As many of you know by now I recently dyed my hair purple. I figured if I had to turn 30 I was going to do it with bright-colored hair, and that was that. I went to my stylist and we not only did purple, but three layers of color. Violet on top, Pink on bottom, and a mixture of the two in between. I was instantly in love with it, and I’ve been loving it ever since!
Before Choosing Bright-Colored Hair
There are definitely some things to consider before you go and drop the money on dying your hair a bright color. Even if you really love the look of it, you may not be prepared for what comes along with it-so before you make the decision to add that bold color to your head, there are a few things to consider.
Bright-Colored Hair is Expensive
No matter what color you choose, or how you choose to go about it, you’re going to end up paying something to get bright-colored hair. There are definitely cheaper ways, but even the least expensive dye job is going to be have a monetary cost of some kind. Make sure before you change your look, you know just how much money you’re going to need and that you’re prepared to pay it out. You don’t want to be sitting in your stylist’s chair trying not to choke as she hands you your bill and waits for you to pass over the credit card. Not only is the initial dye job going to cost you, but you’ll have to invest in some products and accessories to maintain it.
The very day I had scheduled to go in to the salon from my transition from my faded out red to a vibrant purple, my stylist shared this Instagram photo on her Facebook page, and I almost died inside looking at the total it lists. FIVE-HUNDRED-AND-THIRTY-EIGHT-DOLLARS?!?! I didn’t know what I was in for… Luckily, a regular dye job is not quite this crazy extensive in one sitting, and mine was a more realistic charge… Still, be prepared for a cost of about $150-$200 (give or take, depending on who you go to and what you want done) for your initial investment.
You Can’t Always Have Bright-Colored Hair at Work
This section is alternatively titled: Sometimes Being An Adult Sucks
That’s right, when you’re an adult you can’t always get away with having bright-colored hair at your day job. I’m lucky that I work behind a computer so customers don’t see me face to face, and thus my bosses don’t really care that my hair is shades of vibrant purple (though I have gotten some side-eyed looks from some of them haha!). Chances are if you work in a very professional environment, or one where you’re face-to-face with customers and clients, the bright-colored hair is a no go.
If you’re not sure if it’s okay or not-check your company’s dress code or ask your boss. It’s better to know before you spend all the money on changing up your look and then find out you just have to spend more just to re-dye it to a more “normal” color. That would just be soul-crushing.
Dress | Belted Flower Skull Skater (Unavailable) – Similar: Skull Floral Knit Skater Dress
Leggings | Blue Mid-Calf Lace Leggings (Unavailable) – Similar: Black Mid-Calf Lace Leggings
Shoes | Minnetonka Women’s Kilty Sued Moccasin in Turqouise
This may also be influenced by whether you’ve dyed it at home or had it professionally done. I recently attended my first job interview in many years (for a trendy plus-size fashion store in the Mall-yeah, you know the one haha) where the manager informed us we could have brightly colored hair (as I sat to her left with my bright purple and magenta hair) as long as it was deemed fashionable. She stated “There’s a difference between Kelly Osborn’s styled lavender locks and a greasy red mohawk… One is a fashion statement, and one is a teenager’s dirty rebellion.” Your boss may be more inclined to approve your pretty colors if they’re done well, look good on you, and you promise to style your hair in an appropriate way every day.
“There’s a difference between Kelly Osborn’s styled lavender locks and a greasy red mohawk…”TWEET IT
Achieving the Best Bright-Colored Hair
So if you’ve made the decision to take the leap and go for the bright-colored hair of your dreams, you’ll need to know how to best accomplish it.
Pick a Color
The first thing you have to decide on is color-and you’d think that’s the easy part… While I firmly stand in the “do what makes you happy” camp, I also think you should be aware of your skin tones and what colors look good on you. For example, my favorite color is definitely teal, so my first instinct was that I wanted to put some teal in my hair-but my skin tones tend to go better with warmer colors (hence why I’ve dyed my hair red for so many years) so I wasn’t sure I could pull it off… I also liked the idea of purple… Oh and pink… Well, what about that love bright red? Man, it’s hard to make a decision.
