How to Box Dye Your Own Hair in 2023: A Step by Step Guide

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In This Article

1. Necessary Steps to Prepare Your Hair for Box Dyeing at Home

1. Assess your hair condition:

Before dyeing your hair at home, it is important to assess its current condition. If your hair is damaged, dry, or brittle, it may not be suitable for box dyeing. In such cases, it is recommended to consult a professional hairstylist who can provide guidance on how to improve the health of your hair before attempting to dye it.

2. Perform a strand test:

Performing a strand test is crucial before applying box dye all over your hair. This involves selecting a small section of hair that is not easily visible and applying the dye according to the instructions on the box. This will help you determine how the color will turn out on your specific hair type and whether any adjustments need to be made.

3. Gather necessary tools and materials:

To prepare for box dyeing at home, gather all the necessary tools and materials beforehand. This includes the box dye kit itself, gloves, an old shirt or towel to protect your clothing, a wide-toothed comb or brush for application, clips or hair ties to section off your hair, and petroleum jelly or barrier cream to protect your skin from staining.


– Make sure you have enough product for your entire head of hair; if in doubt, buy an extra box.
– Have a timer handy to keep track of how long the dye has been processing.
– Cover surfaces with newspaper or plastic wrap to avoid staining countertops or floors.


– Box dye kit
– Gloves
– Old shirt or towel
– Wide-toothed comb or brush
– Clips or hair ties
– Petroleum jelly or barrier cream
– Timer
– Newspaper or plastic wrap

4. Protect your skin and clothing:

Before applying the box dye, it is important to protect your skin from potential staining. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or barrier cream along your hairline, ears, and neck to create a protective barrier. Additionally, wear an old shirt or towel that you don’t mind getting stained during the process.


– Avoid applying petroleum jelly or barrier cream directly on your scalp as it may interfere with the dye’s ability to penetrate your hair.
– If you don’t have petroleum jelly or barrier cream, you can use a thick moisturizer as an alternative.

By following these necessary steps to prepare your hair for box dyeing at home, you can ensure a smoother and more successful coloring process while minimizing potential damage or staining.

2. Choosing the Right Shade of Box Dye for Your Hair Color

Understanding Your Natural Hair Color

Before choosing a shade of box dye, it is important to understand your natural hair color. Take a close look at your roots and determine whether you have warm or cool undertones. This will help you select a box dye shade that complements your natural hair color and enhances your overall look.

Consider Your Desired Outcome

Think about the result you want to achieve with box dye. Are you looking to cover gray hairs, darken your current color, or go for a completely new shade? Knowing your desired outcome will guide you in selecting the right shade of box dye. Consider consulting with a professional hairstylist or doing a strand test before applying the dye all over to ensure it matches your expectations.

Tips for Choosing the Right Shade:

– If you have warm undertones, opt for shades with golden or reddish tones.
– For cool undertones, choose shades with ash or cool tones.
– If you’re unsure, go for a shade that is one to two levels lighter than what you desire as box dyes tend to come out darker than expected.

Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and choose a slightly lighter shade than going too dark and regretting it later.

3. Step-by-Step Guide on Applying Box Dye Evenly to Your Hair

Applying box dye evenly is crucial for achieving professional-looking results at home. Follow these steps to ensure an even application:

Gather Your Supplies

Before starting the application process, gather all the necessary supplies: box dye, gloves, applicator brush or bottle, clips to section your hair, old towel or cape to protect clothing, petroleum jelly or barrier cream to protect your hairline and ears, and a timer.

Prepare Your Hair

Start by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup. Towel-dry your hair until it is damp but not dripping wet. Comb through any tangles or knots to ensure even distribution of the dye.

Section Your Hair

Divide your hair into four sections: two at the front and two at the back. Use clips to secure each section, ensuring that they are easily accessible for application.

Apply the Dye

Put on gloves and mix the box dye according to the instructions provided. Using an applicator brush or bottle, start applying the dye from roots to ends in each section. Make sure to saturate each strand evenly for consistent color results.

Time It Right

Set a timer based on the recommended processing time mentioned on the box dye packaging. Avoid leaving the dye in for longer than instructed as it can lead to uneven color or damage your hair.

Rinse and Condition

Once the processing time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water until it runs clear. Apply the conditioner provided in the box or use a deep conditioning treatment to nourish and hydrate your hair after coloring.

Following these steps will help you achieve an even application of box dye, resulting in vibrant and beautiful color that lasts.

4. Techniques and Tips to Avoid Staining Your Skin While Applying Box Dye

Preparation is Key

Before applying box dye, it’s important to take some precautions to avoid staining your skin. Start by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a barrier cream around your hairline, ears, and neck. This will create a protective barrier between the dye and your skin, making it easier to wipe off any accidental stains.

Use a Tint Brush or Applicator Bottle

When applying the dye, opt for a tint brush or an applicator bottle instead of using your hands. These tools provide better control and precision, reducing the chances of getting dye on your skin. Make sure to apply the dye evenly from roots to ends, following the instructions provided with the box dye.

Clean Up Immediately

If you do happen to get some dye on your skin, don’t panic! Act quickly and grab a damp cloth or cotton pad to gently wipe away the stain before it sets. Avoid rubbing vigorously as this may cause further irritation. If the stain persists, you can try using a mild soap or makeup remover specifically designed for removing stains from the skin.

5. How Long to Leave Box Dye in Your Hair Before Rinsing It Out

Follow Package Instructions

The recommended time for leaving box dye in your hair varies depending on the brand and type of dye you’re using. Always read and follow the instructions provided with the box dye carefully. The instructions will typically specify how long you should leave the dye in before rinsing it out.

