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Monday, November 28, 2011

A little about hair dye

   I used to be very, very blonde. It was a large part of who I was; "the girl with the super blonde hair." I'm not exactly sure what prompted my desire to go dark during my freshman year at Western. I think I wanted to move away from blonde stereotypes, and be taken a little more seriously. Also, starting college gives you a chance to rebuild your identity, and I didn't want to be "the blonde girl" anymore.

    So, just like that I went dark. It was a huuuuuge change, and for the most part I liked it. But after being so blonde, having dark hair felt...kind of dull. I needed some oomph. This is when I started to experiment with red, which I loved so much more. Sometimes I still miss my blonde hair, but the red feels more like me. Interesting how simply changing your hair color can make you feel like a whole new person!

   I get asked a lot about my hair color. Most people where I get it done at, to which I reply, "in my bathroom!" I simply don't have the money to get it done at a salon. Also, my mom used to be a hairdresser so she taught me how to do it myself. Back when I was blonde we would foil each other's hair, which would take forever. That's another thing I like about dark hair; simply squirting a bottle of hair dye on your head is so much easier than messing with bleach!

   Because I get asked about how I color my hair so often, I thought I would do a post about it. Now, I am no expert when it comes to coloring your hair. I have done it a lot, and sometimes it turns out better than others. But here is a very simplified explanation on how to mix your own color. Say goodbye to your box of color! Mixing it yourself is so easy, fun and more cost effective.

   First, the tools. You need a bottle (I like one that holds at least 8 oz.), plastic gloves, and an after color treatment/conditioner. I really like to use the Ion Color Sealer (shown above) right after my color.

  To mix color, you need the actual color and a developer. Developer comes in different levels; Level 10, 20, 30 and 40. Developer is what initiates the coloring process. Higher levels of developer means it has more strength. The stronger it is, the lighter it will make your hair.  Hair color comes in different levels as well that range from 1 (black) to 10 (blonde). Simply put, the larger the level, the lighter the hair color. If you are dying your hair dark, stick with 10, 20 and maybe 30 if you want more lift. 40 should really only be used if you are bleaching your hair. This is a very simple explanation; for a better one, go here.

   I like to mix 2 ounces of a red color with one ounce of a brown. I have found a bit of brown helps to neutralize the red a bit. Pay attention to the base colors. The red I used above had a pure red base, while the brown had blue and red. I usually choose different colors every time, so every time I dye it, it comes out a little differently. But I have found that adding a bit of blue will give it more of a purple-y hue, while adding orange, or red while keep it warmer. No big surprise here. This site has a better explanation of color bases.

   Then  add your developer! My dye called for even parts, so I put in 3 ounces. I used two ounces of 30, and one ounce of 20. Usually I only use 20, but I have been experimenting with 30. After this time, I will probably stick with 20 because it's less damaging.
   I have yet to run into a color that didn't need equal parts developer, but check the back of your hair dye bottle to be sure. Shake it up, and start applying to your head! Make sure you have combed through your hair to get the tangles out.

   I first apply the color to my roots, and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Because my roots are lighter than the ends, I like the color to sit a little longer there. This helps to create a more even color. Then in sections starting in the back, apply the rest of your color. I like to then make a bun on my head and let it process for about another 20 minutes. When you're done applying, be sure to wash your hands, and wipe off the dye on your face and neck.

  Wash your hair, and let the conditioner/treatment sit extra long. Your hair will thank you. Now go to Sally's and buy yourself some color and developer! Say no to the box. You will get more predictable results when you mix it yourself. Like I said, every time I dye my hair, it turns out a little bit differently. But that is part of the fun!


  1. Great post! I've been dying my hair red for about four years now and I much prefer it to my natural, dull brown. But I've always used a box dye! Perhaps on my next go I'll try it this way.

    And by the way, red hair really suits you :)

  2. Thanks Nora! You definitely should. I think mixing it yourself saves you money in the long run, because a bottle of developer will last you a few colorings.

    -Amanda K.

  3. Hey Amanda!
    I saw your blog on A Cup of Subtle Tea (I'm another one of her sponsors) and I also majored in psych in college, so thought I'd pop by!
    Cute blog, girl!
    :) Betsy

  4. wow, you look like a complete different person--but both hair colors look BEAUTIFUL on you!!

  5. i color my hair as well, except i use a box color. sometimes i like to get it done at a salon when i want something dramatic, but for the most part i do it. great explanation on everything and maybe sometime i'll try this method.


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