Beginner’s Guide to Brightly Colored Hair
I’m updating my Beginner’s Guide to Brightly Colored Hair. I’ve really changed how I treat my hair since 2013 and this really needed a refresher so that you can learn from the new things I’ve tried. Many of you have told me, ‘if I only knew how, I’d have brightly colored hair’ or ‘I wish I could have rainbow hair but I don’t know where to start.’ So this beginner’s guide is for you!
Pr + Purchased by me.
3 to 5 Days Before You Want to Dye
3 to 5 days before you want to dye your hair, I recommend using a deep conditioning mask like the EVA NYC Hair Therapy Session Hair Mask. I use this hair mask every 2nd or 3rd wash when I wash my hair, depending on how my hair feels to me. While I’m slack about using facial masks, I take my hair masking very seriously.
1 Day Before You Want to Dye
One day before you dye your hair with rainbow colors, wash it with a clarifying shampoo to remove any build up in your hair. Don’t put any product on it after you do this!
I love the Malibu Un-Do-Goo clarifying shampoo. I bought one of the huge bottles and I use it only when I need to remove buildup. It’s great at removing my pomades, hair wax and hairspray that builds up on my hair. It’s cruelty-free and vegan.
This is the day you’re going to dye your brightly colored hair! Now the question – to bleach or not to bleach?
If you want a subtle pop of color, you can avoid bleaching. The color you choose will likely only be visible in direct sunlight if you do this However, if you want to go all out with rainbow hair, you’ll need to bleach first. I recommend one of two bleaching methods.
Pulp Riot LightenerLightener
Pulp Riot Lightener comes in 6, 10, 20, 30 and 40 volume developer. Many people have told me that the new Pulp Riot Lightener is amazing, along with their rainbow hair dyes.
If you don’t want to have to worry about measuring out the correct amount of developer and lightener powder, you want the Manic Panic Flash Lightning kit. It even comes with a tint brush and gloves. This has been the kit that so many of my friends have used for the past 20 years.
You can also buy bleach and developer from Sally Beauty directly.
After you bleach your hair according to the directions with the packaging, wash your hair thoroughly, don’t condition it, and dry it.
Before you start coloring with brightly colored hair dye, make sure you have the following:
If you didn’t pick up the Manic Panic Flash Lightning kit, you will need gloves – both for bleaching and later for coloring. This is the brand I buy (in size medium). You can pick these up at Sally’s Beauty Supply.
You’ll need a plastic (not metal) bowl to mix dye in, as well as tint brushes to apply the color and possibly a comb, to make sure the brightly colored hair dye is evenly distributed throughout your hair.
These keep brightly colored hair dye off of your ears. I find them essential. Put these on before you start coloring. Ray always makes jokes about these being ear condoms to protect you from aural sex.
There are several different brands of cruelty free brightly colored hair dye available. The easiest to get your hands on is Manic Panic. I also highly recommend Pravana Vivids, because that’s my favorite. I’ve heard great things about Pulp Riot and Arctic Fox. Check out my cruelty free hair dye brands list for more recommendations!
Pravana Vivids are my go-to brightly colored hair dye brand these days. They give me long lasting results. Sometimes I mix them with Manic Panic to create custom shades.
Manic Panic doesn’t offer all of their colors in the Amplified Cream formula, but the ones that they do are awesome. I’ve used these for decades.
The rest of the Manic Panic shades that are available are pretty extensive, and they even include some that glow under blacklight.
I’ve had good success with the Punky Color line, though it tends to bleed a lot on me.
I’ve only tried one color of SFX and didn’t have much luck with it, but what doesn’t work for me may work for you. I find the semi-permanent dyes tend to vary on which brands work best for people based on their hair type.
How to Apply Color to Your Hair
Apply your brightly colored hair dye in one to two inch wide sections so that you can fully saturate the hair. If you need to, carefully use a wide tooth comb to distribute the color. I usually get Ray to help me with the back of my hair since it’s difficult to color your hair in the back.
Leave Your Color On and Apply Heat
There are many schools of thought about semi-permanent dye but I’ve had the most success with leaving it on for 1 to 2 hours and I often use heat. If I’m not going to use heat, I put a processing cap on my hair and wrap a towel around my head while I wait for it to process. Sometimes I will apply heat with a soft bonnet dryer.
Please note, if you are using a permanent hair dye do NOT leave the color in for 2 hours. Follow the instructions on the hair dye that you’re using.
After the brightly colored hair dye is applied, I always use these to keep my hair moist and off of my skin.
This is an upgrade from my previous hair dryer bonnet. This ties under the chin and and makes it much easier to apply heat. Immediately after applying hair dye and putting your processing cap on, I would apply heat with this for 20 to 30 minutes. After you’ve applied heat for 20 or 30 minutes, you can wrap a towel around your head to hold in the heat for an hour, or you can set the dryer to low for an hour. Then I would recommend putting it on high heat again for 20 to 30 minutes before you rinse the hair dye out.
Rinse & Wash
After you’ve left the brightly colored hair dye on for an hour or two, you’ll want to rinse it out. Before I rinse my hair, I always make sure I have a clear coat of nail polish on, or I wear gloves to rinse. Remove the cap and rinse until the water runs clear. I would rinse in tepid to cool water. Make sure you rinse thoroughly.
Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. I love the entire BRÖÖ hair care line, especially the Thickening and Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. They contain shea better, which my fine, thin hair soaks up like crazy. The caffeine in the line is supposed to stimulate the hair follicles. It smells of citrus creme, similar to a dreamsicle.
Make sure you remember to follow up with a conditioner. When I’m not using my EVA NYC Hair Therapy Hair Mask, I use this one.
Protect & Dry
After washing the color out, I always want to see how it turns out! Always use heat protectant before you blow dry your hair!
The EVA NYC Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer is my go-to heat protectant before I blow dry. It cuts down on drying time, reduces frizz, protects agains heat, environmental and UV damage. It has nourishing argan oil and sunflower seed butter in it. I love it!
Try not to wash your brightly colored hair for at least 3 days after you color. I typically wash my hair every 4 to 6 days now, depending on how much product I’m using in my hair.
If I need to use a dry shampoo, I reach for EVA NYC Freshen Up Dry Shampoo. It works so well to help refresh my hair for another day before I can wash it. If you’re prone to oily hair, use a dry shampoo like this one to soak up the oil at the roots. Spray it in your hair, wait five minutes, then brush it through your hair. You’ll get some volume out of it, too!
To keep my color vivid after I dye it, I use overtone hair masks or I mix Manic Panic Cream Color into my EVA NYC Hair Therapy Hair Mask. I put the hair mask on my dry hair and leave it on for an hour, then wash it out.
What are your tips for brightly colored hair? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!