Ask an expert: How to get salon-worthy dye results at home (no matter your skill level)

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor

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If you’re at home right now wondering when you’ll be able to return to the salon for your next hair appointment, know that you’re not alone. According to a 2019 survey, more than 30 million people had their hair professionally coloured in the last six months in the United States alone — that’s a lot of standing appointments. 

Luckily, while you’re eagerly awaiting your next appointment, there are plenty of at-home hair solutions that can help tide you over until your visit. We chatted with L’Oreal Hair Expert and Artist Brennen Demelo to get his top tips for salon-quality results no matter your experience level.

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“Everyone fears at home colour and I don’t understand why because the technology has really come a long way,” Demelo says. “It’s not about fearing doing your hair at home, it’s about arming yourself with the right information and using the right products to serve the right purpose.”

Whether you’re a complete newbie or are a hair colouring pro, read on for Demelo’s expert advice on some of the top methods for colouring your hair at home. 

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Difficulty: Easy

Time commitment: Five minutes or less

If you’re new to colouring your hair at home or are just looking for a quick touch-up before your big Zoom presentation, there are solutions that you can take on that don’t even require the use of dye. These quick fixes are ideal for last-minute touch-ups, or if you’re not quite ready to pick up the hair dye just yet.

Hair mascaras, concealers, and root touch-up sprays fall into this category of temporary colour, and although they are quick and effective, Demelo notes that they’re not permanent and often wash out after just a few shampoos.

L'Oreal Magic Root Cover Up Instant Root Concealer Spray

L'Oreal Magic Root Cover Up Instant Root Concealer Spray. Image via London Drugs.

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Bumble and Bumble Bb. Color Stick

Bumble and Bumble Bb. Color Stick. Image via Sephora.

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Schwarzkopf Hair Mascara

Schwarzkopf Hair Mascara. Image via Shoppers Drug Mart.

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Difficulty: Intermediate

Time commitment: 10 - 15 minutes

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to covering your greys or refreshing your hair colour at home, Demelo recommends one of two options. When covering up just your roots, there are easy at-home kits that are targeted specifically for this task, which are designed to blend into the demarcations between your natural and dyed hair colours.

When it comes to adding life back into dull locks, Demelo also recommends reaching for a hair gloss, or semi-permanent colour for adding richness and enhancing your existing hair colour. 

“Because it’s [often] an ammonia-free formula, it really is a gentle approach,” Demelo adds. “Now, you won’t get your full 100% coverage of grey, and you really want to be mindful of what colour you are picking, making sure that it’s matching your natural colour.”

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Rescue - Permanent Root Colouring Kit

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Rescue - Permanent Root Colouring Kit. Image via Shoppers Drug Mart.

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L’Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss

L’Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss. Image via Shoppers Drug Mart.

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Difficulty: Experienced

Time commitment: One hour or more

For experienced at-home colourists looking to change things up with a completely new shade or completely cover greys, you’re ready to move on to the full dye process. If it’s your very first time attempting your own colour, Demelo shared his top tips for getting the best results at home. 

To begin, he recommends prepping your scalp with a bit of conditioner around the hairline to prevent staining - a tip that’s especially important if you’re using a dark coloured dye.

Next, begin by working with clean sections, he says.

“I always say divide hair in four [sections], then start at the back of your hairline and work your way up to the top,” he explains. Work through the sides and the root area first, taking super thin sections about the size of the nozzle to really ensure maximum coverage.”

Once you’ve allowed the dye to set for the designated amount of time, it’s time to rinse. 

“Rinse until the water is clear, then you know that the colour is completely out,” Demelo says. “You don’t need to shampoo after you’ve coloured your hair, just condition because it saves the colour molecules that you just put in, it will help with the shine, and the conditioner will neutralize [the dye].”

As for aftercare, Demelo recommends washing your hair as little as possible and treating hair with sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to preserve the life of your colour. He also suggests purple-toned products for blonde hair, which will help neutralize any brassiness over time.

L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème

L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème. Image via Shoppers Drug Mart.

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Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo

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Rahua Color Full Shampoo

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