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Must-have tools for at-home color

Visits to the salon can really add up when it comes to time and money, so you may want to learn to color your hair at home. Don’t get caught making beginner mistakes, though — stock up on these must-have tools for at-home color to ensure a flawless and mess-free application every time.

tools for coloring hair at home


Mixing, applying and rinsing hair color from your own hair requires a little finesse and a whole lot of towels! Choose towels that are okay to stain, and lay them on top of bathroom surfaces you don’t want to accidentally splatter with hair dye. It’s also a good idea to drape one around your shoulders to help prevent dye from landing on your skin.

Read more: Do-it-yourself, at-home beauty secrets to save you time and money >>

Button-down Shirt

By designating a button-down shirt as your go-to hair dying shirt, you won’t risk damaging multiple clothing items with dye stains. A button-down shirt is best because it will be easy to remove before showering to rinse out your hair.

Vaseline or Lotion

Even the best at-home hairstylist knows that sometimes hair dye drips onto the skin around the face, ears and neck. According to Brenda Boice, President and CEO of Naturtint U.S., you can “apply lotion or Vaseline along the hair line and around the ears to prevent staining. If the dye does get on the skin, wipe it off with a damp paper towel or tissue as soon as you can to prevent staining of the skin.”


Most hair coloring kits come with a pair of one-size-fits-all gloves that may or may not actually fit your hands. Pick up a pair of well-fitting gloves from a beauty supply store so you’ll have better control over your hair dye application.

Perfect Color

The key to perfect at-home color is to have the perfect color to apply at home. You’d think with all the color options available at drug stores, this would be a fairly simple process, but factors like skin tone, eye color and natural hair color can all make a difference when it comes to the perfect match. “Test drive” hair color before you apply it by using online tools like Clairol’s Try It On Studio or eSalon. These services help make choosing the right hair color both simple and accurate.

Read More: Make your hair color last >>

Wide-tooth Brush or Comb

Don’t rely on the hair kit’s mixing bottle to give you an even application. After using the bottle to apply color to your roots, a wide-tooth comb or brush can help you evenly smooth the dye through your locks from root to tip.

Read More: Tips for coloring your hair at home >>

Plastic Clips

It’s easy to miss a spot when applying your own color, so you’ll want to take steps to ensure full coverage. Use plastic hair clips to section off one to two inch sections of hair, and work your way across your head from left to right and top to bottom . This will help you keep track of the area you’re working on before moving on to the next section.

Shower Cap

Once you’ve applied the hair dye, cover your hair in a shower cap to allow the color to set. This will also enable you to leave the bathroom during the setting period without worrying about dripping dye all over the house.

Read more: How to create a DIY spa experience at home >>

Alcohol Wipes

Once you’ve rinsed the dye out of your hair, you may discover that there are a few places on your skin that couldn’t escape the stain. Try rubbing these spots with alcohol wipes to remove the dye and give you a perfect, finished look.

Expert tip

“To protect my knees when kneeling on the hard floor to lean over and rinse my hair with the tub faucet, I use a gardening kneeling pad.” – Paula Wade, Publisher of Older Girl Beauty

More on hair coloring:

Tips for coloring long hair
Tips for coloring short hair
How to remove hair color from your skin

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