10 golden rules for dyeing your hair at home—plus the best haircare tools to buy from eBay

Dyeing your hair at home: learn the do's and don'ts

A woman with blue hair and bright makeup underneath an umbrella
(Image credit: Getty)

We live in the age of convenience, yet dyeing your hair at home has never felt more difficult or confusing.

With a wide range of coloring products, shade ranges, and techniques available, it’s nearly impossible to determine right from wrong, and figure out how to replicate salon results from your own bathroom. But fear not—as beauty experts, we’ve compiled our golden, expert-approved rules for dyeing hair at home, along with our favorite tools from eBay to help you get the job done.

Tips and Tricks for Dyeing Your Hair at Home 

 1. Don't trust the model on the box 

Compared to salon-grade products, at-home permanent dyes feature an incredibly potent developer. A strong developer lifts color and makes it lighter. At home, the color almost always ends up lighter than the model’s. A better indicator of results is shown on the panel on the packaging. 

 2. Choose your type of dye wisely

Close-up portrait of a Filipino woman with dyed pink hair

(Image credit: Getty)

Due to its strong developer, permanent dye requires a shade darker than what you’d normally go for. But with semi-permanent formulas, you’ll want to go lighter as they generally don’t feature a developer. If in doubt, choose a lighter color to begin with when dyeing your hair at home, so you can touch up on any mistakes more easily. 

 3. Never, ever mix shades for custom color

Avoid combining multiple color shades. With one shade, the results can vary and differ from what’s depicted on the box. Add more to the mix, and you’ll likely concoct an outcome that requires professional intervention to fix. 

4. Don’t skip the patch test

Dye tests allow you to see how the color looks, and how the formula reacts to your skin. The good news is that it’s easy to do this when dyeing your hair at home. Simply apply a small amount of product onto hidden hairs (behind your ear is usually a good place). 

5. Wear easy-to-remove clothing

Opt for light and airy garments that you’re not afraid to get dirty, like old T-shirts or pajama dresses. You may also want to cover surfaces, such as your floor and sink, to prevent staining. We use sheets and towels, but if you can’t face the extra laundry then use  garbage bags which can be tossed away after. 

6. Always section off your hair

A woman with dyed hair, parted to show blue streaks underneath

(Image credit: Getty)
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For precise application, always section your hair. This will help prevent patchiness, missed spots, and limit touchups down the road. It’s highly recommended to start dyeing at the roots—the origin of regrowth and least damaged part of the hair, which warrants the most color and processing time. If you want the process to be clean and meticulous when dyeing your hair at home, never squirt the bottle and remember to have a pair of gloves nearby. 

7.  Add water as you rinse out your color

When it’s time to rinse out the color, you’ll want to add some water to your head, which will emulsify the dye (read: mix two liquids that don’t easily combine) and prevent streaks. However, apply sparingly: excess water is a major culprit for color fading. If you have dry ends, you’ll want to dilute the dye left in the bottle by adding shampoo. This mixture will provide a saturated color, without dehydrating your strands. 

8. Use products specifically made for color-treated hair  

Many drugstore products are formulated with harsh ingredients, like sulfates, detergents, and salts, that strip color. If you want products that won’t strip color, look out for the common phrases on packaging like  “color protect,” “color-preserving” or “for color.” These bottles contain more nourishing ingredients that’ll preserve your color.

While we’re on the subject of haircare products, you’ll also want to reevaluate your hair tools when dyeing your hair at home, which brings us to our final point:

 9. The right tools will help you achieve a pro finish

Back view of four women with long brown and red hair

(Image credit: Getty)
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High-performance tools will help you achieve your coveted color with little-to-no patchiness. However, not all tools are created equally for dyeing your hair at home. To help you find the right equipment for your goal, we’ve rounded up our top picks from eBay that are as effective as salon-grade products—from makeup wipes to disposable gloves and Vaseline.

As a popular hub for useful finds across categories, eBay allows shoppers to customize and narrow down their search. With eBay, you can sift through products according to their type, model, size, material, manufacturer, features, and more. This is especially useful for when you’re about to venture into at-home hair dyeing, as eBay triumphs in offering exceptional salon-grade goodies at your disposal.

