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How to DIY at Home Colour SAFELY

What You Need to Know About DIY At-Home Hair Colouring

As a professional hairstylist, I never thought I’d be writing a post about how to dye your own hair at home (or anything like it!). Having said that, these are different times we’re living through, and while I don’t advocate doing your colour at home, I’d rather empower you with information, to then make your decision safely!

Is Health Food Store Colour All Natural?

I want to start with a topic I speak to a lot of people about. The answer unfortunately, 99% of the time is not even close. To be clear, all permanent, grey covering hair colour, (excluding true henna root or non permanent since these are not both permanent and grey covering) are chemicals and toxins. Yup, even the stuff from health food store, and yup, even the stuff that we use. There are certainly less toxic lines in my opinion out there (like what we use at Hair Holistic Studio), but they all contain some toxins.

The difference is that we are trained (for years) on how to handle these chemicals properly. Like using a knife, it can be used safely and effectively, or it can really hurt you when used improperly.

Another important note is that since there isn’t a professional to formulate your colour, the boxes sold in stores need to be more “one size fits all” and therefore are stronger, more intense.

My goal is always to educate people on the facts to ensure that you can make the decision having full knowledge of the risks, so I decided that writing this was more important than writing about why you shouldn’t dye your own hair. I know people still will and I would rather give them the knowledge to be safe!

Important Tips For Dying Your Own Hair


As I was doing the renovation for the studio in the fall of 2019, and knee deep into Building Code (you know your girl needs to know ALL THE THINGS!), the term “exhaust fan” came up.

[PSS “Salon" Guideline Ontario] Ventilation shall be maintained to ensure the elimination of fumes, vapours, mist, dust, etc., and may include local exhaust to remove nail dust and chemical vapours in addition to what is required as per the Ontario Building Code. ]

Now, most people I know doing at home colour (including me in high school), need a mirror and don't want to make a mess so we go to that small room that likely doesn’t have good airflow. Yup, the bathroom! Some may be sufficient with windows and a hefty fan system (you should have both open/on if it’s in a small space) but most don’t. I would recommend finding a space (hey, maybe even outside now that the weather is nicer??) that has STRONG ventilation and more room.

How to Rinse out your colour

When we wash your hair in the shampoo basin, it’s coming straight off your head and down the drain. When many people wash at home… they jump in the shower. This means that all that colour from their scalp is running down their body before it gets to the drain, exposing their entire body (yes briefly, but just the same) to these same chemicals.

The super easy fix is to simply flip your head over and wash it under a faucet! And I’ll share a secret with you… this is how I wash my hair anyways. LOL I’m not joking I swear. The water pressure is better, and it means it’s easy for me to leave my conditioner in as a treatment for a bit longer before rinsing. Don’t knock it til you try it!

Protective Gear

Be mindful of wearing gloves at all times when applying or rinsing out colour to lower exposure. I would also like to add protecting your eyes is important, since it’s not a trained, practiced stylist doing your hair, the risk of getting something in your eyes is greater. This might mean holding a towel over your eyes while your partner or family member (or roommate?) applies your colour. Your eyeballs will thank you!

Pets and Kids

Lastly, I’d like to mention how hazardous this stuff is for wee ones, both furry and non… Pet’s livers act different to ours therefore, even a small amount of a particular toxin can be very dangerous to their system. Kids body’s also are still growing and developing and cannot handle the same toxin load that we can. Make sure kids and animals are safely out of the area when storing colour and also while doing it!

Allergic Reactions + Sensitivities

We’ve all heard someone say that it’s normal to experience anything from itching to intense burning during hair colouring services. It’s not. Like not even close. This is your body warning you of something more serious, usually an allergic reaction. The colour pigment PPD or PTD that allows for permanency and grey coverage is pretty irritating, and can, in some cases, cause severe complications. If you feel pain during or after colouring your hair, please rinse it off and consult a professional. We have many clients that have sensitivities but can usually diagnose a way forward to keep them safe while still giving them beautiful hair!

So whether you’re on board with growing out your colour to see what magic is underneath while the salon isn’t available, or you’re itching to cover your roots… I support you! Colour is fixable (except for some henna, that may need to grown out). I hope you’re all finding small joys in life and staying healthy and well.

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