How To Colour Your Hair At Home For The First Time
Photo: Harper’s BAZAAR

For many of us, a trip to the hair salon in the near future may be unrealistic. But London’s leading hair colourist, Josh Wood, tells Bazaar that dying your hair at home for the first time can be a breeze – even when it comes to root cover-ups.

Here, he answers some common colour questions to help you navigate home colouring for a professional finish. You can also email the Josh Wood Colour team with questions and images of your hair for colour matching.

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You have blonde highlighted hair with grey roots and usually do a tint and highlight in the salon; what should you do at home?

“This would be double processing which means you are covering or blending in grey hair and then adding an accent, which can be highlights or lowlights. It’s actually quite easy on blondes. At home you would ‘root smudge’ your roots to cover the grey hair using a permanent colour to cover the roots, but you must protect the highlights or balayage in the ends. In the salon I would generally put a mask in the ends of the hair to to create a bit of a barrier, so when you’re washing off the permanent colour from the roots it doesn’t dull the ends. This can easily be done at home with an intensive hair mask, or you can apply something like my Shade Shot Gloss to boost or tone the colour at the ends at the same time.”

How can you choose the right blonde for your root cover?

“Generally, when you’re covering grey at the root and you want to be blonde with highlights, you actually want the roots to be a medium or ‘dirty’ blonde as it gives the appearance that you’ve got a slightly darker root than the highlighted ends. Quite often I use a minky or mousey blonde at the roots and then use a gloss at the ends such as Josh Wood Colour Shade Shot Gloss in Icy Blonde. This is to protect the blonde at the end but also to give it a really clean, fresh tone.”

You want to dye your hair all-over brunette; how do you choose the right shade?

“When it comes to going brunette, it depends on your skin tone, whether a warmer or cooler tone will suit. Cool and ashy tones look great on fair skin that contains some red undertone, the ash in the hair will naturalise contrasting tones in the skin. Additionally, the same rules apply for darker skin tones and hair choose the tone you want to emphasise. For example, a rich mocha would look great on someone with a darker skin tone as it complements the natural warmth within the skin.

“One trick to find the best brown for you is this: Take a section down the back of your hair and part it and clip it and then take a photograph so you have a visual reference of how light or dark you are. Compare this with home colour kits available online.

“However, most people make the mistake of going too dark when buying at-home hair colour. One of the tips I always say with our Josh Wood Colour kits is that you should always go half a shade or a shade lighter if you’re unsure.”

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What is the best way to dye your hair brunette at home (and cover greys)?

“Brush your hair thoroughly (I love a Tangle Teezer) before you start colouring. You want to make sure you have no knots in your hair before you start.

“Split your hair into a ‘hot cross bun’ fashion (four sections) and clip. When you begin to colour, you should endeavour to keep your sections neat, so that it’s easy to keep track of what parts have been coloured and what have not. To section the hair as you go along in each section, you can use the comb, or just the tip of your colour bottle.

“I personally recommend using the ‘dotting method’ when applying colour. Practically this means squeezing the bottle and dotting the colour on in a line along your section parting, and then rubbing the dots in to your roots for maximum coverage. When it comes to covering greys, they tend to appear around your hairline, so it’s worth paying particular attention to this area when you apply your colour. More really is more, so pack a lot of product onto the hairline on the roots to catch every last grey.

“If your previous colour has faded more than you’d like, you can refresh colour through mid-lengths and ends by pulling the colour through for the last ten minutes of the application, always leaving the last inch of your hair colour-free, for a more natural-looking result.

“In our Josh Wood Colour Permanent Hair Dye kits we make sure we have a protective barrier cream included and this is great dotted around the hairline and the ears to ensure colour doesn’t get on the skin and stain.”

I’m still not comfortable with dying my hair at home, what is the alternative for concealing and blending in grey roots?

There are two very different ways of applying a root concealer. If you’re concealing roots for brown hair (your hair is tinted brown and you have grey hair coming through) it’s all about the density of colour; you need quite a lot of root concealer. I’ve really learned from our community that are concealing grey at home that they layer up. They’ll start with a clean, washed conditioned head of hair and they use the Josh Wood Colour Blending Brush which you paint onto wet hair and then you dry it in with your hairdryer. They’ll then top it up with either a Tinted Dry Shampoo or Root Marker. It really is about that density. All of our products come with clear instructions as to whether you should use on dry or wet hair and are really easy.

“On blondes, in theory that’s much more difficult – because you’ve got to keep the colour bright without looking muddy or dark. The worst thing for a blonde is the feeling that their colour is looking dull. So try a tinted dry shampoo and/or our root marker. These products will take away the demarcation line that you may see between your root colour and the colour that you’ve been tinting.”

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This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.

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