Confessions of a hair-dye-aholic

A few years ago, I broke up with a long, long term boyfriend. I decided I needed to do something for myself, something to change me from the me that was the girl who was with him. So I cut off my long, long dark hair into a pixie bob. And dyed it pillar-box red. That was nearly 4 years ago and it was the start of a long, messy love affair with having my hair a different colour ever few months.


In that time I have learnt a thing or two about changing hair colours, so last night – while going from purple to red (again), I thought maybe I should share what I know.

Just to let you know I am in a no way an expert, or even a qualified hairdresser.

1) You don’t need to go to a salon to have your hair dyed.

Dyeing your hair at home is expensive enough, by the time you buy the hair dye and replace your towels – so it completely baffles me that people pay someone to put the colour on, on top of all that!
Now don’t get me wrong, I would never recommend cutting your own hair every now and then I get bored, try it and REGRET it but never be afraid of colouring at home!
The internet is there for a lots of reasons, and one of those is to teach you about lots of things that you don’t know about. Read, read, read. And then just bite the bullet and do it.

2) If you want to dye your hair often you better be good at cleaning

This is unfortunately the sad down side of having beautiful hair – there is a price that comes with it. I have come to learn that no matter how much care you take, you’ll still inevitable end up with splatters, smears and streaks all over your bath, sink, walls, boobs, hands, face, carpet, shower curtain, etc; Once I even managed to get it on my sofa. (?)

So I learnt to save some time to clean up afterwards. Need a stain taken out of pretty much anything?…I’m your girl.

Oh, and on that note, hair dye comes off skin a HELL of a lot easier than off of clothes. So, yes, I do dye my hair pretty much wearing nothing but a towel, it just makes sense!

3) There is no need to be afraid!

I have dyed my hair probably nearly 100 times in my life, and I can honestly say I have only ever had 1, maybe 2 full out disasters. Yet, they were pretty easily fixed – Remember what I said before about the internet? There will always be someone, a few hundred people online that have made the same mistake as you, and you’ll find out pretty easily how to fix it.
And if in doubt, a sturdy dark brown will cover pretty much anything.

4) Bleach is your friend – not your enemy

The bottom line is, if you have dark(ish) hair, and you want your hair any sort of bright colour, or of course, blonde. YOU WILL HAVE TO BLEACH IT.
If it’s dark, it’s never going to go fully blonde the first time. But as long as it’s lightened, then a bright colour will take over the top. And if you want it blonde then wait a month or so, strip out the bright colour and bleach over the top – it usually goes a fairly nice blonde the second time. – But it’s always best to wait a month or so between bleaching, just to avoid any scary chemical reactions.

Oh, and whilst I’m on the subject, as long as you care for it right in between bleaching, it won’t make your hair fall out. Just grab a thoroughly moisturising shampoo and conditioner, and you’ll be fine.

5) Conditioner is not colour-friendly.

I’m not really 100% sure why, I’d take an educated guess and say that it’s because of the way it penetrates your hair to soften it. But for some reason conditioner will always make your colour fade.

Now I will, NEVER, ever tell someone to not use conditioner, if you dye your hair then you will definitely need to keep it soft, HOWEVER you don’t need to fully saturate your entire head in it. There is such a thing as over conditioning, and if you do it, you can kiss your vibrant colour goodbye!

Just a head’s up as well, Head & Shoulders does the same thing – great if you want to shift a stubborn colour, BAD if you love the way your locks look – Again because of the super deep penetration of your hair thing.

6) Nothing is permanent.

Sadly, whether you want it to be or not, and despite what it says on the box. Colours always fade. Even the browns and blondes that aren’t crazy bright colours. My advice would be if you plan on having the same colour for a while, write down or take a photo on your phone of the box. That way in 6 weeks, when you need to top it up, you can just run to the nearest shop and buy exactly the same one!

For the bright ones, buy a pre-mixed colour (Colour Crazy and Colour Flash are my favourites – both available from Sally’s) and mix a little in with your shampoo. Then you’ll be slightly topping up the colour every time you wash your hair. This isn’t going to work forever, eventually you will have to re-dye it. But it definitely helps.

So let me know if you’ve learnt anything, agree or disagree with my tips. Or if you have any dye related questions, feel free to ask! And of course, Happy Dyeing!


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