My DIY Hair Color

clairol strawberry blondeThe other day I decided to do something I hadn’t attempted since high school–dye my own hair. I went strawberry blonde with Victoria Hunter at the Whittemore House Salon before Memorial Day, a color I absolutely loved. We knew the redness would fade and I would be turning progressively blonde throughout the summer.  I was relatively happy with that process, even up until the first week of August. But by then it was getting a touch brassy and dull and my roots (and my grays) were becoming increasingly more noticeable.

BUT I had three trips planned (two I’ve taken, I’m on the final one this week!) and all would involve plenty of time outdoors. I was loathe to spend the time and the money to go to a salon to have my hair colored knowing it would only need to be touched up again soon after Labor Day. Only problem was, I didn’t want to have dull hair with blah roots for a full month.

So I called up my friends at Clairol and requested samples of the new Light Golden Red Color from the Clairol Natural Instincts line.


It was truly very easy to do and the entire process took less than 30 minutes. It was also amazing to be able to do my own color in the comfort of my own home on my own time schedule–for me that meant 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night.

I did find the directions a teeny bit confusing. You are supposed to apply the color to damp hair, but did that mean towel dried hair after a shower (the directions are clear that you are not supposed to shampoo before applying) or slightly wet hair? I opted to spritz my hair all over with water as I didn’t want to take two showers in one night (knowing I would when it was time to rinse out the color). My hair is long so it took a while to get it all covered. I started at the roots as instructed and worked my way down to the ends. One box was plenty to cover my hair. I left the dye on for 10 recommended 10 minutes. I did shampoo my hair afterwards, which the directions advise against. My hair is fine and I just worried that it would feel dirty if I didn’t wash it out and I was admittedly a little nervous about how the color would turn out.



Overall, I’m very happy with the results (seen at top). My hair is back to strawberry blonde and has a nice brightness that it was definitely lacking. My highlights still show through which was important to me as I like the dimension they give my locks. Even my beauty editor friends have complemented me on my hair color and are amazed when I say I DIY’ed it.

My one big problem with the color, is that because my roots are a different color than the rest of my hair, they didn’t pick up the color in the same way the rest of my hair did. End result? I still have roots albeit not as noticeable as before. Here’s my before and after.


I checked in with Clairol celebrity colorist James Corbett on how to fix the problem. His advice:

Since Natural Instincts is ammonia-free, and the color you used was slightly lighter than your current shade, the product did not lift the root color enough which caused the uneven color. To address your roots situation, try Root Touch-Up 6R Light Auburn or Nice ‘N Easy 8WR Natural Reddish Blonde as a root touch-up (formula will work the same, just apply to roots with a small brush). With an ammonia-based permanent color, you will be able to lift your roots. Use the Root Touch Up before coloring the rest of your hair for more event hair color.

The next time I get my color done, I will likely head back to the salon. But it’s awesome to know that DIY color is an option for those times when I just can’t squeeze in a visit to the salon.

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