The Dainty Squid hair master post

by Kaylah Stroup
punky alpine green + punky spring green hair dye
Punky Colour in Spring Green + Alpine Green.

For over fifteen years I’ve been dying my hair bright, unnatural colors. Over this time I’ve written numerous posts about hair. I thought it might be beneficial to finally create a master post of sorts where I can link to all the important posts involving hair that I’ve published. I plan on keeping this post updated with links to any future hair posts I write as well.

quick FAQ about my hair

  • ย What is your natural hair color? Dirty blonde.
  • ย How often do you wash your hair? Every other day.
  • Do you bleach your hair every time you change colors? Nope. I rarely ever apply bleach to the entire length of my hair. I normally only apply it to my roots.
  • How often do you bleach your hair? I bleach my hair only when my roots are bad. With some colors my roots don’t really bother me so much and I can go long periods without touching them up. I’d say average is a little less than once a month.
  • How do you change colors so easily? Since I don’t bleach my hair completely when changing colors I rely on letting it fade. Extra conditioning treatments, soaking in the tub, and the like so the current color is as light as possible. I just deal with the faded hair as long as possible. A lot of smoothly transitioning colors is knowing how colors work with each other. Underlying pigments effect what color your hair will end up so there are certain shades I’m not able to go to easily from some colors since I don’t strip my hair completely each time. You can read more about switching hair colors in this post.
purple + blue hair dye Manic Panic in Sunshine, Hot Hot Pink, Pillarbox Red, and Pretty Flamingo. Color Jamz in Yellin Yellow. Punky Colour in Fire.

FAQ about products

  • What bleach do you use? I swear by the Beyond the Zone Radical Bleach Kit. I’ve been using it since I started bleaching my hair. I do not follow the timing instructions though. After about seven minutes my hair is normally light enough to rinse. I definitely recommend keeping a close eye on how quickly it’s processing your hair. You can read more about my bleaching process here.
  • ย What brand of hair dye do you use? The majority of my dye jobs are done with Punky Colours, which I either purchase at Ulta or on Amazon. I’m also a fan of Special Effects dyes. If I’m in a hurry, or can’t find the color I’m looking at the store I’ll pick up Manic Panic but in general, it’s not my first choice. I’ve had the worst luck with Ion Color Brilliance and probably wouldn’t recommend them at all. That’s not to say I haven’t seen some gorgeous dye jobs with that dye. Everyone’s hair is different so your experiences with brands might not be the same as mine.
  • My hair color bleeds on everything / it’s all over my hands. How do you deal with this? I don’t. My hair color does not bleed. I don’t leave stains on anything other than my hands when my hair is wet and that’s only for the first day or so. If you’re dealing with a lot of staining it could be one of two things (possibly both): You didn’t rinse well enough or you’re not using a high quality color. As mentioned above, I recommend Punky Colours.
Purple. Blue. and Green Hair
Punky Color in alpine green, turquoise, and plum as well as electric lizard from Manic Panic

Recommended reading

As of June 2019, I also have YouTube channel where I share my hair dyeing adventures. Might be a fun place to browse if you’re looking for more details on how I did a specific dye job.

As much as I’d love to help people out with their hair, I can’t. Everyone’s hair is different. How your hair reacts to a certain product or color may be the complete opposite of how mine does. I’m simply sharing as much as I can about what I’ve found works for me. For that reason, I cannot give out any further advice. I can’t tell you what brand and color will make a certain shade in your hair but I can tell you that the adventure of it is half the fun!

If you have any general questions or questions about my hair – let me know. I’ll be keeping this post updated with relevant information.

Good luck!


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Tana Kiwifruit August 12, 2015 - 1:23 pm

I've been dyeing my hair for 10+ years and I too think punky colors is the best, by like, A LOT. The only thing that compares that I have tried is Special effects, but that bleeds for me for at least a week after using it, and stains my shower for a while, haha.

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:32 pm

Yeah, Special Effects is pretty awesome. I think they're fairly equal, SE is just a lot more expensive and harder to find. I like that I can pick up Punky from Ulta.

C. August 12, 2015 - 2:28 pm

Thanks for this great post. I love when you're talking about your hair (does it sound weird? Sorry!). I stumbled into your blog some time ago because of one of your hair color post (I think it was thanks to an article talking about you on the Craft blog) and I have to say that I got more and more addicted to your blog over time (even if I don't bike or don't care for abandoned buildings, even if you can really take beautiful pictures of those!), even if the "hair" posts were getting rare.
I dyed my short hair for years, but thanks to your hair tips, I got confident enough to dye my longer hair (mid-back) without being scared of ruin them. And it worked ๐Ÿ™‚ I always get compliments from strangers on how gorgeous are my hair and it's a bit thanks to you! I can't wait to read the new updated hair posts.

