Not everyone has the wherewithal to try coloring their own hair at home, but with the vast array of products available at the salon supply store to help with the process, the number of holdouts seems to get smaller each year. With a few tips and a basis of coloration knowledge, anyone can give it a shot. Here’s what you need to know in order to get started.

Take Your Natural Tone Into Account

If your natural hair color is a medium brown, that fact dictates which colors will look best with your complexion and which shades you can choose to look more natural.

Try it out First

If you are considering a significantly different hair color, such as moving from light brown to red, consider buying a wig in the color you’re aiming for and wearing it for a while to see if you like the look.

Don’t Expect Miracles

It can take a few attempts and a couple different products to get to the color you want. For example, if you have brown hair and want platinum, you aren’t likely to get it just right on the first try.

Formula Matters

Not all hair dyes are liquid. Some come in a mousse, and others are more of a gel. The mousses can be better for people with sensitive skin, and gels offer additional control if you are doing something like just adding highlights.

Get Extras

If you have longer hair, it likely will take multiple boxes of color for you to treat your whole head. Women with very long locks might even need three boxes of dye. Don’t be afraid to get extras. After all, you don’t want to get halfway through the job and run out of color.

Go a Little Lighter

There photos on the box of hair color are helpful as references, but stylists warn that the actual hair color tends to be darker than what’s portrayed on the packaging. Because of this, you should always buy one shade lighter than you want the outcome to be.

Dirty Dyes Better

Skip the shampoo for a few days before you color your hair at home. The oils on your scalp can help to create more even distribution of dye.

There Will Be Damage

There’s no way to avoid a small amount of damage to your hair after it is colored. Dyes all contain hydrogen peroxide, so a drying effect is inevitable. You can counteract this by doing some extra moisturizing for the week after you color.

No Bathing Beauties

Chlorine tends to strip the hair cuticles, so avoid the pool for about two weeks before coloring your hair and afterward. If you notice a change in your color, chlorine might be to blame.

Shampoo for You

When shopping for shampoo, look for those specifically formulated for colored hair. Not only will they help preserve your new color, they also include fewer harsh chemicals that can damage your hair’s overall health.

These tips should give you the boost you need to try DIY hair color at home. Just be sure to do the process during regular business hours so if you need to call the helpline listed on the box, someone will be available to assist!