Dye the bottom layer of your hair

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Dye the bottom layer of your hair
Dye the bottom layer of your hair

Dyeing just the bottom of your hair is a great way to try out a new color without committing yourself completely. Plus, you can create some really cool effects by combining different colors, like dyeing the bottom of your hair black if it's platinum blonde, or adding a bright rainbow shade. The process is much the same as dyeing all your hair, except you divide your hair into two sections and keep the top section of the hair parted.


Part 1 of 2: Preparing your hair and workspace

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 1

Step 1. Wash your hair the day before

Normally you should not wash your hair right before you dye it. Your scalp will stay healthier if it's protected from the dye with some of its natural oils, and if you wash the night before, those oils can build up again. In addition, most hair dye brands recommend applying the product to dry hair.

  • Some semi-permanent paints work best on clean hair or even require you to wash your hair right before dyeing it, so be sure to read the instructions that came in the box of paint.
  • If your hair is too dirty, the dye may not penetrate your hair evenly, so don't dye your hair if you last washed it more than two or three days ago.
Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 2

Step 2. Put on old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty

You can easily make a mess with hair dye, even if you're careful. Since you're dyeing the hair at the back of your head, it's going to be even harder to keep the paint from dripping. Put on an old shirt and shorts or sweatpants to avoid ruining your fancy clothes. That way you don't have to worry if a little paint gets on your clothes.

You can also buy a hairdresser's cap to wear over your clothes


If you have one, consider wearing an old shirt. That way you don't have to pull your shirt over your head when it's time to rinse the dye from your hair.

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 3

Step 3. Prepare your work area with towels, hairpins, a timer and a comb

It can be very annoying to have to search for something if your hands (or gloves) are covered in paint. Have everything you need to dye your hair ready where you will be working. Lay towels or newspapers on the floor or counter. Also keep a few towels handy for easy cleaning in case of spills or splashes.

  • You will also need gloves if they are not included with the paint kit.
  • The process will be easier if you do it in the bathroom and have two mirrors, one on the wall and a hand mirror, so you can see the back of your head. Use the sink as a workplace.
Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 4

Step 4. Comb your hair thoroughly to detangle it

Knots and tangles can cause the dye to penetrate your hair unevenly, so take the time to comb it out before you dye it.

It will also be more difficult to get a perfectly smooth part if your hair is tangled

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 5

Step 5. Use a comb to create a horizontal part just behind your ears

Make a line from ear to ear along the back of your head, which is actually your neck, to separate the bottom layer. Use both mirrors to get a good view of this area.

  • If you want to color some more hair, make the part a little higher, like at the top of your ears. If you want to dye less hair, lower the part.
  • You can even create a round parting if you want to incorporate the bottom layer of your bangs.
Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 6

Step 6. Pin the top part of your hair out of the way

Use a hair clip or hair elastic to secure the top layer of hair on top of your head. Make sure you pull it tight enough that the bottom part is clearly visible, but not so tight that it's uncomfortable.

  • Wrap the top part of your hair in a scarf if you like, but use a scarf that you don't mind accidentally staining.
  • If you have small strands of hair near your hairline, pin them out of the way with bobby pins.
Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 7

Step 7. Apply petroleum jelly along your hairline to keep the paint off your skin

Dip your finger in petroleum jelly and scoop up a generous amount. Then, smear along the hairline at your nape, from one side of the line to the other. This forms a protective barrier that helps protect your skin from discoloration if paint gets on it.

If you want, you can even apply a little Vaseline to the hair just above the line. However, do not apply it to the hair you want to dye

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 8

Step 8. If you are using a light color paint or pastel, bleach your hair first

Unless your hair is naturally very light, bleach it first if you want to give your hair a light or pastel shade, such as teal, pink, or violet. While it's usually a good idea to go to a hairdresser to bleach your hair, you can also do it yourself by buying a bleach and carefully following the instructions on the package.

Consult a hairdresser before attempting to bleach dyed hair. The bleach can react badly with some dyes, causing serious damage to your hair

Part 2 of 2: Applying the hair dye

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 9

Step 1. Mix the paint according to package instructions

Many brands of permanent hair dye come with a bottle of developer and a tube of paint. To activate them, you need to mix them both together. However, be sure to read the instructions very carefully, even if you've dyed your hair before, as the exact technique may vary between brands or even products from the same brand.

With a semi-permanent paint, which covers most rainbow and pastel shades, you may not need to mix anything

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 10

Step 2. Put on gloves before applying the dye to your hair

Hair dye can be very irritating to your skin. But even if you use a product that isn't as harsh, your hands can still get stained if you don't wear gloves.

Most hair dye kits come with gloves, but you can buy a few at a beauty supply store or drugstore if yours didn't come with gloves. You may even want to buy an extra pair, even if your kit comes with gloves, just in case the first pair breaks

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 11

Step 3. Apply the paint with the applicator bottle or with a bowl and brush

If the kit came with a bottle, you can mix the dye into it and then apply it directly to your hair. However, you have more control over the application if you mix the paint in a bowl first and then apply it with a paintbrush.

You can buy a paintbrush from a drugstore, or you can use a sponge brush from a craft store

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 12

Step 4. Apply the paint to your roots and work your way down

Once the paint is mixed and you have your gloves on, you can start the fun part: applying the paint! Saturate the roots of your hair first, because that's where the color takes longer to develop. Then work part by part, covering each hair from root to tip. If necessary, use your fingers to work the dye into your hair.

  • Make sure to cover the top and bottom of the underlayment.
  • Unless your hair is very long, you probably won't need to use the entire tube of paint, as you're only coloring the undercoat.


If you want a two-tone or faded effect, paint a darker color on the ends of your hair first, then apply a lighter color to the rest of the undercoat, all the way to your roots. Make sure to mix well where the two colors meet to avoid creating a hard line between the two colors.

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 13

Step 5. Wrap a towel around your shoulders and set the timer

Place a towel on your shoulders when you're done applying the dye to your hair to protect your skin from the dye. Read the instructions on the package to find out how long to leave the paint on, then set the timer and wait.

  • Do not pin the dyed hair together with the rest of your hair or the dye will come off.
  • Do not leave the paint on your hair longer than recommended in the instructions!
  • If you like, you can use makeup remover to remove any paint on your skin while you wait.
Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 14

Step 6. Rinse the paint with cold water until the water runs clear

After the timer has gone off, rinse your hair with cool water to remove the dye. Work your fingers through your hair to make sure you don't miss any spots. Continue rinsing until the water runs completely clear and you no longer feel the dye in your hair.

Do not use shampoo and hot water as they can lift the hair shaft and rinse the dye out

Dye the Underlayer of Your Hair Step 15

Step 7. Apply a hair mask to your hair

If the dye kit came with a hair mask, apply it to your hair and let it sit for the recommended amount of time. If not, use your favorite conditioner and leave it on for about five minutes before rinsing it off.

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