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DIY Hair Color: The Pros and Cons

You may be eager to try a fresh new hair color this summer but are confused if you want to go for the DIY hair color route. And, you are not alone!

As the flowers bloom and the color again fills our landscape, many of us want to brighten everything from our wardrobe to our hair.

If you want to try out a new hair color or simply refresh an existing one, you may be torn between booking an appointment at a salon or doing it yourself in the comfort of your home. After all, both options have pros and cons. 

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of DIY hair color treatments. After weighing all the information below, you can make an informed decision about whether to do your hair color yourself or book an appointment with your stylist.

The following chart can help break down the advantages and disadvantages of doing your own hair color at home.

Pros of DIY Hair ColorCons of DIY Hair Color
You save money: DIY hair color kits are generally cheaper than professional salon coloring.You can mess up your hair: Without professional training, you could end up with an uneven application, wrong shade, or unintended color.
Convenience: You don’t have to leave your house. Apply the hair dye whenever you like without needing to schedule an appointment.Damage potential: Improper application can cause hair damage, especially if you’re using bleach or high-lift colors.
Experimentation: You have the freedom to experiment with various colors, techniques, and styles.Time-consuming: Depending on the method and your hair length/thickness, it can be a time-consuming process.
Learning opportunity: It’s an opportunity to learn a new skill and understand more about your hair type and its responses to different treatments.Lack of professional advice: A professional hairstylist can provide personalized advice based on your hair type, color, and condition.
Privacy: If the result isn’t what you expected, you can handle it privately without embarrassment.Skin and health risks: There’s potential for skin irritation or allergies, and improper handling can lead to splashes in the eyes or ingestion of harmful chemicals.
You are in control: You have control over the depth and tone of your color and can adjust it to your preference.You have to clean up the mess: The process can be messy and dye can end up staining your skin, clothes, and bathroom surfaces.
Quick touch-ups: It is easier and quicker to do a root touch-up at home when you notice some regrowth.Health concerns: The fumes from the hair dye can cause respiratory discomfort to some people.
Repeatable: If you like the result, you can easily replicate it.Hidden Costs: While the initial cost may seem cheaper, if something goes wrong, professional correction can be costly.
Self-expression: DIY hair coloring allows for personal creativity and expression.Limited options: DIY kits can’t offer the variety of color options that a professional salon can.
Less pampering: Part of the salon experience is the relaxation and pampering, which you miss out on with a DIY approach.

The Pros of DIY Hair Color

Even as a hairstylist, I realize that there are pros to doing your hair at home. In fact, I color my hair, and it works great for me! Here are some positive aspects of DIY hair color:

#1. You Save Money

Pros of DIY Hair Coloring - Saving Money

In this economy, inflation has hit all of us hard. Even buying the necessities can be stressful, so purchasing an expensive color service at a salon may not even be an option. 

Getting your hair colored at a salon can cost anywhere from $50 to $200, or even more, depending on the service. Not to mention, it is easy to get caught up in add-on services and retail products that can cost just as much as the color service itself.

Going to the salon can be like going to Target. You plan to get just a few things and come out with a whole cart full of items and an empty wallet. 

On the contrary, according to, the average wholesale price of a color service is usually less than $10.

That being said, if you only have to pay for the materials to color your hair, even if you pay retail price for the color products themselves, you will save quite a bit of your hard-earned money. 

#2. You Don’t Have to Leave Your House

Pros of DIY Hair Coloring - Don’t Have to Leave House

There is something to be said for not needing to even step out of your house to get a fresh, new hair color.

If you are a busy, work-from-home professional or a stay-at-home mom with rugrats running around, leaving the house for an extended period of time may not be something that you can fit into your schedule.

We all got an extra taste of this during the pandemic when we were quarantined in our own homes.

Fortunately, I was already prepared with my hair color supplies, but I was one of the few. Most everyone emerged from their houses after a few months with outgrown roots and faded hair color. 

And, of course, there are those who still are not able to leave their homes because of health concerns or other circumstances. In that case, being able to color their hair at home is a must. 

Whether you’re confined to your home because of health problems or you would just rather watch Netflix and drink a glass of wine while coloring your hair, doing a DIY color process can be an excellent option for you. 

