Much to the dismay of my mother, I’ve been dying my own hair since I was 12. My obsession started off with Jessie J, which led me to using an at-home hair dye to transform my then-naturally brown hair a (rather more slightly blue than I’d have preferred) shade of black.
After that, it was bright red (inspired by 2010 Rihanna, obviously).
Then came the failed attempt of going blonde at home with two packets of ‘blonde’ box dye, neither of which would get me anywhere close to blonde and instead left me with a straw-textured orange shade and a clump of hair in my shower. You can’t win them all, I guess…
As traumatic as this sounds, I promise I am an advocate of at-home hair dye. It’s these (many, many) home hair dying experiences that have made me into the DIY dye pro I am today, and you can rest assured that if there’s a box dye out there, I’ve most likely tried it.
While I love the experience of going to a salon, I’ll often find that the hairdresser will opt for semi or demi permanent dye which, while it is better for my hair condition, doesn’t stand up against my daily hair wash regime.
So through habit and my own unwillingness to ditch a few hair washes a week, I’m now at a stage where I’ll use a permanent box dye at home every few months to take my naturally mid-brunette hair to a dark chocolate brown.
While I don’t recommend trying any major transformations yourself (wannabe blondes please note: the only time you should be touching bleach at home is when cleaning the toilet), taking yourself up or down a few shades has been made easier than ever with new formulations.
Just please, always patch test first and follow the instructions carefully!
The best at-home hair dyes
Through trial, tribulation and much trauma, here are the at-home hair dyes I recommend, whether you’re looking to try out a new hair trend for autumn or just need to give your current colour a quick refresh.
Best at-home brown hair dye:
Schwarzkopf LIVE Tempting Chocolate 880 Permanent Hair Dye, £6
Schwarzkopf has been my go-to hair dye brand for a couple of years now; I switch between shades Tempting Chocolate 880 and Bittersweet Chocolate 089, which both give a dark, cool-toned chocolate shade that’s as close as I’ll ever get to being Bella Hadid. It leaves my hair incredibly soft and shiny each time and the colour lasts the longest out of all the hair dyes I’ve tried.
Best at-home black hair dye:
Garnier Olia Midnight Permanent Hair Colour 1.0 Deep Black, £7.99
Black hair dye can be a tricky one to get right, with a lot of shades coming out with a blue-ish hue. This dye leaves your hair with a true soft black shade and is formulated with 60% oils to keep your hair feeling hydrated.
Best at-home red hair dye:
Good Dye Young Semi Permanent Hair Colour, £15
I’d been waiting for Paramore front-woman Hayley William’s Good Dye Young brand to make its way across the Atlantic for years, and it was completely worth the wait. The brand has created a selection of the most vibrant shades you’ll be able to find, including semi permanent and temporary formulations. On blonde hair you’ll get the brightest boldest result, whereas light to medium brown hair will be left with a subtle but glossy tint.
Best at-home pastel hair dye:
Shrine Drop It Hair Kit, £12.99
Shrine have raised the bar for colourful at-home hair dye with its personalised dye drops, which allow you to control how vibrant you want your shade to be. Six drops will deliver a light pastel shade, with more drops adding deeper colour.
Best at-home blonde hair dye:
Bleach London Plex Bleach Kit, £11
While my past experiences make me an advocate for not bleaching your hair from brown to blonde at home, Bleach London has an incredible blonde range if you’re looking to lift your hair a few shades. Its Plex Bleach Kit is one of the range’s star products, being a firm favourite for its ability to lift darker hair shades and minimising hair damage thanks to its bond-building technology.
Best auburn hair dye:
L’Oreal Preference 6.45 Brooklyn Copper Auburn, £9.99
Auburn hair has been a favourite hair colour among celebrities this year, with Zendaya, Kendall Jenner and just about everyone in-between transforming their hair to the warm-toned shade. If you’re wanting to go auburn for autumn, you won’t find a richer, more expensive looking shade than L’Oreal Preference’s 6.45 Brooklyn Copper Auburn. The formula contains light-reflecting dyes, which give the hair a multi-tonal depth that’ll fool everyone into thinking you had it done at the hands of an expert.