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:33 pm

Thanks C! I would love to blog about hair more but honestly don't know how to go about it. Giving advice is weird, and I can only share so many photos of my own hair so that leaves me kind of stuck. But I am definitely looking forward to re-writing the old hair posts with new info!

Pepper Medley August 12, 2015 - 2:36 pm

I love your ever changing hair color. It's one of the reasons I started reading your blog. Soooo cute!

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:34 pm

Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

B August 12, 2015 - 4:08 pm

I just love all the colors! Every shade looks great on you!

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:38 pm

Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristina Burkey August 12, 2015 - 7:36 pm

I did the ends of my hair hot pink, at a salon, and had them bleach first and it FELL OUT. Sorry, like the color was just GONE. In less than 2 weeks!! SO bummed. Have you had this happen with Manic Panic? Someone told me the dye just wasn't right but the salon said it's because my hair is curly. Not so sure about that :

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:40 pm

Sometimes when hair is so damaged it just refuses to hold color. They may have just damaged your hair a bit too much, especially if they're now blaming it on your hair. Manic Panic isn't the best color but it should still definitely stay longer than two weeks.

bec p August 14, 2015 - 12:04 am

Yup. Your hair probably was too damaged from a hasty bleach job. Salons sometimes do amazing jobs, but one thing they don't often explain is that with certain hair (especially dark), it takes some time – not just one visit – to bleach it effectively down to the right level without ruining it entirely. In trying to do so in one visit, I'm betting they used a higher volume developer, literally leaving your hair "holey" and unable to hold onto the dye.
Now, that said, I have also had one jar of Manic Panic that utterly failed to do anything. I was after the apparent holy grail of unnatural colors, Apricot Peach, and thought this might be my ticket. Lots of people had problems with the Pretty Flamingo, before it was discovered that this particular dye is sensitive to long storage and light and can break down before it is purchased. They claim to have changed the formula, but I haven't tried that color again.

Kaylah August 17, 2015 - 10:14 am

Reeeeeeeally? That makes so much sense. I bought two containers of Pretty Flamingo. One online and one in person and they were INSANELY different colors! They both worked normally, just completely different colors.

Trude August 12, 2015 - 9:19 pm

Your color combos are always the prettiest. I love seeing how it's evolved!

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:41 pm

Thanks Trude!

Brianna Cole August 13, 2015 - 5:22 am

I could stare at your hair all day every day. (I promise that's not as creepy as it sounds.) I sooo wish I could rock rainbow hair. Every hue looks gorgeous on you!

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:41 pm

Haha! Nah, it's not creepy at all! Thank you!!

PS. You can rock rainbow hair! Anyone can, it's just a matter of owning it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Natasa Tsouf August 13, 2015 - 6:51 am

Wow ! I love these happy colors on your head! My sister used to have a blue bangs and it was so impressive! I believe she would love all these useful advices

Kaylah August 13, 2015 - 12:48 pm

Thanks Natasa! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stephanie August 13, 2015 - 1:14 pm

I love all these bright colors! I wish my work would allow me to have my hair colors like this.

Kaylah August 31, 2015 - 9:24 pm

Thanks, Stephanie! ๐Ÿ™‚

Holly Dolan August 31, 2015 - 6:44 pm

Love your tips and info. My daughter had burgundy then a purple that she loved, wants to go blue, but the beauty school still wants too much money, so we're going to give it a go at home, since it's just bleaching her roots. How close to the scalp do you go? The box says a half inch, but her hair grows so fast that seems too much. She's never had any sensitivity issues. I understand if you don't want to give this kind of advice, though.

Kaylah August 31, 2015 - 9:24 pm

Depends on what you're using, I guess. This probably is a risky thing to give advice on since the directions say otherwise so I'll just say that I bleach all the way to my scalp. Sometimes it is REALLY itchy, other times it doesn't bother me at all.

Maybe just do a little test patch?

Holly Dolan August 31, 2015 - 9:27 pm

Thanks. I did some more searuching and saw where someone recommended the 1/4-1/2 away and the rubs it i to the roots a bit at the end. Glad to hear it both ways.

Holly Dolan August 31, 2015 - 6:48 pm

Sorry, two more questions: how much dye do you add to your conditioner, and she just had a deep conditioning treatment at the beauty school; how long should we wait to dye? Don't want to negate the conditioning effects and don't want the colour not to take. Thanks for any help!

Kaylah August 31, 2015 - 9:26 pm

I usually do 2 parts dye to 1 part conditioner, sometimes a little more.

Dye right after bleaching (I usually let my hair dry after bleaching but always dye the same day)

Good luck!

Holly Dolan August 31, 2015 - 9:28 pm

Thanks again!

larissa marie December 6, 2015 - 9:43 am

I adore your rainbow locks!

