How to Colour Hair at Home Like a Pro

7 min read

The quick guide to hair colouring

If you’re intimidated by the idea of colouring your hair at home, we totally get it. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide, so you can colour with confidence and get great results time and time again.

Become a master at DIY hair colouring in just 10 simple steps

What you need to colour like a pro

  • Your chosen box or tub of hair colour

  • A Mixing Bowl Tint Brush and Mixing Bowl

  • A mirror(s)

  • A hairdresser’s cape, towels, newspaper – basically anything that will prevent hair colour getting on your clothes or carpet!

  • Latex gloves

  • Vaseline or petroleum jelly

  • A pH balanced, colour-friendly shampoo and conditioner

  • Hair clips or bands to separate your hair

  • A disposable shower cap

  • A clock, stopwatch, phone – anything that can keep the time for you!


If you’re making a major colour change (e.g. from black to platinum blonde), this is often best-placed to be done by a professional colourist, who knows inside-out how to go from one tone to another and minimise any damage done to your hair.

Step 1 – Wash your hair

Make sure to wash your hair with a pH balanced Pre Colour Shampoo prior to colouring your hair to leave it in the best condition to take on your colour of choice. Simply then leave towel dried, so that it is still damp.

Make sure to avoid using conditioner before application – conditioner eliminates natural oils that help the colour bind to your hair more easily.

Step 2 – Protect yourself and your stuff

Now it’s time to keep you, your clothes, your carpets and your belongings covered as best you can. While our colour’s long-lasting nature is great for your hair, it’s not so great when you’re trying to scrub it off the floor!

Wear a set of old clothes to be safe, and then cover yourself with a hairdresser’s cape, towel or bathrobe. Lay down some old towels, newspaper or similar on the floor as well to catch any spillages. Put on a set of disposable gloves to make sure the colour can’t stain your fingers.

Step 3 – Follow the instructions!

We know you can't wait to get colouring, but always read the instructions that come with your chosen hair colour — even if you’ve used Directions before.

Step 4 – Do a strand test

By applying the hair colour initially to a small section of easily hideable hair, you can confirm that the colour comes out as you expected, or if you need to apply it for a longer or shorter period of time to get the colour you crave.

To find out how to avoid a hair-raising mishap, check out our guide to the perfect strand test.

Step 5 – Separate your hair

To help make sure you don’t have to reach for the scissors or make an emergency salon appointment, separate your damp hair into at least four sections using hair clips or bands. This exposes all your hair to the colour, giving you complete coverage.

There are few things more infuriating than revealing your freshly-coloured hairstyle and seeing a patch of untouched hair staring back at you in the mirror.

Step 6 – Apply the colour

Use a tint brush to comb the colour into the various sections of hair, applying it to ¼ – ½ inch at a time for total coverage.

Start at the roots, as this is where your hair will grow back from and the area that needs the most processing time. From there use your brush to spread the colour across your hair, making sure that no solitary strand is missed.

Use your brush rather than straight from the tub to ensure an even coverage.

Step 7 – Let the colour do its thing

Time to play the waiting game. Your strand test will give you an idea of how long it takes for your colour to develop, Directions hair colour usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

Step 8 – Rinse thoroughly

Use warm water to rinse the colour out of your hair. It’s important to rinse away from your face and body, rather than just hop into the shower – rainbow skin is not a popular trend.

Step 9 – Dry and style

Style it as you wish to really make the colour pop how you want it to, however please note that using heat on your hair will affect the longevity of Directions.

Step 10 – Voila, you’re ready to glow!

Congrats on your fabulous colour job – we knew you had it in you! Celebrate your success by taking a selfie and popping it on Instagram so the whole world can enjoy your new look as well. And don't forget to use #directionshair to be featured on our profile!


Depending on the tone of your natural hair colour, this might restrict how effectively certain colours come through once they are applied. It might be worth looking into our hair lightening products before you start to give your new colour the perfect platform to shine.

What’s your colour?

We hope this helpful guide gives you the confidence to find the colour that’s your perfect match, or to experiment and switch things up without breaking the bank on regular salon trips.

If you’re ready to try out what you’ve learned here, our strikingly vibrant range at Directions is a great place to start. With 46 intense colours to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice on what to pick for your first DIY hair colour experience.

Discover our selection
today and unleash your creativity!

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