Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Funky Hair Dyes for Dark Hair (Updated!)

Updated 2022.
This is my giant post all about hair bleaching, dying, and hair care. Accumulated from 10 years of dying my own hair at home, with lots of trial and error.

Old: How I used to dye my hair with Special Effects (but still some relevant tips).

So see below for lots and lots more detailed information.

General information:
I try to avoid straighteners, curling irons, or other heating-type hair products. If you’ve bleached your hair, this will only make it worse. I recommend braiding overnight if you want to curl it instead. Hair blow drying is ok. There’s also a chance that your hair will fall out more than normal. Of course, that can be attributed to stress and/or health instead, but do be aware, especially when you’re washing your hair and a huge chunk falls out. Use a really good conditioner. Lastly, hair dye does not seem to expire, but I've found out the hard way that powder bleach & developer will expire! 

Tips for black hair:
When preparing for the color, take into consideration the tone and that the base layer will actually be your bleached hair. I recommend looking into hair color theory and some good posts I've found are Hairfinder and Myhairdressor
In summary, I plan that my color won't be the one on the bottle- it will be the bleach level + color(s) + wash fading. Mixing multiple colors into one will also help neutralize or enhance the shade of the dye. For example, my pink colors from Splat and Special Effects faded into pinkish oranges, my Schwarzkopf purples faded into brown, and my Pravanna purples/blues faded into a silvery light purple. 

Ranking of hair dye brands that I have used:
  1. Special Effects: Virgin Rose, Deep Blue, Cyber Purple - Unfortunately it’s only a temporary color, but the bright magenta (virgin rose) lasted around 3-6 months before fading into (and staying) this vaguely red/pink color (due to the magenta mixing with my bleached hair). It also has the WIDEST range of colorful dyes I've seen. See Breathe (May 2015 when recorded) then Rotten Heresy & Chocolate (June 2015) then Ring Ding Dong (June 2015) then Catallena (Nov 2015 when recorded)
  2. Pravana Chromasilk Locked In- http://pravana.com/ This is the holy grail dye that I've been using for the past 4 years. I've come to accept that all hair dyes will fade, even ones marketed as permanent (aka Pravana Locked In series), but I've found that Pravana's "permanent" line fades very gradually and less hideously. The line has since been discontinued and now replaced with Chromasilk Vivids. This is also the nicest smelling dye I've ever used. See all of my selcas on Instagram, after 2016.
  3. Joico: https://www.joico.com/pro-color/color-intensity/ Currently this is the brand of purple that I am using in 2022 and I actually found the perfect shade to not need any additional color mixing for my tastes. However, this washes out sooner than the original Pravana Locked In, so I rank it below. This also smells quite nice! But it does stain other things extra hard and has even gone through vaseline layers on my forehead/scalp. See my selcas on Instagram after July 2021.
  4. Schwarzkopf- "Permanent" color that lasted same color 1.5-2 years, but the “purple” was not vibrant at all, more like a brownish burgundy. The bleach kit that came with it was also strong but not as damaging as Splat.
    See UEA Dorm Tour (April 2013) then Before the Dawn (September 2013) then Super Nuko World (June 2014).
  5. Manic Panic - Similar to Special Effects, but it washes out much faster.
  6. Splat


    I put this on the list to warn you NOT to use it. This will seriously damage your hair. It is the most vibrant hair color, but does not last very long at all.
    See I Am The Best then Bad Girl Good Girl.  Both were filmed in May before Fanime, so yes, it faded that fast.
I’ve heard these are also good:
  • La Riche Direction
  • Guy Tang
  • Arctic Fox
Bleach: If you have jet black hair like me, you will need to lighten your hair in advance cause there is no way color will show up. There are multiple different lightening products, but the ones I have most experience with is powder bleach & developer method. Some tips- usually they recommend 1:1.5 or 1:3 ratio of bleach to developer, but as long as the mixture is extremely creamy and almost liquid-like to the point that it can saturate your hair, it is working. Furthermore, as you are applying, the mixture in the bowl might dry out in which case, just add more developer slowly to make it creamy again. In regards to patchiness- your best bet is to attempt to completely coat each side of the entire section of hair in one smooth stroke, either by using your hand or a piece of foil to support the section. 
From https://www.hairfinder.com/tips/haircolor_level.htm

