One of the main questions I get about my hair is how I seamlessly change colors so drastically. This post, of course, is really only relevant to unnatural colors done with brands such as Punky Colours, Manic Panic, Special Effects and the like. I also need to give my normal spiel about not being a professional, having no formal training, and that everything I know is from personal experience. That’s not to downplay what I know though, I’ve been dyeing my hair unnatural colors for over eight years. I’ve got it pretty much down to a science.
Below is a perfect example of what my typical timeline looks like and what I’ll be explaining in this post. Blue in June, purple in July, and orange in August – easy peasy and with minimal damage! This is a fairly regular cycle for me. I change my hair color every two or three months depending how quickly I get bored.
When my hair was professionally dyed pink for the first time around eight years ago I knew nothing about hair! I had been dying it black since I was around fourteen and the extent of my knowledge was how to apply box color. But since stripping the black from hair and dying it pink no one else has touched my hair color. It costs a fortune, and after a spending a great deal of time researching I realized I could easily do it myself. I’ve always loved switching colors, and in all my years the two biggest tips I’ve found that help are…
▴ Let your current hair color fade. Y’all, I take a lot of pride in my hair. I try to always keep root growth at a minimum and my hair color bright. I’m pretty embarrassed by faded hair but sometimes it is a necessity!
I let my hair fade naturally for as long as I can stand it. Then when it hits me that “I have to change hair colors now!” I give myself a few more days. In those three or fours days, hopefully longer, I will purposely fade my hair to the best of my ability. I’ve never been a fan of bleach baths, using dish soap or anything else like. To fade my hair I rinse with hot water, take baths where I actually let my hair soak instead of keeping it dry, leave shampoo in a little bit longer than normal, and do conditioning treatments at least once a day. The conditioning treatments are especially helpful because before bleaching you obviously want your hair is the best condition possible. You can find a few of my favorite deep conditioning products in this post.
The three photos above show examples of what my hair looked like at it’s best during those dye jobs, not what it looked like before being bleached and moving on to the next color. That dark purple faded into the shade it is in this outfit post (where it so wonderfully matched my dress!), and then a week or so of more intentional fading after that I finally moved on to orange.
▴ Use the color wheel. That’s my big “secret”, which totally isn’t a secret at all but it is an important thing that is easily overlooked. I never want to say that something isn’t possible or that you can’t do something but there are definitely colors that are harder to switch between.
watercolor color wheel by Mara Mattia
Using the color wheel as a guide is what I consider my best weapon for fighting damage. My color changes are smooth and cause minimal damage because I’m not bleaching the entire length of my hair to switch colors and the color itself doesn’t cause any harm. I normally just bleach my roots and that’s all.Since I’m not bleaching the whole length there is obviously still color in my hair when moving to the next shade. Following the color wheel ensures that my next color won’t mix poorly with the color remaining in my hair. Mixing complementary colors will result in a muddy hair color which is something you want to avoid.