Hair Colour at Home : Step by Step
I have had quite a few people messaging me on the various social media platforms asking for tips and advice for hair colour. The questions range from the basic question of what products I use through to how I get it so vibrant, and how I keep it looking that way as long as I do.
I have already addressed the maintenance side in a previous blog – 4 Hacks for Brighter, Longer Lasting Colour at Home. Check it out, it should hopefully address most questions people have. If not, don’t hesitate to leave a question in the comments, or swing over to the Contact page to fire me a message!
In this blog, I am going to focus specifically on the process I personally follow in order to dye my hair, and the products that I use.
Note: I am NOT a professional, therefore while all the advice on this blog has worked beautifully for me over the years, I am unable to guarantee results. If you are attempting to correct or drastically change previously coloured hair I highly recommend consulting a professional prior to any attempts at home.
To begin with there are a number of different types of hair dye. It is important that you take the time to decide which is best for your and your lifestyle. The Dermacosm clinic does a great job in explaining dyes in detail in their article The Different Types of Hair Dyes. I highly recommend you give it a read, especially if you are new to colouring your hair.
The dyes that I prefer are NOT permanent colour. There are both pros and cons to this decision. Opting not to go with a permanent colour gives me the opportunity to change my hair colour more often. This is a huge bonus for me as someone who is often quickly looking for change. My friends have started to refer to my hair as ‘mood hair’ with how often the colours change. On the negative side, there is much more upkeep required if you want to keep a specific colour longer. Unfortunately, a lot of the brighter hair colours are not offered in a permanent colour, so if you are looking to go a little wilder on the colour side, then be prepared for the upkeep!
To begin with you will need your hair dye (whichever you happen to select) and bleach if necessary, a tinting brush, gloves and a shower cap. Depending on the dye you may also require a container to put the dye in, although if you are like me and use the Manic Panic brand, you can use the dye right out of the pots they are sold in.
On the topic of bleach – this is not necessarily a requirement depending on what colour you are looking to obtain, and whether you are looking for something that will last or not. That being said, if you are wanting a bright vibrant colour like many of the colours and don’t have the lightest of blonde hair naturally, you are going to need to include this step. The lighter the hair initially, the more vibrant the colour when you are finished.
There are many kinds of bleach available on the market. If you are doing a full bleaching of your full head of hair I would highly recommend that you look into getting something a little higher quality than the Manic Panic version. I have read a number of reviews that all state it comes out very uneven. I do, however, use it when I am just doing a quick bleach of my roots. Bleach is hard on your hair, and using it too often will result in severe damage to your hair! Once you have done the initial bleach of your full head of hair it is advisable to bleach only the grown out roots prior to redying each time you are looking to refresh your colour.
Every dye that you use will fade out differently. Some will simply get lighter fading into the initial colour underneath, while others (depending on the undertones of the dye) will pull different colours fading into something new. Those of you who are familiar with my social media know that I am in love with a shade of cobalt blue. This colour, in my hair, seems to fade first into purple and then slowly into a pink as shown in the picture below.
If you are looking to refresh your hair prior to give it a chance to really fade out, or if you are looking to change colours, there are other options to remove semi-permanent hair dyes rather than running to the harsh bleach. If you mix a paste of baking soda and water, applying it to the hair, that will take out a lot of the colour. Also, your standard shampoo will cause your colour to wash out, so shampooing more often will fade it faster. Regardless of how your decide to do it, allowing your hair to fade down prior to redying will allow you to get an even colour, rather than having your roots stand out as a lighter/brighter colour.
The Manic Panic Flash Lightening kit includes everything you will need to bleach your hair, including not only the cream developer and powder bleach, but also the tinting brush, plastic container for mixing the bleach, gloves and a shower cap. The instructions will walk you though the correct mixing of the product your first time, so don’t just throw them away!
I apply the bleach to all of the areas I am looking to lighten (in this case just the roots of my hair) then place the shower cap over top. The shower cap will help to hold the heat in, optimizing the processing of your hair. It is very important that you keep a careful eye on the time – overbleaching can cause SERIOUS damage to your hair, and even hair loss! I bleach for 20 minutes before washing my hair out thoroughly with a good shampoo. Do not condition at this point, as using just the shampoo will help to prepare your hair for the next step of the process. Pull out your hair dryer at this stage – you need your hair to be dry before moving on. Do not be alarmed if the bleach leaves your hair feeling dry, Manic Panic dyes help to rehydrate and soften your hair as you colour it.
You are now going to move onto the actual colouring of your hair. It is VERY important that you wear gloves throughout this process as this dye stains your skin! Don’t even take them off when washing the dye out.
I find it easiest to section off my hair using clips so I can work through one section of a time to ensure that I don’t miss anything. You don’t want to leave a patch of blonde in the middle of your nicely coloured hair! Using the tinting brush (ensure that you have cleaned it carefully if you are reusing the one from your bleaching kit) apply the Manic Panic dye of your choice to your hair starting at the roots and working your way down the hair. At this stage, you don’t want to skimp out on the dye, apply it carefully and thoroughly ensuring every last piece of hair is covered. If you have someone around that can help it is always easier having someone else do the back. While I will do it alone some days, other days my husband will step up and take over for me (he’s good like that)!
If you are wanting to do an additional colour (such as adding streaks, or doing a 50/50 colour pattern) you can do so at this stage using foil, making sure each section of hair is carefully folded up in foil before moving to the next section. When you are finished applying the dye, and have looked it all over a second (or third) time to make sure that you haven’t missed a spot, grab a shower cap and throw it overtop of it all. This is where my personal process differs slightly from the usual instructions. To get brighter, more vibrant colour I then go to bed and sleep on it. Manic Panic is a vegan dye that conditions your hair, with no ammonia or hydrogen peroxide so it is safe to keep it on longer than the permanent colour varieties.
When I wake up, the first thing I do that morning is to attend to my hair. Removing the shower cap, I rinse the dye out using cold water. How cold? As cold as you can stand – the cold water will help you to lock in the colour! Make sure you are wearing your gloves during this process to avoid staining your hands. Massage your scalp to help loosen up any dye that is present. You are watching for the water to run relatively close to clear (expect to see a slight tint to the water).
The next step requires the use of vinegar. PH balance plays heavily into the maintenance of your hair colour in a similar way to keeping your clothes bright when washing them. By applying a rinse of 50/50 vinegar and cold water at this stage you will help your hair colour to stay brighter and more vibrant! Don’t worry, once you rinse it out you don’t smell strongly like french fries from my experience.
Keep your gloves on when drying your hair – anytime your hair is wet or damp you run the risk of staining your finger tips! Try to avoid washing your hair for 48 hours after dying (or longer if you can hold out). Each time you wash it you are removing a little bit of the colour, so washing frequently will fade your colour much faster!
Enjoy your gorgeous new look! Rock it!
What is your favourite hair colour to rock? Do you have a preferred hair dye brand?