DIY Hair Color: Freshen Your Look by Subtly Changing Your Tresses

DIY Hair Color: Freshen Your Look by Subtly Changing Your Tresses | Positively Smitten

I am notorious for playing around with my look. I have had hair every color of the rainbow and many, many different cuts. I am a bit more daring with my hair than most people, even trying DIY hair tricks. I learned a bit more about what I was doing with my hair when I was in beauty school for a stretch.

The general rule you want to follow is to avoid the store bought dyes (though I still use it myself if I am in a bind) and, instead, purchase your colors at a shop that sells to hairdressers, but is also open to the public. Playing around with your hair color can feel intimidating, but below are easy to medium difficulty methods to subtly change up your look.

Lighten Your Hair (Up To) A Shade

If you’ve ever dyed your hair and it was a “bit” too dark, this is the solution you should try. Or if you just want to lighten up your look, get moving on this. The stronger the developer is the lighter your hair will get.

What you need:

  • Non-reactive bowl
  • Non-reactive mixing utensil
  • Gloves
  • 2 ounces 10, 20, or 30 volume developer (the higher the number the stronger it is, so it’ll lighten more)
  • 1 package bleach (I prefer neutral or violet), can substitute cream bleach (2 ounces)
  • 2 ounces clarifying shampoo
  • Deep conditioner, for after


  1. In the non-reactive bowl mix the shampoo, developer, and the bleach.
  2. Wet your hair, and dry slightly with a towel so you aren’t dripping wet.
  3. Lather the mixture into your hair. You can cover with a shower cap at this point; the cap will trap heat to help the developer work.
  4. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Note: Do not leave on for longer than 25 minutes. A bleach bath is less damaging than straight bleaching, but it can still damage your hair a bit, so don’t leave it on too long. Check your color every 5-10 minutes.
  5. Rinse thoroughly. Apply the deep conditioner and follow the directions on the bottle.
  6. You can repeat this process every other week to gradually get a lighter color without the harsh damage.  Always deep condition after.

Turn the Tone Up

If your hair has the tendency to appear brassy, too orange, or too yellow you might need to use a toner on your hair. A toner is just a product that subtly alters your color or cancels out a harsh shade. If you need to cancel out brassiness, add an ash toner; for orange shades, use a bluer tone; and for too much yellow, add a purple or champagne colored toner.

You can also add a tone that you want to experiment with (as opposed to trying to cancel one out). If you have darker hair, try adding a red tone so you shimmer in the sun. Toner isn’t permanent, but it will last around 20 washes.

What You Need:

  • Empty Hair Color Bottle
  • Hair toner in chosen shade
  • 2 ounces 20 volume developer
  • Gloves


  1. Empty the toner and 2 ounces of the developer into the empty bottle.
  2. With gloved hands, shake up the bottle for 30 seconds.
  3. Starting at the crown of the head apply the toner. Leave on for 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and condition.

It’s So Shiny!

Using too much product or the wrong shampoo can turn your hair dull and lifeless. Sometimes to give yourself new life you just need to add some shine.

What to Use:

  • Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Baking Soda & Vinegar
  • Vitamin E supplements
  • Lemon Juice & Honey


  1. When you shampoo and condition your hair, right before you get out of the shower blast your hair with cold water, which closes your hairs cuticle and smooths it naturally.
  2. When there’s too much build up in your hair wash with baking soda to remove it, rinse with water, then add vinegar, rinse lightly. Blow dry if the vinegar smell bothers you, but blow drying may cause frizz.
  3. Taking vitamin E supplements will improve the look of not only your hair, but also skin and nails.
  4. Make a mask of honey and lemon juice every two weeks to a month, leave on for 15 minutes and rinse out. Please note:  there is a small chance lemon juice may lighten your hair very subtly, but usually only on already light hair.

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