If you ask women for their most mortifying beauty moment, at-home color disasters often top the list. Though with more than 90 million American women opting to “DIY” these days, beauty brands are responding with ways to give the longtime ritual the security and finish of the professional’s touch.“I’ve found that the recession and busier lifestyles that women lead today have definitely played a role in making at-home hair color more mainstream,” says celebrity colorist Kari Hill of Mèche Salon in Beverly Hills. “And in the summer, my clients are often traveling for extended periods, which makes touchups on the road necessary,” she adds.To get the best results from these products, there are a few musts. Simple as it sounds, many go wrong by omitting the first essential step: Be sure to read and understand the directions and allow enough time to properly apply and process if needed. Get this right, and you’re more than halfway there, according to Hill.Then if coloring, put on an old shirt and prep by draping a towel around your neck secured with a clip. Spread your product and tools out on the counter and have at least four clips available to section hair for even formula distribution, as well as a wide tooth comb and timer (you can use your phone), advises Hill.Now, what to use? At-home hair color has come a long way since the days of obviously fake, damaging dye. The latest batch of permanent color, fade-fighting glosses and root touch-ups, plus haircare to protect your hue, makes DIY color easier than ever.