Updated on November 14, 2016
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed hair care/dye expert.
I’ve researched a lot about dyeing and maintaining hair after bleaching and coloring, so I thought to gather them all in one post, as I’ve started to become an unofficial hair consultant for dyeing and bleaching with friends and acquaintances. HAHA
This post will definitely be helpful on your hair journey too, especially if you have dark, thick hair and/or are planning to:
- Bleach hair (inc. Bleach Bath/Bleach Shampoo)
- Tone Hair (inc. DIY Toning)
- Take care of hair after bleaching
- Dye hair red
- Dye hair purple
- Take care of hair after coloring
- Improve hair care
- Remove hair color
- DIY Double Color + Color Layering, etc.
This will contain a number of links I’ve used as references over the years, personal experiences, and photos.
BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE:
Patience, padawan. You’ll need lots of that. Doing your hair on your own isn’t a simple afternoon task-it takes weeks, even months.
Of course, you can (likely) skip this DIY method and go straight to a salon for everything. If I had the money for that kind of upkeep, I…probably still wouldn’t.
But if you DO go to a salon, remember these things:
- You’re not supposed to get hurt. You may have heard that bleaching may burn your scalp and sting, but if your stylist is doing it properly, it shouldn’t.
- You can get reactions (like allergies) from hair products (dye, bleach, etc). You won’t be able to test your skin’s reaction to these at salons (unless you bring your own products for them to use).
- You won’t be able to do a strand test to see if the color you want will come out at a salon-unless you’ve bought the hair dye for application yourself. In which case, you’ve already spent double–buying the dye on your own and going to a salon for application/upkeep.
- Don’t be shy to ask for what you want, or get something redone. It’s your hair, you’ll be the one walking around with it, you’re paying for the service. Be nice, chat, and help them get it right.
I had long, dark Asian hair. It’s very thick–you can separate it into two sections and each section could be enough for one person’s head.
I had already colored my hair (red) at a salon once, a year or two before this photo, and did not end up liking it. It faded to an orangey-blonde in the span of a week. I ended up coloring over it with brown and letting my hair grow out. I stayed brown for quite some time until I decided to try going red again, this time on my own.
To go from dark hair to colored hair, I had to study.
First up: COLOR WHEEL THEORY
Basically: Colors opposite each other on the wheel cancel each other out.
To go from dark hair to a lighter and unnatural color, I had to bleach. BUT! Like most of you, I was afraid. I did not use bleach straight up. Instead, I performed a bleach bath over the course of several weeks.
A bleach bath is not as harsh on the hair as bleaching since the shampoo mixed in tones it down. You can use any amount (1 tsp, 30 grams, etc) for your hair as long as you keep the ratio steady.
My personal preference: 1 part Bleach, 1 part Developer, 2 parts Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. Mix these all in a non-metallic container and apply to hair. Process under a shower cap. Leave on for 30 minutes.
Here’s two different formulations for a Bleach Bath:
PRODUCTS I USE:
- HBC Bleach (P90 per pack)
- HBC Developer (P35 per 6ml bottle), 9% volume
- Head and Shoulders Shampoo OR
- Clear (Men’s) Shampoo
Neutralize any unwanted color by referring to the chart above. When starting from dark hair, you’ll need to bleach several shades lighter to get to blonde. Once you’re in a blonde phase, you can start toning to remove the yellow/orange brassy undertones. Or you can apply color once you’re blonde.
- If you’re choosing darker shades like red, purple, and so on, you’ll be fine just moving straight on to color.
- If you’re going for a pastel shade or blue, you have to tone. Blue is grouped here since hair usually has the brassy yellow undertone once bleached. Yellow + blue = green.
You can purchase a toner online from Rainbowhead.PH.
I use Wella T14 to get rid of red/orange tones and Wella T18 to get closer to platinum / white.
- Mix 1 part toner to two parts developer.
- Apply and leave on for around 20 minutes.
If you’re not up to spending, here’s how to do a DIY toner.
DIY Toner: Violet Dye + Deep Conditioner or Hot Oil Treatment
Mix 1 tiny bit of violet dye (quarter or less of a teaspoon) with at least 3 tablespoons of Deep Conditioner or Hot Oil Treatment.
Keep repeating the process to get a lighter shade. This will take awhile.
