My hair’s original color is a coppery red. My entire life, all I heard was “oh you have such pretty hair, don’t dye it!” When I was a kid, I *hated* my hair. When I was really little, people would come up and pat me on the head and tell me my hair was pretty. I didn’t LIKE people. (I still don’t.) I especially did not like strange adults bonking me on the freaking head.
As I grew up, I became accustomed to my hair, and even identified with it. But I was still BORED sometimes. I didn’t want to do anything crazy haircut-wise, mostly because I hate having to mess with my hair a lot. I do not want to have to use multiple products and multiple styling tools. For a long time, I really didn’t have to. I used a little Biosilk on the ends, but that was about the extent of it.
But then…the grays started to creep in. Someone told me redheads don’t go gray. That person was a lying liar. However, the grays gave me an excuse to finally color my hair.
But you know what? Even though they make 9000 shades of red hair dye, they don’t ever show what it does to actual red hair on the box. It’s all blonde and brown. I think the hair dye companies believed that shit about redheads not going gray, or succumbed to the “if someone has pretty hair, they won’t want to color it.”
Therefore, my forays into hair dye have been mostly trial and error. Let’s discuss:
My natural hair. This was taken in 2006 at Bonnaroo. Why yes, that shirt does say “Wake and Bake.” I’m not sure if that’s a pipe in my hand, but I did personally tie-dye the pillowcase.
However, my hair showed some signs of gray somewhere around 2011. Not BIG signs, just this little streak at the front. I used this as an excuse to dye my hair a dark auburn. I don’t have a picture (I thought I did), but it was probably too dark. Also, it was supposed to be a demi-permanent, but not so much.
Once it finally did some fading, I started tweaking the colors. Here are some of the trials and errors:
This one is a professional concoction where I think she pretty much just used the ends of all the auburns & coppers she had.
Also a professional job, plus turquoise streaks. Think this was an about equal mix of level-7 auburn & copper with Pravana Vivids in turquoise. The turquoise sucked. I had to redo it in like a week, and I used that horrible SPLAT! crap, and it was so runny and horrible. Don’t buy that. Seriously. Everywhere but on your hair.
Garnier Olia “Light Natural Auburn.” My ass. This is not light. It’s more like auburn brown. Also, my hair was like fucking straw after this mess was on my head.
Color remover was necessary. Holy shit was my hair in bad shape after this. I used a demi-permanent: Natural Instincts-Spiced Tea. I believe this was the result:
After this, I did demi-permanent color for a while. I was trying to un-fry my hair a little. I was using U By Umberto in Light Copper Gold, which is the closest match I’ve found to my natural color:
Then Ulta stopped carrying that color, and I couldn’t find it on Amazon for a while, and I had to do SOMETHING. Enter Feria 74 (note that it is not generally this expensive, but I’m too lazy to go look for a cheaper link).
Then I got bored, and started playing seriously with bright colors. Enter Feria C74. That’s what the red part of my hair is at present, in these photos:
It starts out pretty bright, but it fades to something a little more natural:
For the blue/purple/turquoise parts of my hair, I use some permutation of Jerome Russell Punky Colour. In the picture above, it’s solid Atlantic Blue. The bonuses to Atlantic Blue: it doesn’t keep shedding color for days. The downside: it fades faster.
I don’t usually bleach my hair. My natural color has faded enough that the colors are pretty vibrant. The only times I’ve bleached have been when I wanted to switch from turquoise to purple or something, and I have reached the conclusion that you can slowly ease into that.
I really prefer a more turquoise shade, but it’s not just about the color right when you dye it…it’s more about how it FADES. You do not want to redo this shit every week. (And to get this out there: I wash or co-wash my hair pretty much every day. If I don’t, it’s nasty and greasy and it itches and I don’t feel clean. I use L’Oreal Everpure Sleek shampoo & conditioner and EverPure cleansing balm and sometimes Elvive conditioner in the red bottle because it makes my hair so shiny.) Anyway, if you just use Turquoise, it fades to straight-up green in less than 2 weeks. Since I do not wish to look like a fucking poinsettia, I mix it with Midnight Blue (about half and half) so it stays turquoise. Warning: THIS mixture sheds color. Like, don’t wear light colors for at least a week, especially not if you’re going to be sweating in any way, and I would suggest dark-colored pillowcases.
If you want to switch colors, the first thing to do is hit it with ALL blue. Then, two weeks later, mix the blue with some purple: either Purple or Violet. Don’t use the plum, especially not on bleached hair…it’s fucking pink:
(By a week out, this was fuchsia…but I saw a girl at Ulta who did it on unbleached dark hair, and it looked AMAZING. So maybe if you have dark hair, it would work well.)
Where was I? Oh yes. Color transitions. So after you mix blue & purple, a few weeks later, keep doing all purple, and within a month or two, it will be purple. You just have to be patient.
If you’re a short-hair type person, go ahead and bleach, because the damaged part will be gone fairly quickly. This haircolor is like grape-scented conditioner. It doesn’t damage your hair in the slightest. I usually leave it on for at least an hour, sometimes longer. But if you’re growing your hair out, use the transitional method. People are generally like “OOOH I LOVE YOUR HAIR” even if you think it looks like balls.
One final word of wisdom: do not ever use Manic Panic Rockabilly Blue unless you are into Smurf explosions. That shit got all over my shower, my body (my skin was blue for days), my clothes, my sink…I’m pretty sure that even bleach didn’t take it out of the grout in the shower. Fortunately, they were remodeling that apartment when we moved out, lol. So even though the color in the jar is just GORGEOUS…don’t. Unless you have some kind of EZ Kleen Sex Dungeon that you could use as a beauty salon.