I have been dyeing my hair for nearly five years now, it started with subtle ombre to full on bright blue hair. Not once in those five years did I go to a salon, not because I didn’t want to but because I couldn’t afford it. I was about 15, it started off as brown to blonde ombre then I had purple ends for a little while then stuck back to simple blonde ombre till I was 17. One day, out of nowhere I bought myself some box bleach, bleached the hell out of my hair and dyed it green. Cos you know – I was bored.
Anyway, in the five years of dyeing my hair, these are my tips and tricks that I have come to discover. Please note that this stuff worked for me and it may not work for everyone, also I do recommend going to the salon if you are unsure.
- Do not expect perfect results immediately: as I was dyeing my hair at home with box bleach and eBay bought dye, my hair dyeing journey was never going to be perfect. I wanted to dye my hair blue but it actually resulted into a pretty green. It wasn’t a problem for me because I didn’t mind it. Recently, I dyed my hair again wanting a soft, subtle pink but I ended up having deep, hot pink hair. Again, I didn’t mind. When dyeing at home you’re never going to get the perfect results unless you have experience with dyes.
- Do not expect it to be cheap: if you are bleaching your hair at home I recommend to have money to spend. My hair used to be hip length when I dyed my hair green, so bleaching cost me a fortune. The first time I bleach all of my hair, I did it twice. Each session I had to buy four boxes of bleach which cost around £10 per box. Plus the hair dye on top which had to be six bottles as they were only 88ml, cost £4 each. So in total, I had to spend £64 that as a student I couldn’t really afford. But I really really wanted coloured hair!
- Do not wash your hair as long as you can before bleaching: when you don’t wash your hair for a week, the natural sebum in your hair builds up and helps restore your hair cuticles. Bleaching destroys the hell out of your hair but if the protective sebum is present beforehand it really helps limit the damage.
- Do not bleach it yourself: unless you know exactly how to bleach it yourself don’t do it. Just don’t. Listen to my advice. I’m incredibly impatient and couldn’t wait for my friend to come around, so I bleached my hair by myself without knowing how bleach works or without dyeing my hair previously (the ombre was done by a friend). This was 17 years old me, my hair came out patchy and I only really dyed the top bit of my hair but not the insides. So for a month, I looked ridiculous. Fast forward two years later and does Angel learn? Of course not, I again attempt to dye my hair by myself in my uni room. Again with a bleach box dye and again it came out patchy. I never learn.
- Do wear gloves: it may sound stupid but this is actually pretty important, not just any gloves by the way but plastic gloves. They can be bought cheaply off eBay. I used silicone gloves, the ones that doctors use cos we had it lying around the house and it pulled out so much of my hair. It was horrendous, using plastic gloves is much softer on your hair and it will limit breakage.
- Do wait at least a month in between bleaching: I can’t stress this enough, the reason why people’s hairs fall off after bleaching is because they bleach it too soon. Your hair has just been fried and you do not want to put it through that again. During the month off, if you desperately need to bleach your hair you can do a bleach bath (1 part bleach and 8 part conditioner). But you should just leave it to rest and nurture it back to life. This is the time when you soak your hair in as much coconut oil (or any oil of your choosing) as much as you can.
- Do nurture your hair: As we have established bleaching can really damage your hair, my advice is to get yourself some deep treating hair masks, conditioners and a tub full of coconut oil (or argan oil). I use to sleep with coconut oil in my hair and then washing it off in the morning but it was quite uncomfortable top sleep with a shower cap on my head. Nowadays, if I have a day off, I just put coconut oil in my hair in the morning rinse it out at night. I found that it has really really helped my hair in the long run. When conditioning, I recommend getting deep conditioning conditioners, I use Retread by Lush because I find that the jojoba, avocado and extra virgin olive oil really brings back the oils that I stripped away in the bleaching process.
- Do use safe dyes and bleaches: At the beginning I mentioned buying eBay hair dye, to clarify I used LA Riche Directions. They are a vegan company that do not test on animals, they do not contain anything that is harmful so I definitely recommend them, they are quite cheap but they do stain especially the darker colours. Another brand that I recommend is Colour Freedom from Superdrug, I’ve only used their toners and I found that they really moisturised my hair alongside toning them. I have not tried their bleach or dyes but when I run out of LA Riche Directions and I need to redo my roots, I definitely will try Colour Freedom.
At the moment, those are all the things that I can think of. Dyeing your hair is super fun, sassy and it’s really unique. I love having coloured hair, it really gives me confidence and makes me feel quirky. I really really hope that this helped someone!