NOTE: The DIY method will require patience. Just use a Wella Toner if you need to go platinum blonde or gray fast.
PRODUCTS I USED (DIY TONER):
- Manic Panic Violet Night
- HBC Keratin Hot Oil Treatment
Third: HAIR CARE (POST-BLEACHING)
- Condition, condition, condition!
- Use a deep conditioner.
- A deep conditioner is a product you put after you condition your hair normally (sometimes called a hair mask), and you should leave it on for about 15-30 minutes (though a lot of variants have a 3-minute version, but I don’t trust them). So get those foot spas ready, shave your legs, perform a mini concert–you’ll be in the shower awhile.
- Use a hot oil treatment.
- After you’ve bleached hair of its natural keratin, you want it back. Slather on hot oil after bleaching and maintain the treatment until your hair feels healthy again. Your hair’s already damaged, but it can still look and feel nice and soft if you maintain it.
- DO NOT BLEACH AGAIN IF YOUR HAIR FEELS LIKE STRAW / UNHEALTHY / ICKY.
- Don’t risk it.
- Condition / deep condition / use hot oil / oil instead until your hair feels healthy again (1 week to 1 month, depending on how enthusiastic you went with repeat bleaching).
- Do not use heat products on your hair. If you’ve gone through a lot of bleaching, your hair will fry.
HAIR CARE PRODUCTS I USE:
- Kerastase Chroma Captive Color Conditioner
- Kerastase Chroma Captive Color Shine Intensifying Mask
- L’Oreal Mythic Oil This is pretty much a miracle product for me. My hair dried out because of bleaching (some parts felt straw like, even if they didn’t look it, especially after showering). I used this for a week and like ~magic~, my hair was back to normal.
- HBC Keratin Hot Oil Treatment This is effective and very affordable.
- Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner This smells so gooood. It works wonders, too! Note that this doesn’t work as well after a while. I’ve noticed my hair didn’t get the same super soft effects after what I’ve done to it this year. ( Around 6-8 bleach baths since I cut my hair early this year).
- Deep Conditioner Watson’s. It doesn’t really work.
Fourth: HAIR DYE / COLORING HAIR
Quick Things You Need To Know:
There is more than one type of hair color but I’ll only be discussing two here:
- Permanent dyes don’t wash out; they penetrate inside your hair folicles and stay there. They also need a mixer/oxidizer (ammonia). They’re usually the ones found widely available in the Philippines (L’Oreal, Garnier, Kolours, ETC).
- Semi-permanent dyes wash out/fade every time you shampoo–they’re just a color layer on top of the hair (this is why you can’t put a lighter color on top of a darker color). Rainbow colored dyes like Manic Panic, Special Effects, etc. are semi-permanent.
- Manic Panic, Special Effects, etc. are also vegan dyes. They are ammonia-free, paraben-free, PPD-free, and not tested on animals. It’s also safe to leave on top of your head for hours since it has conditioner-like effects (unlike permanent dyes).
- More about Permanent Vs. Semi-Permanent (and other stages in between) here.
HOW TO COLOR:
- Always do a skin patch test first.
- If you have a specific shade you want to achieve, do a strand test. This will help you gauge if you can apply the color directly to your hair, if you need to lighten your hair more, or if you need to lighten the hair dye or mix it with another color.
- Color! You can do it two ways:
- Apply the dye as instructed (instructions are on the bottle).
- Mix the dye with conditioner to lighten the dye + get more out of it. I do this option since all my dyes are pretty dark and this helps me save 😀 ALSO WHEN I TRIED NOT DILUTING IT THAT ONE TIME, MY HAIR STAINED EVERYTHING IT CAME IN CONTACT WITH (ESP. MY HANDS) FOR DAYS. DAYS! NOTE: Do this ONLY for vegan dyes (the kind you don’t need to mix with peroxide!)
- Leave the dye on your head for 1 hour to overnight to let the color soak completely. This will make the dye last longer.
DYES I’ve Used:
♥ – Recommended
- MANIC PANIC Violet Night
- SPECIAL EFFECTS Deep Purple (Undiluted) mixed with MANIC PANIC Violet Night
- SPARKS Pink Kiss
- Arctic Fox Virgin Pink (heavily diluted with conditioner)
- Manic Panic Cotton Candy Pink mixed with Arctic Fox Virgin Pink ♥
- Vampire Red is the shizz. I WORE IT SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN AND IT STAYED HAHA
- SFX Deep Purple fades to pink. Bleach it and it becomes EVEN MORE PINK.
