a ton of product in it or is super oily. Start by putting on your gloves to protect your hands from permanent staining right from the get-go, the beauty pro advises. You want to wear gloves the whole time, including when you rinse the color out of your hair.

PRO TIP #2: Keep The Dye Job Simple

"My best pro advice for getting a great color at home? Keep it simple. This is not the time to want to do something dramatic (change your color, go darker, go lighter). Just try to blend and match up your roots. Wait for the salon to make any big changes," Gretta says.


STEP 1: Protect The Area Around The Hairline

You can use petroleum jelly, extra-virgin olive oil or chapstick to protect the area around the hairline before coloring your hair. "That creates a perfect, safe barrier from stains and irritation," according to Gretta.

STEP 2: Unpack Your Box Dye Kit

Typically, box hair dye kits contain instructions, gloves, developer and color pigment, Gretta says. "Most of the tubes will be numbered so it makes it really easy for you," she adds. 

Open up the bottle, break the top and give it a very, very good shake.

STEP 3: Start The Application 

You want to start your color application in your grayest area, so it's on the longest. "For a lot of people, they have a lot of gray around the hairline. If that's you, then start your application on your hairline and then you'll work back," the beauty expert advises.

STEP 4: Apply The Dye In Rows

Go right down in rows, targeting that gray (or your roots). Take half-inch sections of hair at a time, like Gretta does in the video above. If you have stubborn little areas in the front or the top and you want extra concentration to cover those roots, Gretta suggests using an old toothbrush to comb the dye through those spots.

STEP 5: Ask For Help To Dye The Back 

Gretta's next tip is to have someone you live with help you dye the back of your hair — because it's not easy to do this part yourself!

STEP 6: Let The Dye Sit

Let the dye sit for however many minutes the kit suggests. "If you do [have stubborn grays], with any color kit you can go another five [minutes] and your gray will definitely cover better," Gretta says. If you have some staining or the colors dripped a little around the hairline, you can "massage and emulsify the color right into the hairline" before you rinse.

STEP 7: Rinse & Condition

Rinse out all of the color until the water runs clear. Condition your hair to lock in the color and help level out the pH of the hair. After a few minutes, rinse the conditioner out. Gretta uses cool water rather than warm to enhance shine. Then, blow dry and style however you want and enjoy your freshly colored hair!

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