My hair has been through a lot of…. things.
When I was young I couldn’t imagine changing it. I had spent years growing it out, nearly to my hips, and while I was never particularly excited about being a natural blonde a lot of other people seemed to think it was a pretty big deal. I used to get told by strangers all the time that I should never dye it – “you’ll never get that back,” they would say.
That was fine for a while – I always considered myself somewhat of a tomboy. I didn’t have much interest in changing my hair anyway. But then ninth grade came along, and with it came a whole slew of self-discovery. Over the next two years I discovered a whole new world and a whole new side of myself; I fell in love with punk music, I found new idols, and I started changing up my look. My biggest inspiration?
Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
It came as a surprise to absolutely no one when I said I wanted to go bright red, a la Hayley. My uncle gave me a gift certificate to a local salon and I went for it. I started with a rich bright red that could almost pass for natural, and I loved it.
As I got older I started experimenting. I sought out brighter shades of red, and tried out a few brunettes and oranges. There was even a brief purple phase. With each change I felt a little more comfortable in my skin – a little more like me.
I think at the end of the day my favourite thing about dying my hair was that it made me feel like how I looked matched how I felt (ie, weird).
Anyway, I’ve been at this for years now. Since tenth grade I’ve chopped, dyed and recently even attempted (aka was VERY UNSUCCESSFUL) to bleach my locks… and I think I’ve done it. I think I have finally – FINALLY!! – managed to find my perfect red.
And hey, along the way I have picked up a few tips and tricks.
Red dye calling your name? I got your back.
✨ if you’re going to go red, my fave is Vidal Sassoon’s Runway Red – I’ve been using it for years and it is the richest red I’ve come across so far
✨ the heat from your head will make dye on your roots work faster, so if this is your first time dying it and you just slather it all over you’re going to end up with a bright red streak down the middle of your head – trust me. If your hair is naturally a light colour and you want to dye it for the first time by yourself, I’d recommend you start applying dye to the hair about an inch from your scalp. THEN cover your roots for about the last fifteen minutes.
✨ the truth about red: it fades fast. Like, the fastest. If you want to keep your hair colour looking fresh for as long as possible the best thing you can do is cut down on washes. I use a shower cap to keep my hair dry, and stock up on dry shampoo!
✨ hot water is the enemy!!! When it does come time to wash, cold water is best. I like to do mine in the sink because ruining the sanctity of my hot shower is just so wrong.
✨ I probably properly colour my hair with the vidal sassoon dye about once a month… in between those sessions I start getting creative. Once a week (ish) I add a dab of manic panic in pillarbox red to my conditioner and clip it up while I wash my body, shave my legs, etc. I use it just like regular conditioner, after my shampoo. This keeps the colour from looking too faded and washed out. Because MP is only semi-permanent it doesn’t have peroxide in it, which means it’s not damaging to your hair.
✨ usually about two weeks after I’ve coloured it I’ll put the manic panic/conditioner combo straight onto my hair when it’s dry and leave it for about half an hour. The conditioner keeps the colour toned down just enough – I’m not going for cartoon character red, here – and makes my hair so nice and soft. A word to the wise, though: this shit stains everything (rip to my fireworks shirt!!). Make sure you wear gloves or you’ll have pink hands for days.
✨ really though, the number one most important tip? Don’t be scared. If you mess it up you can change it – it’s just hair! Go for what you want and don’t worry about what people will think or what could go wrong. Have fun and express yourself! Who knows, you might fall in love with a whole new you.
Have you done much experimenting with your hair? What tips have I missed?
PS, I know this isn’t Christmas related…. but it’s still a post! Sorry.