How to Dye Your Hair at Home Like a Pro

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Step 1: Once you've done a strand test and read the instructions (see Allover Color, steps 1 through 3), blow-dry, style, and part hair as you normally would.

Step 4: This tip helps get even color every time when you're dyeing your whole head: First, apply dye a half-inch away from your scalp and work toward ends (the heat from your head makes the color develop faster at the root).

Whether you're going platinum blond or pixie-dust purple, there's one hair color rule that remains the same: Always follow the directions on the dye box.

Then make sure to study up how to protect your color before jumping into the pool. "Treat hair the way you would your skin," says colorist Kari Hill.

Step 1: Don't wash your hair for two days before you dye—you want your scalp's natural oils to act as a barrier against irritation, says celebrity colorist Kiyah Wright.

If the color looks good, rinse with warm water, then shampoo your hair and condition.

To help, we've compiled advice from our favorite hair pros about every DIY hair decision, from allover color to subtle highlights.

So read the back of the box, and study up on our additional tips for how to apply hair color yourself in the following mistake-proof guide.

If it's far too dark, mix a tablespoon of baking soda (which acts as a mild detergent) with a clarifying shampoo like Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three and let it sit on wet hair for five minutes.

Your hair texture will factor in here: The finer it is, the faster it'll lighten—you may need five to 10 minutes less than the box says; if you have coarse or dry hair, you can go by the recommended time.

Step 3: Read, reread, and follow the box instructions to a T. (Exception: Don't apply color from roots to ends in one go; see step 4.

On the days you can't, use as little shampoo as possible or, better yet, rinse hair with warm water and use just conditioner.

Water is hair color's worst enemy, so on the days you can, skip washing altogether and blast roots with dry shampoo (find the best one for your needs here).

Step 3: After 30 minutes, apply the rest of the solution onto your roots, and time for an additional 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how light you're going.

Or apply olive oil to damp hair, wrap it all up in a shower cap, and place a hot towel over it. "The heat opens up the cuticle just enough to let a few dye molecules slip out," she says.

Try washing the tint out with a clarifying shampoo or a deep treatment mask like Matrix Biolage HydraSource Deep Treatment Hair Mask right away.

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