Quarantine has come with a beauty routine rethink. Lipstick under a mask? Not always worth it. Some of us have put professional mani/pedis on hiatus and swapped out a luxuriating spa facial for a sheet mask and a bath. And perhaps that easily camouflaged half-inch of gray new growth from six months ago is now slowly creeping all the way down to the ends of your hair. Don’t fret. Doing your haircolor at home is actually doable. Even the pros think so. Sure, you’re not super likely to create something as masterful as celebrity colorist Rita Hazan, but her trusted tips and tricks will give you have a clear path to undying success.
PREPARATION MAKES PERFECT
Before you get started, be ready to roll and have everything you’ll need close by. You don’t want to be searching for something as you’re applying and thereby extend processing time. “Have your timer, clips, gloves, and make sure you put towels down on the floor,” recommends Hazan. Next, divide your hair into four sections so application is a bit more seamless. Going dark? Apply Vaseline around your hair line so you don’t stain skin.
FIND YOUR FORMULA
If you usually go to the pros, ask for help selecting your best shade and formula at the drugstore. Hazan is a fan of the natural-looking results Clairol kits yield. You can also see if your colorist will send the formula she uses on you at the salon in the form of a DIY at-home kit—a popular request during the pandemic.
UNDERSTAND THE END GAME
When you’re choosing your shade, pick one that seems closest to the color of your ends. “If your hair is dark brown and the ends are lighter, a dark brown would just end up darkening everything,” explains Hazan. No bueno.
IT TAKES TWO
Finding your perfect shade may require a little extra investment. If you can, Hazan suggests buying two shades of at-home color to be safe. “Go for a lighter and darker version,” she says. And start off with the lighter one. “Once you go dark, you can’t easily go light.” Note: You may need two boxes of color if you have long hair (past your shoulders) or a lot of it so you get all-over, even coverage.
GO ALL OUT
As your color process, don’t twist your hair into a bun or clip it up—leave it down. You’ll ensure color is even, doesn’t bleed onto ends, and also protect highlights if you have them, says Hazan.
FACE THE FACTS
You may want to leave highlighting to the pros but if you so choose to go for the golden, remember that less is more. “Don’t go crazy. Just stick to the face-framing pieces,” says Hazan. Part your hair as you usually style it and take a few small sections from either side. If that all ends up looking great, you can always go back and add more.
IF THINGS GET HAIRY...
When you have a generous amount of hair, the task at hand may be tougher. I can vouch for that. So when it comes to covering your gray roots, I suggest (and Hazan seconds it) focusing on doing a good job on your hairline and where you part your hair. Trust and believe that the pros make getting to all the nooks and crannies look a lot easier than it is. Do your best, and home in on the most visible areas.
THE DEEP END
Time to hydrate. Use a mask or deep conditioner after shampooing to revitalize and nourish strands. If you’re just coloring your roots, you can even apply conditioner to the lengths of your hair as the color is processing. This will also protect lighter ends from absorbing any of the base color formula when you rinse.