Consult a Professional
Perhaps the best way to find out what colors will actually work with your skin tone is to reach out to someone who’s had training in hair and makeup and experienced enough colorful dye jobs to know what works and what doesn’t. After years of working with her, I’m lucky enough to have a stylist I trust 100%, so the first thing I did was ask Jamie what she thought of the colors I wanted to do. She told me she thought we could make some kind of blue or teal work in small amounts, but if I wanted to go full-on color I should stick in the warmer end of the spectrum, which is how we decided on purple. She also let me know that blues and teals tend to require much more bleaching and work to keep up with.
Even if you don’t intend to have a professional stylist at a salon do the dying for you, most will talk to you about it and offer you their opinions while you’re in for a routine haircut. Better yet, if you have a stylist friend, they can likely help you out.
Consult the Internet
A quick google search will bring up a ton of options for trying to decide which vibrant hair color is best for you. You can also turn to social media and put out a call to your friends, followers, and potentially any color expert out there that might stumble across your feed. Social media has a wide wide reach, and answers can come in almost instantly.
Make Sure It’s a Color You Really Like
With what you’re spending to change up your hairstyle, you’re going to want to make sure it’s something you really like, as you may be wearing it for quite some time. Even if the internet/your stylist/etc. tells you a color will look good with your skin tone, if it’s not a color you want to look at every day you wont be happy. The most important thing is that you’re happy with your hair and how the color looks.
Keep Realistic Expectations
One thing to be aware of when you’re browsing for bright-colored hair inspiration is that a lot of what you see online may be photoshopped or enhanced. Remember to keep your expectations realistic and ask your stylist (or someone who knows hair and hair dye) whether something can legitimately be pulled off before demanding they do it just like that. I had a few hair ideas I loved that my stylist immediately pointed out were doctored. She didn’t do this to crush my hope for amazing bright-colored hair-she did it because she didn’t want me to be disappointed with the results. For this reason, I kept my expectations and hopes reasonable, and had my questions about what was possible answered before hand, so I ended up loving my hair more than I thought I would.
Prepare Your Hair for the Change
The best thing to do before making the step towards an extreme color change is to make sure your hair is totally healthy and ready to go. If it’s too damaged or dry, bleaching it can cause some serious issues and it can make damage worse. Also, your color may not take as well if your hair is in a bad place, so you want to do everything you can to get your hair ready before hand so you don’t encounter bigger issues or feel like it wasn’t worth the time and money you put into it.
How to Prepare Your Hair for an Upcoming Bleach/Dye
It’s best to start thinking about where your hair is well in advance and work towards getting it ready for the bleaching and coloring. Here’s a timeline that I came up with (based on my experience, and also the recommendations of my stylist prior to my own bleach/dye experience) that should help you get ready:
- Right Now: If you wash your hair daily, stop. Start only washing it every other day (you can still use conditioner on in between days if you want). Washing your hair every day is just not healthy for it. Also, start using a hair masque at least once a week to ensure your hair is getting an extra deep and healing conditioning treatment. You can buy any number of awesome hair masques just about anywhere, or if you feel up to it, you can even try and make your own all-natural hair masque. (I recommend this step even if you’re not going bold-it’s just good for your hair!)
- 1 Month Prior to Bleaching/Dying: Start using a clarifying shampoo on every other shampoo. This will start to remove the build up and the previous color from your hair, so that the bleach and new dye will take better. My stylist said you don’t even need a fancy one, just any old shampoo that says it’s “clarifying” will work. Up your hair masque usage to twice a week.
- 2 Weeks Prior to Bleaching/Dying: Start using your clarifying shampoo and hair masque use to every time you wash your hair.
- 48-72 Hours Before Bleaching/Dying: Stop washing your hair. Bleach and color take much better on dirty hair than clean hair. You don’t want your hair to be so dirty that your stylist is grossed out, but you definitely want a couple days worth of natural oils and styling product dirtying up your hair so the bleach/dye results are much better.
- 48-72 Hours After Dying: Don’t wash it. You really should give the dye/color a good few days to set in to your hair for best results. Don’t worry, you wont end up going 6 days without a wash, as your stylist will likely have to wash it twice while you’re there-first with the bleach, second with the color.
Thinking about bleaching/dying your hair? Use this timeline to get your hair healthy and prepared first!TWEET IT
Decide How to Get it Done
I mentioned before that choosing to have bright-colored hair is expensive, and while that’s still true, the initial cost is up to you. You have to make the decision on cost vs. quality, and how much you’re willing to pay for what.
