How do I dye long hair?

I like to dye my hair when I’m bored/stressed/lonely. The only problem is, my hair is getting pretty long now, and it’s getting pretty difficult to get an even distribution of dye.

My current method:

I have one of these thingies which I use to sort of mash dye onto my hair. Then I have a bristle brush (somehow I don’t have any comb) that I use to pull the dye through my hair. Then I grab some dye with a latex-clad hand and try to coat the tips.

The problems are:

It takes a really long time, sometimes I get bored or tired halfway through which sucks.
The aforementioned dye distribution problem–sometimes there are large undyed patches, plus it’s really hard to get the tips.
How the hell do I do the back of my head? I just kind of feel around and try to do the two mirror method, which sort of works.
I don’t have anyone handy who I’d feel okay being shirtless around, so I can’t get a helping hand either.

So, handy tips? Special tools? Helpful advice, other than growing a couple more arms (which I’d love)?

And don’t tell me to go see a professional hair person, I’m poor and I do it for stress relief and I don’t know of any salon that carries the rainbow of unnatural colors that I prefer. So nyah.

Been there, done that in my younger days. Designate an old shirt your official hair-dye shirt. If you don’t have one, pick up a used one with long sleeves, and invite a friend over to share mac cheese, and provide some help. It’s a lot of fun.

I tried doing it myself for a couple of years. Result: a dye-splattered bathroom-- with a few streaks on the ceiling. I feel for you.

Divide hair into four sections. It’s easier to get the color evenly in a smaller section.

For instance, divide down the middle then from ear to ear. Start with whichever section will be rinsed out first when you wash the dye out.

Do all the sections, then go back and coat the tips.

How long is your hair, anyway?

My hair goes to just below my ears. Not completely unmanageable, but I’m used to much shorter.

Perhaps you need a friend and another half box of dye. I have really thin hair and get much better results than my friends with thicker hair. I always have so much dye left over that I’m just trying to find somewhere to put it.

You can use the bottles for the first box to mix in half of the other, keeping the saved half unmixed in the original bottles.

I also use a wide toothed comb and a narrow toothed comb. The narrow toothed comb is to completely detangle my hair. The wide toothed comb is to run the dye through.

I’ve been dying my hair for years by myself, and my hair is past my shoulders and fairly thick. Some tips:

  • If your hair is really thick, it may take more than one package of dye.
  • Use the tip of the bottle to make narrow (1/4 inch apart) trails of dye on your scalp to make sure the roots are covered. Make sure you pay attention to the hairline around the ears.
  • then divide your hair into sections and work the dye with gloved fingers from the roots to the ends, adding more dye as needed for complete coverage. I prefer using my hands to using a comb or other tool because my fingers can tell when there is dye on the hair and I am much less likely to snarl up my hair.

It really is easier with a friend until you get used to it.


I do the same (dye my hair silly colours sometimes)… My hair is very thick, naturally dark red (very hard colour to dye if you don’t want to use bleach, which I don’t) and it goes down to about halfway down my arse (and when you’re 5’8, that’s a long way away down :stuck_out_tongue: )

And strangly enough, I’ve never had any of the problems you guys have mentioned. Sometimes if there isn’t enough dye, making the hair a little damp can help get it through evenly.

By the sound of it, maybe longer hair is actually easier to dye, I’ve always found it really easy :slight_smile:

My hair’s down to the middle of my back. What I’ve started doing is using a temporary dye instead of a permanent (I’ve had to start dyeing my hair every couple months or so due to the invading greys). With a temp, it just washes out and you can reapply it to your whole head. With permanents you have to try to get just the new growth, so you don’t end up frying your hair. I just wear an old towel around my shoulders, then squirt a line of hair dye down my hair and massage it in with my hand. I simply repeat this everywhere until my hair is covered. A good temp colour will last you about a month and isn’t as chemically harsh as a permanent.

Oh, I forgot to add: Henna! You can get henna in different colours, and it has no nasty chemicals at all. The only downside to it is it is a bit drippier and messier, and feels like you’re piling warm mud onto your head. But the end results are nice. :slight_smile:

Perhaps my tiny bit of advice was useless.

When I dyed my hair with the help of a friend, it was waist-length. I shouldn’t think that the length of hair you describe should post much of a problem, and Hillary’s solution makes sense.

My hair is thick, curly, and about halfway down my back. When I dye it, I use the bottle to apply it to the roots, but after I’ve worked that through, as I’m doing the length, I just pour the dye directly into my hands like shampoo, and work it through in exactly the same way. I find that the best way to get the tips done is to work it through with my hands, and then clip all my hair on top of my head, so that it doesn’t drip away.

I find those brushes and combs that they give you to be useless. You’ll never get dye through hair that’s more than baby-fine using that thing.

I should mention that I’m dyeing just to get rid of the gray, and using something very close to my natural color. My daughter occasionally does funkier colors, though, and gets good results using the same process.

I have thick hair to my mid-back. I utilize the full-length mirror in my bathroom and see exactly where to squirt the bottle, then rub in with my hands. I’ll finish by putting the last of it onto my hands, then apply like a regular conditioner. I start at the bottom and work upwards because when I start at the top, I still have the rest of my hair to do, which takes a while. The dye sits there longer, which leads to lighter colour at the top, when I want the reverse.
I also stand in the tub to cut down on droplets flying everywhere.

Best advice I have from a long time dyeing my hair is get an old grungy button-down shirt so you can take it off without running it through your hair, and then have a friend or family member help you. It’s hard to get the entire head of hair on your own. And let me reiterate the suggestion that you might need more dye - at that length, you could easily need a box and a half or two.

If you’re into that sort of thing, you can go to a beauty supply shop and quite possibly find the same brand of dye on its own in a “professional”-style bottle. (without developer or gloves or anything.) Buy a bottle of 20-volume developer and some gloves, and it’s considerably cheaper, which makes buying two bottles of the dye a bit less fiscally problematic. It’s far cheaper that way.

You can get weird results, though, if you use henna on dyed hair, or try to use permanent dyes after applying henna. People have ended up with bizarre hair colors that way.