I FINALLY GOT THE RED HAIR THAT I WANTED!!! SOBS.
(( I meant for this entry to be a quick tutorial on how I got my hair (originally a very dark brown) to this shade but I guess I have all this hair feels and I ended up typing my hair journey. Uhm. ))
This is after an expensive salon attempt (the first time I tried dyeing, and the only attempt that burned / made my scalp itch) that gave me a dark brown-red-when-flash-is-on-or-only-when-direct-light-hits that faded to orange two days later (the salon shampooed my hair after dyeing AND told me that I didn’t have to wait or do anything special for the dye to stick, so I shampooed the day after, too). They overcharged me too- we agreed on their standard mid-length hair price (my hair was barely shoulder length) then they charged me for the price for long hair since they used two tubes of dye (without informing me that they were going to do so). I’ve never gone back (and am never going back) to that place again.
Once I was crying (figuratively) and throwing a tweet and text fit over my orange hair (TWO DAYS!), I googled. There I learned that shampoo after dyeing was a big no-no and so much more. I’ve never gone back to a hair salon to get my hair dyed – after that, it was all home dye kits. There’s a lack of red – and other non-brown, non-brown/moussy blonde, non-black colors in the Philippine market. Like, seriously, why are all the brands importing and/or making the same fucking brown/black colors? Rhetorical question. Anyway, I chose and had been maintaining brown hair from 2011-2013 with Garnier Nutrisse Cream, since I couldn’t get my hands on any red dye.
Until this year – when REVLON’S Colorsilk Luminista line had a sale. I bought a box of Red (150) for around P399 (from P499). It’s too expensive for me to keep using that brand, so I tried looking for a cheaper alternative – and I found HP’s Hair Crystal Color (in Copper 6.6, around P130 for 60ml, HBC). I bought one but this is uncharted territory since the dye was permanent and not semi-permanent, unlike everything I’ve tried.
Now, I didn’t want to use these dyes until I lightened my hair. But I really, really did not want to bleach. Too many horror stories! Too much scary hair I see around from people who do it! Nooo! But I knew that I needed to lighten my hair somewhat to get red to show up on my hair. LUCKILY my friend Rei had been trying and blogging about bleach shampoo for a few months. I asked her about it, then started looking for tutorials and videos for myself.
It seemed a lot safer and a lot less damaging than straight-up bleaching. And since I knew someone who had tried it (repeatedly), and I had felt and seen her hair up close, I took the plunge.
I bleach shampooed 2 times in a 3 week period, following Kimmi’s bleach bath tutorial (except for the bleach mixture; I followed the mixture from XoVain). I used 1 part bleach (HP Bleach Powder, P75, HBC), 1 part developer (HP Oxidizing Lotion 6%, around P30-40 for 2oz, HBC), 2 parts shampoo (Herbal Essences Color Me Happy). I used a Keratin Hot Oil treatment (HP Keratin Hot Oil Treatment, P150 for 250g, HBC) twice a week during this period. Then once I thought my hair was light enough, I did a strand test for both brands. The HBC one turned out to be this extremely bright Yeng Constantino Red – which I didn’t think I could pull off; I wanted a cooler red (think Paramore’s lead singer circa 2008 or Ariana Grande as Cat Valentine), so I used the Revlon one instead.
Then I dyed it with REVLON ColorSilk Luminista in RED. Here was the result:
It was auburn, but nowhere near the box color. Still, much better than that first salon attempt three years ago. I tried to maintain the color with dry shampoo and the Kerastase Chroma Captive Color line (Shampoo, Conditioner, Deep Conditioner. I got the deep conditioner free for buying both the Shampoo and Conditioner (P3,380 for both) at David’s Salon).
It faded to a coppery color in two months:
Since I knew using the HBC permanent dye directly would give me really bright hair, I decided to try some tricks I learned online. I used only 1/4 of the dye in the tube, then mixed it with an equal amount of developer and 2 parts conditioner – just to amp up the color.
After a month, I already had a significant a mount of regrowth, so I decided to try going full throttle again. I did a 30-45 minute bleach shampoo (don’t do it this long, I was reckless), using 2 parts shampoo (this time I used L’Oreal EVERPURE Color Care, a sulfate-free shampoo, P399 for 250ml at Landmark), 1 part developer (Colormate Color Developer 12%, P65 for 100ml, Landmark), 1 part bleach (HP Bleach Powder, P75 for 30g, HBC).
Result: Three toned hair. Seriously gross looking, color wise. Texture wise, still awesome. Immediately after the bleach shampoo, I applied the Keratin Hot Oil treatment for 30 minutes and let it process under a shower cap. Did another hot oil treatment the same week for 15 minutes.