The Cheap Way – Do It Yourself
You can easily pick up an over-the-counter (HA! Like it’s some kind of prescription medication… Maybe it is? I now prescribe you 20mg of cool once per day with outings, and an additional 7mg fashion to take with your morning routine) vibrant color hair dying kit (most include everything you need) for only a $10-$15 initial investment, and it may work just fine for your needs, but there’s a real possibility that it may not turn out quite as amazing as all the pretty pins you’ve saved to your dream hair board on Pinterest. I mean it might, if you or the friend helping you has mad hair-dying skills, but unless you know someone with professional training you might want to skip the home dye-job.
If you’re going to try and pull off this change yourself, I highly recommend you check out Gala Darling’s Ultimate Guide to Unnatural Hair Dying. It has just about everything you might need to know about the way colors might work together and what the process will be.
Most of the really good photos of bright-colored hair on Pinterest have most likely been done professionally, which is going to be significantly more pricey, but worth it if you want the real deal because a stylist can give you more depth to the color so it doesn’t look like a trashy dye job.
You have to be a professional stylist to get the Pravana Vivids, which I’ve heard are(from what I can tell) the most coveted colors. My stylist used Pravana’s Violet and Wild Orchid to achieve the look I’m rocking. They really are stunning colors, and when I bump into people who also have or love bright-colored hair, I often get asked if it’s Pravana. It’s just well-known and well-loved.
Bleaching is Scary
Aside from really wanting the good hair dye and vivid colors offered by the stylist, I was also terrified to try bleaching my hair. Did you know if you’ve been using cheap box-dyes to dye your hair for a while there’s a real chance the metals in some of them can react badly and your hair can melt off? YEP. That legitimately happened to my friend Courtney when she went from brunette to blonde-her friend was putting the bleach in and it reacted and fried the hair off just below her ears-it literally fell out while they washed the bleach out in the sink. I was in no-way risking that-so I definitely wanted someone I knew had training and who I trusted handling that part of the process.
Salon or box? Cost vs. Quality is an important balance when it comes to dying your hair bold bright colors…TWEET IT
Yes, like I said, bleaching is scary… However you’re definitely going to need to bleach your hair if you want it to be truly vibrant and bright-colored. Unless your hair is very light-colored, just adding bright-colored hair dye wont really do much for you, and even if it’s lighter-if it’s not really really blonde you’re not going to hit that really vibrant shock of color you’re hoping for.
When I was a teenager we picked up some temporary hair dyes from Hot Topic and streaked them through our hair. My best-friend picked up a lovely shade of blue to run through the ends of her long golden-blonde hair, and I grabbed myself a gorgeous unnatural deep red and tried to follow suit with my mousy brown hair. I remember applying half the bottle, and it smelled so much like red licorice (funny how scent is so tied to memory…), and the final result was not stunning or vibrant… It was more like a vague red tint to my regular brown hair. I was seriously disappointed, but also not in the know enough to realize that bleach was needed prior to adding the semi-permanent hair dye.
Choosing Bright-Colored Hair In Summary
So, to summarize, here’s what you need to do, in simplified form:
- Figure out if bright-colored hair works with your lifestyle.
- Will your work/lifestyle allow it?
- Is it something you can afford both initially and to maintain?
- Will it make you happy?
- Make sure your hair is healthy.
- Don’t wash it too much.
- Use a hair masque.
- Get prepared for your bleach/dye job in advance.
- Use a clarifying shampoo before dying your hair to strip old color and residue.
- Use a hair masque more often to help get your hair even more healthy first.
- Be clear about what you want it to look like.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Choose a color that you like and that looks good on you.
- Will you have it done professionally or will you dye it yourself?
Most of all, have fun and remember that it’s just hair! If you don’t absolutely love love it after it’s all said and done it can be changed. With a little time and effort you can alter it with more dye, re-bleach it and try a different color, or go back to your regular color with color correction. Nothing is ever permanent-and it’s important that you have fun with whatever it is that you do.
What bright-colored hair trend do you love?
I’d love to hear about what colors you’re dying to try, any experiences you’ve had with dying your hair bright colors, or any tips you have for achieving your bright-colored hair dreams! Please share in the comments below. ♥