A Girl’s Guide to Hair Dying

4 March 2012

God isn’t perfect and neither are genetics.

Sometimes we wind up looking like an ugly bag of mostly water, but thanks to the fervor of women everywhere we don’t have to accept our given looks anymore!

We have the technology.

I myself was born with super dark brown hair, which was something I didn’t question for a very long time. But then one day I decided that I wanted my hair to be blonde and since then I’ve gone through a variety of colors.

1. Be confident.

This is the most important thing about dying your hair, no matter what color. You must be sure that this is what you want and that you are prepared to live with whatever the result is, because you’re going to be stuck with it for at least a little while.

I have actually found that changing my hair styles always increases my confidence levels. When I was younger I was self-conscious about my wiry curls and always kept them in a ponytail and didn’t give my hair much attention.

However, in my junior year of high school, some classmates and I hosted a fake speak-easy for our American Literature class, so I went to the hairdresser the night before and lopped all of my hair off for a real 20s-style bob—and it changed my life.

From that moment on, I could no longer hide behind a ponytail or a bun; I had to wear my hair down every single day, and everyone, including myself, just had to accept that and move on.

Then once I did have the confidence, I bleached my hair to all perdition and eventually dyed it pink, because that was the color of my soul. When your hair is an alternative color you will be noticed, so having the confidence to pull it off is vital.

2. You must be safe!!!!

I have always had the thought that if I do end up ruining my hair and it all falls out that I’ll just buy some wigs and that I’ll be set. However, that’s not a very realistic thought, so I always wait at least three months between bleaches and at least a month between regular dyes—and even that’s a little too frequent.

Furthermore, make sure to follow the directions, condition like crazy, if possible use cool water when rinsing, and don’t shower after the initial after-dying-shower for about two-three days. Give your hair time to breathe.

The likelihood of your hair falling out is minimal, but why take the chance?

3. Choose good products!

I typically use Manic Panic Flash Lightning Volume 40 for bleaching, because it does an excellent job and enchances the color if you dye over it, but it’s also one of the most intense and therefore potentially-harmful bleaches around. If you’re not as crazy as me, just get a regular bleach blonde box from the drugstore, and it’ll do the trick.

When it comes to alternative colors, ditch Manic Panic and move on to Special Effects. The pinks I have used are Atomic Pink and Cupcake Pink, and both looked amazing and lasted a long time (it said it would last for six weeks; it lasted for six months); whereas my friend tried to use Manic Panic Cotton Candy Pink and it completely faded after two washes. I buy them off of amazon, personally, and both of these brands are vegan, so you can essentially leave them in for hours and it won’t hurt your hair.

As for natural colors, practically any main brand of hair dye will work; however, there is no 100% guarantee for any hair dye, and sometimes fate just has it that it will wash out despite the promises on the box. Don’t be too upset, wait a couple of weeks, and try again.

4. How to bleach:

Bleaching is scary, I’ll be the first to admit it, despite having bleached my hair three times in one year, so let me give you some guidelines.

  • Bleaching is necessary if you want to dye your hair a lighter color than it is, and it is preferable if you want the color to stick, even if you already have blonde hair. When your hair is bleached, it is stripped of nutrients, so when you dye over it it will adhere to the dye more thoroughly.
  • Unless you are extremely skilled at it, have someone else bleach your hair. I don’t believe in going to the hairdresser for anything that I can do myself, but I certainly don’t believe in myself enough to apply dangerous chemicals to my head all by my lonesome, so I have a friend or my mom help me out.
  • Wear gloves and have a towel ready for any skin contact.
  • The box may say to only keep it on for twenty minutes, but leave it on until it is the color you desire. The bleach literally lightens your hair in front of your eyes and continues to do so as long as it’s on your hair. You should probably not go over something like two hours though; that might be a little excessive.
  • If you have the means, cover your head in plastic-wrap and stick it under one of those automatic hand dryers in public bathrooms or a blow-drier. Heat speeds up the process!
  • If it starts to hurt, it’s probably time to wash it out. There is of course going to be some stinging no matter what, but once it is distracting that’s your head trying to save you from dying.
  • If you want to stay blonde, use a toner to even out the color and make it pretty.
  • Wait AT LEAST three months before bleaching again!!!!

5. How to dye:

If you want a color other than blonde, this is the fun part!

  • Ignore the directions, saturate every single strand of your hair with every last drop of dye, and let it sit for a long time if you want the color to stay. I usually keep it in for one-two hours.
  • When you shower, don’t freak out when your hair bleeds! That’ll happen for a couple of showers worth, and there’s no need to worry unless the hair has actually faded.
  • Dance around in your underwear to cheesy 90s music with happiness when you’ve got a glowing noggin!

6. Do it now.
I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you’re in your late teens and early twenties. Unless you’re going to be a rockstar (my hair guru is Sherri Dupree Bemis of the band Eisley who has covered the entire spectrum of colors), chances are that college is your last chance to be crazy and change up your look so drastically.

So if you’ve always fantasized about being That Girl or Guy with pink, blue, purple, green, rainbow hair—now is the time to make your dreams come true.

And just always remember—hair grows back, and life is short.

For more honest insight, check out this post:
A Girl’s Guide to College Athletes

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