The first thing you need to know is that everyone's hair chemistry is different so what works for me may not work for you. The second most important thing you need to know is that having bright dyed hair requires massive amounts of maintenence. If you can't follow the rules your color will fade within days and it will be no one's fault but your own. Here's my guidelines and rules:
1. Don't start with bleaching your whole head and going full on right off the bat. Do it gradually for three reasons. First, because it's stressful on your hair. Second, because you need time to get used to the maitence. Third, you should figure out what brands work for you. I started with a bleached ombre and worked up to my full head over 3 years.
2. Get a professional to bleach it. You can do the color yourself or ask your sister like I do but bleaching should be done by someone who went to beauty school. Period. Mine was done by Tunde Kulina at Mason and Friends. It took 6 hours so bring a charger or reading materials.
3. Finding a dye that works for you is just trial and error, but if you don't follow the rules don't blame the dye. The two brands that work best for me are Splat (which you can buy at CVS) and Adore (which has to be bought at a speciality store). Manic Panic, Sparks, and Vivid wash out with in days. When I follow the rules Splat lasts 6 weeks, yeah 6 weeks that's it. It gets brassy and fades and my sister has to touch it up. Chances are your local salon doesn't use a brand that works for you so be prepared to touch it up soon after. You also should factor in the cost of having to dye your hair every 6 weeks rather then every 3 months.
4. So what are these rules you speak of Mandie? OK here we go:
- Only wash your hair TWICE a week. That's the real secret. The good news the more bleached it is the drier it is and doesn't get as oily. I shower everyday and 5 days a week I wear a shower cap. Shampoo kills the color. Don't do it.
- Use sulfate free color safe shampoo. Check the ingredients don't just read the label. I use L'Oréal EverPure Color Care.
- Use a deep conditioner every time you shampoo it. I use L'Oréal EverPure Moisture Repair Hair Masque.
- Use color safe dry shampoo (and if you're only washing your hair twice a week you use a lot of dry shampoo). I see people all the time who use safe regular shampoo but use toxic dry shampoo. Come on use your brain! I use Suave Professional Keratin Infusion Color Care Dry Shampoo (which only ever seems to be in stock at Walmart).
- No products that aren't sulfate free. I really can't harp on the sulfate thing enough.
- No pools! No chlorine! This seems obvious but I see people doing it all the time. Frankly the pool's owner won't appreciate your purple dye in their pool anyway. Salt water, i.e. the ocean, isn't great either.
- Wear a hat in the sun, it WILL fade your dye.
5. Love the ombre, hate streaks. That cool galaxy blue, purple, green thing you see on instagram DOESN'T last. As soon as you wash it the colors fade into each other and it looks awful. Don't do it. I don't even really have pictures because it faded so quickly. Ombre colors on the other hand fade into each other naturally. The smoke stack is really only cool if you wear your hair up which I rarely do or it's curled the right way. See the pictures below of my current do.
6. YouTube is your friend. Watch videos but be realistic about what you or your sister can pull off and how long it will take.
That's all I can think of for now. I hope I cleared some things up for people and I'll ask my sister to write a few sentences on her technique. She's pretty stellar...
The Smoke Stack (note the darkest purple is only underneath)
The Ombre (as the color fades the separation will become less pronounced)