Colour Me Happy

Friday, 15 June 2012

I've been dying my hair for 16 years now.  I don't claim to be good at it and i'm awfully fickle.  I've been a host of colours even two contrasting at the same time on several occasions.  I don't do some of the awesome intricate dye jobs you may find pictures of online  because to be frank, I have no patience and hardly any artistic merit.

When it comes to the bright colours I tend to use Directions because I'm familiar with it and it works.  You can also try Special FX, Star Gazer (wasn't personally impressed with this one), Manic Panic and Fudge (fab stuff but doesn't last long and is expensive) etc.

I thought I'd share some tips I've picked up along the way.

  • If you see a colour you like on a swatch bare in mind that colour will only look like that on white/bleached hair.  The darker shades (like Dark Tulip etc) will work on darker hair but it will just leave a shiny hint of a colour.  
  • If you've never bleached your hair before it generally goes through set stages in colour lifting so don't be alarmed if your hair doesn't look like the Nordic blonde on the box.  Firstly if your hair is dark it will go to a dark copper orange, then a brighter orange, then a strawberry blonde like colour, then a bright yellow then a banana flesh super pale yellow and then white.  Apparently once it goes white your hair has lost a lot of keratin.  You may have to lighten your hair a few times if you have naturally dark hair.  For Red, Orange and purple colours you can get away with just lifting to pale-mid orange.  However, to get a decent blue or green you really need that pale banana flesh colour, using a white toner after lightening can cancel out the brassy tones and make the blue/green take even better.
  • If your hair is dyed a dark colour, try using ColourB4 first, it whiffs a bit but is amazing at removing drugstore hair colour from your hair without bleaching.
  • These types of vegetable dye can be used straight after lightening as they're very conditioning and after bleaching the hair fibres are more likely to take in more pigment.
  • Be prepared, you will need an old top you no longer use, Vaseline, disposable gloves and cling film or a shower cap.
  • Before you start wash your hair with a pH balanced shampoo, do NOT condition.  If you rinse with hot water it will open the fibres on your hair to absorb the colour better.
  • Towel dry it well otherwise the dye will be far too drippy.
  • Put Vaseline around your hair line and your ears.  These dyes stain, it obviously is removable but always best to avoid the purple ears etc in the first place!
  • Make sure you have gloves as these dyes do not come with them.
  • Once you've coated your hair in dye wrap it in cling film and put a shower cap over the top.  
  • It says leave for around 15 mins on the tub.  If you have super bleached hair it will colour in this time but if you want the colour to last you really need to leave it on for at the very least an hour, more if possible.  It will not have any adverse effects on your hair like drugstore dyes, it will just condition it, many people even leave it on over night.
  • You can at intervals give it a blast with the hair drier.
  • When you rinse it, rinse with water as cool as you can possibly handle, if you use hot water it will open the hair fibres and allow more dye to run out.
  • You may have to rinse for a while....
  • Make sure you use old/dark towels
  • Generally the colour lasts around 6-8 washes but it can be unpredictable and last longer or wash out sooner.  If you want the colour out sooner (why?!) try washing with washing up liquid or head and shoulders/vosene as these can strip dye out of your hair.
  • If you want to boost the longevity of the dye add a teaspoon to your conditioner and leave your conditioner on for a few minutes each time you wash your hair.
  • If your hair is thick of longer then jaw length you may very well need two tubs.
  • All directions shades can be mixed to create your own shades


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