My mother and I go to Sally Beauty Supply to buy dye and developer (she because she wants to cover her gray, I dye my hair to give the red highlights I have a little bit of a “boost.”)
The brand of dye we use is Wella, which is what our hairdresser told us was the brand she used in the salon. I can’t recall off the top of my head the brand of developer, but the dye box should have instructions on what type of developer is called for. And if that fails, the employees of the store will know.
Because the developer and dye is mixed in a 2:1 ratio of equal parts (ie. if you use 2 tablespoons of developer, you’ll want 1 tablespoon of dye. Equally, if you use 3 jiggers of developer, you’ll want 1 1/2 jiggers of dye. 4 shot glasses of developer, 2 shot glasses of dye. You can use anything to measure it out, so long as you’ve got two measurements of developer and one measurement of dye) dying your own hair this way can save a TON of money. Developer and dye can be saved, as long as they’re not mixed. Once they’re mixed, you have to throw away any that’s leftover. Depending on how long your hair is, if you buy L’Oreal or Clairol or whatever, you can mix the whole thing together and end up throwing away half of the mix. I’m not sure what the average price is these days for those products, but last I checked, I know they were in the 10 dollar range.
Yes, I know this is still cheaper than going to a salon, but if you’re going to do it yourself anyway, you might as well go straight to the source and buy the dye and developer yourself. This way a big bottle of developer costs only a few bucks and lasts through many many dyes, and the dye also costs only a couple of bucks and (depending on the length of your hair) can last 2, maybe even 3 dyes.
The technique our hairdresser showed us to actually color our hair (or rather, to touch up the roots, since there’s already color in our hair) is to get an applicator (also at the beauty supply store) that sort of looks like a small paint brush and the handle is long, like a hair pick. Starting at the hairline (at the forehead) use the pick end of the applicator to push forward, towards your forehead, a small chunk of hair (draw the pick through the hair from one side of the head to another in a straight line.) With the brush end of the applicator, apply the dye to the hair that is pushed forward. Basically, you’re applying it to the underside of your hair in small chunks.
This technique works best if you have someone do it for you, but since I’ve moved, my mother has proved she can do it herself.
If you have any questions about what color dye to get, you can ask the store employees, they’re very knowledgeable about the products they sell.
Hope that helps!