FGW: So you want crazy hair?

August 6, 2008 at 12:05 am 7 comments

You know, way back in the day (8 or 9 months ago) I got an email from a new web friend asking me for advice on dyeing her daughter’s hair. All this time later I get to dish out the same advice to a larger audience, facilitated by the same web friend, the amazing Jen Hill. Imagine getting to talk about all the new things you’ve found and all the things you love, and occasionally even getting a box of goodies in return. It’s been an amazing and fun journey and I’m so proud to be a small part of this awesome project Jen has going on here.

“What Have I done????”

I am a hair color afficionado. I have been coloring my hair for more than half my life, no joke. My natural haircolor is unclear, but I assume it’s some random brownish auburn color. Currently my hair is a lovely, shiny raspberry color. I’ve tried most colors at least once, with the only exceptions being green and yellow.  With my skin tone? No way. I’ve done professional and home color, even playing the role of the guinea pig when I worked at a salon…”Do you think this’ll work? I don’t know, let’s try it out on Mo”. So I’m here to offer a few of my pointers to the uninitiated and the curious.

First things first, you have to decide on placement. Are you doing streaks? Bangs only? Tips? Just underneath? All over? A few streaks or just part of the back are good just to play around and try it out. If you have very thick dark hair you can pull up the top half of your hair and add some color around the middle, that’ll add some dimension and a little eye candy. I once had a nice normal color for most of my hair but changed my bangs from week to week. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Next you need a color. I’ve found that purple looks good on most people, but red and pink are pretty all purpose as well. This part gets tricky, because this sort of hair color does funny things sometimes. A friend applied a vibrant purple to her freshly bleached locks, only to have it end up as an odd sort of gray color, barely even visible in her dark hair. Another applied ‘Apple Green’ and ended up with bright turquoise. My own ‘Deep Violet’ once came out as a rather shocking royal blue. If you aren’t willing to risk a bit of a surprise then I recommend having a professional help you with color choice and application.   It’s pretty easy to find these colors if you know where to look. A quick trip to your local beauty supply store or Hot Topic should be all you need. Some of the more standard and well known brands out there are Manic Panic, Punky Colour, and Special Effects(they have a great user photos section for each color). Upkeep is a factor to consider when choosing a color as well. Green and blue can fade to icky versions of themselves in no time at all and red fades faster than pretty much anything out there.

Prepping your hair will depend on your placement choice a bit, but to get the most out of these colors you’ll usually want to bleach your hair before applying. However, L’Oreal Colour Rays are a kit that require no previous color removal and are great on dark hair. They are an easy one step product for the first timer and are pretty darn reliable as far as results go. If you’ve never bleached your hair before I HIGHLY recommend going to your favorite trusted stylist the first time. Home kits can be harsh, and if you aren’t sure how your hair will respond it can get ugly quick. My stylist recently started using Paul Mitchell and the lightener is effective and so ridiculously gentle I instantly fell in love. It’s best to get a feel for your hair before you start abusing it. If you don’t remove all of your original color you will alter the way your new color ends up, so again, be prepared for a surprise. In my opinion it’s always better to risk a surprise color than a head made of straw, so err on the side of caution and don’t over bleach. Be sure to shampoo your hair before applying color so that you don’t leave any lightening agents in your hair. DON’T use conditioner between the bleach and the color!! Hair that has already been processed(sraightening, perming, etc..)may not even need to be beached unless it’s dark. But red or purple over dark hair without lightening can still give some really great highlights.

Most colors come in a squeeze bottle or a jar. Preference is key here, I’ve used both but actually prefer a jar. There’s more room to reach in and grab globs of dye, and you aren’t spreading dye around the outside of the container every time you have to squeeze it into your hands. A jar is also easier to dip a comb into for touch ups or for applying to short hair, like mine. Since these colors stain fast and hard, always wear gloves and a grungy shirt. Keep a pack of disposable latex or vinyl gloves on hand, since you’ll need them for coloring AND for rinsing your hair afterwards. Almost everyone recommends petroleum jelly to coat your hairline and ears, but I like something like Repelle because it’s easier to remove and doesn’t feel as gross on my skin. Typical process time is 15-20 minutes, but I try for at least half an hour. A plastic cap and some heat will help you get better color, but an infrared light at your beauty shop gives maximum results. Walk around the house doing chores while you let it sit, you’ll get something productive done and you’ll let it sink in longer because you’re preoccupied, a win-win situation all around.

