Found: 17 At-Home Hair Dyes That Are Truly Hard to Mess Up

Found: 17 At-Home Hair Dyes That Are Truly Hard to Mess Up

Mikey Asanin

I won’t lie to you: I used to think that at-home hair colors and dyes were off limits. Well, turns out, I was wrong. When lockdown hit in 2020, so many of my friends starting coloring their hair at home with everything from at-home root touch up products to balayage highlight kits, and the results, to my surprise, were shockingly good. I quickly learned that at-home hair color has come a looooong way. Not only can box dye give you professional-looking results, but the formulas aren’t harsh either, meaning they won’t make your scalp irritated and flaky, expose you to intense smells, or leave your hair looking streaky or patchy.

So to help you narrow down all the different home hair color options, I combed through hundreds of tester reviews and spoke to celebrity colorist Amanda Lee to roundup the 17 best at-home hair colors for 2023.

✔️ FYI: We updated this article in January 2023 to give you the most up-to-date info on at-home hair colors and dyes, including a bunch of new-and-improved formulas, a colorist’s tips on how to DIY your hair color at home, and how to choose the best box dye for yourself.

Our top picks for best at-home hair color for 2023:

Keep reading for the full breakdown of the 17 best at-home hair colors and dyes that will give you vibrant, shiny, and healthy color, whether you’re a strawberry blonde or have ash brown hair.

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Best Temporary At-Home Hair Color Spray

Kristin Ess Rose Gold Temporary Tint


Best Customizable At-Home Hair Color

eSalon Custom Hair Color Set


Best Clean At-Home Hair Color

Revlon Total Color Hair Color


Best At-Home Hair Color Kit for Bleaching

Arctic Fox Bleach, Please Complete Hair Lightening Kit


Best At-Home Hair Color Gloss

dpHUE Gloss+


Best Gentle At-Home Hair Color Kit

Madison Reed Radiant Hair Color Kit


Best At-Home Hair Color for Ombré

L’Oreal Paris Colorista Bleach Ombre


Best At-Home Root Touch-Up Spray

Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch-Up Spray


Best At-Home Hair Color for Gray Hairs

Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gel


Best Strengthening At-Home Hair Color

Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Permanent Hair Color Cream


Best At-Home Hair Color for a Bold Hue

Manic Panic Atomic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream


Best At-Home Highlighting Kit

Madison Reed Light Works Balayage Highlighting Kit


Best At-Home Hair Color for Natural Curls

Clairol Textures & Tones Hair Color 6g Honey Blonde


Best Conditioning At-Home Hair Color

Revlon Colorsilk Buttercream Hair Dye


Best At-Home Hair Color for Redheads

Revlon ColorSilk Haircolor


Best At-Home Hair Color for Brunettes

Clairol Nice ’N Easy Permanent Hair Color


Best At-Home Hair Color for Blondes

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour

Are home hair dyes as good as salon ones?

At-home hair dyes tend to be less powerful than their pro counterparts, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At-home dyes also aren’t as customizable, which, again not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a lot of science and skill that goes into mixing hair color, and without the right expertise, things can go wrong quickly.

The bottom line: You’re not getting the same dye used in salons at your local drugstore, but that doesn’t mean the end result can’t be equally great.

What is a good hair dye to use at home?

There are tons of great hair dye products that can be used at home. Celeb colorist Amanda Lee swears by color-depositing conditioners and masks. “They’re temporary—so there’s less room for error—and they often contains moisturizing and nourishing ingredients that help improve hair health,” says Lee.

If you want something more long-lasting, you can try demi-permanent, semi-permanent, or permanent color. Just know that most colorists will recommend ammonia-free or low ammonia formulas since they tend to be the gentlest on hair.

You also have the option to bleach your hair at home…but it’s risky. Bleach can seriously damage your hair, mess up your color, or irritate your scalp if you don’t follow the instructions perfectly. That being said, all of the bleach kits on this least have been vetted, and when used correctly, can give you amazing results.

How do I dye my own hair at home?

If you’re a newbie, you may want to enlist the help of a pro. Either someone that you’re put in touch with through a service (like Madison Reed) or a local colorist that you feel comfortable reaching out to for some tips. They’ll be able to help you find the perfect shade and formula for your hair goals. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to watch some DIY hair color videos on TikTok or Youtube too.

How to choose the best at-home hair color:

Pay attention to user reviews.

User reviews will often tell you things about a product that the outer box or packaging won’t, like the color going orange when starting from a certain base or needing more product than expected.

Tester comments on what is or isn’t included in your at-home hair color kit are helpful too. Some reviews will say that the gloves were flimsy or the tool provided wasn’t the best, so that can help you prepare, too.

Know the type of dye you’re working with.

Ammonia-free, low-ammonia, and low-peroxide tend to be the least drying. If you’re worried about the health of your hair, look for a dye that’s infused with moisturizing oils or plant butters. And remember, temporary products will be the most forgiving since you’re not stuck with the outcome for very long.

  • Amanda Lee is a hair stylist and colorist based in Los Angeles, CA. Lee is a global color ambassador for Moroccanoil and has worked with celebs like Madelyn Cline and Hailey Bieber.

Lisa DeSantis is a contributing beauty writer at Cosmopolitan who has been in the beauty industry for nearly 10 years, including writing stories like the best lip liners and cleansing conditioner. She has tested thousands of products and considers herself a professional guinea pig who’s always on the search for the next big trends in beauty, wellness, and beyond.

Lisa DeSantis is a freelance writer who has been in the beauty industry for nearly ten years.

Ama Kwarteng was previously the associate beauty editor at Cosmopolitan.

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