Are there any particular types of conditioners to avoid mixing with the punky colours? Or ones maybe you would recommend?

I recently mustered up the courage to bleach and dye my mid back length natural hair, blood orange/red. My hair seems to be just as strong and healthy but a little thirsty haha I read your blog and thought I might try mixing conditioner with the dye when I reapply.

Thanks for sharing all your advice! xo

Lauren May 1, 2016 - 8:35 pm

I know everyone always asks how you DYE your hair, but could you do a post on how you style your hair? Your hair is always looking fierce!
My cut is about the same length as you keep your hair, but I just don't know how to get my bob looking perfect like yours. I especially love when you throw just a little bit of curl in there!
Do you have a special blow-drying technique? Do you style with unicorn dust? There has to be some secret! Haha.

Unknown June 17, 2016 - 5:51 pm

Hi! Thank you so much for your blog and posts about your hair! It has really helped me make the leap into the world of vibrantly colorful hair. I'm looking into the Hask Placenta hair and scalp treatment and I was wondering when you put it on? Do you use it regularly while your hair is colored?
Thank you so much!

Kaylah June 21, 2016 - 1:22 am

I spritz it on my hair after towel drying, and of course! ๐Ÿ™‚

Unknown July 14, 2016 - 3:44 am

Could you do a tutorial on how you style your hair currently? It's so perfect, totally have bang envy!

Kaylah July 15, 2016 - 1:56 pm

Yes! I'm working on it currently! It'll be a few weeks but I got ya! ๐Ÿ™‚

Melanie July 22, 2016 - 7:45 pm

Yes, please more hair posts! I recently went with punky alpine green and followed your advice from various posts. Got lots of compliments at CONvergence, a sci-fi/fantasy con in Mpls. over July 4th weekend. Sent everyone to your site. Love the photography posts too!

Kaylah September 12, 2016 - 1:23 pm


Katherine Hessefort September 9, 2016 - 4:30 pm

OMG! You are my new hair color inspiration goddess! I have been dying my hair since I was 18 and have been dying it bright "unnatural" colors for the past few years. I was dying it red (manic panic vampire red) and prior to that I had magenta (special effects virgin rose) but recently went to purple. I've used a variety of the manic panic purples and they turn out pretty but fade so fast. I just tried special effects pimpin purple and deep purple so I'm hoping they last a little longer. I was wondering about how you mix your dye and conditioner…could you tell me a little bit more about that? Does it dilute the dye and make it more pastel? Do you have to use less dye then? Does it affect how long the dye lasts? I thought since you shouldn't condition your hair prior to dying it, mixing it with conditioner would cause the dye to not "stick"? Clearly that's not the case because your hair always looks amazing! Thanks for all the advice and inspiration!

Kaylah September 12, 2016 - 1:25 pm

It dilutes the color a little bit but how much really just depends on how much conditioner you mix in with the dye. You'd have to use A LOT to make it pastel. I feel like it makes the dye last longer.

Magda Zavala October 13, 2016 - 2:00 am

Can bleaching only the tips damage the rest of the hair?

Kaylah October 13, 2016 - 11:39 am

Only what you apply it to.

Amanda Todd December 6, 2016 - 4:45 pm

HI! I'm wondering if you've tried any other brands of hair dye that have become more popular recently like Pravana or Arctic Fox hair dye? I know Pravana is usually used by salons but its available on ebay and amazon, and Arctic Fox is at Spencers. Also Good Dye Young but they're fairly new and don't have that many colors available, same with Lunatik Cosmetics.

Kaylah December 13, 2016 - 3:19 pm

I've never tried Arctic Fox but I have used Pravana a few different times over the years. I'm still Punky Colours all the way! I've found nothing that works for my hair better.

Also, Good Dye Young kind of smells… like a lot. I got the blue and the yellow (to mix since they don't sell green) and I couldn't handle the smell. I had to wash my hair a second time after rinsing it out.

Nah Yeah March 15, 2017 - 8:48 am

Hi Kaylah! Love your blog and your hair. I noticed that you've used Electric Lizard on your hair in the past, coul you tell me what colour you switched to next? I'm waiting for my lime green to fade but have heard it can be hard to shift or change. Thanks!

Kaylah March 15, 2017 - 3:07 pm

I'm not sure off the top of my head but this should be helpful;

FlanneRy April 5, 2017 - 7:59 pm

You are gorgeous!
love your free spirit that shows through your stunning hair..

Kaylah April 7, 2017 - 12:20 am

Thank you so much! โค๏ธ

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melissa May 2, 2017 - 10:11 am

Thank you for putting this together, I have just touched up my dark hair with Manic Panic Emerald Forest and I have a couple practical questions if you have any advice:
Any tips on not staining bathtubs (if so how do you clean them out?)
How about keeping the color from rubbing off on sheets/pillowcases (currently I sleep with a towel over the pillow)

Either way, thanks for keeping us informed.

