By Anne L. Fritz for Life & Beauty Weekly

You may think hair dying is too scary to undertake yourself, but once you learn a few tricks about choosing and applying hair colour, DIY dying is a snap, says Chantel Simmons, hair editor at The Kit and a beauty expert on The Marilyn Denis Show. “The process of colouring your hair shouldn’t be scary at all — in fact, what I love about at-home hair colour is the convenience and that it takes almost no time at all!” says Simmons.

Even a subtle update is all it takes to breathe new life and warmth into your look. Try these strategies for the ultimate no-fuss beauty boost:

1. Choose a semi-permanent formula.
Of all your hair-dye choices — permanent, semi-permanent or temporary — semi-permanent requires the least maintenance and looks the most natural. The colour lasts about four to six weeks and gradually rinses out as you shampoo. That means you don’t see noticeably lighter or darker roots as your hair grows.

2. Stay within two shades of your natural colour.
Depending on your hair colour, the end result can look different from the box. If you stay within one or two shades, either lighter or darker, it will give you the best results, Simmons says. “Going too light or too dark will give you a root line when it starts to grow out,” she says.

By following the one-to-two-shades rule, you’ll also get more predictable results and a colour that looks natural on you. If you have light-brown or hazel eyes, you can look at the flecks of colour in your iris: Go with a colour (still within two shades) that picks up the bronze, gold or caramel hues in your eyes and your peepers will look brighter too.

3. Colour clean hair only.
Wash your hair the day or morning before you dye it. “Washing your hair before colouring it will remove any build-up and create a clean canvas for the colour to deposit on,” Simmons says.

4. Apply for best results.
After mixing up the dye, separate hair into six or eight sections. While wearing rubber gloves, work through each section. Hair tends to be naturally lighter at the front and on top, where the sun hits it, so if you’re going lighter than your natural shade, apply to those sections first. If you’ve chosen a darker colour, start with the back and bottom pieces.

5. Let the colour sit for the recommended time.
“You should leave the colour on for the recommended amount of time — especially when grey hair is involved,” Simmons says. However, if it’s your first time colouring your hair, you might want to only leave it on for 10 minutes so you can get an idea of how much deposit your hair will take.”

6. Lather and rinse.
To cover any missed strands, get in the shower and work the dye into a lather, massaging it into your hair. Then rinse until the water runs clear. Follow this with a deep conditioning treatment.

7. Maintain your shade.
Daily shampooing strips away colour quickly, so wash no more than every other day. You’ll still need to repeat the process in four to eight weeks, when your colour has faded or lost its lustre. But it’s a small, inexpensive and easy price to pay for weeks of beautiful, shiny, healthy-looking hair.

Anne L. Fritz
is the former style director for
Life & Style and has been on staff at
Woman’s Day and
Working Mother. She has contributed to
Marie Claire, Glamour, Prevention and many websites, including
Everyday Health, About and Life & Beauty Weekly
. Fritz is also the founder of The Jet Set Girls
, a website about girls’ getaways. 

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