The Overwhelmed Woman’s Guide to home hair dyeing (and actually getting it right).

Thanks to our brand partner, CLAIROL NATURAL INSTINCTS

Life is overwhelming and there’s never enough time to do anything, so if there’s one piece of advice I could give to anyone trying to save money or time, it would be learn how to dye your own hair.      

I know that may sound overwhelming, but honestly it’s easy and efficient. If we were still using the words ‘girl boss’, I’d say it was a girl boss move.

I’ve been dyeing my own hair using Clairol Natural Instincts for years, and I enjoy the time and money it saves me, and the result is always glossy and gorgeous. (I also like using the money I’ve saved to live my life like a socialite. Think takeaway coffees twice a day!)  

I’ve been dyeing my own hair since I was a teenager.

When I first started I was quite bad at it. I'd didn't know what products were quite right for me yet; I’d leave patches, or forget about it and leave a brown shade on so long my hair ended up turning some kind of weird shade of black – not jet black but purple black. 

Honestly, I was young enough not to care, everything felt like a new ‘look’ and considering my hair icons were Hayley Williams and Christina Aguilera, I was going for something a bit more wild. 

These days, I’m much more fussy about my coffee order (I no longer consider a bottled iced coffee, an actual coffee) and my hair… well, it needs to be healthy as well as looking good.


So I’ve learned how to dye my hair so well, people will actually ask me the name of my salon. I proudly say: my own bathroom.  

The thing about hair dyeing is, it’s not very hard. You just have to be methodical. Trust me. If it was hard, I wouldn’t be bothered doing it, either. 

For reference, I recently ordered a single bottle of milk to my house, because I couldn’t be bothered walking two streets to my grocery store. 

The Clairol Natural Instincts dye I get is just from Chemist Warehouse or Woolworths, so it’s easy to find and I always nab it when I’m doing my shopping: no special trip needed.

First things first, you need to select the right dye for you. 

I use Clairol Natural Instincts for a couple of reasons. The big one is that 80% of the formula is made up of naturally-derived ingredients. It’s made with no ammonia or added parabens, and has really nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and aloe vera. This has honestly saved my hair. 

Clairol Natural Instincts makes hair look shiny and ensures it doesn’t get all dried out and frizzy. Case in point, at the start of the pandemic my hair was bright and dried-out pink, and now it’s a gorgeous glossy brown with a hint of dark red.


I look less artsy and more chic, and I’m loving it. The hair makeover also cost me under $20.

Obviously, not everyone is after such a drastic change, but honestly, there wouldn’t be a hair type this dye doesn’t suit: no one’s hair doesn’t need hydration, right? 

It’s also a semi-permanent, so it means it always meets my needs, whether I’m after a colour refresh, or I want a colour change. 

Plus, it makes my hair so bloody shiny. I used to always make a point of popping it on if I had an exciting date, so in my head I look like I’d stepped out of a romantic comedy with such a fresh mop. 

Next, you need to pick the right colour for your hair. 

I know this sounds simple, but people can get this a little... off. When you see a hair dye colour you think you might like, check to see the pictures of what the colour will actually look like on your shade of hair, rather than relying on the name of the product. 

So, for instance, a warm brown colour, may actually turn into a dark brown colour, if your hair is already pretty dark. So you may want to go a few shades lighter to get the result you’re looking for. 

This sounds simple, but it’s an easy step to forget. 

Thirdly, you need to do a patch test. 

A go-to shade of mine is the Clairol Natural Instincts 5 Medium Brown so I know it works for me well (for my hair, and no reactions with my skin), and I don’t need to patch test anymore. To me, the colour is very Angelina Jolie, just after she hooked up with Brad Pitt. Love it. 

But if it’s your first time trialling a colour, the patch test is crucial. So just dab a very small amount of the dye onto a patch of your skin using a cotton tip, like behind your ear in the hairline. (This can just be around the size of a small coin.) 

The best method is to let it dry, and reapply another two or three times to make sure your skin doesn't have any allergic reactions. If there's no irritation? You're good to go.

I quite like that Clairol Natural Instincts has in it a patented ME+ allergy gentle molecule, which is super gentle to your hair and scalp. 

