You may have noticed I'm sporting another new hair colour this week (one that I'm pretty excited about). You know me and my ever evolving (or should that be revolving?) hair colour! Well, I'm always on the look-out to try something different or new and am very pleased to see Schwarzkopf introduce their Ultra Brights collection to the Live Color XXL range. This means 'alternative' hair colours available on the high-street, something I've personally waited a long time for! I have to buy my colours online and when you factor in that the majority of them are shipped in from the US (bumps up the price) then you've got a delivery charge each time, it can be quite costly. The Ultra Brights range are £5.49 each and available from the usual stockists: chemists, supermarkets, Boots and Superdrug etc.
Schwarzkopf sent me two gorgeous shades (Purple Punk 94 and Shocking Pink 93) and it's the latter I'm reviewing today. Some of you know my history with pink hair colour (it led to the naming of this blog 'Pink Haired Princess') and after years of it, my family banned me from ever using it again. Seriously! It stained everything. Necklines of clothes, bedding, necklaces, hairbands/clips, the silicone stuff around the bath, my nails (any nail polish took on a pink tint or ombre effect when washing my hair), the couch, everything! At least three years on and with constant bleaching and changing of hair colours, I still find traces of pink, it's that potent! However as much as it caused me bother, it was one of my favourite colours and just felt so 'natural' on me (despite it's eye-watering brightness). My eye is still drawn to gorgeous pink locks and when I saw this photo of Perrie from Little Mix with her beautiful dip dyed pink head, I wanted it! Little Mix were actually the face (or is that the 'hair'?) of the Ultra Brights range and the colour on Perrie in that photo is this 'Shocking Pink' shade.
I found the instructions inside really helpful, because they came with ideas on doing your whole head, touching up roots, dip dye, streaks or going pastel. I like that there's scope to try something other than the standard full head application and that it has tips on how to achieve that (and the instructions aren't long-winded either). Inside the box is a couple of sachets of conditioner along with plastic gloves and the actual hair colour is contained in a squeezy tube. I'm loving that there's no mixing, so you can use exactly the amount of dye you need without any wastage. For years I've been frustrated at throwing away excess mixture or wishing I had some left for touch-ups later in the month. The colour is a matte sort of paste (thick) and one tube would be enough for shorter hair (I'd estimate to almost shoulder length), but I'd recommend two for any longer. As it was late at night I had to use the camera flash and the paste looks shimmering in this photo, it did have a pearly quality to it, but looked matte and non-shiny.
Now as with all alternative colours, it's best applied on bleached or already blonde hair for super bright or intense results. If you have darker hair and apply without pre-lightening, then you'll just get a tint. Which is fine if that's what you're going for, but just be aware of this beforehand. I was in a million minds with what I wanted to do and I think you should really go into these things quite open minded without too many expectations or else you'll end up being disappointed. I decided to just go for a full head with the pink (after contemplating mixing both colours and everything else!). Stupidly, I only had a little bleach left, just enough to cover my dark roots and not enough for the green ends. You can see in that first picture above that the rest of my hair was a faded green. Beforehand I'm sitting going "what does green and pink make? Hmmmmm", not like I studied art at length or anything (!)
This is where my 'expectations' theory comes in. I had no idea how it was going to turn out, having never used this particular colour before. I didn't know how strong it would be, if it mattered that my roots were yellow and the lengths were pale green, if it was going to wash straight out or stain everything in sight. It's also important to point out here I have no hair fear, so I don't care too much and just go for it! The best way we (Mum and I) found to apply this was by squeezing out a little dye into one hand and using the other hand to pick up the colour and get it into the hair. I wasn't sure just rubbing it into the hands and applying quickly through the hair would coat all around every strand of hair nor was I sure that a dye bowl and brush would've worked (seemed like too much work and I think the colour would either have come straight off the brush or else stuck to it). My Mum is very methodical anyway and felt comfortable and confident that she'd coated all the hair. She found the dye easy to work with, even although it was a different application method to what we usually do. As you can see from the image above the green parts instantly took on a more purple colour, while the bleached roots were definitely pink. Below is once the colour has been washed out.
