This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through affiliate links help support this website.

How to Take Care of Brightly Colored Hair

How to take care of brightly colored hair

I’ve been asked to do an update on how I care for my brightly colored hair and what products I use on my hair. (You can see my previous posts How to Care for Colored Hair and How to Have the Best and Brightest Colored Hair.) This post is on what products work for me for my hair. It includes, shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, accessories, masks, and styling products. They may or may not work on your hair, depending on your natural color, texture, and the current state of your hair.

When I had blonde and hot pink hair.
When I had blonde and hot pink hair.

As a reminder, my hair is straight and fine. My natural color is so dark that people mistake it for black, but it’s really a deep, dark brown with hints of red. I do lighten up easily, which is nice.

Malibu Wellness Malibu C Un Do Goo Clarifying Shampoo

Malibu Wellness Malibu C Un Do Goo Clarifying Shampoo
$13.29 for 33.8 fl. oz. Malibu Wellness is Cruelty-Free.
It took me a very long time to find a vegan, cruelty-free clarifying shampoo. Finally I found the Malibu Wellness brand and the Malibu C Un Do Goo shampoo. It’s great. A day or two before I bleach and dye my hair, I wash with this shampoo to remove any buildup on the hair. After I bleach, I will wash with this, too, to make sure that I remove every trace of bleach.

Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer

Ion Sensitive Scalp 30 Volume Creme Developer 32 oz.
$5.69 for 32 fl. oz. Ion is Cruelty-Free.
I prefer Ion Sensitive Scalp developer and I’ve used it for years because it doesn’t irritate my scalp. It lives up to its name. I’ve used 10, 20, 30 and 40. I typically use 20 or 30 these days. You should choose whatever will work best for your hair type.

Salon Care Prism Lites

Salon Care Prism Lites Lightener Blue
$19.49 for 16 oz. I cannot find a definitive answer on whether or not Salon Care is cruelty-free.
I like Salon Care Prism Lites Lightener in Blue or Violet. From my understanding, blue-based is good for hair that lightens with reddish tones and violet is good if your hair lightens with yellow tones.

Manic Panic Flash Kit

Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 40 Volume.
$14.55 Manic Panic is Cruelty-Free.
If you’re nervous and want to use a kit instead of individual products, I highly recommend the Manic Panic Flash kit. It works pefectly at lightening your hair to prepare it for bright color.

To lighten your hair, it’s important that you let the air get to the bleach. I would not recommend adding heat unless you’ve talked to a professional first. You need to let it develop, keeping an eye on it to make sure you’re lightening to the desired color. I typically lighten for between 20 to 40 minutes, watching the color closely.

When I’m sure my hair is as light as I want it, I rinse the bleach out of my hair, then I use a clarifying shampoo to wash it out. I then use  a moisturizing conditioner.

Salon Care black vinyl gloves
Salon Care Black Vinyl Gloves
Gloves are important to keep your hands free of dye.

I also use a tint brush to apply color, as well as a comb (depending on the type of dye). I use a bowl to mix color. I use foil to keep my color sections separated and duckbill clips to section off the hair.

Colortrak Ear covers

Colortrak Tools Ear Protector Caps
Ear caps, aka ear condoms, these are great for protecting your ears from dye.

Salon care processing caps

Salon Care Professional Processing Caps
After I apply my dye, I use one of these caps on my head.

Blow Dryer Bonnet

Belson Gold N Hot Jet Bonnet Dryer Attachment
While it looks silly, I use this to apply heat to my hair.

Ion Color Brilliance

Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color
I’ve been loving the Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair colors. I’ve used the Orange, Magenta, Fuchsia, and Purple on myself. The consistency is very thick, almost fudge-like. I don’t really have problems with it dripping or splattering. While I’ve used these on their own, I find that I have to mix the Orange with Manic Panic Electric Lava and the Purple with Manic Panic Ultra Violet. I mix the Orange so that it’s brighter and shows up better on my hair. I mix the Purple so that it doesn’t fade down to a brown color. I also mix the Magenta and Fuchsia together to add slightly cooler tones to the pink in my hair.

Manic Panic Hair Dye

Manic Panic Hair Dye
Price Varies
Manic Panic hair dye has been a staple for me for 16 years. I love it on its own and mixed with other colors. It’s usually a watery formula, so it’s easy to drip or splatter with it.

If I’m using Manic Panic by itself, I will put on a processing cap (and ear condoms), then use the blow dry bonnet to apply heat for about 20 minutes. Then I wrap a towel around my head and keep it on for 1 to 2 hours. If I’m using the Ion Color Brilliance color, I will do the same as the Manic Panic, except I only leave it on for about 1 hour.

When I’m ready for the color to come out, I rinse the dye out in cool water until the water runs clear.

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner
Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner
$7.99 for 8.4 fl. oz. Marc Anthony is Cruelty-Free.
I love using this shampoo because it’s got keratin, grape seed oil and argan oil. It’s great for colored hair and controlling frizz. It’s also sulfate free. I also like to use the conditioner when I’m washing my hair & not coloring it.

DermOrganic Sulfate Free Conditioning Shampoo

DermOrganic Conditioning Shampoo
$12.80 for 12 fl. oz. DermOrganic is Cruelty-Free.
This also has argan oil, sunflower seed oil, grape seed oil, rice amino acids and Vitamin E. It’s another wonderful shampoo that I love. Sulfate free, of course!

Trader Joe's ph balancing conditioner

Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Balance Moisturizing Conditioner
$9.88 for 16 fl. oz. Trader Joe’s is Cruelty-Free.
After I rinse my color out and then shampoo, I like to use a pH balancing conditioner. I’ve been using Trader Joe’s recently and I really like it. It’s cruelty-free.