This hair dye molecule is pretty revolutionary, and better protects people like myself without a hair dye allergy, by reducing the chance of us actually developing one. (If you have a known hair dye allergy though, it's best to chat to your dermatologist for their advice before using!)

Another joy of using a semi-permanent colour too, is that it's the perfect foray into colouring your hair if you're new to the change. If you don't mind the colour you've gone for the first time, or keen to try a different shade next time, the colour of course isn't permanent and washes out over time, which takes the pressure off having to perfect it your first go. Basically, a semi-permanent colour without commitment, which makes it quite fun.


Once you are happy with the colour, the next part is actually very easy. 

You just need to section off your hair, and basically divide and conquer. I’m sure there’s more comprehensive ways to do this, but I streamline the process and section my hair into four parts. I find that has always ensured I get all my hair... no stray bits baby! 

My advice would be before applying the dye, strip down to your undies! That's been my ritual for the longest time, as it means your clothes won't be victim to any rogue dye, especially if home hair dyeing is new to your wheelhouse. 

Also, wrap an old towel around your neck, to save and drips on your neck and shoulders, too.

I always start by applying the dye while looking in the bathroom mirror, just so I can make sure I don’t miss a spot.  

Next, head into the shower to rub the dye in a bit more. I find standing over the sink is always a bit of a balancing act, whereas in the shower I have plenty of space and I’m not stressed if a few droplets of dye get on the floor. (I know some people can do it with no mess, but even after several years of home hair dye life, I’m not one of those people!) 

Once I feel like it’s all rubbed in, I set a timer on my phone and head off to watch some good old-fashioned reality television. 

I keep the dye in my hair for around 20 minutes (and fit in as much Keeping Up With The Kardashians as I can in the interim.) 

Lastly, I rinse it off in my shower. I used to try and do it in the sink, but I haven't quite mastered that yet. 

Then you're done, and that’s it! Gorgeous, shiny hair in your new colour to make you feel like you're in my own hair commercial. 

But wait... my tips on aftercare.

A few last points to remember to preserve your fresh colour! My Clairol Natural Instincts dye lasts up to 28 washes which I love, but to help any hair colour stay vivid for as long as you can, there's some upkeep you can do without changing up too much in your usual routine.

Here are the main tips I'd recommend:

  • Try not to shampoo your hair too frequently, as the more you wash, the quicker your colour will fade basically! Best to stick to two to three washes a week if you can, and soak up excess oil with dry shampoo (my other best friend, besides my dog Frank.)
  • While we're talking shampoo, there's a reason why colour treated shampoo exists. Opt for that where you can! Choose a low sulphate shampoo when you have the option, as it will help to wash out less colour from your hair, and won't accelerate colour fade.
  • Also, condition well! Your hair needs plenty of conditioner to help form a protective barrier to lock in moisture to prolong that colour.
  • Air drying is meant to be the way to go instead of hair drying, as the heat from hair dryers (as well as styling tools) contributes to quicker moisture loss in your hair, which compromises that radiant colour of yours quicker.
  • One you might not have even thought of: UV from the sun. Turns out one of the biggest enemies to long-lasting, bold colour is UV exposure, so something to keep in mind when you're out and about in the sun. You can even find a hair finishing spray product that has a UV protectant in it to help counteract this.
  • Lastly: chlorine? Not your best friend. So if you're a swimmer with coloured hair, prep your hair and pre-condition accordingly, so you don't fast forward your colour fading, or even end up with... green hair.

Seriously, it’s that easy! 

Turns out making a fabulous change with your hair actually can happen overnight.

Discover your natural way to shine with the new Clairol Natural Instincts range. Shop from your nearest Chemist Warehouse and Woolworths now.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Discover your natural way to shine! Healthy looking hair colour that lasts up to 28 washes. This semi-permanent conditioning vegan conditioning colour Blends away your greys and enhances your natural colour. Clairol Natural Instincts

— Made with 80% naturally derived ingredients

— Yes to Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera

— No ammonia or added parabens

Available at leading Supermarkets and Pharmacies. Visit