Notice: This entry was published 5 years ago and may no longer reflect my views today.

Today, I’d like to share how I dye my hair! This isn’t meant to be a full-blown tutorial, but I hope it answers some questions or at least encourages some of you who’ve always wanted to try a new hair color but were too afraid. That was me when I was younger but after a lot of research, I felt comfortable enough to give it a go and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I do dye my hair by myself, if only because I’m a cheapskate and much prefer to do everything on my own. I’ve tried various way of lightening my hair, and so far, the easiest way I’ve found is by mixing hi-lift dye with 30 volume developer. You should be able to get these at any beauty supply store. I’ve tried dyeing my hair with the lightest blonde I could find (level 9) to get my hair brown (level 4 or 5), and it came out a bit too red for my liking. I’ve also bleached my hair and then used a box dye right after, but it took too long. I had to wait a day in-between steps which I can’t always afford. My color also faded after two weeks.

The great thing about mixing hi-lift dye and 30 vol developer is it lifts and dyes my hair in one step, and it’s ultimately cheaper than buying box dyes all the time. After the initial investment of acquiring the tools and developer, all you have to buy afterwards is the dye which is only a few dollars with a Sally’s club card. Plus my hair comes out a lot more even than bleach, the color doesn’t fade as much, and you won’t make as much mess using a bowl and brush as opposed to squirting dye out of a bottle.

Some notes:

  • It’s helpful to learn about shade levels if you’re serious about hair coloring. It’ll help narrow down what you’re looking for, and a lot of dye brands go by this naming scheme.
  • I’m not a hair care professional so I’m not always right. Everything I’m sharing is based on my own experiences. Always do your own research and do a lot of it!
  • My knowledge is limited to my own hair type (typical black Asian hair). It’s hard to lift and tends to get orange when dyeing so my process works with those things in mind. If you have lighter hair, it’ll be different for you. For example, you may only need 20 vol developer instead of 30. Research is your friend!
  • That said, you can’t turn Asian hair blonde without bleaching. My way only takes me to shade 6 or 7 which is light brown/dark blonde. It’s a weird in-between shade and that’s all 30 vol developer can do for it without bleaching first. In fact, if you want to take black hair all the way to the lightest blonde, you’ll be jumping at least 6 shade levels. You might need to bleach more than once for that.
  • Don’t forget about aftercare once you’ve dyed your hair! In general, go for sulfate-free shampoos and other color-safe products. My favorite line is Shea Moisture. Not only does it make my hair feel good, it smells absolutely amazing.

Okay, so here we go!

Hair dye materials

These are the things you’ll need for mixing your own dye: tinting brush, plastic mixing bowl, 30 volume developer, and a box of hi-lift dye. Not pictured are sectioning clips and gloves. Theoretically if you’re very skilled at dyeing, you won’t need those but I wouldn’t risk it. :P

It’s very, very important that all of your tools are made of plastic. Mixing dye with metal is a huge no-no. It’s easy to make this mistake, especially with sectioning clips, so please be aware!

The dye I use is L’Oreal Hi-Color Highlights in Ash Blonde. I chose an ash dye to avoid that gross orange brassiness that tends to happen with Asian hair. The ash tones wash out in a week or two and I get a nice natural shade, so I’m quite happy with it. L’Oreal has hi-lift red dyes too, btw!

Before Touch  Up

This is my hair after about 5 weeks worth of roots. Eww. I don’t normally let it get this bad, but I was preoccupied with other things this month so I let it go for a bit. Face to face, it doesn’t look that awful but I just hate the sight of roots.

Mixing Bowl

So to get rid of those darn roots, I simply mix 30 volume developer with the dye into my bowl. The general consensus is a 1:1 ratio, but my completely unscientific measurement is “till it looks enough.” I’d say I put more developer than dye in there. The box has directions as well for absolute guidance. Then, I use my brush to mix them until I get an even consistency. It does take a while to for the clumps to disappear, but just keep at it.

After that, I apply the mixture on my hair with the brush. I like to comb the dye through with my fingers to make sure my hair is evenly covered. I also tend to apply a little extra at the back of my head in case I miss any spots. It’s difficult to do the back by yourself. Some would advise a friend for help, but I use multiple mirrors. When I’m done, I put a cap over my head and let it sit for half an hour. When the time’s up, I rinse off the dye and use conditioner (no shampoo), and then all that’s left is to air dry.

After touch up

Here’s my hair after the touch-up! Looks a lot better now. :D I only did my roots this time to let the rest of my hair recuperate some more. My hair’s in pretty good condition, but I still like to space out dye jobs when I can. Ah, but I love freshly dyed hair. Ashy hair is so beautiful even if it clashes with my skin tone.

That’s it for me! I hope this post was helpful. You guys can always ask me questions in the comments. I’ll answer as best as I can.


  1. The result looks so awesome! :D

    I love getting my hair pink, but it takes a bit of work with bleaching. I tried to do the bleaching myself a few times, but it kind of always ended up a bit poopie. So I decided to use a hairdresser now. xD

    I hope this helps other people as well, that might be wanting a lighter shade. :D
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    1. Pink hair is my ultimate hair dream! I’m seriously considering it once I get tired of this color. I’ll have to convince my boss to let me do it though. :(

  2. Nice! You might want to also try using some violet shampoo to keep the copper from coming in :) Other than that, I admire you for dying your hair all by yourself! I get my hair dyed once a month to keep my red IN, but I always get it done professionally because I don’t trust myself haha.
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  3. Hahaha, when I saw your roots I was like, “OMG she must dye hers every 2 or 3 weeks, that is amazing.” 5 weeks worth of roots for me is like… twice that. D: Luckily roots are trendy right now so it’s okay if we let it go for awhile.

    Also YES to pink!! I miss mine all the time, but I think my next colour will be lavender.

  4. Even after years of tossing around the idea of dying my hair, I still haven’t done it yet *o*. Maybe it’s because I haven’t found a color I really like yet. It sounds like a lot of work dying your hair at home but the savings add up compared to doing it at the salon. From what I learned on this post, researching is really important. I can already imagine the work needed to get my hair lighter XD.

    Your hair after the touch-up looks great! The roots really blend in with the rest of the hair :D.

  5. Think post just reminded me that I need to sort my roots out. I’m lucky in that my mum is a hairdresser, so when I need my hair sorting I go home and get it done for free. It’s so much cheaper to do it at home. :)
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