Monday, April 30, 2012

Tutorial: All you ever needed to know about having bright hair

Having bright hair is heaps of fun, I have had this shade of bright pink for about a year and a half and get lots of questions about how I did it, and how I maintain it.
As I have naturally dark hair the trickiest part for me is pre lightening my hair to show the bright dye to its best. To get a really vibrant colour your hair will need to be almost white blonde or a light platinum. Think Marilyn Monroe.

If you are naturally very fair then you are a very lucky duck indeed as the 'lifting' process is a total drag... You will need to bleach your hair several times and the only way to do this without destroying your hair is to take your time. It's recommended that you leave 2 days between bleaching sessions and as my hair went from black to blonde that took a loooong time! My hair only lifted approximately a shade at a time, taking weeks to get to the yellow I needed. It also lifted unevenly, with white roots and dark orange ends it was NOT a good look!

Even a hairdresser cannot make this process go faster so be prepared before you start to wear lots of hats and scarves for several weeks! One way to do it, is to lighten shade by shade, dying your hair each time to the darkest variation of the shade you get. Elycia is currently going through this process and it is the only way to keep your hair healthy.

If however, like me, you are short in the area of patience then be prepared to suffer the consequences! I went ahead with a bleaching session every day for about a week. My hair now feels akin to straw and has many unplanned layers due to massive amounts of breakage. It is also so coarse that it's nigh on impossible to brush or comb when wet. What is done is don, and as I sport an alarming quantity of hair on my head I figure it's not the end of the world and after all, it grows back. Horray! If, after all my grim fore-warnings, you haven't been put off here is how-to guide to DIY bright hair.

1. Lifting. I like to use a store-bought lightening kit called Nordic Blonde by Schwartzkoft (which ironically translates from German to 'blackhead'). I have tried mixing peroxide and bleach from the salon supplies store but it has been waaay less effective.I use the L1++ shade and it takes my 'virgin' (previously un-dyed, new growth) to light blonde in one session.
I wont lie to you, this stuff stings. You are supposed to keep the formula off your scalp but I have never achieved this and have very sensitive skin so it tingles like hell. I did warn you, and I'm sure it won't stop you either.

Follow the directions to a T, (apart from the bit where it says apply to dry hair, for me applying to damp hair seems to be waay more effective!) you don't want to give yourself a chemical haircut. Then rinse it out well.
If you are planning on putting a colour through your hair at this point, don't condition. You want your hair shaft to be as porous as possible. To ensure it really soaks up the dye also dry it at this point.

2. Prepare your dye. Many people ask me if I use Fudge brand. Fudge is poop in my opinion. Unless you want s colour that rinses out in 2 washes just don't even bother. I haven't yet found a decent Australian bright hair dye so my go-to brand is Special Effects, an American brand available online. I get mine from Ebay but be warned... This stuff is in seriously short supply between Xmas and right about now. I have no idea why, but this magic hair colour elixir is rarer than rocking horse poo right now so stock up in December peeps!

I love their Atomic Pink and am yet to find another shade or brand that comes close to its longevity... I get a good 4-5 weeks of vibrant colour. Failing that Manic Panics Amplified range isn't bad either and has been my stop-gap solution at this point. You can mix your own colours too, treat it like paint and use basic colour mixing rules to make the shade of your choice. To get a lighter tone just add your usual conditioner. I use approx 2 parts conditioner to 1 part dye. This not only makes the dye go further on my long hair, but gives me a lighter pink than straight from the bottle.

3. Apply the dye. You can use a tint brush to do this, I'm a hands-on kind of girl so I splodge it on using my hands (and gloves). Be prepared to get messy... This stuff stains all it touches and my pink-splattered bathroom is testament to that. To prevent staining the skin on your hairline you can smear on a barrier cream or Vaseline before you start. Otherwise be prepared to scrub!

Apply the dye in sections and make sure you get every last bit. I like to really comb the dye through once it's on and get my fella to check I haven't missed any bits. If you are doing streaks of colour be warned that this stuff goes EVERYWHERE when you rinse it out, so any surrounding hair will get tinted. You can work that to your advantage and play with lots of colours if you are game enough.
Leave the dye on for as long as you can. I have heard stories of people sleeping in it but I think an hour is good enough. Cover your hair with an old shower cap as the warmth of your head will help the dye fix.

4. Rinse, condition and and style. Contrary to the instructions you will NEVER be able to rinse until the water runs clear. Each time I wash my hair the tub runs bright pink, even my pillowcases get a hint of pink! Rinse until you get sick of it and then condition some more. I also use a leave-in conditioner as in my opinion my poor abused hair needs it!
Now make your new, vibrant hair look pretty and go show it off!

Love Steph