Kaylah May 3, 2017 - 8:06 am

Hey Melissa,
Funny thing is I’m actually just finishing up a post that covers both those questions! It should be up in the next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Jen petro July 30, 2017 - 6:39 pm

I have a question for you! I used a hair color I purchased at ulta to take my dark brown hair to violet. I bleached it first. I’m not thrilled with the results. I have ordered ALL of the products you’ve recommended. I ordered Punky Colours in violet. My question is would you bleach your hair before putting the same color over it? I am thinking no. I am thinking I will put the color on without bleaching. and let it set for hours (I believe you said you do that.) what do you think?

Kaylah July 31, 2017 - 2:27 pm

So you’re asking if you’d bleach your hair before putting more purple on your already purple hair? If so, no.

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Maria September 3, 2017 - 6:50 pm

I love your blog and hair!!! I just recently had my hair done at a salon 2 weeks ago. I had it done purple on top, blue in the middle and teal at the bottom. I was told not to wash my hair everyday because the color will run. So for I have washed it twice and it does run everywhere mostly purple. I read that you wash your hair everyday??? I would just like to know how?

Kaylah September 6, 2017 - 2:07 pm

I think rinsing with cold water and using the best quality hair dye are key. Cold water makes a world of difference!

Also, it wasn’t good planning on their part to do a darker color on top. I always try to do my darker colors on the bottom so that way there isn’t anything for them to run into.

De Condit November 18, 2017 - 3:06 pm

Great stuff! Discovered you today well done, fun and appropriate to my hair journey. Stoked to try punky colours out. I’ve used 4 different brands this year and not in love with any of them. Thanks, DC

Kaylah November 20, 2017 - 8:38 am

good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Brooke November 29, 2017 - 9:17 pm

I love your hair & started using Punky Colour last year. I took the hair color to my stylist & she did it for me, but I really want to be able to do it myself. I have really short hair, so it shouldn’t be too hard! I’ve read all your advice, but what I want to know is how you do your multiple colors? Do you start at the bottom & use foil to separate your colors, & then rinse all at once? I’ve never had multiple colors (& my stylist doesn’t really like to do them), I really like the green & blue hues. I got so many compliments on the alpine green!

Kaylah November 30, 2017 - 9:18 am

Yep! Start at the bottom and work your way up. If I’m doing similar colors like blue and green I don’t even both foiling in between but two very different colors I’d use foil in between layers. I always rinse all at once but always with very cold water.

Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

sara February 16, 2018 - 3:47 pm

when you use the punky color hair dye, what do you mix It with? i saw a video on youtube where they mixed it with shampoo, also how long do you leave it on for?
My hair is purple right now and im getting kind of bored with it and I’d like to try a new color but I want to go blue or turquoise. Any suggestions on how to get it to look like that?

Kaylah February 21, 2018 - 7:20 am

Either nothing or conditioner. These days I’ve been leaving hair dye in 2-3 hours but that’s not really necessary. An hour should do ya! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not sure why anyone would mix shampoo in with hair dye…

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Charlie May 15, 2018 - 11:51 am

Hi, i love reading your hair posts there so helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ from your experience do you reccomend going from purple to turquoise? Or will it turn out an odd colour? My hairs currently a blue toned purple

Kaylah May 16, 2018 - 8:49 am

Without actually seeing your hair or knowing it’s history, I can’t really give too much advice. I have no idea how light your hair will go when it’s bleached either. If you’re unsure, your best bet is to head to a professional. Best of luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leyna May 28, 2019 - 8:19 pm

my hair is a milk chocolate-ish color (it tends to fluctuate darker and lighter sometimes, dont know why) , do you think i’d need to bleach it to put a navy blue or plum color in my hair?

Kaylah May 28, 2019 - 10:03 pm

If you’re looking to do a vibrant color – yes, absolutely.
If you just want it tinted blue or purple – maybe not but your results will definitely vary based on the brand of dye.

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Carys December 3, 2019 - 11:31 am

Hi! Sorry if this has already been answered, When colouring your hair (to a previously faded colour and no bleach), what condition should your hair be in? Should I colour it after it hasn’t been washed in a while or washed the night before perhaps? Or even to wet hair? Which option allows the colour to stay vibrant for longer?

I’ve picked up so many tips from your page, thanks so much!

Kaylah Stroup December 6, 2019 - 9:34 am

I always prefer to dye freshly washed but dry hair. Damp is okay, and so is washing the night before! Generally I’d avoid dyeing ‘hasn’t been washed in a while’ hair because there’s so much grease that it makes it hard for the dye to really penetrate the strands.


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