Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hair Colour-How To

Some of you may know I've been contemplating a new hair colour for some time now and I finally took the plunge last week. I say 'plunge' but actually when it comes to colouring or cutting my hair, I am surprisingly nonchalant about the whole thing. I'm not someone who will cry for days over a botched fringe or bad dye job. Yes I would like 'perfect' hair every day and yes I often have 'bad hair days', but it's not the end of the world, it will grow back and if it's bothering you too much, there's hats and scarves and all sorts of pretty disguises! I know you were interested in a step-by-step guide for how to go about a big change like this and what to use, so here it is. My main tips are:

*if you're looking for a vivid 'unnatural' colour, it's likely you'll have to use bleach first to get the desired look unless your hair is already light blonde (colour on dark brown or black hair will just add a sheen/tint). When your roots grow in, just bleach this regrowth avoiding the previously bleach hair.
*when bleaching; you want your hair to be the palest lemon bordering on white or as light as you can go before adding the colour.
*if it's too yellow or orange, try a toner to take out the brassiness or else consider that your dye colour is technically mixing with orange and the end result will often be different to what you were hoping for.
*when bleaching, work fast (to cover the hair before the bleach stops developing), don't bother protecting your skin as bleach doesn't leave a tint behind (but don't get it on clothing etc), do pay attention and only leave on for the stated time.
*when using the colour, you can work slowly as the dye doesn't 'develop' like bleach, avoid getting on the skin as it will stain (use vaseline around the hairline, the ears etc), leave on for hours for optimum colour results.
*some colours can stain badly (like Special Effects 'Atomic Pink'), wash off the bath,walls, shower etc immediately or they will be stained forever (I used to coat the bath in shower gel before rinsing my hair and ran my hair under the taps first to get the majority of colour out before showering). I've never found another dye quite so potent since, thankfully.
*use hot water on your hair to fade colour
*use cold water on your hair to protect the colour
*add a little dye to your bottle of shampoo to 'top up' colour every wash
*do not use conditioner before applying the coloured dye (the dye does not 'stick' to conditioner), so shampoo only.
*consider mixing colours on your head, rather than in the bowl (for months, over faded Atomic Pink-I've been applying Atomic Turquoise and it turns those sections purple, AP is so strong that it would've stayed pink had I mixed the two shades together before applying to the hair)
*if you need to wear glasses when colouring your hair then cut a couple of 'fingers' off plastic disposable gloves to cover and protect the legs.
So, a little hairstory-I haven't touched my hair since the middle of December last year, so a full 3 months. At that time I'd been using Manic Panic 'Atomic Turquoise' Amplified formula all over, with a dash of Special Effect 'Atomic Pink' on the ends and a streak in the front (which turns purple with the turquoise). Last week, the purple had faded until it was practically gone, it was a very pale silvery lilac. The turquoise is always very blue at the start then fades to green-it was also very light and I was satisfied that there was as little colour left in my hair as possible. I used Garnier Nutrisse Truly Blonde Creme Pre-Lightener+ to bleach my entire head. Obviously starting with my roots which were very dark (as they would take the most lightening). As a sidenote, I've been growing out my super short fringe for the past few months-but am torn with whether to keep going or cut it short again, hmmm!
I was actually surprised with how well the bleaching went, my hair was a pale yellow, white in places. The roots were completely unnoticeable and matched the rest of my hair. There was in places, some very light stubborn traces of pink and a little green. Overall it worked brilliantly though. I did want to take the yellow tone out of it if possible, because my hair has a very golden tone to it and for what I was planning it needed to be cool, silvery toned. I had some Manic Panic 'Virgin Snow' Toner left over (around 3/4 of a jar), so applied this to my whole head. To do this, I washed out the bleach, shampooing only, towel dried my hair and I literally took handfuls of the toner and massaged it into my hair-all over. I wasn't trying to be neat with this-I just made sure it went everywhere and they say to comb these colours through until they foam-I didn't have a comb, so I just used my hands to massage it until it was a little frothy. I can't remember how long I left this on, possibly more than an hour, then I washed it out-again only using shampoo (yeah my poor bleached hair felt gross, but that's the way to do it).
I'm not sure if the toner made all that much of a difference, although the next day my hair was definitely a pale lemon, white colour which was the desired shade.
Next was the colour and I was in two minds about whether I wanted to go lilac or grey. I'd been hankering after greyish locks for a while but I haven't found a suitable colour to do it with yet. I decided on using Directions Silver and Lilac mixed. They come in little pots and I emptied them into a mixing bowl, 1 full pot of Silver to half a pot of Lilac. I've never used this brand before or either of the colours, so it was very much guess-work and I had no idea if it would even work.
My Mummy painstakingly applied this mixture to my hair using a dye brush. Both pots look very similar in the jar, Silver is a dark, dusky blue (above) Lilac is slightly more purpley. In the bowl, when they were mixed, it was a bright blue-purple. On my head it was very blue and in places it looked a little green tinged (eep!), as you can see in the pic below. I left this on for several hours.
This time when washing it out, you can use conditioner (yay). I got a bit of a shock when I came out of the shower and noticed blonde hair under the towel at the roots. Unfortunately my roots don't seem to have taken (the bits that were greenish tinged when the dye was on). I love the rest of the head, it's an iced lilac, slightly grey colour and I really, really love it.
My roots are bugging me though. I'm not sure why it's not taken. Mum wonders if it's when our mixture ran out and we used a dollop of lilac to two dollops of Silver to do the last wee bit of hair and she thinks this has maybe worked better than the other mixture.
I've lived with it for a few days but was desperate to do something about the roots today, which I have. At first I chucked on some Lilac dye in the hope it would take (but because I had conditioner in my hair it didn't). So, I washed my hair (shampooing only), towel dried and then properly applied just the Lilac (straight out the pot) to the really bad bits (couldn't be bothered figuring out how much I would need by using the Silver with it). I left it on for a couple of hours then shampooed and conditioned it. This time on my head when the dye was on, it looked a deeper lilac than the end result above, but I have to admit it's still not totally covered the blonde bits. The colour is brighter lilac now than the greyish tone it was last week (no pics yet sorry), but still the stubborn yellowy bits have only taken a little colour (they're kind of ashy taupe). It's wrapped in a scarf and pin curls just now and is still drying, but I'm a little bit at a loss as to where I've gone wrong. I'm wondering if these bits will take in a months time when fresh roots have come through, as obviously this yellow bit will work it's way down my hair as my hair grows and I don't want a yellow stripe halfway down my head! It's maybe not even root related, but it does seem to just be those bits that have very little colour. It's just odd because they bleached so well and were the exact same shade as the rest of my head before colouring. My Mum says I'm too fussy and that it's fine, but you know when it's your own hair, it bugs you?
I have bought a few products to prolong my 'lilac life', which I would definitely recommend you do if you're thinking of taking the plunge. I got Pro:Voke 'Touch Of Silver' Twice A Week Brightening Shampoo and Intensive Conditioner which are designed for silver, grey or platinum hair to tone down the brassiness. They contain violet colour pigments (there's also a daily shampoo and conditioner available too), so if you leave them on for at least 5 minutes (or longer if you have time), they can deposit a little tint of violet to your hair (like an old-lady purple rinse).
I also picked up a leave in treatment (Bristows from Bodycare) which contains violet pigment and was only 99p and I was going to get the Touch Of Silver Dry Shampoo, but put it back (I may go back for this actually) as it could work just sprayed into the roots and not brushed out to deposit some 'silver' colour.  So there you go, hopefully that's helped a little.  As I said, you just have to trial things and can never be entirely sure how it's going to work especially if you haven't used the brand/colours before.  I'll definitely be keeping this for a little while (even with the dodgy roots), because I really like the colour.  I'm sure the lilac will fade from bright to greyish toned after a few washes, which suits me fine as that's what I initially wanted.


