Friday, 10 January 2014

Adventures in Hair Colour (and FAQ)

As I type this, I have dye in my hair. In my next adventure in to fun coloured hair. This is something I've done a lot as you can see from the collaboration image above. These pictures are the best shots I have of my previous hair colours, from the age of 17 - 23.

I will do a tutorial on how to achieve these kinds of results once I'm done with my newest colour. But for now, I thought I'd do an FAQ on coloured hair.

The most common questions I get asked, are

"Do you HAVE to bleach it first?"

Yes. Unless you have naturally very light blonde hair, you will have to bleach it.

"Doesn't bleach ruin your hair?"
It can do, but only if handled improperly or you don't know what you're doing.

"Do you do this yourself?"
Yes! I do all my bleaching and colouring at home.

"Are you trained in hair care?"
Nope! I just read up on what it involved, and trial and error got me here.

"Wouldn't you rather go to a professional, in case you ruin your hair?"
No. My apologies to any hair professionals reading this, but I don't trust them. I've had quite a history of bad encounters with professionals. They are often not trained in full bleaching, as it is not really a common procedure anymore - more people are into highlights. Many professionals will tell you that your hair is simply "too dark" to be bleached. Being naturally dark haired, I've heard this from more than a handful of salons and been turned away. As you can see from my image, this is just not true. Even more salons will tell you that bleaching can 'kill' your hair. A moment of thought will tell you that you cannot kill hair. Hair is already dead. If it was alive, it would grow from the bottom, and hurt when you cut it. The follicle, at the top, under your scalp, is alive. But the actual hair is not.

"What brand of bleach is the best?"
The brand of bleach doesn't really matter. It's the volume of peroxide that does. Pre-mixed blonde dyes are not bleaches, they are toners and colourants that you are supposed to put on over previously lightened hair. What you need, is a bottle of Creme Peroxide, and a packet of Peroxide Power to mix yourself.

"What is a volume of bleach?"
The volume is essentially the strength. Usually you can buy 20%, 40%, or rarely 60% vol peroxide. If you have light brown, red or dark blonde hair, 20% will be strong enough. Darker hair will need 40 or maybe even 60.

"What if my hair goes orange?
"If you have light hair, it can't go orange. If you have dark hair, if WILL go orange. When it's half-way done, it's orange. Think of a colour scale, fading from dark brown to blonde. Orange/red is in the middle. Your hair has to go through the orange stage to get to blonde.

"My hairdresser said that your hair going orange is from doing it wrong at home"
I have heard this way too many times. From people who tried to bleach their hair, got halfway through the waiting time, saw that it was orange, panicked, washed it out, and went to their salon to get it "fixed". Where they were told that this is a terrible side effect of doing it at home, and they should -always- come to the salon and pay them money to do it instead.
If your hair is in the orange stage, just keep waiting.

"What does your mother/boyfriend/friends/ think of you doing this to your hair?"
They don't have a say in what I do with my own hair!

"You will never get a job with hair like that"
Not really a question, more of a bigoted statement.
I usually respond by politely telling them that plenty of employers don't mind what colour your hair is so long as you have the right skills for the job. Or, that I'd just dye my hair a natural colour if I really had to.

That's all! Those are the ones I hear the most on a day-to-day basis with coloured hair. I hope you maybe learned some useful information or had some of your own questions answered. Of course I'll gladly answer more if you ask them!
If you also dye your hair, I hope you were able to relate to this! Do you get these same questions asked? Do you get other questions I don't?


  1. The FAQ was very interesting! Many of my questions were answered! :)
    I like the colours you used in your collage above!

  2. I buy my bleach and developer at a beauty supply store, because I can't find good stuff anywhere else, and discovered a cool type of bleach powder with blue tint in it that nicely counteracts the orange. With almost black hair naturally, even three or four bleachings with extra developing time can leave my hair creamsicle orange, so this was a revolution in dying for me :).

    What brand of dye do you use? And how often do you have to re-dye to keep up a bright colour? I'm experimenting right now, because the manic panic that I used to use with relative success suddenly won't stick in my hair for more than a few weeks.

    And in response to your last often asked question, I can say that I work at a library, and have ever changing unnatural hair colours, and no one has a bad thing to say about it. Take that, people who think being alternative is limiting! :)

    1. I've found small bottles of peroxide and powder at supermarkets before, but never strong ones. I also have naturally black hair and have to sit though several bleachings!
      I mostly use LaRiche "Directions" brand dye, though I have tried manic panic, splat, raw, 'crazy color', stargazer and schwarzkopf. Manic Panic is the most expensive, and the least effective imho. I prefer cold colours like blues and greens, and they never stick as well as warm colours because of the atomic structure of them, but even true Blue stains when I use Directions!

  3. Useful advice :) I have currently got violently violet hair AND a job, so people with the last statement are erroneous ;) Lots of people have funky hair and serious jobs.


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