I’ve been getting a bunch of “who does your hair!?!” questions, so I am just going to make a blog post about this one. Grab some tea, coffee, a snack. This one is sort of long?
Firstly, can we just go ahead and get this out there:
BLEACH IS NOT THE DEVIL!!
I admit I was afraid of it at first too, but its NOT BAD. I will say, people who claim you can dye your brown hair to a bright shade without bleach are bullshitting you. The only color that I was able to get fire engine red hair was some Revlon shade that was salon appropriate that you had to activate with a developer, but it was only red that worked like that.
The best thing you can do to minimize damage is COAT your hair with coconut oil. Yep, you heard me right. Cover all areas and saturate well with coconut oil. “wouldn’t that interfere with the bleach??” NOPE, it somehow does not. NEVER use a developer more than what the bleach powder container says, I believe it states nothing above 20 vol, anything above that even 30 will BURN your scalp, like itchiness from hell.
When applying the bleach, be SURE to cover all areas evenly. If you saturate more areas better than others, the areas that had more bleach will lighten more then the areas that didnt have enough, alas resulting in splotchy hair. You’ll have to wait a week or more to touch up those spots that will probably look brown.
You will probably need additional help for the back of your head, because that is a total BITCH to reach and get to on your own. Even with a mirror, small hand mirror, and side mirror, its near impossible.
After bleaching your hair, be sure to check it every 5-10 minutes. Cover it with tin foil, and keep yourself occupied and warm. Vacuum, do stuff that ensures your head will stay warm but please do not cheat and do the blow dryer route. I just do not think that is a wise idea in the least. Cutting corners with your hair doesnt even seem to work…hell, does it really ever work in other aspects in life either? I digress…
Once you’re ready to wash it out, yea, wash it. I’d say do not use conditioner as that can be a hinderance to making sure the colored hair dye fully does its job. Be aware its going to be a huge pain in the ass brushing your hair without conditioner. Do the brushing by starting at the ends, gently.
Now you may notice your hair isn’t quite blonde, and will probably look quite brassy (left image). How did she achieve the white blonde goodness in the photo on the right? TONERS!, or purple shampoo. Personally I enjoy toners and find they work MUCH better than any purple shampoo. But again, everyone is different with their experiences.
Yep, some browns/brass you can rid with purple shampoo or TONER. Wella makes a really great toner. Be aware toners work VERY fast and you do not want to leave them on long. I think I left mine on 10 minutes last time?
For the purple shampoo route, mix the purple shampoo with a wee bit of water and coat your hair (this is more preferred if your hair is a bit dry), smush it around to make sure your entire hair follicles are getting the product on it. Word of caution, if you leave the purple shampoo on too long some of your blonde may turn purple! Hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve read it can happen. Here is a very informative video about purple shampoos, as well as maintaining silver hair.
You’ll want to bleach your hair to “the inside of a banana peel” blonde. It doesn’t need to be WHITE, but light enough. See below, this is a hair color chart in numbers from darkest to lightest. Hair colorists refer to this always.
ONTO THE RAINBOW
There are a bunch of brands. I’ve tried Manic Panic ($10-$14), Pravana ($10), and Arctic Fox ($11), all those prices are around what you’ll find on Amazon. I find that buying them from chain stores they charge at least $10 more! I found Manic Panic fades the fastest, Arctic fox is close in terms of fade (but I’ve only tried their yellow shade), and Pravana lasts a pretty damn long time. These are all so great because you don’t need to mix with anything else to activate them. Some fade differently too, it seems the blues fade to a green teal from Manic Panic. Which bummed me out because I wanted a more blue pastel but that didnt work.
As far as pastel colors in tubes, I have only tried Pravana’s pink which was a huge let down. It’s not as saturated as all my other colors I’ve tried, and your hair has to be VERY VERY light to have it show up.
And as far as pastels on my own account of creating, that pretty much never worked. You can supposedly dilute any color with a shampoo (that does NOT include a certain ingredient and now I cannot recall which, not helpful I know) to achieve a pastel. But I believe your hair has to be free of ANY other dye and starting with a fresh plate.
Here is where it gets tricky. I am an artist, and I still have to sit down and refer to the color wheel to be extra sure about some color mixing results.
As you may or may not know, some colors when mixed will turn an an ugly shade of brown, or as the hair stylist world knows as MUDDY. It’s awful and frustrating, ESPECIALLY when you want to go the route of multiple shades or even a rainbow. I did the rainbow thing, and it was rad. But some parts faded and it looked crappy. Typically cool tones don’t mix with warm tones. But even that shit can confuse me too.
I didn’t have an orange, so I created my own by applying a yellow dye on top of an already red bleached hair. I also never had my own purple so I found mixing either Manic Panic Voodoo Blue with Hot Hot Pink made a very beautiful purple.
And after applying the yellow dye on red and some red fade up top, see how its pink now?…
Oops, yeah, this can happen. May not look bad to you, but I don’t like it. I like the more less obvious gradual fade into each color, be sure to make each application ‘strip’ different lengths. Otherwise you get this blocky look. You can even see the part I couldnt reach to bleach in the back there. Also see how splotchy it is? Uneven bleach application. But hey, this was early in my learning days. I still mess up even, no one is perfect. If you can handle Guy Tang’s obnoxious personality, he has a near perfect work flow in terms of balayaging (ombre). Watch his application process HERE. I highly recommend watching that and how he applies the lines. This same concept goes for applying hair color too.
You HAVE to start washing your hair much less. I am talking once a week. Start wearing your hair in buns, braids, pony tails, etc. Buy and use baby powder on your greasy head to rid of the grease. Put some one your hands, and pat on your head, comb it through. You also have to get use to not running your fingers through your hair a lot, it will be not so smooth when you wash it less. It is THE BEST way to keep color longer. Wash in COLD water as well. Stick your head under the spout first to wash with cold water, then normal temperature to finish you shower. Avoid heat styling when you can. I use It’s A 10! hair products and I LOVE them.
HAIR COLOR REMOVING
That damn brown muddiness 😡
And here is where it gets even more frustrating and tricky. Fading hair color in one process? You are dreaming. It is one of the most frustrating things for me, because I love changing my hair color OFTEN. You have to be patient. Bleach washes work well, I never got to try the vitamin C thing but it seems bogus. The best thing honestly to use is Head and Shoulders, yep, thats right, the anti-dandruff shampoo! It works SO WELL at stripping color! I have done a desperate straight up bleach, which doesn’t work entirely because some color still remains. Dying color over lightened hair can be EVEN trickier, because you have to look at it and judge if its not too blue, green, enough to put a light color on it. You CAN chance turning it brown and raging in you house when you realize you’ve backtracked, or uh cut some angles in your hair to remove said muddy hair color (raises hand).
– these people know their stuff. they are just like you and I and help each other out with problems and questions, but be sure to search your problem in the search bar first. Sometimes I conduct my search straight from Google, example “getting rid of muddy hair hair crazy”.
This one was a post bleach ^
added some pinks slowly… ^
Pre-Hawaii photo left. In a matter of 10 days of daily ocean swimming, washing with Head and Shoulders, ALL my hair color was stripped (photo right)! It made for an amazing clean slate for dying it fresh colors.
See that green? That’s what the Manic Panic blue keeps fading to
ahh — freshly dyed hair 😀
okay, I hope you found this useful! Don’t be afraid to mess up, hair grows, it changes, you can change it. Be patient. The internet has a bunch of answers but I’ll be glad to help, comment below if you wish to.