Once you’ve let it sit you’re ready for the rinsing. Rinse until the water runs clear sounds easy enough, but it feels like it takes forever.  Wear a pair of gloves until the water is mostly clear or you may end up with hands the color of easter eggs. This is usually the only time I will use shampoo on my brightly colored head, to help remove a lot of the excess dye. From this washing on I’m a conditioner only gal. It helps your color stay put longer and it’s gentler on your already taxed hair and scalp. A dark shirt afterwards is also recommended, since you never know just how much might rub off onto your collar right after coloring.

Upkeep is very important to me. With a little practice touch ups are easy, and you can simply slap some color on before your usual shower. I’m old enough that a faded funky head just looks like I’m trying to hard to be a kid again. Keeping your color fresh and touched up can actually help people take you more seriously with crazy hair because you’re obviously willing to invest time and effort into yourself. I’m a grown woman with 3 kids and, while I like having a little color and pep in my life, I’m responsible enough to know I’m not 15 anymore. There comes a time when you recognize the value of putting your best foot forward, even when that foot is encased in a Fleuvog.

I know that we have at least a few faithful readers (Jami) that enjoy dipping into the bottle just like I do. We want to hear from you. I mean it this time!! As always, PG rated pictures are encouraged!

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Fundraiser for Project Authentic Beauty I agree, not to prime IS a crime!

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Decorative Diva  |  August 6, 2008 at 6:12 am

    I’ve been getting my hair dyed or dyeing my own hair since I was about 16.

    I recommend the Beyond the Zone bleach kit for an easy bleach kit to use.

    While I hate most Beyond the Zone colors, the Turquoise is the only color I will use as the rest of the colors seem like they have no pigmentation, I highly recommend Manic Panic.

    What I like to do when I use Manic Panic is one of two things:

    1. leave the manic panic in and cover your hair for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to let it saturate your hair

    2. use a permanent clear color or the lightest ash blonde you can find and mix it with the manic panic to help the color stay longer

    I’ve had success using both methods, but I prefer the 2nd method because your color doesn’t rinse out as fast.

    I also prefer the jars.

    Since I work in game development, I’m happy to say that as an adult and now 30, I still color my hair crazy colors. Right now I’m sporting 2 teal locks of hair. But working in a field tha t accepts and sometimes expects colored hair isn’t always easy for everyone to do.

  • 2. Jen Hill  |  August 6, 2008 at 6:22 am

    Wow Mo and DD, you both are AWESOME! Amanda is gonna love this post.

    May I add, that if you aren’t up for a permanent change, but would like to sass things up a bit, the temporary colors from SmartBeauty are a must try.

    This is very inspiring post for me, many thanks Mo!

  • 3. tracy m  |  August 6, 2008 at 11:38 am

    She really is that cool. I only wish I could pull off stuff like that. The pink is AWESOME.

    Jen, I’m so sorry I didn’t get to see you on Sunday!

  • 4. Jen Hill  |  August 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Me too, sniff-sniff.

  • 5. Cordelia  |  August 9, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I’ve been dyeing my hair funky colors for six or seven years, and I’m 34. I’m currently a bright magenta red, but I’ll be going back to blue soon and then probably green when I get tired of that. I have tried blue, green, turquoise, purple and pink, but I think the darker blues and greens work better for me.

    I work from home, so I’m lucky enough to be able to do as I please with my hair. It always freaks me out when people say “Oh, you’re so BRAVE!” It’s just hair, ladies.

  • […] FGW: So you want crazy hair? […]

  • 7. Jami  |  August 20, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I’m sooooo late to the party here, but better late than never I guess. 🙂

    I love dyeing my hair, so thanks for the tips Mo! I had mine in SFX Blue Haired Freak for 2 months and for a month before that in Manic Panic’s After Midnight Blue (which seems to fade a little less “green” than most blues). Anyhow, I loved it, and I adored how people gave me crazy looks in conservative St. Louis. I dyed it back to brown when we prepped for our move to Florida since the upkeep was a lot on the road (and like Mo said, you gotta keep up with the upkeep).

    I did learn that Scrubbing Bubbles works wonders on your shower floor when it’s covered in blue. And it takes a LOT of bleach to get the blue back out when I was ready to go brown again. 😉

    I think I’m going to do a dark raspberry in a month or so. It really does wonders for my self-esteem- I feel so confident with funky colored hair.

    Thanks again for the great post & tips, Mo. LOVE that color on you!!


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