ROOTS! The color from my bangs lifted the most, turning them yellow. Ew.
I was all set to try my new purchase – and the most expensive dye I bought so far at P1,200 from FunkyStreaks.com – Special Effects Hair Dye in Burgundy Wine. I decided to do a strand test first because I did not want to go to work with purple hair. I don’t know if purple is allowed at work HAHA. The strand turned purple. Oops. So I did a quick fix for my hair.
I mixed 2 teaspoons of the HBC dye, 2 teaspoons developer, and 4 teaspoons of conditioner (my measurements aren’t exact, but the ratio is more or less like that).
Left it on my head for 30 minutes. I wanted to make my hair darker and in a red shade, so that when I apply the burgundy dye to my hair, it’ll fall more into a cool red (red with pink-purple undertones) territory than straight up purple.
Why’d I use a purple-toned dye if I wanted red hair? I chose Burgundy Wine instead of a red dye since the red dyes are usually bright with orange or pink undertones. With my yellow/orange-undertoned hair, it’ll just have the same effect as dumping the HBC Crystal Color dye 6.6 on my hair (with the result of having a headful of Yeng Constantino super bright red hair). I want a cool red, so I needed to neutralize the yellowness with some purple – and since I haven’t found an online seller for Purple Shampoo and had no money for a toner, I decided to use a dye to help neutralize and color. (Yellow + purple are opposites on the color wheel, so the cancel each other out, leaving a cool / dark / pink-purple toned red).
I really want to make my hair color last for as long as it can this time, so the day I was dyeing my hair, I did a quick, 15 minute bleach bath (not long enough to remove the new red dye, but long enough to make my hair porous – of all the hair tutorials and blogs I’ve read, I trust this blogger the most, so I did a bleach bath right before dyeing, as her entry for neon hair maintenance suggested) using 1 teaspoon bleach powder, 2 teaspoons developer, 2 tablespoons clarifying shampoo. Bleach bath ratio is usually 1:2, but I really didn’t want to do a full-on bleach bath, so I put more shampoo.
ON TO THE DYEING!
Conditioner (to mix dye with). I used a sulfate-free one to avoid washing the dye out before it could even get to my hair; this bottle is cheap too, only P135 for 500ml at HBC. Petroleum Jelly (to apply around hairline, ears, nape so dye won’t stick to your skin), clips (for parting hair), plastic mixing bowl (to put the dye and dye conditioner mixture in).
Free dye kit from FunkyStreaks.com – tint brush, gloves, shower cap, dye wipe.
The first half was applied pure, on my bleach shampooed-red-slightly bleach shampooed roots. I asked my cousin to dye them for me, since I can’t reach the back of my head and can’t see the hidden spots. It was pretty much a failure, she kept dyeing aka rubbing my scalp with the tint brush instead even though I told her not to and I ended up looking for the darker regrowth myself and pointing them out to her.
The next half, I mixed with conditioner (2:1 – dye:conditioner), on the rest of my bleach shampooed-bleach shampooed-bleach shampooed-red-bleach shampooed-red-slightly bleach shampooed hair. I thoroughly saturated the strands with my hands (gloves on!). Adding conditioner makes the dye spread easier plus your hair stays soft.
I couldn’t take photos of the colors of the dye when it was pure and when it was mixed since we kept our phones inside to avoid any dye related phone accidents.
Once it was all done, I tucked my hair in a shower cap to process. We ended our dye-ventures at 5:11 PM. I removed the shower cap and rinsed my hair at 10:30 PM. Special Effects is a vegan dye, made from all natural ingredients so it isn’t harmful to leave it on your head for as long as you want – the longer it stays, the more your hair absorbs the dye. This isn’t something I could do with any of the box dyes I’ve tried since those have chemicals that can severely damage my hair+scalp if left on too long. I’ve read a lot of entries mentioning they leave their Special Effects or Manic Panic dyes on overnight but I don’t think I’d be able to sleep with a showercap and dye on my head.
Here’s the next day results in natural light:
It’s pink-purple when not in direct light AND it’s still red even indoors!!
I’m going to seriously maintain it now (I’ve only done the dry shampoo bit sometimes and I mostly use color-protective hair products, but once I notice my hair fading, I alternate between regular and color protective products #guilty #thekerastasesystemisexpensiveok).
EDIT, DAY 2: I’ve seen reviews where they mention this product stains (your pillows, towel, etc) for 2-3 days after rinsing but I didn’t experience that. I’m guessing it’s because of the conditioner mixture. I rinsed until the water was mostly clear and the water cleared up a lot faster than when I use red box dyes w/out a conditioner mix. My sheets, pillowcases, towels and clothes are stain-free post-dye application.