  1. That's weird about the roots not taking, I've had bleached hair for years and many years ago I dyed it purple (using Directions like you have) and because the roots were freshly bleached they went super dark and the rest was lighter. I ended up having to have it stripped at the hairdressers where it went a fab lilac colour.

    So, in typing this I've now thought that maybe if you try a purple and then do some serious washing/finding a product to "strip" it, you might get a better lilac?

    I've used the pink you mention too, fortunately I've never turned anything pink! Mind you I have somehow "bleached" towels with the Touch Of Silver stuff tho!

    Makes me want to get on and get my roots seen to now! LOL!

  2. This post has really helped me!! I've been gradually going blonder for a while now, it's expensive going to the hairdressers and have been contemplating doing it at home, as I want to go a bright pinky-red eventually. Thanks! xoxo

  3. You're looking lovely in all these piccies :)
    Very informative and in depth post, So interesting to see how the silver/lilac turned out, it looks really nice, especially with those hair scarves, cute!

  4. great post! i have highlighted blonde hair wanted to dye it bright red with a semi would it work or would the red just be all uneven on my hair?

  5. Lovely colours, to be honest though I was watching on you tube one of your tutorials but wanted to know exactly how you get those amazing curls? Mine seem to be great for about 10 minutes then flatness rains supreme. xxx

  6. The reason it didn't take as well at the roots will be because the mids and ends had been processed with bleaches prior, so the hair is more porous there and will suck up more colour.

    Your roots have been processed once, so are in better condition - less damage to the cuticle than the ends.

    If you were to re-bleach your roots for say 10mins or so and then put the lilac back over it would probably take better, but that's risky because it's introducing more damage and you'll just run into the problem again next time you need to do your roots.

  7. I love your new colour! I've been going from a very natural highlighted blonde to silver and its stayed quite yellow. I've just ordered the directions silver dye so hopefully it will take. The provoke shampoo is great but just make sur eyou don't leave it on too long because it will go purple!

  8. I'm planning on dying mine in the next few weeks, this was really helpful, I love your blog and your insane shoe collection xx

  9. wow i love your hair color changes_all these beautiful bright colors< and ur also gorgeous so the colors jus work so well!!

    im so jealous< my skin tone is dark< and certain colours like blonde i'll never get to enjoy.lol
    But you inspire me to not be afraid to explor vibrant hair colors

  10. i have the same problem with toners not taking to the roots aswell as the rest. Pretty certain its becaise the lenghts are more damaged than the roots do love the provoke brightening shampoo use on dry hair as a toner just to the roots for 15 20 mins longer if needed and should do the trick only apply to roots though as the ends are likely to soak up more colour


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