How to Dye Your Hair at Home (Temporary or Semi-Permanent)


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Faced with the life-altering circumstances of Covid-19, people are switching things up. That can mean a lot of terrible things, like losing a job or having a loved one get sick. For those fortunate enough to still be employed (and healthy), you may be learning to work from home baking lots of bread, or getting an overwhelming urge to change your hair color.

The desire to change your hair may be about taking back some control, says Suzanne Degges-White, a professor and chair of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University. “There’s so little right now that any of us can control, but our appearance is one thing that’s still within our power.”

Whatever your reason, I’m here to help. I’ve been dyeing my hair wild colors at home for more than a decade, and this guide is my best advice on how to recolor your hair in temporary and more permanent ways.

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First, Consider Temporary Options

Feeling impulsive, but not professional? Consider a temporary color change. These methods are cheaper and less invasive than attempting to dye your whole head. You’ll reap the benefits of fun hair color without the scalp sensitivity or regret.

Consider Extensions: You don’t have to get crazy with your own hair. You can add a streak of color to your locks with dyed extensions. (These have great reviews.) It can be tricky to match them to your natural hair texture, but if you’re willing to do some styling or flat-ironing, they will work fine.

Try a Wig: Amazon and other stores sell passable wigs, ranging from curly bobs to extra-long ombré options. For something more durable, try Insert Name Hair. The company offers clip-in ponytails, bright wigs, full-head extension sets, clip-in bangs, candy-colored space buns, and loose strands for feed-in braids. The hairpieces are pretty foolproof. I like everything I’ve tried from INH.

Try Temporary Hair Dye: These come in the form of sprays and styling products. They’re like makeup for your hair, so you can add color and wash it away in the shower. A temporary dye job won’t feel or look as sleek as one from the salon, but it’ll do job well enough. I recommend a few practice rounds to get used to the products. They’re typically better suited for small sections (like your roots, bangs, or ends) rather than full-head coverage. If you have long, curly, or dry hair, you might encounter some textural road bumps, particularly with products like waxes. Manic Panic Amplified Color Spray ($13) is easy to use, but if your hair is long, you might need a couple of canisters. Good Dye Young Poser Paste ($18) is a waxy styling pomade that’s incredibly pigmented and has a pleasant citrus smell. Use it in small sections of your hair for a bright pop of color.

Ready to Dye? Keep These Tips in Mind

Photograph: Dmitriy Pridannikov/Getty Images
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