I should've said, you apply this colour to towel dried hair. So I'd literally just bleached it, washed that out, then applied the pink when I got out of the shower. I think it's recommended to leave the colour on for 30 minutes, but I left mine in longer because it overlapped a meal time and I didn't want to shower straight after eating. So you don't all sue me for ending up bald, you should really strand test and follow the instructions/guide times provided. The colour smells delicious by the way and unlike any hair dye I've ever tried. It didn't tingle like bleach does and felt very gentle. So after an hour I think it was, I washed it out. You sooo don't want to know the measures I go to washing my hair and trying to avoid staining the bath. I now kneel in the bath facing the taps, rinse the colour under the tap, shampoo and condition then once I've finished, stand up and have a shower with my hair in a towel! I usually come out with aching legs (for 2 days) and dimpled knees, but it's what I have to do for pretty hair! I learnt pretty early on though that this colour wasn't going to stain the bath badly. Any drips or coloured water sitting in the bath, just washed away (the old stuff would've stained instantly) even off the rubbery bath mat. After I'd washed the majority of colour out, I even took off the gloves and it didn't stain my hands in the slightest. I couldn't have done that with the other dye for fear of being arrested for murdering someone (it looked very much like a blood bath and stained blood on hands)!
I was a little worried the colour would look a bit naff; that I'd have pink roots and then purple hair. My Mum said "isn't dip dye fashionable?", eh yeah but not when you've only got an inch of one colour! Even although this is the case with my hair, there's so many pretty colours in there and once it's curled to my style, it's not so severe looking. It doesn't even look 'pink roots/purple hair' (even when straight) though, it seems to have streaked well. The photos above are from the first day and the last one above is taken without the flash. The middle one looks very pink, it can do in the sunlight. I'm still struggling to name the colour, but the most porous parts of my roots are very bright pink, like the colour on the box (to be honest I never imagined it would come out as bright as the box picture), with other parts a more dull pink. There's very blue toned purple streaks, probably the greenest parts (which you can best see in the leopard print cardigan photos at the end of this post) and the rest is this striking, bright rose-violet.
Once again I've ended up with a unique, multi tonal colour without really trying! This is why you can't have expectations. I might not even be be able to replicate it again. So I'd say if you're looking for the bright pink on the box, ensure your hair is an even colour all over and is either already blonde or you pre-lighten it. If you're looking for a tint, apply it over your natural (darker) hair colour. If you want something more 'lucky dip' like me, then apply over different shades for varying colour results. You might wish to take some of the guess work out by figuring out which colours combine to make what. Like everybody knows green and pink makes purple, you know! If you'd like it like Perrie, then they applied the colour straight from the tube on the ends (bright pink) and mixed a pea size amount of colour with regular conditioner to dilute it for the pale pink. They recommend just using that small amount with conditioner and leaving for a minute for a pastel shade. I was a bit sceptical that so little colour in so little time could make a difference, but may try that next time. This would have to be done on pre-lightened or already light hair.
I haven't washed it yet to see how much colour comes out (I'm generally down to washing my hair once a week to maintain the colour anyway), but it's certainly not faded (if anything I think it looks darker now than when I first coloured it). I still have a little colour left which I wanted to keep for touch-ups or further down the track when/if it starts fading. I also still have the Purple Punk to play with-I may dilute that one. I've also got my eye on the stunning Electric Blue 95 for autumn, it looks sooo cool. Overall I'm very impressed with this. The colour is great and I love the ease of application and the fact I can buy it in most shops. I also love that although the colour is bright, it isn't staining anything and washes off the bath etc easily. I'm big on experimenting with hair colour, so I'm happy to combine and dilute shades for a unique colour. It is supposed to be semi-permanent and last 6-8 washes, but I could get 6 weeks out of that hopefully. I'll update with how it looks once I've washed it and as always you can see my daily outfits on The Shoe Girl Diaries and keep track of my hair there! There's also some really great videos on YouTube including the Little Mix ladies using the Ultra Brights colours. Have you or would you like to give these a go?