let's get magical af
Feelin’ stuck in a rut? Babe, you’ve gotta switch it up! Now more than ever, it’s super important to treat yourself to some tender loving self-care. One way to celebrate your badass self is with a hair color 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 your transformation with that 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! But hold up—dyeing your hair by yourself can be confusing, sometimes even a little terrifying... especially if you’ve never dyed your own hair before, right? WRONG.
We’ve got you covered for a successful DIY dyeing session! Save the trip to a hair stylist. 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 via
TikTok and IG in no time!
1. Pick a dye that matches your lifestyle.
While there are various dye colors to choose from, first decide on the type of formula you want. Keep in mind the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into maintaining your color. Also think about how fast your hair grows—the faster it grows, the more touch-ups you’ll need.
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.
Semi-permanent hair dye vs. Temporary hair color:
Semi-permanent hair dye: Unlike permanent hair dye, semi-permanent hair dye, including those in our Unicorn Hair Dye Collection, don’t contain ingredients that chemically trap pigments below the cuticle. Instead, this type of at home home hair dye adds pigments inside the outer hair cuticle that will gradually wash out over time.
Strands that have a more opened-up hair cuticle, like pre-lightened hair strands, make it easier for color to sit in the hair’s cuticle. (That’s why it’s essential to have pre-lightened locks before using this type of dye!) Our Unicorn Hair Collection includes two semi-permanent dyes that come in two finishes: Full Coverage has a range of bold and bright colors, and hair tints include pastels and more muted shades.
Temporary hair color: Like 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. This dye, which can also come in spray form, covers the outside of the hair shaft and will typically wash out after one shampoo rinse.
LC TIP: This is kind of a no-brainer but do consult the dye’s
packaging before you buy it to see how the color will look on different hair shades. Most hair dye brands should have a comparison chart.
If you’re just not into dyes, you can still get a temporary color fix using our Unicorn Hair Rainbow Mist color spray or Unicorn Hair Star Mist glitter spray. Rainbow Mist leaves a sheen of color and Star Mist adds sparkly pearly pigments to your hair—each temporary hair color spray washes out in one rinse. If you want easy-peasy, these temporary options are your main squeezy.
2. Put some pep in that prep!
Tools you’ll need (other than your hair dye!):
- Protective gloves
- Applicator brush
- Hair clips (at least 4)
- Bowl for dye
- Hair dye cape or a shirt you don’t mind getting messy
- Stuff to cover your workstation, like paper towels or newspaper
- Surface cleaner
You got the goods? Good! Now it’s time to get your area ready for some serious color.
Prep Your Station
Dyes can be messy and stain stuff! 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.
Dye may accidentally sprinkle on and stay there. Better to be safe than have unintentionally multicolored towels! Though, we do recommend you have a designated hair dyeing towel. (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 Hair
For all dyes, including our Unicorn Hair Collection, we highly recommend you do a strand test at least 48 hours before your dyeing session. A strand test shows how the color will actually look on your hair. It may also help 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, try to alter the color with a conditioner or mix colors together to nail your desired hue! Our Unicorn Hair color mixer in Dilute will lighten semi-permanent shades and our color mixer On Mute will make them instantly smokey.
Then, brush out your hair and get rid of any knots. This will help you color your hair 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 each with hair clips.
3. Dye that hair like you’ve never dyed before!
You’ve closely read your dye packaging instructions and now it’s time to put those protective gloves and cape on! YOU SUPERHERO, YOU!
Work dye into 1-inch wide strands so you don’t miss a hair. 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 you leave the color on for as long as directed. That way, the dye can develop effectively.
LC TIP: Color absorbs faster in finer hair compared to thicker hair. If you’re using our Unicorn Hair Full Coverage semi-
permanent dyes, leave it in for longer, around 1 to 2 hours, for more intense and lasting color.
If your skin gets stained, wipe away traces of the color ASAP. When it’s time to rinse off, run your hair under lukewarm water until hair feels clean and rinses clear.
- If you’re using semi-permanent dye, do not use conditioner or shampoo while rinsing.
- If you’re using temporary dye, don’t wash your hair unless you’re ready to go back to your natural hair color.
4. Take care of your strands.
When you commit to dyeing your hair, maintenance is everything! Be sure to use special color shampoos and conditioners made specifically for your hair shade since these contain ingredients that retain your color for much, much longer. We recommend our hair color conditioner, which saves fantasy hair between dyeing sessions with a perk of pigment!
Also, try to use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Sulfates deep cleanse but also strips out natural oils from the scalp, leaving your hair more prone to becoming dry and brittle.
If you’re using semi-permanent dye, protect your color by washing your hair less. Color-safe dry shampoo can refresh your hair in a snap.
LC TIP: Heat strips away color. Prior to blowouts, use a heat protectant spray to maintain your color!
Still scratching your head? Read our FAQs:
- 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 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.
Do You and Dye Your Hair at Home!
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. If you want a daring color, do it! If you want to stick to a more natural tone, that’s fine, too. 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.
Once you complete your home hair dye, we want to see your new ‘do! Tag @limecrimemakeup on your Unicorn Hair mane pics so we can take a peek at your new strands.