Breaking up with your hairdresser? Here's everything to know about dyeing your own hair.

Thanks to our brand partner, Clairol

Think pulling the plug on your relationship is tricky? Try dumping your hairdresser and going it alone – it’ll send you down a spiral. 

But fear not, friends, because as someone who was recruited at 12 to start dyeing their own mother’s hair at home, I’m here to tell you that it’s all going to be okay.  

I promise. Because honestly, if prepubescent me could cope, you have certainly got this.

Now, a bajillion years on, I’m a DIY hair queen who never, ever gets her hair coloured at a salon. Instead, it’s just me and the bathroom sink every two months, and I’ve never felt more empowered. 

But, first things first, here are 12 very important things you need to know about dyeing your own hair. 

Pick the right product.

If the proof is in the pudding, then the result is in the product, so whatever you do, don't skimp out when it comes to dye. Think about the look you want, what you hope to achieve, and choose accordingly.

For instance, for a gal like me who's been going grey since she was 25 (no one ever said journalism wasn't a stressful career), grey coverage is ESSENTIAL, especially for these self-acquired dark locks.

Enter, Clairol Natural Instincts hair colour. 

This semi-permanent conditioning vegan hair colour has worked wonders on my hair. It contains no ammonia or parabens, and it hides those pesky greys while enhancing your natural colour.

And best of all, it's crafted with 80 per cent naturally derived ingredients, such as coconut oil and aloe vera, ensuring that the long-lasting formula provides a gorgeous natural colour that lasts up to 28 washes. Plus, it's affordable and incredibly easy to use.


Image: Supplied. 

Read the instructions.

Think you can build an IKEA table without reading the instructions and not have a single screw left over? Of course not, so you wouldn't test this theory on your hair.

Instead, tackle the guidance head on and you’ll soon realise that the instruction manuals are actually pretty straightforward. Clairol Natural Instincts even has a tonne of great photos in their guide to show you how it should be done. From mixing active ingredients to application. Easy peasy.  


Make sure your hair is clean, but not too clean.

There is definitely something to be said about not dyeing clean hair because allowing our gorgeous natural oils to build up can actually coat the hair and scalp, protecting them from damage and irritation.

However, you absolutely don't want totally greasy hair or hair that's been in the ocean or had hair products already in it, such as hair sprays and even those spray-on hair colours.

Think fairly cleanish hair, like a day or two after you wash it. 

Prep your space. 

What’s that they say about best laid plans? Because I cannot reiterate enough that despite your greatest intentions, hair dye is very likely to get somewhere in your bathroom.

Which is definitely not something I want to have to explain to my landlord. So, remove your bath mat, hand towel and anything else in the line of fire out of the way. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. 

Next up, is to line your work station with any kind of drop sheet, such as an old towel, or even the instruction manual. Just something that you’ll be able to put your tools down on without staining the surface, and also to avoid any splashes. 

Because believe me, and dear landlord please don’t be reading this, but it’s kind of tricky to get dye marks out of white porcelain sinks. 

Use an old towel around your shoulders.

Look, maybe this is weird, but I dye my hair in the nude because I just feel like it’s easier. 


But one thing I do wear is an old towel around my shoulders. Because just like my once pristine basin can attest to, hair dye really dyes stuff. And while dark marks across my nape aren’t forever, they aren’t great in the short term. So do yourself a favour and wear one.  

Prep your hairline.

Make like a pro and use this effortless hack to avoid staining your forehead as well as your strands. 

Simply apply a little bit of Vaseline to around your hairline and hey presto, no one will ever know that your new colour wasn’t the result of a qualified professional. 

Work in sections.

Despite what I said earlier, this job is not child’s play and here’s where it really gets critical. Because just using the nozzle to squeeze product onto your scalp willy-nilly, is not the way to do things around here. 

Instead, part your hair down the middle and work in thin sections from the top down, flipping each section to the other side of your head as you work. This will give the most visible strands the longest time to develop. 

@karaahansen Mini hair do-over on my own with Clairol! 💇🏻‍♀️ @clairolhair #ClairolNaturalInstincts #ClairolAustralia #ad #ItsSoMe ♬ original sound - Kara Hansen

Use a dye brush and bowl.

This was the best piece of advice a hairdresser ever gave me and oh my goodness, it changed everything. 

Just get yourself to a good pharmacy and pick up a hair dye brush and bowl and make like Da Vinci. Because now you can work on your hair like a piece of art, carefully coating each section, from on top and from underneath, with the precision of an expert. 

It’s the greatest way to ensure no strand gets left behind. 

Clean up your mess. 

It's inevitable that hair dye will get on your ears, and very likely your face. So make sure you wipe up any mess with a cotton wool ball as soon as you're done. 


Set a timer. 

Siri, set timer. 

I cannot overestimate the importance of this point enough because it is critical.

Leaving hair dye on for longer than the recommended time can not only leave you with a colour a shade or two darker than you wanted, but you risk damaging and drying out your strands, or over processing them.  

Use the conditioning treatment. 

Believe me when I say this conditioning treatment makes a huge difference to the vibrance of your new do. 

Make sure you apply it evenly through your hair after shampooing, and then leave it in for the recommended time. 

I try to only use a third of the bottle, and then use the remaining product over the next two weeks.

Avoid washing your hair straight away.

Whether it’s for 48 or 72 hours, all haircare experts will agree that you want to leave your shiny new strands for as long as possible until you wash them again. 

My golden rule is three days, so plan your DIY job accordingly.

Then going forward do not forget to use a specialised coloured hair product to ensure your shade lasts as long as possible.

Shop the Clairol Natural Instincts semi-permanent conditioning vegan hair colour range for a stunning, natural colour that lasts for up to 28 washes.

Feature Image: Supplied/@ellejamesmakeup

Clairol Natural Instincts discover your natural way to shine! Semi permanent hair colour that lasts up to 28 washes. Made with 80% naturally derived ingredients, coconut oil and aloe vera. Contains no ammonia or added parabens. Available at leading supermarkets and pharmacies. Visit