This is something I struggled with more than dye. Products I have used:
  1. L'Oreal Quick Blue- This is the powder that I've been using for the past 4 years. It smells terrible and dries up whilst working (just add more developer), but it has lasted me a LONG time and has been effective without killing my hair, even the hairs that I've accidentally stripped to white. In fact, after washing it out, my hair almost feels creamy (regardless of which conditioner I use). It also seems to work with any brand of developer, not necessarily L'Oreal. I found out it expires after 4 years, which they really should label. If you can withstand the smell, this is probably great for the quantity, effectiveness, and price.
  2. Clairol- I've tried both the powder packets and developer. The powder was actually smoother than L'Oreal Quick Blue, but the packets weren't nearly enough to cover the quantity of hair I was trying to dye at the time. It also left an orange-ish tint. 
  3. Schwarzkopf- The last box dye I ever used with moderate results. This was the only box bleach where I've managed to achieve light enough without killing my hair, but still had an orange-y tint in the yellow.
  4. Garnier- I believe this was the 2nd box dye I ever used and honestly I don't remember much about it, except that I never used it again. 
  5. Splat๐Ÿ‘Ž- Also here to warn you not to use it either. While it was super effective, it's the worst-smelling of all the products I've used. The box did not label the developer level, but whatever it was, this was the one that made my hair break apart. It was the only box dye that has gotten my hair nearly white.
  6. Other developers: The cool thing is that I've found that with black hair, as long as the developer is not drugstore cheap and is 40 volume, any brand will work. I found this out due to the salon store I went to offering different brands each time I stocked up and they all worked with Quick Blue. The brands- Divina (used for 4 years, seems to expire), Ion, Wella, Clairol, and L'Oreal.
Other products I've heard good news of:
  • Manic Panic bleach kit- On Amazon, the reviews seem to praise it as being the best affordable bleach box kit.
  • https://mysteeknaturals.com/ - Chemical free dye & bleach for black hair (black owned business)
  • Hair waxes
  • Henna dyes 
Shampoos! These are important because you hair will get dirty eventually, but when you wash your hair, the semi-permanent colors will wash out over time. After 10+ years, I still have not found the perfect shampoo yet, but will keep searching. What has worked is avoiding sulfate shampoos, using cold water, and injecting hair dye into conditioner.
  • Shampoo bars- In the past few years, there is a new trend to use solid shampoo bars and I decided to give it a try. I've been using Love Beauty and Planet Muru Muru Shampoo Bar for Color treated hair and to be honest I can't tell whether or not it "lasts longer" for colored hair but once I get the hang of it how it lathers differently, I do like it more than liquid soap. I also only wash my hair 1-2 times a week and my first bar lasted me 1 years and 4 months (yes I actually kept track of it haha). There's other reasons to use shampoo bars 
  • Nexxus- I tried this one for several years. I injected purple dye into the conditioner and it works great. The color-treatment shampoo is ok, but even it washes out (the ingredients indicate there is still sulfates in the shampoo).
  • Fanola no yellow purple shampoo- The latest shampoo I've tried out this year 2020. I don't think I've tried it long enough, but it does not seem to wash out color when I rinse it. Be aware that it will stain your hands/skin, so I recommend gloves.
  • Paul Mitchell- This one I used for several years to neutral results. Not worth the price.
  • Kirkland Signature Sulfate-free Shampoo - It feels more refreshing and the color wash out was considerably more gradual than the other shampoos.
  • TRESsemme - Not the best, but it works for a drugstore brand. One thing to be aware of is that it kicks up scalp flesh, making it look like you have dandruff.
  • Hairstory Studio New Wash- Willing to shell out even more money? It's ridiculously expensive, but multiple professionals recommend it.
  • Suave Dry Shampoo, Batiste Dry Shampoo, or Dove Dry Shampoo: I recommend dry shampoo in between full washes to keep your hair fresh feeling and looking.
I personally am on a hunt to find an affordable sulfate free shampoo that works for Asian hair. 

Places to get all these things:
  • Ulta
  • Sally’s
  • Beauty Store Depot
  • Your local salon store (for example, I have 2 beauty warehouse stores in town)
  • Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, etc for the drugstore brands
  • Amazon
Let me know if you have any other questions! 

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