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How to Dye Your Hair at Home

How to Dye Your Hair at Home


Feelin’ stuck in a rut? Babe, you’ve gotta switch it up! Now more than ever, it’s super important to treat yourself to feel-good self care. One way to celebrate your badass self? A hair makeover. Changing your strands can stir up creativity, boost your confidence, and unleash some pent-up stress using minimal effort.

Now’s the time to try a new shade and turn up those strands into the bold color you’ve been eyeing! Think you got what it takes to change up your hair color at home? We think you do, too! However, we know the process can seem a bit daunting, so we’re here to help.

Let’s get into step-by-step tips and tricks for how to dye hair at home. Don’t worry, you’ll be unveiling your edgy new hue in no time! Plus, it’s always fun to show off on IG and Tik Tok!


While there are various dye colors to choose from, first decide on the typeof formula you want. Are you looking for bolder color or muted shades?  

It’s also important to keep your current hair color and texture in mind before purchasing dye. For instance, darker hair will need to be chemically lightened prior to using dyes for more vibrant color pay-off. Need to go a bit lighter, before you go brighter? Check out our Unicorn Hair bleach at-home lightening kits.  Sounds scary, but don’t worry – The kits are damage-free and completely safe to use at home!

Other factors to keep in mind before purchasing dye include your current hair color and texture. For instance, very dark hair will need to be chemically lightened prior to hair dyeing because darker hair has a less-intense color payoff compared to lighter hair. If you have deep brunette hair and want to try a new courageous shade, we suggest starting with already pre-lightened or bleached hair.

What’s the difference between ‘Semi-permanent Hair Dye’ and ‘Temporary Hair Color’?:

Semi-permanent hair dye: Unlike permanent hair dye, our Unicorn Hair semi-permanent hair dyes, don’t contain ingredients that chemically trap pigments below the cuticle. Instead, this type of at-home hair dye adds pigment inside the outer hair cuticle that will gradually wash out over time.

And like mentioned above, strands with a more opened-up hair cuticle, AKA pre-lightened hair, makes the color easier to sit in the hair’s cuticle. Our Unicorn Hair Collection includes two types of semi-permanent dyes: Full Coverage includes a range of 25+ bold and bright colors, and hair tints are formulas with more pastel and muted shades.

Temporary hair colorLike temporary tattoos, sometimes you just need on-the-fly color to mix things up. If you’re a blue today, pink tomorrow type of person, you should try temporary hair colors. Our temporary dye, which comes in spray form, covers the outside of the hair shaft and will typically wash out after just one shampoo!  Not sure which spray to start with?  We have two kinds:  Rainbow Mist leaves a sheen of color, you just pick the color from our shade range, and Star Mist adds sparkly pearly pigments to hair.

LC TIP: Check out our color swatch charts on the semi-permanent dye pages to see how each hue comes out on different hair shades!


Tools you’ll need (other than your hair dye!):

 You got the goods? Good! Now it’s time to get your area ready for some serious color. 

Prep Your Station: Hair coloring at home is fun, but can definitely get messy! To prevent your entire bathroom from looking like a modern art piece, we recommend you put away anything nearby that’s made of fabric and can potentially be stained. This includes bath towels, bathmats, cute headbands, etc. 

Also, we’d recommend using a dark towel or rag towel as your designated ‘hair towel’ for the day (Avoid using mom’s nice ones!). Next, line your area with either paper towels or newspaper—sort of what you would do if you were painting, because technically you are! 

LC TIP: Keep a surface cleaner on-hand in case the dye decides to drop right on your white ivory sink. Usually dye may be removed with rubbing alcohol, too!

 While you dye, wear a comfy shirt you don’t mind getting messed up. For no-fuss, salon-like coverage, you can also buy a hair dye cape.

Prep Your HairFor all dyes, including our Unicorn Hair Collection, we highly recommend doing a strand test at least 48 hours before your dyeing session. A strand test shows how the color will actually look on your hair, as well as uncover any surprise allergic reactions you definitely want to avoid.

LC TIP: Make sure your hair is clean, unconditioned, and dry. While wearing protective gloves and clothing, add dye to a 1-inch strand of hair that’s in a less-visible area (try 2 inches above the ear, toward the back). Leave dye in for the recommended amount of time, then rinse. If you’re not happy with the results, or just want to tone down the color, try one of our hair mixers to nail your desired hue! Our Unicorn Hair Mixer in Dilute will provide lighter results.

