This isn’t an exaggeration: I get compliments from random strangers on my hair color almost every time I leave the house. What comes as a huge surprise to most people is I’m not a natural redhead!
That’s right, I dye my hair! And I use $10 box dye to do it. My natural hair color is a dark dirty blonde. After graduating college I wanted to change things up. I spent a couple of months dying my hair a lighter blonde, then randomly decided to try a rich strawberry blonde/red color and the rest is history.
Since I’ve been dying my hair at home with box dye for over 5 years, I thought it was finally time I share that process with you! So, here’s my exact step-by-step routine for amazing color with tons of tips & tricks that I’ve learned along the way (aka, learn from my mistakes with box dye so you don’t have to!)
How I Use Box Hair Dye To Color My Hair (Step By Step)
My hair color is L’oreal Paris Excellence Creme 8RB. I’ve been using her for 5 years now. I’m totally open to other brands of hair dye but I just love this shade so dang much so I’m not jumping to change right now.
I work from home and usually pick a non-shoot day to dye my hair. It is a bit of a time suck to do it right, so I recommend you dye your hair on a lazy Sunday. If this is your first time using box dye, make sure to read the intro packet that comes with as well. Alright, here’s the steps!
PHASE ONE: PREPPING
- Wash your hair and let it TOTALLY dry. It’s very important to start with totally clean hair with no grease, oil or products so the dye can stick to your hair better! (I always wash my hair first thing in the morning on Dye Days and by mid-day, it’ll be dry enough to start dying. This is why it can be an all-day process.)
- Clear your sink and counter oh anything you don’t want dye on. This stuck can splash easily, especially if you are new to dying your hair, and I’ve ruined plenty of hand towels by mistake before!
- On that note, wear clothing you don’t mind hair dye on (or go naked, I’m serious!)
- Grab a hair tye and put it on your wrist for later.
- Grab a paper towel or some TP and set near your dye station (this will come in handy if you need to wipe any dye from your face away.)
- Unpack the box and read the manual if you are new. Put the #3 bottle in the shower as you’ll use this after rising the dye out.
- Mix #1 and #2 together to activate the hair dye! Make sure to shake the bottle while it’s fully closed so dye doesn’t fly everywhere.
PHASE TWO: DYING YOUR HAIR
- Start by putting on the plastic gloves, as these protect your hands from the dye.
- Use the “primer” (that tiny bottle) on your ends, including the ends of your layers. This stuff helps dye stick to the extra dry parts of your hair, like the ends!
- When it comes time to apply the color, start with your crown and roots. I like to work front to back on my scalp, slowly working the dye in (don’t forget your baby hairs by your ears!)
- Once your entire scalp/roots – including your back neckline – is fully covered, move onto the rest of your hair.
- Break your hair into parts and slowly work the dye in, making sure to work it through to your ends.
- Keep this process until every bit of your hair is covered in dye. In the end, look for any parts that need more dye and spot treat.
- Put your hair into a high bun (higher the better to avoid bumping against anything in your house!) This is where it comes in handy to have that hair tie already on your wrist.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes. Use this time to clean up the bathroom or do some self-care like a facemask or painting your nails!
PHASE THREE: WASH & POST CARE
- After your 30 minutes is up, wash your hair! Remember to NOT use shampoo, you are simply rinsing the dye out.
- Pay attention to the water coming out of your hair and wait until it turns clear.
- Use a hefty amount of the #3 bottle on your whole head. This helps to condition and preserve the color. It also makes your hair super soft!
- Use this #3 one or twice a week to help keep your color lasting longer.
- After dying, DON’T WASH YOUR HAIR FOR AT LEAST 48 HOURS! This is another trick I learned to make sure the dye really sets. If you wash it earlier, the color will leave faster.
And, that’s it! That is how to use box hair dye at home and give yourself a stunning color without the price tag of a salon. If you have any questions at all, or your own tips to add, leave a comment below. You can also DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help!
I love your advice to set the timer for 30 mins, then do some cleaning in the meantime. My sister is thinking about getting her hair dyed later this month. She needs to read your article so that she knows how to properly dye her hair so it looks good.
Hello gorgeous! How often do you dye it? Do you ever worry about all the chemicals seeping in? I used to dye my hair red for years but I had to do it every 3 weeks or so, I don’t know if that’s normal or if my roots just grew in quick. BUT I miss it! Also, do you use a color depositing conditioner in between dying? Those didn’t exist back when I used to dye so I’m curious how much times those conditioners will extend the life until having to dye it again.
Hey there! I’m not sure about the depth or breadth of your knowledge about coloring hair, but do you have any idea of how the 8RB would take to a natural hair color a shade or so darker than the darkest (light brown) of the three before hair color examples on the box? I have long hair with some highlights that are quite grown out, I feel confident the pigment would take to that, but I wouldn’t want to try it if there would be little or no difference to my outgrowth. What do you think?
Hi! I’m not sure. my natural hair color is a dark dirty blonde and it works well for me. I would say just try it and see what happens? if you 100% hate it. I recommend R&Co’s apple cider vinegar wash (here’s the link: https://bit.ly/3eXEk3E) it strips hair color fast
Hi! I’ve had my eye on this brand and shade. I’ve never tried red before but I really love the idea of it. Currently I have 4 months of light brown roots coming through and the rest of my hair is bleached blonde. Do you think it’d end up terrible? Thanks for the tips!
DM’ed you on Instagram , but it says you can’t receive my message. saw your pin that you use Loreal hair dye, is that the color that is in all your insta pics? (gorgeous btw!) I’m so over spending so much $$ at the salon to be unimpressed