- SPARKS is useless. It didn’t color at all and I used a tube and a half without diluting the dye in conditioner. D:<
Fifth: HAIR CARE (POST-COLORING)
I can practically hear you think, BUT ‘SEMI-PERMANENT’ I WENT THROUGH ALL THAT TROUBLE JUST FOR IT TO FADE IN 6-10 WASHES?? Chill, my friend. You can make it last longer by taking care of your hair:
- DRY SHAMPOO IS YOUR FRIEND.
Do not shampoo as often. I only shampoo once or twice a week. When my hair starts getting oily three days after the last shampoo, I spritz dry shampoo on and am good for another day. Or I keep it up in a bun or ponytail.
- On shampoo days, USE COLD WATER ONLY.
- Warm/hot water strips the color out faster. Stick to cold water for your hair.
- Use sulfate-free products. Having “for colored hair” on the bottle isn’t enough; make sure your shampoo and conditioners are sulfate-free. Check the ingredients label.
- Condition, condition, condition!
PRODUCTS I USE:
- Kerastase Chroma Captive Color line (Shampoo, Conditioner, Deep Conditioner).This is by far, the best one I’ve tried. It leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth. It’s also the most expensive at P3,380 for the shampoo and conditioner at David’s Salon. The Deep Conditioner came in a smaller size bottle for free. Since this is expensive, I only use the line once every week when I’ve just changed my hair color and still want to maintain it. When I’ve had my hair color for more than a month (aka I’m getting lazy to maintain it), I stop using this and stick to L’Oreal.
- Batiste Dry Shampoo
Spritz and go! Trying to look for the seller I bought mine from, at a Karl Edwards bazaar–I got this size for only P600.
- Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner
- L’Oreal Sulfate-Free Shampoo I used to use the conditioner too, but Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle seems to work for my hair better. It barely lifts any color too, which is a plus since Pantene has sulfate.
Sixth: REMOVING HAIR COLOR
There are numerous ways to remove hair color, from least to most damaging. It gets tricky though, as your color removal process can depend on your current hair color.
Sample: Purple (SFX Deep Purple) + Bleach Method = PINK
(It’s not that I don’t like pink, it’s that I was set on being purple for awhile but my hair took matters into its own hands! Haha)
Just use clarifying or anti-dandruff shampoo to strip the color.
Vitamin C Treatment
Crush 10 vitamin C tablets and mix into your shampoo. Lather and rinse. Do this over a few days.
For more in-depth instructions, check out KimmiKillZombie’s hair color removal post.
1) COLORING ON TOP OF ANOTHER COLOR
Remember the color wheel theory? When I had my accidental pink hair, I stripped it off color as far as it would go. Unfortunately, I think the pink already stained the blonde so I had no choice but to go for a much darker color over the pink.
2) TWO OR MORE COLORS AT ONCE / MERMAID HAIR / GALAXY HAIR
Yes, you can do it yourself.
But it’ll be so much better if you have someone else to do it for you.
Two colors on your own:
I separated my hair into four quadrants. The front half, I pinned back. I started to work on the back parts first, coloring the top quarter with SFX Deep Purple. I made sure my strokes were uneven, so it won’t look like a straight horizontal line. Next, I mixed SFX Deep Purple and SFX Burgundy Wine and overlapped the ends of that to about half an inch down. Then I colored the rest with SFX Burgundy Wine. Once done, I wrapped them in foil and pinned to the top of my head.
I removed the pins from the front part. I lathered in SFX Deep Purple Dye. Apparently, the colors look great in a bun, as I get more strangers complimenting my hair / talking to me about my hair when it’s up in a bun (even my stylist complimented it).
Update: This one is my third attempt, mostly by accident. I was going for full pink but Sparks didn’t stick at all! So I left my roots blonde and just dipped my ends in leftover purple.
That’s it, for now! Still looking for ways to go back to blonde (for my my next color)–purple stains like it never wants to leave, ugh.
Leaving with a photo-collage that both horrifies me (the most I’ve ever done with solely my face on it, it’s giving me heebie jeebies) and amuses me because–HAIR! COLOR!