Hairdye tips for punk and alternative hair
Dyeing your hair strong punk colours has its pitfalls but if you don't try, you'll never find out what they are - and the benefits of having hair that makes you feel happy each and every morning cannot be overestimated.
Hair is often your most prized possession - and there's nothing like living dangerously, and seeing what it can and can't handle. Here are some tips to take some of the sting out of dyeing your hair at home...
Dyeing hair without bleaching first
If you're going for brightly-coloured hair (say, from Manic Panic, or Directions) you can get away with a strong colour even if you don't bleach first. Tape around your hairline, or use vaseline, so that you don't end up bright-faced. Apply the gel with a tint brush and comb it through if you prefer. Then cover it with a plastic bag (as head makes the gel act on the hair faster, although if you up this with use of a hairdryer, make sure it's warm, not hot.) You can leave the gel on for a couple of hours, and the colour will take to a strong degree if your hair is fairly light to begin with.
If you have dark hair, you pretty much have to resign yourself to bleaching before you apply a strong, bright colour.
Want to get streaked hair?
Separate the strands you want to dye a different colour and cover them with conditioner while you work on the rest of the hair. It is easier to remove from hair than vaseline. If hair dye drips on the areas you don't want coloured, wipe it off as you go. The beauty of conditioner is that it will be kind to your hair while you're dyeing it, and will rinse out without any problems. Well, of course it will. It's conditioner!
You can also use tin foil, if you like.
Keeping hair colour strong
Non-natural temporary colours tend not to stay in the hair very long, unless you're going for basic raven black. One way of dealing with this is to place a little bit of your 'crazy' colour gel in your shampoo bottle, say, one tablespoon, to help keep the colour in with every wash. Also, if you wash your hair with cold or lukewarm water, it will hold the colour in place for longer.
You can also keep the colour in there a little longer by rinsing your hair with white vinegar straight after colouring your hair. This raises the pH level of the hair color and gives it more permanence. Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water in a cup (about half a cup of each) and rinse out your newly-coloured hair with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Then pour on the mix, comb it through and rinse it out. Huzzah!
Removing hair colour
This will only work if you have applied a semi-permanent hairdye or temporary non-natural colour to your hair. But if you really need to remove it in a hurry (and it's usually better to let things take their natural course, or dye your hair a darker colour all over) then you can mix a small batch of hair lightener, available in any chemist or supermarket, with a few tablespoons of shampoo. Work it into the hair by twirling the strands of your hair between your fingers, starting at the roots and working down, then going back up. We've never tried this at Mookychick Central, but apparently you can see the colour disappear before your very eyes...
Dyeing naturally blonde hair
This may not be what you want to hear, but if you're blonde and want to dye your hair black, the best shade to go for is a soft or natural black, not a blue black. Blue black is too dark and will look not so much striking and alien as possibly slightly freakish. Also, it's worth dyeing your eyebrows to match, to complete the effect.
If you're blonde and want to dye your hair blue or green, be careful. Blonde is a yellow tone and there is a small chance your green will look blue, and your blue will look green. You can always dye a strand first to see if you like the colour. Or you can just bung it on, and experiment.
Natural henna for natural hair
Use Henna hairdye only if you have nerves of steel, or have had good results with it in the past, because the results can be highly unpredictable. Also, Henna remains in your hair for a very long time, and can dramatically change the results of other hair color you might want to use. There are also horror stories of people applying henna to dyed hair and getting bizarre results. Henna on natural, non-dyed hair is a messy business (you will smell of grass and horses for hours) but it can create beautifully rich colours and conditions your hair fantastically.
Bad hair day: It's all gone horribly wrong
Don't worry. Most home care colours have a hotline somewhere on the instruction leaflet that you can call. You can always dye your hair again, and at the end of the day it's only hair - you can always shave it all off and grow some more.