Hair-Dye Dos and Don’ts


Hair dye trends are all the rage nowadays, but that perfect head of fire-red or royal purple hair is not achieved as easily as one might think. It takes careful planning in order to successfully dye never before bleached hair.

Step 1: Picking the Color

When picking a new color, always, always, always take your skin tone into consideration. Bright, vibrant colors are a fun way to express yourself and try new things, but the wrong color will ruin a complexion. As a general rule, those with warm undertones look good with warm colors, and those with cool undertones look good with cool colors. A good indication of undertone color is the color of your veins: cool undertone skin veins appear blue or purple while warm undertone skin veins appear green.

Once you have selected your color, next decide on shade and brand. Bright colors– such as blue, pink, green, etc.– tend to come in semi and demi permanent dye. Semi-permanent dye generally lasts 4 to 12 shampoos, while demi-permanent generally lasts 20 or more shampoos.

Some of the most popular hair dye brands include Ion, Manic Panic, and One ‘n Only. Recommended easy places to obtain dye, bleach, and other supplies needed are Sally’s Beauty Supply and Walgreen’s. Different hair dye brands work differently on people’s hair types, so if one brand does not yield the results desired, try another. The most important rule of thumb when buying dye is to always buy more than you think you need. The most disastrous outcome is running out of dye halfway through a treatment.

Basic materials required for dyeing hair include: latex or vinyl gloves, color mixing bowls, color brushes and bleach applicators, tube squeezers, developer, foil, hair caps, toner, and clips. Clips and foil are generally used for people with long hair or for dyeing multiple colors at once. Hair caps can be used to trap heat while bleaching if required.

Step 2: Bleaching

Once all of the supplies are ready, the first step to that perfect new color is bleaching. Many people may persistently avoid it in fear of damaging their hair, but vibrant colors cannot be fully transplanted into hair follicles without removing the color pigments first. If you have naturally light hair, you may not need to bleach for darker colors.

It’s true that bleach does cause damage to your hair. The most common formula for hair bleach is a mix of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, which remove the color from the hair strands by oxidation. However, this damage can be counteracted by proper conditioning and prepping methods.

First off, never bleach hair that has been recently washed. Second day hair is ideal, as the natural oils on the scalp help shield the skin from the bleach. During the treatment, the bleach will be irritative. Mostly, it will feel itchy, and that is normal. Do not get too apprehensive and wash the bleach off too early, as you will have to wait a day or two before the next treatment.

Nevertheless, it is better to be safe than sorry. If left on too long, the bleach will leave chemical burns. If the pain is unbearable, wash it off quickly. Wear old clothes because the bleach will stain if spilled.

The most recommended method to keeping healthy hair while bleaching is to use a pre-shampoo deep conditioning treatment about three days before, and immediately after. Continue using conditioning treatments weekly. As long as the hair is plumped with moisture, the hair will not become too brittle, and will not snap or bend.

Newly bleached hair must be treated gently: do not over blow-dry it, brush too harshly, or pull too hard.

Before applying the bleach, the powder formula must be mixed with a developer, which is a chemical solution that activates bleach and dye formulas. 20 and 30 volume is most commonly used, and is most likely to get the job done without leaving chemical burns. 40 volume is usually reserved for very dark hair, and 10 is reserved for very light or almost white hair.

While applicating, it is very important to always follow the instructions on the bleach packet. Above all else, treat this as law. Make sure to achieve even coverage with the formula. Once the hair has finished processing, it must be gently rinsed with cool water, shampooed, and treated with conditioner before moving on to the next step. It is important to remember that perfect results may not be achieved with the first process. It may take 2 or 3 processes before the desired lightness is acquired, so have patience.

Different dye colors require different shades of lightening, but it is generally accepted that the lighter the hair, the more color pigments it can hold, thus the more vibrant the end result. Do not be afraid to use toners, either. They are vital in removing the brassy or yellow colors from bleached hair, resulting in a more even white tone.

Step 3: Adding the Color

Once you have the deep-conditioned and healthy blonde you need, it is time to break out the color brushes. Depending on the brand, the dye must be mixed with developer in anywhere from a 1:1 ratio to a 1:3 ratio. Always be sure to check the directions for what volume and ratio to use.

After the dye is mixed, be sure to work quickly, but not sloppily, while applying the dye. As soon as the dye touches a strand of hair, it starts processing. In order to achieve even coverage, divide the hair into sections and take them one at a time. Start from the back, so the dye sits on the back of the head the longest; the back of the head tends to be naturally darker than the front.

Leave the dye on to process for as long as the box directs. As a rule of thumb, the longer it processes, the darker it turns out. When it comes time to rinse, be certain to rinse in cool or cold water. In order to clean the dye off easier, add water to the leftover dye. Massage this mixture through the hair to loosen extra dye, then rinse thoroughly until the water runs completely clear.

Immediately after the rinse, shampoo to remove excess hair pigment on the scalp, and use a color-sealing conditioner treatment. This treatment will smooth down the hair cuticles, locking the color in. Know that this part is messy: color will get everywhere. Prepare to wash color off the shower walls, the sink, and your skin after everything is done.

Step 4: After-Treatment

Congratulations! You now have a brand new look. The next part is taking care of it so it stays as long as possible.

Try to avoid swimming in the near future, as the dye will bleed, and the chlorine will damage. If it cannot be avoided, slather the hair in coconut oil or conditioner to protect it.

Always wash the hair in cool to cold water. This cannot be avoided or skipped. Warm water open the hair cuticles, allowing the pigment to fall out. This being said, it is normal for some dye to wash off the first few washes. Do not worry, this is just extra pigment coming loose.

Be sure to continue using conditioner treatments, and try to avoid washing the hair every day. The longer it goes without being washed, the longer the color stays.

If you have other coloring or bleach tips for hair virgins to know, email me at [email protected]!