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Honest to goodness truth – I’ve never had my hair professionally colored or highlighted. I’ve always done my own  color at home  – not only because it is a great way to save money, but also because I like to feel a little more in control of the results.

However, doing your own color can often be messy and leave you with aching arms. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to make your next color session a little bit easier.

1) Prepare
Make sure you have everything you need before you mix your color. And I mean everything – hair clips, a hand mirror, a comb, a clock, and anything else you might think of. Make sure you have it all within reach before you start.

2) Protect 
I’ll never forget one time I was doing a routine root touch up on a Saturday evening and woke up Sunday morning with a blue forehead. My now-husband found it irritatingly amusing when I told him I was turning into a smurf. This can easily be prevented with a thick body cream or Vaseline lotion. Slather it all over your forehead, ears, and the back of your neck. Don’t rub it in all the way! Make sure you leave it on the surface of your skin. It will act like a barrier and will prevent the dye from staining your skin.

3) Comb
While many hair coloring tutorials suggest you work the dye through your hair with your fingers, I’ve found that I can get much better coverage by using a wide tooth comb. Make sure you don’t use a comb that is too small because it will like get caught in your hair and cause tangles.

4) Move Back to Front
Start by coloring the back of your hair first. In order to do this, clip up the front and side sections of your hair and leave what’s on the back of your head loose. This is the hardest to reach section of your hair, and by doing it first thing, you won’t be faced with the nearly impossible task of coating each strand with tired, aching arms.