Crazy hair coloring tips
Just thought I’d give some advice for anyone who’s dyeing their hair with semi-permanent dyes like Splat’s crazy pinks, purples, blues, greens, etc.
1. Bleach your hair as light as possible first unless you have really white blond hair to begin with. You’ll get much more vivid color.
2. After you’ve washed out the bleach (or just washed your hair, if you aren’t bleaching), do not apply conditioner. Conditioner coats your hair and will prevent the dye from soaking in as well. Also, you’ll need to blow dry your hair, because it needs to be bone dry when you apply the dye.
3. If you want the colors more pastel than what comes out of the box, mix the dye with some white conditioner until you get the color you want.
4. When you’re applying the dye, make sure you really saturate your hair from root to tip. Rub the dye in thoroughly with your fingers (in plastic gloves, of course) to make sure every strand is fully coated.
5. If you’re doing multiple colors, wrap the lighter color strands in foil so they won’t get adulterated by the darker colors. You can bend the foil or roll it up so it keeps that strand out of your way while you continue to work.
6. Leave the dye on for way longer than the package suggests. I always stick it all under a shower cap to keep it out of my way and just leave it on for about 6 hours. (This is why dyeing my hair is an all-day project.)
7. When you’re ready to rinse out the dye, use water as cold as you can stand. The colder the water, the better the dye will stay in your hair. I always condition my hair at this stage, but if your hair doesn’t tangle too badly you might be able to avoid that, which would be better. The package says to rinse your hair until the water runs clear, but in my experience that’s a joke. I’ve never gotten the water to run clear on the first rinse, no matter how long I stayed under the water. I just got it to run somewhat clearer than the first gush of extreme color and then gave up and dried my hair with a dark towel. The water doesn’t ever run clear the first 10 times I wash it or so.
8. When rinsing out the dye this first time, leave yourself considerable time and energy for cleaning the tub and shower afterward. It might look a bit like a murder scene, with arterial sprays of dye everywhere, and that dye will stain your tub/tiles semi-permanently if you don’t clean it off fairly promptly.
9. Splat dyes (the only ones with which I’m familiar) will stain your skin (especially your forehead, ears, neck, etc.). But make-up remover will pretty much take it all off if you scrub persistently enough. And I use masking tape to try to cover as much of my hairline as possible to minimize this kind of staining.
10. To help the color last as long as possible, A) use shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair, B) wash your hair as rarely as possible (dry shampoo can come in handy to help with this, as it doesn’t affect the color—I use “Perfect Hair Day” from Living Proof, and I highly recommend it), and C) only ever wash your hair with the coldest water you can stand. The warmer the water, the more color will rinse away. In my experience, this makes a huge difference over time.
11. Only use dark towels to dry your hair when you wash it, and only sleep on dark pillow cases, because the color will rub off and stain your linens.
Keep reading if you want to see some photos illustrating my experiments and showing how the color fades with various methods of treatment.