Outside of brief period in the early stages of motherhood, my hair hasn’t been its natural color since I was 15. Born with naturally so dark brown that it’s black hair, dyeing it black would have been redundant when I went goth, and since I’d always wished I’d been born with the same naturally crazy red hair my grandmother and aunt sported, I took up my godmother’s offer to have a professional dye it red the summer after my Freshman year, and never looked back.
Wanting to experiment more than what the local Fantastic Sams was willing to do, I discovered Manic Panic, which is still my dye of choice. My hair has been red, purple, blonde, blue, and actual over dyed black, and the many colors in between as the dye has faded in between colors. I’ve found some of my best colors by accident – when I tried to strip the black out of my hair I ended up with an odd calico mix of black, blonde, and orange that actually looked pretty awesome for a summer.
I’ve tried just about every brand of hair dye out there, and gone to more than a few professional stylists. Out of all my experiences, I’ve found that despite what many professionals say, I usually have to dye my hair myself to get the color I want and get it to stay. Too many pros want to bring their own ideas of what will look good to the table instead of giving me what I want, and while most of the good ones will fix it after you freak out on them because your hair looks NOTHING like what you asked them to do, I really don’t have all day to spend at a beauty parlor. Also, sometimes there is nothing they can do. You can only lighten your hair so much in one day before it’s just a pile of hay on your head, and doing highlights takes most of the day just the first time around. So I’ve learned to do a lot by myself.
Some tips to potential dye it at home artists –
Do not buy dye at a drugstore, grocery store, or even Target, much as I love Target. Go where the pros go – or at least Sally Beauty Supply. There’s usually a helpful person there who can point you in the right direction for buying items separately, including ones they never supply in the box, like the hair color brushes (much more control than bottles), and gloves that actually fit. (I have tiny hands – trying to do anything with those generic gloves they give you in the boxes is impossible for me.) Invest in either a salon style smock, or just get some cheap shorts and a t-shirt off the clearance rack or at those 5 shirts for $10 stores. If you’re not sure if you’re going to actually like the color, go the Manic Panic route – it’s quick to put on, and washes out pretty quickly if you don’t like it. (Unless you’re like me, and your hair stays blue or black until it grows out, but I’m under the impression that’s an unusual reaction.) Lastly, make sure you take care of it – use shampoos and conditioners made for dyed hair (especially if you go the red), and be ready to use conditioning treatments at least once a month.
Now live free and dye hard!