I’ve mastered my at-home hair color routine and I’m never going back to the salon.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a redhead. Everyone on my mom’s side of the family has gorgeous auburn locks and I always admired their unique hair color, plus I like the idea of having strands that stand out. The reality: My mom never let me dye my light brown hair.
As soon as I moved to New York City for college, I made my salon appointment to go ginger (sorry, Mom!) and I couldn’t have been more excited. I walked in with a picture of Emma Stone and hoped for the best. My hair turned out better than I expected, and I felt more like myself than I ever had before. I strutted out as a new woman… but was back again only two weeks later because my virgin hair wouldn’t hold the dye. It completely faded in just 14 days! I wish I had known then to use an at-home color-depositing product like dpHUE Color Boosting Gloss + Deep Conditioning Treatment ($30; urbanoutfitters.com), but that was just one of the lessons I’ve learned since making the switch to red.
Nowadays, I keep my hair fiery red without bi-monthly visits to the salon by dyeing my hair at home. After the fading incident, my stylist gave me the exact formula he used on my hair (#forevergrateful) so I would be able to do it—my bank account was silently thanking me. My own color combo is as follows: Half a tube of ColorInsider by Matrix Precision Permanent Color 7rc-Dark Blonde Red Copper ($12;
Because red is the fastest hair color to fade, I find myself playing colorist every five weeks, starting at the roots and painting until fully saturated. Then, I take one-inch sections and coat those as well, followed by a massage to work the color into each piece. I put my dye-covered strands in a shower cap—the disposable kind like Donna Disposable Shower Cap ($2; cvs.com) are the best—and sit for 35 minutes, then hop in the shower and shampoo my hair until the water runs clear again. Upon first rinse, the bathtub turns a vibrant shade of crimson but luckily never leaves a stain–another bonus with this formula. While the fresh color can be a bit jarring because it’s so rich, I’ve come to expect it and then it subtly starts to fade.
While it may sound like a lot to dye my hair about once a month, it’s worth it for me because I feel so much more confident with red hair. Its been three years since that initial salon visit and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my natural color, especially because I’ve managed to find a simple, at-home way to maintain it without breaking the bank.