Blue Hair FAQ: How I Went Blue

I thought I'd update my hair tag with some answers to the questions I've been getting about my blue hair. If you want a more broad perspective on rainbow hair check out this article I wrote for A Beautiful Mess interviewing six different rainbow & pastel haired ladies about the dyes they use and tips they have for others looking to go bold.
The process: I went to my local salon (Robyn James, which I wholeheartedly recommend and my lovely hairdresser Pamela who is amazing and hilarious) for my hair. In the past I did my hair blue (or greenish blue) myself, but I had very little hair to mess up and less spots I’d be likely to “miss” in the process. I was a bit nervous about ruining my hair when I had spent so long growing it out, so a professional was definitely needed to take me from copper to blue! Since I started with red hair we had to use a color stripper to get as much of the red out as possible. A lot of dyed reds will react to bleach by making your hair bright orange which is really difficult to get blue on top of! So first it was a color stripper, then bleach, the blue. My blue came out a bit streaky at first with more green in it because we had done so many processes in one day, so I went back a week after my initial process for a second application of blue (so some of the pictures on the blog have been with the blue/green streaky pre-second dye hair and some were taken after the second dye job; so if my hair color appears to be changing between posts that's because it was!). Pamela used a local salon brand in Electric Blue—I haven’t been able to find this dye online (maybe only hair professionals can purchase it) or I’d link to it.
A few bright hair color facts: You can only get vivid colors like my blue if you bleach. I know bleaching your hair is super damaging and can even be a painful process, but there is no other way to get a bright color even if you are starting with naturally light blonde hair! Part of the reason you need to bleach is bleaching makes your hair more porous. More porous hair absorbs more color, so you need the bleach to “prepare” your hair for the color. So even light-colored hair needs to be bleached to be “prepared” for bright colors or the bright colors basically just rinse off. This also means because you are bleaching your hair and dyeing it's not a quick process to reverse and go back to your "natural" or previous look. I haven't seen my natural color in years, so I'm not really concerned with the fact that I have to touch-up my color for the rest of eternity. But if you're new to dyeing or bleaching is important to think about what you're getting into; the damage of bleaching is also hard to reverse so if you change your mind you now have weird colored, damaged hair...
Tricky, tricky blue: For a bright, true blue you need to get your hair to almost white blonde. One way to do this is to bleach it very pale. Another way to is to bleach it to a yellow-y blonde and then use a toner (like Wella T18 White Lady) to take out the yellow tones and turn your hair more white blonde. This time we just bleached my hair very light in one go and the bleaching part didn’t take too long. But in the past when I went pink I toned my hair between the bleaching and the dye; this meant I didn’t have to leave the bleach in as long which was important to me when I was doing it myself. The Wella toner I used was amazing and removed all of the brassiness in one go.
The fade is real: One of the biggest pains of going a bright (or pastel) color is that after all the work of bleaching and dyeing your hair the color simply won’t last the way other natural colors do. When I’m using a box red I can usually go a month between dyeing, but when colors like pink and blue I find myself touching up my color every couple of weeks. There are of course ways to fight the fading, for avoiding washing your hair (which is actually very good for your hair, your natural oils are better for your hair than any conditioner you can apply!) and pay attention to the products you’re using. One of the biggest culprits of fade is shampoo and specifically shampoos with sulfates. Another trick is to mix some of your dye in with your conditioner; then when you apply your conditioner let it sit in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing out. That way you’re touching up your color every time you wash.


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