I wasn’t lucky enough to visit the hair salon before self-isolation, which means I have nine weeks of root growth and grays that are even noticeable on a blurry Zoom calls. I’m ready to try boxed dye—but before I take the plunge for a second time (the first being a horrible college dye job, haunting)— I’m using my phone a friend, and calling on Kylie Jenner’s colorist Cassondra Kaeding.
Based in Los Angeles, Kaeding started selling custom-mixed dye and gloss kits when the quarantine first began. We tapped her genius mind (she's also responsible for Sophie Turner’s perfect cool-girl blonde!) for the nine best tips and tricks for your next dye job.
Rule #1: Always Go One Shade Lighter
Don’t trust the image on the front of the box. Instead, find a box that has before and after color swatches on the back panel. “This will tell you what the color will possibly look like,” Kaeding shares. “I always say go one level lighter than what you see on the box because it’ll be more intense at first.”
Rule #2: Do Your Research
“I always tell my clients to do your research, because you’re never going to get the exact color that is on the outside of the box,” Kaeding says. “It depends on the texture of your hair, how thick it is, how gray you are, how you care for your hair.
Most brands will have a color chart online, which is a great way to figure out what color your hair currently is, and what color you want it to be. It’s the best way to get a sense of where you want to go, whether that’s with a professional dying your hair or an at-home color line.”
Rule #3: Make Sure You Have All the Right Tools
Before you start, transform your bathroom into your own private salon. Kaeding suggests having the following on hand:
towels that you don't mind destroying
button-up shirt or something you can easily pull over your head
coconut oil (to use around your hairline to avoid staining skin)
color application brush, clips, and a plastic bowl
Kaeding’s pro tip: Don't use metal bowls as they will react with the chemicals and ruin the dye. Make sure to use a ceramic or plastic bowl.
Rule #4: Don't Do Anything Drastic
“If something goes awry, there’s nobody there to fix it for you,” Kaeding warns. “Worst case scenario, I’ve seen people have to cut off all their hair. You don’t want to have to get a haircut you don’t like.” Instead, read the instructions and take your time.
Rule #5: Buy More Than One Box
"People with long hair need to remember one box of dye might not be enough to cover your entire head,” she says. Kaeding recommends buying at least two boxes. If you need more, you have it on hand. And if you don’t, you’ll have another box waiting when you’re ready to touch it up.
Rule #6: Try a Semi-permanent or Gloss Before Pulling Out the Big Guns
A good rule of thumb: If you only have a few grays or are only changing hair by a few shades, you can skip the harsh chemicals and get the same results, Kaeding says.
Rule #7: If You Make a Mistake, Don’t Freak Out
An in-person or video chat with your colorist can really give you an idea of what’s the best next step.
Rule #8: Don't Ruin Your Highlights
Watch out for the rinse if you’ve got highlights—the dye running through your strands might turn the lighter portions green. “Cover the part of your hair that you aren’t dying with either a mask or coconut oil,” Kaeding says. “Not only is it a great treatment for ends, but it protects hair from the residual dye while you’re washing.”
Rule #9: Give Your Hair TLC Post-Dyeing
“The stronger your hair is, the better it’s going to react to the chemicals that are in dye,” she says. “You should be doing a hair mask at least twice a month. That will alleviate dryness and add shine.”
If you feel ready to give yourself the perfect at home dye job, shop the eight best hair dyes here.
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