Before dyeing, we also recommend to thoroughly brush hair to get rid of any knots and ensure the color is applied more evenly.

Before you start full-fledge dyeing, split your dry and unwashed hair into 4 even sections (left and right sections, 2 in the front and 2 in the back), securing with hair clips.


You’ve read all instructions, done all the prep and now it’s time for the fun!

Using fingers, work formula through 1-inch-wide strands ensuring not to miss any pieces. Apply color evenly from root to end with the applicator brush. Massage each strand with fingers, to ensure even distribution of color. To get the most saturated pigments, it’s important to leave the dye on for as long as directed for the color to truly develop into its most vibrant potential.

LC TIP: Color absorbs faster in finer hair compared to thicker hair. If you have thicker hair, you can leave the dyes in for longer than 45 minutes. For intense, long-lasting color, leave formula in for 1 to 2 hours.

While dyeing, if your skin gets stained, easily wipe away traces of the color with our wipes.  When it’s time to rinse off, run hair under lukewarm water until hair feels clean and the water rinses clear. For semi-permanent dyes, it is not recommended to use shampoo or conditioner while rinsing.


After all the hard work, you’ll want to maintain your color masterpiece! Be sure to use color-safe shampoos and conditioners made specifically with ingredients that retain hair color, and especially ones that are sulfate-free. We recommend our Universal Hair Shampoo and Conditioner, which both maintain vibrant hair color between dyeing sessions. For a color refresh, try one of our color-depositing shampoos and conditioners. 

Lastly, protect hair color on a day-to-day basis by washing your hair less and using our color-safe dry shampoo between washes.

LC TIP: Heat strips away color. Prior to blowouts, use a heat protectant spray to maintain your color!


  • Should I use DIY hair dye?

Well, we don’t recommend creating your own dye at home! That means don’t use markers, food coloring, etc. to make your own DIY dye recipe because you can seriously damage your hair. Instead, opt for DIY-friendly, pre-made dye you can find in stores.

If you use any of our Unicorn Hair semi-permanent dyes or temporary sprays, you are already well on your way to vibrant and damage-free hair! Our magical, gentle, deposit-only dye formula is vegetable glycerin-based and every ingredient is vegan. No ammonia, PPD, peroxide, or bleach. Our Unicorn Hair Conditioners also extend the life of your hair color while giving strands a boost of sweet-smelling shine.

  • Do I need to hair bleach my hair before dyeing?

That depends on the color result you want and the starting point of your hair. The lighter your hair color is to start, the more vibrant and truer to tone your result will be. Our Unicorn Hair Full Coverage formula contains a higher pigment load and delivers more saturated color, so it delivers maximum color impact on pre-bleached platinum to medium blonde hair and adds a tint of color to dark blonde and light brown hair.

  • My hair is thick, dark, and/or curly! Can I still dye my hair using the instructions above?

Yes, but you will still have to bleach your hair or pre-lighten it. Also, if you recently relaxed your hair, we don’t recommend bleaching your hair on top of that since more chemicals will take a serious toll on your strands. However, if you already lightened your hair, do use the instructions above—it’s the same for different hair textures!

  • Why should I stick to ammonia-free hair dye?

Ammonia is a chemical that busts through your hair cuticle in order to deposit color. It’s basically that person who crashes your party unannounced—but brings food and drinks. Avoid ammonia since it can damage and dry out your hair in the long run. Plus, it doesn’t smell pleasant.

  • What do I do if I hate the new color of my hair?

Don’t stress, don’t stress, don’t stress! There are some easy fixes you can try for damage control:

If you have really dark hair, Refinery 29 recommends using a clarifying shampoo several times after your dyeing session, since it will help fade the color little by little. If your hair is too light, Refinery 29 also recommends deep conditioning by sleeping with a color treatment mask for a week, then following up with a toner or gloss that deposits the color you’re wanting.

If the color looks too brassy on your hair—as in, you’re getting some warm tones showing up in your color, Cosmopolitan recommends using cooler-toned, dark-blue and indigo shampoos in your next few washes.


The best way to master dyeing hair at home? Have fun with it! Switching your hair color can feel liberating and at the very least, it’ll be your next convo-starter. Try a new, bold hue – we are you! It’s time for self-expression. As a wise sage once said: You do you! Ready to dye your own hair? Browse our collection of vibrant semi-permanent color dyes! Whether you want grey hair or blue hair dye, we've got you covered. 

Free shipping does not apply to orders with Unicorn Bleach Party, or to locations outside of the contiguous United States.


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