#3. You Are In Control

Pros of DIY Hair Coloring - Control

Going to the salon can seem like a gamble, especially if you don’t already have an established relationship with a skilled hairstylist. This is probably the biggest reason why I choose to do my own hair color at home.

When you do your color yourself, you are in control of the results! (Of course, this implies you know what you’re doing.) 

When you color your hair, you can choose the exact color, formula, and processing time for your color. If you know what result you want and how to obtain it, doing your hair yourself is a no-brainer. 

In addition to choosing the color, formula, and processing time, you can also choose the products you use. Every salon and even every stylist will use different color lines and products, and many times, they won’t tell you exactly what they are using unless you specifically ask.

So, if you want to use a specific color line or product, DIY hair color gives you that freedom. 

The Cons of DIY Hair Color

Even though doing your own hair color can be more convenient and cost-saving, there are also some downsides. After all, there’s a reason why so many people go to the salon to get their hair colored! Here are some negative aspects of DIY hair coloring.

#1. You May Have to Use Lower Quality Products

Cons of DIY Hair Coloring - Lower Quality Products

Hair stylists have access to an abundance of salon-quality products and color lines that are sold only to professionals. Because of this, those who aren’t licensed cosmetologists may find it more difficult to get their hands on high-quality hair color that will provide the same results as an in-salon color service. 

Although you may see many professional products for sale on Amazon and other online platforms, the bottle itself states that the quality cannot be guaranteed unless bought from a salon or a wholesale, professional beauty supply store.

And, let’s face it, the color you get at Sally’s just isn’t the same as Paul Mitchel or Pravana. That’s the bottom line. 

Sometimes you can get around this by shopping for your color at Ulta, or buying it online directly from the supplier. But it may take a bit more effort to track down those salon-quality products and the places that will sell them to you. 

The truth is that doing your hair color at home may mean sacrificing the quality of the products you can use. 

#2. You Can Mess Up Your Hair

Cons of DIY Hair Coloring - Hair Damage

This is a big one! There is a reason why hair stylists go through years of training and extensive testing. When you get your hair colored at a salon, you are paying for high-quality products and the skills your stylist has spent years developing. 

If you decide to color your own hair, you better make sure that you know what you’re doing! Otherwise, your color process can have disastrous results that will land you back in your stylist’s chair for an outrageously expensive color correction service. 

It is also possible to severely damage your hair in the color process, depending on what exactly you are doing. This can especially be the case if you are lightening or bleaching your hair. It’s no secret that bleach has the ability to destroy hair, which is why hair stylists are incredibly attentive to the hair’s health while bleaching it. 

The truth is, if you aren’t sure if you have the skill set to color your own hair at home, you probably shouldn’t. If you are not completely prepared to color your hair, the results can be disastrous!

#3. You Have to Clean Up the Mess

Cons of DIY Hair Coloring - You Have to Clean Up the Mess

Coloring your hair can leave a huge mess that has to be cleaned up by none other than you. In a salon, everything is organized so that clean-up is easy and efficient. At home, you may find that after coloring your hair, your bathroom looks as though a colorful bomb went off. 

Depending on the materials of your counter, sink, floors, and shower, you may even find that the hair color you applied has stained not only your hair but everything else as well. That’s why sometimes it just isn’t worth it to DIY coloring at home. 

I think of it this way: Technically, I can wash my dog in the shower at home. But afterward, I have to clean the whole shower and mop up all the water she has left around the bathroom (and usually the rest of the house as well).

So, instead, I choose to pay to take her to a groomer, and I sacrifice a bit of money for the convenience of not having to clean for an hour after bathing her. 

It’s the same with coloring your hair at home. The mess can take just as long, or longer, to clean up as the color process itself. So, if you are contemplating coloring your hair yourself, make sure you are prepared to clean up afterward.

In Summary

DIY hair color at home can be a great, convenient way to save money, relax in your own home, and put yourself in total control of your own hair, or it can lead to disastrous results and a total mess.

Hopefully, this article has helped you weigh the pros and cons of a DIY hair color treatment so that you can be rocking your gorgeous new hair color in no time!