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4 Hacks for Brighter, Longer Lasting Colour at Home

I am a self professed hair dye addict. If you were to ask any of my friends they would refer to my hair as mood hair, simply due to how often the colours are changing. Semi Permanent hair dyes are a great option for DIY hair style, and provide some great bright colour options, however the upkeep can be time intensive.

Here are 4 hacks I have learned over the years that I have been playing with my own hair colour. I will reference Manic Panic throughout this post. This is simply due to the fact that it is my dye of choice, and therefore is the brand I am comfortable speaking about. It is not to say it is the only option – I have a number of friends who swear by their own favourite brands (Arctic Fox, Directions, etc). Take the time to do your research, learn what is out there, experiment and figure out what works for you!

HACK # 1 – Preparing your Hair

It is important that you prepare your hair to be dyed, and not just jump into dying it if you want the colour to last. Wash your hair with a good shampoo right before dying to make sure that you get all residue from any chemicals that you may have previously used on your hair (hair spray, gel, conditioners, etc). Do not use any conditioner at this stage, as it will interfere with the dye’s ability to bond with the hair.

A great way to prepare your hair is to wash it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water. The baking soda is alkaline, so it will open the cuticle of the hair to accept colour.

Ensure that your hair is completely dry prior to applying the dye. Do so by drying your hair with the hair dryer as heat also opens the cuticle.

HACK # 2 – More Time Means More Colour

If you are looking to have bright, vibrant colour that lasts, then time is your friend! Apply the dye throughout your hair (pay careful attention to make sure you don’t miss ANY spots on your hair, as this will really stand out against the bright colour). Manic Panic is a vegan dye which is both ammonia-free and peroxide-free. For this reason, it is completely safe to leave it on your hair for extended periods of time. In fact, it conditions as well as colouring the hair, so leaving it on is a positive!

You want to leave the dye in your hair for AT LEAST 6 hours for really vibrant, lasting colour. Personally I put the dye in, throw a shower cap on it, and wear it to bed. The shower cap will help to keep your bed dye free, but I do make a point of putting down an old towel just in case…

If you are in a hurry and can’t afford to leave it in for that long, heat will help the process! Put the shower cap on to hold the heat in, and then take the hair dryer to it. If you are short on time this will help you to make the most of it!

HACK # 3 – Rinse it out Right to Keep the Colour

When the time comes to rinse the dye out, whether that is following a couple hours with your hair dryer, or the next morning when you wake up, make sure you do so with cold water. Warm water will continue to open those cuticles allowing large amounts of the dye to rinse out. Rinsing with cold water closes the cuticle.

At this point the use of a vinegar rinse will help you keep your colour longer! Mix 50/50 white vinegar and cold water. The vinegar is acidic, and so in following with the PH balance of your hair and its impact on your colouring this will close up the cuticle to help the colour last longer.

HACK # 4 – Maintenance for Success

Helping your colour to last doesn’t start and end with the dye job itself. Your day to day care of your hair can help to make your hair last longer! Try to avoid washing your hair for at least 2 days following dying. If you can go longer, even better! The Manic Panic website says at least a week, but I personally can’t go that long just due to the nature of my naturally oily hair.

Shampooing your hair removes colour, there is no way to avoid it, but you can slow the process. Avoid over washing your hair – the more you shampoo, the faster the dye washes out. Believe it or not the oils your body produces are actually good for your hair! Also, pay attention to what products you are using. Using an ordinary shampoo that isn’t formulated for coloured hair will strip the colour faster.

Only wash your hair in cold water. Warm water will open the cuticle back out and strip more colour out of your hair. This doesn’t mean you have to take cold showers, there are ways around it… I LOVE my hot showers – so I rock a sexy shower cap during the shower, and wash my hair separately in cold water afterwards.

What colours have you dyed your hair? What is your go-to hair dye brand?

4 thoughts on “4 Hacks for Brighter, Longer Lasting Colour at Home”

  1. I wish I had read this before all the times I have dyed my hair bright colours. I didn’t even know you could leave dye on for several hours, I am always scared of my hair all falling out hahah.

    1. It all depends on what dyes you are using, you don’t want to do that with a chemical dye for sure but with the vegan alternatives like Manic Panic you’re good to go!

  2. Great advice, thanks for sharing it!
    One question re: vinegar rinse – do you use this after you’re done with a long rinse-out? I find I can get colour coming out pretty much endlessly, and at some point just give up and dry/style it. After the initial product is rinsed out, would you do the vinegar rinse and that would stop the endless colour leak?

    1. Yes, my hair never completely runs clear when I’m rinsing it out. While the vinegar rinse doesn’t magically take it to the point of being completely clear, it dramatically impacts the colour leak. I never dye my hair without it.

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