Dye planning

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The Ultimate Dyeing/Bleaching Preparation List


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Published on 13th August 2010

Ever been elbow deep in hair dye and suddenly realised you forgot your towel? This handy list will help you gather everything you need for dyeing, so you can avoid difficult bathroom predicaments!

Preparing your bathroom
Preparing yourself
List of dyeing tools and supplies


Prepare your Work Area

Whether you prefer to dye your hair in your bathroom or kitchen, a bit of preparation will reduce the post-colour clean up. Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to get your work area ready.

  • Remove nearby textiles
    You’d be surprised how far a blob of dye can fly and splatter onto something important or how much damage a tiny crumb of bleach can do to your best towels.
  • Cover the floor
    If you have wood, stone or lino flooring, make sure you protect your floor from dye. In most cases, eramic tiles aren’t permanently stained by dye, but porous surfaces will soak it up.
  • Add a second mirror
    You’ll need a stationary mirror (attached to the wall for example), and one that you can move around. A large, adjustable mirror on a stand is ideal – but whatever you use – make sure you can prop up your second mirror behind you to let you see the back of your head in the main mirror.


Prepare yourself

  • Apply some Vaseline, mineral oil or heavy moisturiser around your hairline, neck and anywhere that you think could get dye stained. Don’t forget to cover your ears!
  • Change into an old shirt that you can easily take off.
  • Expect to get dye or bleach anywhere on your body, so change out of your favourite jeans.
  • Have make-up or baby wipes on hand to wipe dye stains off your skin as they happen. These are useful for cleaning stains off your skin after rinsing off the colour as well.
  • Take a before picture and post it on your timeline, then add an update photo with the outcome.

Oh No! I've Dyed my Fingers!

Different ways of removing dye from your skin and finger nails.


Tools needed for dyeing

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget something important for dyeing your hair and then have to go rummaging through your bathroom cabinet covered in colour! Use this list to make sure you’ve gathered the essentials.

Tip: Dyes like Directions, Manic Panic and Arctic Fox come securely sealed. Make sure you open the bottles before you get started with other colours; it’s pretty hard to rip off a tamper-proof seal when your hands are covered in dye!
  • Bleach or Dyes
    Make sure you have plenty of whichever products you plan to use. Running out halfway through is a disaster; it’s always better to have more dye than you need.
  • Measuring cup or scoop / scales
    Measure carefully to get your bleach ratio perfect.
  • Tint Brushes
    Have a few tint brushes to hand so that you can easily switch between colours. Stopping to rinse tint brushes will make things messy.
  • Tail Comb
    To quickly section your hair (important when bleaching), use the pointed end of a tail comb or tint brush. Using a tool like this allows you to make thin, straight sections easily.
  • Tint bowls
    Any non-metallic bowl is suitable. Have one for each colour or go for a split tint bowl that can hold 2 colours at once.
  • Hair Clips
    A few large styling clips will let you clip sections of hair out of the way, and keep them in place. You can use hair elastics instead, but clips are faster to use.
  • Shower Cap
    If you plan to leave your colour on for an extended period of time, wearing a shower cap will keep your hair neatly out of the way while preventing your colour from drying up.
  • Old Towel
    Choose an old towel and make it your “dyeing towel”. Expect it to be bleached and dyed many times over.
  • Gloves
    Latex or vinyl gloves are essential for keeping bleach off your skin and preventing dye stains. They’re cheap, so buy a box of 100 and keep a few extra pairs nearby when dyeing. You’ll need them for cleaning up your brushes and for rinsing your hair.
  • Wide-toothed Comb
    Combs are useful for distributing dye and discovering missed areas. Combing through colour can help your hair absorb the dye.
  • Paper Towels / Rags / Cleaning Supplies
    Have some paper towels or an old rag ready to wipe up any spills. Leaving dye stains for a long time makes them difficult to clean up, so it’s better to mop up mess as soon as possible. Rubbing alcohol works well on most dye stains, but check that it’s suitable for your surface before using it.
  • Timer
    Bleaching requires precise timing. Don’t try and guess it; use a clock or set a timer on your phone to avoid over-processing your hair.
  • Foils / Meshes
    If you’re planning a few colours at once, it’s useful to have foil or meches around to keep each section separate. Make sure they’re pre-cut to the length you need.
  • Bin
    You’ll need somewhere to dump those dye covered gloves and paper towels.
ColorTrak Double Tint Bowl
ColorTrak Double Tint Bowl
ColorTrak Glitter Color Brush - Pack of 2
ColorTrak Glitter Color Brush - Pack of 2

Hopefully, if you’ve followed this check-list, your dyeing experience has been hassle free. It’s impossible not to make a little mess, so I recommend reading our article on cleaning up dye:

Cleaning Up Dye

Oh dear you've got dye everywhere? How are you going to sort this one out?

This article was updated in October 2018. Some comments may refer to older information

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