Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tips & Tricks: Dying Your Hair (and My Personal Experience)

Hi, everyone! Yesterday, after much deliberation, I finally went a little "crazy" with my hair. I'm pretty reserved with my hair; I've never dyed it before, so this was a big step for me. I'm so happy with the way it turned out! Thank you, Nicole, for the wonderful job!

She used hair lightener (aka bleach, which is essentially peroxide) to give me some highlights, since my hair is blonde to begin with. I feel like it brightened up my hair color as a whole, and made my hair look a bit more summery. You can get a big tub of hair lightener powder and a large bottle of activator (the creamy liquid used to activate the chemicals in the hair lightener) for very cheap at Sally's Beauty Supply, or any other beauty supply store. The activator basically turns the powder into a paste, making the hair lightener easier to work with and activates the bleach in your hair. There are varying degrees of strength in activators, and the one she used was level 20. Anything higher than 20 has the power to lift or deposit color. It's crazy what simple chemicals can do, isn't it?

Both the hair lightening powder and the activator last a long time, since you only really need a scoop or two of powder and a little activator per highlight job. Though, bleaching your hair can be quite drying (and also make your hair more tangly), so I wouldn't do it very often.

Tip: Buy yourself a detangler. It'll make the process of blow-drying and combing through your hair (both during the process and from then on) so much easier. No one likes scalp pain! I like to use the WEN Replenishing Mist  but you can use whatever you like.

Next, she let the hair lightener process in my hair. It really depends on the person how long it takes, and how light you want the highlights to be. I have what she called "virgin hair" (basically, I'd never dyed it before), so my hair didn't have layers of color in it, so my hair lightened relatively quickly. After that, she rinsed it out once my hair had reached a pale yellow-blonde color.

After blow-drying it, she began placing the pink hair dye over it. We picked up a small bottle for around $6 at Sally's, and it seems to have enough for around three uses if you're just using it for streaks. We had to lighten the hair first, because even though my hair is blonde, it's still too dark for the color to show up. Since I'm pretty shy when it comes to my hair, and it was my first time doing anything "crazy" with my hair, she decided to do "peekaboo highlights." This was perfect for someone like me, because they're not overbearing, but they're more of a fun surprise when I turn my head. They'll be more noticeable when I curl or braid my hair, but if I just keep my hair to the side, you can see hints of pink. It's a lot of fun, but not too much!

Tip: Have an idea of what you want when you go to your hairstylist (or in my case, your very good friend who just happens to be a licensed hair stylist in New York State). The more information you can give him or her about what you want--and what you don't want--the happier you'll be with the result.

Artificial Lighting - No Flash
She let the color process in my hair for 20 minutes to obtain maximum vibrancy, before rinsing it out (until the water turned clear) and blow-drying my hair, again. Heat isn't typically good for your hair, but since my hair always gets off easy since I never blow-dry it or do any heat-styling, it was fine. Also, I couldn't go out with dripping wet hair!

Artificial Lighting - Flash
Tip: Make sure to have a good chunk of time on your hands before starting. With all things included, it took Nicole about three hours (poor girl!) to do my hair. It's a lengthy process, with the waiting time for the chemicals to work on your hair, so it's not something that can be rushed. It will all be worth it in the end, but make sure you don't have any place to be.

The pink highlights are hiding beneath the top layer of hair, which I'm pulling back in this photo
Nicole made sure to warn me not to use a white towel on my hair after showering, as the pink could stain it. Be sure to use a towel that's dark, or one that you don't care about to dry your hair. She also told me that I should expect to see color in the bathtub when I'm washing my hair, and that's completely normal.

Tip: Be sure to buy a color-safe shampoo that doesn't contain any sulfates. Sulfates (most commonly seen as Sodium Laureth Sulfate) are a soap-like detergent for your hair that cleans it and lathers well, but it strips any artificial color you many have put--that's your money going down the drain! I, personally, will be using my Ecru New York Luxe Treatment Shampoo from last month's Sample Society box, and my beloved WEN Cleansing Conditioner. Without any sulfates, my color will stay vibrant for longer.

When I got home, after thanking Nicole for a job well done, I made sure to put something in my hair to give it some moisture. After all of the blow drying, bleaching, and dying, my hair was a little dry. So, I dropped a little bit of argan oil onto the the hair from my neck down, concentrating mostly on the ends. I used Josie Maran's, because that's what I had on hand, but any moisturizing product would do well. Then, I sprayed some WEN Replenishing Mist onto a comb (also a WEN comb, because I'm obsessed) to tame any flyaways and give some moisture to the top of my head, which was also looking dry. After they had time to soak in, my hair felt a lot softer and smoother. I felt like it deserved some replenishing after all of the styling from the day.

Tip: Buy a deep conditioner/mask, along with some moisturizing products for your hair if you're planning or dying or bleaching it. The chemicals tend to make your hair dryer, and you'll need something to replenish the moisture. When shopping for said products, try to avoid any silicones. Silicones (essentially anything with the suffix -cone in the ingredients list) make your hair smoother by creating a seal over your hair, preventing it from breathing and absorbing any other products that you'll put on top of it. Build-up of silicones can cause hair to be dry since it can't soak up moisture and oil--or, on the opposite end, too much use can sometimes make it look weighed down), use a non-silicone product. If you want to truly make your hair healthier, look for hair products that have oils or other moisturizing products.

It was a lot of fun, getting my hair dyed. Nicole is a superstar for doing such a wonderful job (and for basically standing for three hours doing it, even though she has a bad back). Thank you!

Have you ever dyed your hair? What was it like?

Disclaimer: I swear I'm not affiliated or sponsored by WEN, I just have a strange obsession with their products. If they wanted to sponsor me, that would be awesome. I love free things. I'm also not affiliated/sponsored by any other brands mentioned in this post. I bought everything myself (though I guess technically not the Ecru shampoo, since it was technically included in a subscription box), and now my bank account is mad at me.

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