Consider Your Hair Type and Desired Color

In addition to following package instructions, it’s important to consider your hair type and desired color when determining how long to leave box dye in your hair. If you have fine or porous hair, it may absorb the color more quickly, so you might need to rinse it out earlier than the recommended time. On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a more vibrant or intense color, you may want to leave the dye in for a few extra minutes.

Perform a Strand Test

If you’re unsure about the ideal timing for rinsing out the dye, it’s always a good idea to perform a strand test before applying it to your entire head. Take a small section of hair and apply the dye according to the instructions. After the suggested time has passed, check the color result and assess whether it meets your expectations. This will help you determine if you need to adjust the timing for rinsing out the dye on your full head of hair.

6. Recommended Products for Washing and Conditioning Hair After Applying Box Dye

Color-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner

After applying box dye, it’s important to use products specifically designed for color-treated hair. Look for shampoos and conditioners that are labeled as “color-safe” or “for color-treated hair.” These products are formulated with gentle ingredients that help preserve and protect your newly dyed hair while preventing premature fading.

Deep Conditioning Treatments

Box dyes can sometimes leave your hair feeling dry or damaged, especially if they contain harsh chemicals. To restore moisture and nourishment to your locks, incorporate deep conditioning treatments into your hair care routine. Look for products that are rich in hydrating ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, or keratin. Apply these treatments once or twice a week to keep your hair healthy and vibrant.

Avoid Hot Water

When washing your dyed hair, try to avoid using hot water as it can strip away the color and cause it to fade faster. Instead, opt for lukewarm or cool water to help preserve the vibrancy of your dye. Additionally, rinse your hair thoroughly to ensure all the dye is completely washed out, as any residue left behind could potentially stain your clothes or pillowcases.

7. Precautions and Potential Side Effects of Using Box Dye at Home

Perform a Patch Test

Before applying box dye all over your hair, it’s crucial to perform a patch test to check for any potential allergic reactions or sensitivities. Apply a small amount of the dye mixture on a small area of skin, such as behind your ear or on your inner arm. Leave it on for the recommended time and monitor for any adverse reactions like redness, itching, or swelling. If you experience any discomfort or irritation, avoid using the product.

Adequate Ventilation

When using box dye at home, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. The chemicals in hair dyes can emit strong fumes that may cause respiratory irritation if inhaled excessively. Open windows or use fans to improve air circulation during the application process.

Follow Safety Guidelines

Always follow the safety guidelines provided with the box dye. Wear gloves throughout the application process to protect your hands from staining and potential chemical exposure. Avoid getting the dye in contact with your eyes and mouth, as it can cause irritation or injury. In case of accidental contact, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical attention if necessary.

8. Safe Frequency of Using Box Dye on Your Hair Without Causing Damage

Allow Sufficient Time Between Applications

To prevent damage to your hair, it’s important to allow sufficient time between box dye applications. Experts generally recommend waiting at least 4-6 weeks before applying box dye again. This allows your hair to recover and regain its natural strength and moisture levels.

Consider Alternatives

If you’re concerned about the potential damage of frequent box dye applications, consider exploring alternative options like semi-permanent dyes or highlights. These options can provide a change in color without fully committing to a permanent dye, reducing the risk of long-term damage.

Focus on Hair Care

To maintain healthy hair while using box dye, prioritize proper hair care. Use nourishing shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for color-treated hair. Incorporate regular deep conditioning treatments and avoid excessive heat styling or chemical treatments that can further weaken your hair.

9. Recommendations for Touch-Ups and Maintaining Color Between Applications of Box Dye

Root Touch-Up Kits

Between full applications of box dye, root touch-up kits can be a convenient option to maintain your color. These kits typically come with a small brush or applicator designed specifically for targeting new growth at the roots. Follow the instructions provided with the kit to seamlessly blend in the color with the rest of your hair.

Color-Depositing Conditioners

Color-depositing conditioners are another great tool for maintaining color between applications. These products contain pigments that help refresh and enhance your existing color while conditioning your hair. Choose a shade that matches your dyed color or opt for a toning conditioner to neutralize any brassiness or unwanted undertones.

Avoid Over-Washing

Frequent washing can cause your color to fade faster, so try to limit washing your hair to every other day or even less frequently if possible. When you do wash, use lukewarm water and gentle shampoos formulated for colored hair to minimize color loss. Dry shampoo can also be a helpful alternative for refreshing your hair between washes.

10. Common Mistakes When Attempting to Box Dye Your Own Hair and How to Avoid Them

Skipping the Strand Test

One common mistake is skipping the strand test before applying box dye all over your hair. This test helps you determine the outcome of the color and assess any potential issues or allergies. Always perform a strand test to avoid surprises and ensure you achieve the desired result.

Not Following Instructions

Another mistake is not following the instructions provided with the box dye. Each brand and type of dye may have specific steps or timing requirements that are crucial for achieving optimal results. Take the time to carefully read and follow the instructions, including any recommended waiting times or mixing ratios.

Rushing Through Application

Rushing through the application process can lead to uneven color distribution or missed spots. Take your time when applying box dye, sectioning your hair properly and ensuring each section is thoroughly saturated with dye. Use a mirror or ask for assistance if needed to ensure full coverage.

Overlapping Dye on Previously Dyed Hair

If you’re touching up previously dyed hair, be cautious not to overlap the dye onto already colored sections. Overlapping can cause excessive damage and lead to uneven color results. Focus on applying dye only to new growth at the roots, blending it carefully into the existing color without overlapping.

Remember, if you’re unsure about using box dye at home or have concerns about potential side effects, it’s always best to consult a professional hairstylist who can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs and hair condition.

In conclusion, learning how to box dye your own hair can be a cost-effective and convenient way to achieve a new look. However, it is crucial to follow the instructions carefully and take necessary precautions to avoid any potential damage or adverse effects on your hair.

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