23 Best At-Home Hair-Color Kits Even Beginners Can Master
Changing up your hair color can come with many refreshing perks. Whether you want to try out highlights or go for all-over color, today’s best at-home hair-color kits have stepped their game in terms of formula, color selection, and ease of use. Many formulas have built-in or included conditioners and boost shine — who wouldn’t want that? But the time (and cost) of getting a dye job at the salon can add up, especially since maintenance is needed to keep your new hue in tip-top shape.
Still, there are a few things to know before diving hair first into the world of DIY hair dye. The first rule of thumb — and a solid piece of advice to live by — is that looks can be deceiving. It may seem like your dream shade is staring right at you, but our best bet is to turn the package around and see how the formula will actually look on your hair type, explains hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, who the Kardashian-Jenner family has on speed dial.
“Be sure to thoroughly consult the chart on the side or the back, which gives a better indication of where your hair color will end up, based on your beginning hue,” says Fitzsimons. Dana Ionato, a colorist at Sally Hershberger’s Downtown salon in New York City, agrees: “The color always ends up lighter than the model’s hair on the packaging [because] the developer in at-home permanent dyes is very strong — stronger than the ones we use in the salon — so it lifts the color and makes it lighter than what you see on the box.”
Even if you do consult the back of the box for guidance, it can still be tricky to figure out your perfect shade. According to Ionato, for at-home permanent dyes, your best bet is choosing a color that’s a touch darker than what you’re going for because of the strong developer. But, for semi-permanent dyes, it’s the opposite. “Semi-permanent formulas don’t have a developer, meaning they get darker and darker the longer you leave them in your hair, so it’s safer to choose a color that’s a bit lighter from the get-go,” she explains.
According to Fitzsimons, conditioning is another crucial step you don’t want to miss. “Using a deep conditioner at the end of the dyeing process seals the cuticle, so your strands stop absorbing the color,” he says. “If you skip conditioning, you’ll end up darker than you expected.”
Because we care about avoiding bleaching disasters, we’re giving you the tools needed to nail your at-home color. Here, we rounded up the best at-home color kits — some of which are available at your nearest drugstore, and many more brands with just the click of a mouse.