If you're looking to save some cash the next time you color your hair, at-home hair dyes can be an inexpensive solution. It's not always easy, though, to find the exact shade you want while browsing through the hair-color aisle at your local drugstore. Maybe you want a dark red shade that's more auburn than mahogany. By mixing a shade of red with a shade of brown, you can get the exact color you want. Hairstylists mix colors all the time, so why not try it out at home?

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Choose Your Colors

When deciding on a shade of red, opt for a shade that has the same undertones as your skin. By choosing a shade that complements your skin tone, you'll avoid looking washed out, yellow or greenish. Light skin tones look best with shades of light red, strawberry blonde, bright copper and true red. Medium skin tones work well with shades of medium copper-blonde or medium auburn. Finally, darker skin tones look stunning with shades of medium auburn and chestnut brown. You can then select a shade of brown that has the same warm or cool undertones so you're mixing either two warm or two cool colors. Never mix warm and cool, because they'll counteract each other. The hair-dye box will specify whether it's a warm or a cool shade. Note that you may need two boxes of each color if your hair is shoulder length or longer in order to cover your whole head.

Prepare the Dye

Each box of color should contain hair dye in either a plastic bottle or a tube, along with developer, disposable gloves, an application brush and conditioner to apply once you've rinsed out the dye. To mix the colors, you'll need a plastic bowl if the dye is in a tube, or a plastic bottle if the dye is liquid, preferably with measuring marks along the side so you can measure out the dye properly. Put on the gloves, and mix equal parts of color and developer in the bowl or the bottle. You can then follow the instructions on the box to apply the hair color, let it develop, rinse and condition.

A Word of Caution

If you're planning to make a major color change, consider visiting a salon for professional coloring. More drastic changes from your current hair color may require multiple processes, and your stylist can assess your hair's tones and minimize damage. If you decide to go the do-it-yourself route with a new shade, take a strand test on a few hidden pieces of hair first so you can assess the results before dyeing every strand.