DermOrganic Masque

DermOrganic Masque Conditioner
$13.45 for 8.45 fl. oz.
I like to do a conditioning mask every other time I wash my hair and the DermOrganic Masque is fantastic. It’s got argan oil in it and a ton of other goodies for making your hair soft and healthy.

I still haven’t found a cruelty-free replacement for Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus. If anyone knows of one, please let me know! It’s the other mask that I alternated with until I ran out. I refuse to buy it again unless it becomes cruelty-free.

DermOrganic Leave-In Treatment

DermOrganic Leave-in Treatment
$12.81 for 4 fl. oz.
I use the DermOrganic Leave in Treatment if I’m not in a hurry. I put it on my damp hair, after I’ve washed and conditioned and then I comb it through. It really helps to speed up the dry time. Of the treatments I use in my hair after washing, this is my favorite because my hair feels like silk after I use it.

DermOrganic Leave-in Spray Therapy Treatment Review

DermOrganic Leave-in Shine Therapy
$14.95 for 3.38 fl. oz.
I use the Spray in Therapy if I’m in more of a hurry. I use it in a similar way to the Leave-In treatment. I spritz this on my hair and comb it through. If my hair is dry, I might also spritz it on and comb it through.

Black 15 in 1 Miracle Hair Treatment

Black 15 in 1 Miracle Hair Treatment
$13.65 for 3.3 fl. oz. Black 15 in 1 is Cruelty-Free.
The other spray in treatment that I like to use is the Black 15 in 1. It also helps with detangling, frizz, uv protection, moisturizing etc.

DermOrganic Texture Taffy

DermOrganic Texture Taffy
$9.70 for 3.4 oz.
Right now, this is one of the products that I prefer to use for styling my hair, since it’s very textured. I’d also like a spray wax but I’ve been unable to find a good cruelty-free one.

DermOrganic Fast Dry Shaping Spray Plus Hold Review

DermOrganic Fast Dry Shaping Spray plus Hold
$14.65 8 oz.
Sometimes I use a bit of hair spray to help hold my fringe in place.

Marc Anthony Thickening Cream

Marc Anthony Instantly Thick Hair Thickening Cream
$6.60 for 6 oz
I need to do a full review on this for you but I have to rave about it a bit. I apply it at my roots and blow dry and it does give me volume! It’s wonderful for my fine hair.

Rock Your Hair Bombshell Big Hair Powder

Rock Your Hair Bombshell Big Hair Powder
$5.99 Rock Your Hair is Cruelty-Free.
I also still love to use hair powder to add volume. It works well.

Marc Anthony 2nd Day Clear Dry Shampoo

Marc Anthony 2nd Day Clear Dry Shampoo
I have loved 2 dry shampoos, ever. The first is Batiste. The second is this one by Marc Anthony, which I also need to review. It works exactly the way Dry Shampoo is supposed to work. It absorbs oil, it doesn’t leave a white residue behind. It’s wonderful and it’s easy to get ahold of. I put this in my hair, wait about 5 minutes, and then I brush through my hair.

Purple Pink Orange Sunset Hair

I only wash my hair once a week, twice max. Every other time I wash, I use a hair mask. I do usually blow dry my hair and I always use a heat protectant. If I’m using a thickening spray, about halfway through my blow dry I will apply it. Otherwise, I dry all the way and then i will use Bombshell to add volume and then some Texture Taffy to make it piecey.

How do you take care of your hair? Are there any new cruelty-free sulfate-free products you love? Please tell me about them!

Tags from the story


  • What a difference a year makes! I was reading this and having horribly fine hair with zero volume, I was especially intrigued by the Marc Anthony Thickening Cream. As of today, 5/2/14, it is more than double the price that is was when you originally posted. It is $ 13.95 now, versus $ 6.60 in March of last year (same product size). Bummer!

  • I can’t use it now ( my hair is super super super short after shaving it ) but how does your new conditioner work with manic panic dyed hair ? Can you add a little bit of the manic panic to it to prolong your hair color ?

  • I adore your hair. I used to have blue and purple streaks all throughout mine, which was wicked cool, but it was such a pain in the arse to deal with. Ahhhg I wish I could make it look like that without the work!
    Like how I wish I could stay fit and healthy while sitting on my couch playing Harvest Moon and eating brownies by the dozen ;).

  • Thank you, oh Yoda 🙂 When I get my hair colored next month I’m going to have a handful of these products ready to maintain my hot pink locks 🙂 Your hair is always so beautiful–thanks for a GREAT tutorial!! xoxo

  • Your hair has totally inspired me to start rocking the bright colors – thank you for all your tips and tricks!
    How often do you end up bleaching/stripping color? Do you ever do root touch-ups or are you generally just completely redoing colors when you do?

    • elfling01 I try to bleach as little as possible. So normally I just bleach my roots and try to work my color towards whatever direction I’m going in next. Sometimes I’ll try to remove color with Color Oops or One n’ Only Color Fix, and then bleach from that point.

  • I wanted to share with you what my stylist used to do when I had colors. She would bleach my hair then shampoo it but not condition, apparently conditioner seals the hair and it absorbs less? Anyways then she would put the color in and remove it with just water, no shampoo and then proceeded to condition. It worked fine because you know how much color one looses in the first wash. Anyways I was blonde back then how did you manage to not let the pink run into the blonde?

    • jaruka I don’t tend to lose a lot of color when I was because of using sulfate-free products. When I was blonde and pink, I put the pink into a foil and pulled all the blonde away, (basically sectioning off the hair). Then I washed out the pink as much as possible, then did the rest of the hair. I still had a small pale pink ‘halo’ around the edges.

  • Oh, the product whore in me is giddy with excitement just looking at all those ‘poos, conditioners, and styling products!

Comments are closed.