Tools You’ll Need for Dyeing your Hair at Home

Jobar JB4722 Salon Hair Washing Tray | $22.88

Made of durable plastic construction, this washing tray features a contoured shape that comfortably positions the neck and shoulders, plus nylon straps for a secure hold.

It also includes raised edges that enable water to drain into the sink, rather than spill over and create a mess.View Deal

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3 in 1 Hydrating Anti-Aging Makeup Removing Wipes | $19

The IT Cosmetics Makeup Removing Wipes dissolve residual dye, grime, dirt, and impurities in one go. Compared to drying iterations, these micellar wipes are gentle on the skin. In fact, they’re fragrance-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, allergy- and ophthalmologist-tested for efficacy.View Deal

6 Pc Disposable Shower Caps Waterproof Cap Elastic Band Bath Hair Net Standard | $7.99

Shower caps are must-have when dyeing your hair at home. Disposable caps help prevent dye from staining your clothes, and serve as a more practical option than towels, which often become ruined during the process. Plus, they'll protect your hair color as you shower. A win-win scenario.  View Deal

1000 AMMEX VSBPF Synthetic Blue Exam Medical Latex Free Vinyl Disposable Gloves | $15.95

Disposable gloves offer better grip, control, and level of protection against stubborn-to-rinse-off hair dye. In contrast to reusable options, disposable gloves significantly limit the risk of exposure to harsh chemicals, which may cause irritation, allergic reactions, and general discomfort (remember not to skip that patch test!). View Deal

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly Original 50ml (Pack of 2) | $6.99

Vaseline is the prime go-to solution for whenever you need help removing hair dye without irritating the skin.  As a preventative measure, apply a thin layer of this ointment to your hairline before you begin. View Deal

Hair Cutting Cape Salon Hairdressing Hairdresser VIEWING WINDOW Barber Cloth | $6.19

Salon capes serve as effective shields against hair dyes and bleaches that’ll stain clothes and skin. This lightweight option includes clear plastic, which will enable you to use your phone without having to take your hands out from the cape. It’s also suitable for machine wash and air drying. View Deal

SANEK NECK STRIPS - 180 count (3 Packs) Graham Professional Barber - Salon | $8.99

Made of soft tissue, these sweat-wicking neck strips work to protect your skin from staining and to absorb perspiration when dyeing your hair at home. They feature stretchy material to fit effortlessly around the neck.  View Deal

1Pc Hairdressing Dyeing Brush Stirrer Hair Coloring Mixer DIY Dyestuff Whisk | $3.72

This silicone brush provides secure hold and comfortable grip, so you can stir and smooth dye with relative ease. It’s made of durable material, meaning you won’t have to go through replacements in a short amount of time. View Deal

Brittny Hair Colorist Tool Kit 8pc #BR52000 Coloring Dyeing Brush/Bowl/Clip | $8.99

Whether you’re a novice or an expert, this colorist tool kit comes equipped with the hair dyeing essentials. The set features small and large dye brushes, long hair clips, a 3-in-1 coloring tool, tint bowl, jumbo rake, and reusable tote bag for easy transportation.  View Deal

MOD Clean Detergent Disinfectant Powder - 32 Count bag | $18.99

Long gone are the days of runny liquid disinfectants—opt for MOD Clean, an affordable and streamlined way to clean messes. Unlike liquid-based options, these pre-measured pods eliminate the guesswork out of mixing disinfectants. They’re lightweight and compact for storage, a far cry from bulky bottles and containers. Plus, MOD Clean is sealed in resealable and recyclable bags. 

Beauty Headquarters 11 x 6 x 3/12" Barber Salon Hairspray Mask Shield | $8.99

An underrated haircare essential, this facial shield acts as a protective barrier against fumes, chemicals, and other irritants that may harm your complexion, nose, and eyes. This option is both durable and portable for storing underneath your bathroom sink. View Deal

DUcare Hand Mirror Salon Barber Hairdressing Handheld Mirror with Handle Black | $10.40

For more precise control, a handheld mirror is designed to help you spot missed areas and sections. You may even want to include two handheld mirrors if you want more exacting detail. That way, your final look will appear as professional as possible. View Deal