When I was in high school, I longed to have edgy-cool rainbow hair, but my mom definitely wouldn't allow it. I'm pretty sure she told me bleach would give me some sort of hair cancer--hence my fear of peroxide.
No longer a gullible, cancer-fearing baby, I recently went platinum, and now I have all this blonde hair to subject to self expression via hair dye. The catch is, I tend to get bored of spontaneous decisions real fast, so I don’t really want to commit to Jem-level theatrics 24/7. I mean, what if I land some interview at a fancy-pants law office?
Just kidding! They would never go for me, mostly because I firmly believe “No, YOU are!” is legitimate and irrefutable argumentative leverage. Your loss, lawyer people!
Back to hair color. Up until recently I would have told you, "You can have whatever hair color you want... at the expense of your follicles." But, as it turns out, not only can you color your hair in a safe and fairly temporary manner, you can SIMULTANEOUSLY condition your hair! Conditioning became a priority around the time I went HAM with the bleach.
I picked up a tub of Manic Panic on an impromptu visit to Ricky's. A week later, restless on a Friday night, I decided to eat shrimp chips and blue myself.
Now, the method I used and am about to demonstrate to you works best if you already have light-colored hair and are looking for a tint or a pastel hue. It's not really effective for vivid jewel tones.
The goal is to make my hair a color not found in nature and have it gone before the moon cycles back. Minimal hemming and hawing need take place when you know you can just switch up colors in two to three weeks.
First trial was Manic Panic’s Bad Boy Blue. Other than the hair dye, you just need a white-colored conditioner, dealer’s choice. I’m using Davines Oi conditioner because I’ve heard nothing but cultish praise of its effectiveness in turning your strands into buttery velvet.
First: wash your hair and towel-dry it. You can do this with dry hair, but I was afraid the dye would take too strongly to dry hair so I started wet. Since I just wanted to color the ends of my hair it was easier for me to fade the color as I applied so there wasn’t a stark line of demarcation.
I put a generous blob of conditioner in a plastic Tupperware and slowly mixed in the Bad Boy Blue until it appeared the color I wanted on my hair. Since my hair is so pale, the color I mix will be pretty much the color I get. If your hair is darker than mine, use less conditioner and aim for a mixture that's a bit darker than your desired result.
Here, I’ve got what appears to be “It’s A Boy!” blue goop in a tub. I clipped an old washcloth around my neck (which in retrospect didn't even matter, since this mixture won't stain, unlike straight Manic Panic) and I painted the stuff on my ends, working upward to fade a slight bit. I wouldn't call that ombré so much as softening the divide between platinum and blue.
And then we do the waiting game. Take this time to think about your life and really take inventory of your personal accomplishments while also comparing your progress to those around you, via Instagram, naturally. After 30 to 45 minutes has passed (or, in my case, an episode of Inside Amy Schumer), rinse your hair in cool water and examine the results. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly soft my hair felt--like a puppy's tongue! But maybe that's just because it was wet.
Well, well, WELL. It turns out blonde + blue = mint. Basic color theory. Why didn’t I think of that and overcompensate with more blue? Still, weirdly and in certain lights, my hair was the cool blue I made in the tub, but it was also primarily a slightly pastel turquoise color. I didn’t hate it, but I was certainly surprised. Aren’t hair surprises the worst? Even if it’s not a bad surprise, you still jump like you saw a spider when it was really just a dust bunny tumbleweed-ing across your living room floor.
The dry results were slightly lighter than when wet. They had that faded effect, like when denim companies pre-fade jeans to look broken in. My hair was the distressed denim of dye jobs.
Bottom line: if you've ever wanted to have a hair color not found in nature but can't commit to the color due to being in a wedding party, or getting a visit from your nana in three weeks, this is just the low-risk, hyper-conditioning alternative you're looking for.
You can blue yourself, pink yourself, lavender yourself... You get it.