Lately, my dears, my work days have been sparkled with My Little Pony Hair.
If someone would have told me 25 years ago that I would spend my days making people’s hair look like my little pony hair and getting paid for it, I would have sprouted pegasus wings and flown straight to pony land, where banana juice is always on tap and the clouds are soft and bouncy.
Today, I am sharing with you my special pony hair recipes! There is one hair representative from each pony family featured exclusively here on HTHG……Flutter Ponies, Breezies, Sea Ponies/ Baby Sea Ponies, and Crystal Ponies. Enjoy!
The key to good lookin pony hair, if you ask me, is to not be afraid to mix lots of colors into a cocktail to create the perfect shade, mix in lots of cheap conditioner to lighten the color to the perfect pastel, and ALWAYS tone bleached hair before coloring to cool down the brassiness. It really helps to start off with a soft, muted tone cool instead of a harsh yellow one. Toning before you apply color makes ALL the difference. Also, mixing up way more color than you think and applying it SUPER THICK all over the hair in small sectionshelps with even color distribution.
Can you DIY pony hair? Yep. But it is not easy at all. Should you have a pro do it? Probably. If you want it to look really good. Do Is support you either way in your decision? Absolutely. But first read up on DIY bleaching.
There are many things that I love about working at Vain Beautyworld. Mostly, it is the other people who work there. The staff is an interesting, eclectic and talented bunch of people who are eager to learn and share what they know. There is a strong spirit of community and support at Vain that keeps us there.
Vain stylists are carefully curated by a selective process which determines who is good Vain material. Unlike many salons that would value a stylists ability to conform, Vain flips the whole thing upside down. Being open-minded, eager to learn, and having a strong sense of personal style are crucial.
Meet Dylan. She started at Vain at the front desk in 2009, and then went to beauty school and started hairstyling 2 years ago. Here is a link to her Vain profile for more specifics, and you can follow her on Instagram at @hairbydylan.
Dylan is a masterful hair color chameleon. She pulls off the almost-impossible color changes on her own hair and her client’s hair in a creative and thoughtful ways. If you could watch her work, you would understand. It is a precise, methodical, beautiful explosion of perfectly toned colors.
After writing Do’s and Don’ts of DIY color, I decided that interviewing Dylan was necessary to get some juicy bits of color knowledge from a pro who also DIY’s her hair.
So for DIY hair-do-ers, salon go-ers, and stylists alike, read ahead for some super special secrets from the color whisperer.
Interview Dylan McCord, master hair colorist.
Dylan, we want to know how you pull off changing your hair color so often and having it look consistently great. To begin with, what color changes has your fantastic hair seen in the past 12 months?
I started the year with baby pink, then went to grey, then purple, neon green, copper, blonde, red, black, brown, rose gold, magenta, kimchi pink, and now peach.
How many times have you had to bleach your hair to achieve that range of color?
I’ve only used bleach on my hair during my transition from pre-black brown to where I am now:) 4 times total: bleach and tone, foil and two French shampoos. The process took a little over a month with treatments in between each process.
What is your secret to changing your hair color often and achieving the perfect shade?
I would say timing and patience is key! Trial and error. It definitely helps to have a very solid knowledge of color theory before you start coloring. If you can break down the whole process to the specifics and follow the rules of the color wheel you can’t really go wrong.
You have to be willing to take care of the health of your hair, though. That is really important.
How do you keep your color fresh?
I don’t wash too often. I like to add some of my hair color pigment into my conditioner and use it every other time I condition to add a little color back in. (This only works with deposit-only color but is a great way to maintain bright hair hues!)
My color is always changing though, so I am constantly re-toning and conditioning to keep it fresh and healthy.
Where do you get hair color inspiration?
I am constantly inspired by other stylists hair, nature of course, and a good challenge…..I love making the impossible possible with hair. Making hair dreams come true!
When you decide on a hair color, how do you prepare your hair for the process?
Because I like having the freedom to change my hair color frequently, I am always planning ahead for future hair colors down the line. So frequent conditioning, and strategic tone and color choices so that I know what will look good and be easy to remove in the future.
What are your go-to products or methods for color removal?
My favorite way to remove color without bleach is mixing deep cleansing shampoo like Maxi Wash by KM with a lot of baking soda and applying it thick all over the hair then sitting under heat with it. It will eat up so much color! You can do it a couple of times in a row if you need to.
I save the french shampooing for removing really stubborn color that the Maxi Wash and BS won’t strip out. Vitamin C works alright, and I’m not a big fan of Color Ooops. Rusk Eliminate smells really bad and it is unreliable.
What is your go-too toner for toning out that baby chick bleach brassiness?
I often use Wella Color Charm T18 White Lady toner to cool down bleached hair before coloring. You have to consider the tones left in bleached hair before re-coloring. Using a toner before a veggie dye really helps to get you to just the right shade, especially with the more muted and pastel tones that are so in right now.
What is your go-to veggie dye company?
I love them all. I’m constantly mixing and cocktailing them. I’m loving the Pravana colors because they tend to be more primary and really mixable. Special Effects colors are great of course, although they need to step up their game a bit. And I’m starting to come around with Manic Panic.
What has been your personal favorite hair color?
I really loved the red. I bleached out my black hair to a level 7 or 8 copper, then applied Special Effects Hot Lava over it. It was so beautiful and rich. I also loved my Special Effects Blue Haired Freak and Fishbowl Blue cocktail, and the whole progression from that to pastel pink was beautiful. Pretty light blues, purples and pinks. It was unicorn hair all the way.
And I continue to go back to pink because it has so many variations and it doesn’t set you back because it is an easy color to remove without having to re-bleach.
What was your least favorite?
I didn’t love super gold yellow. It washed me out. But I loved what happened after I applied dark blue over it!
What aspect of hair coloring are you comfortable with DIY-ing? At what point would you have a fellow stylist of friend help you?
I am totally fine putting an all over color on my own head. Balayage with bleach I would DIY. I cut my own hair all the time.
All over bleaching and foiling? I would ask a friend for help, mostly for timing sake. It is quicker when someone else does it and sometimes you really need speed!
Ideally though, I would pop my own head off and just do it myself any time.
Who are your hair color inspirations?
Hmmmmm……….That is going to take a while. Let’s come back to that one……..
Okay my inspirations are definitely Siouxsie Sioux, and Jem (and the Holograms.) And Frenchie from Grease.
What advice would you give someone who has their heart set on a very specific hair color overhaul?
I guess that anything is possible if you are willing to take it slow and be patient. Sometimes you have to decide between having a fantastic color and having healthy hair, and often its worth it for the color!
The first time I bleached my hair it felt very different and damaged but I took care of it and it regained it’s health and strength. The color was so beautiful and new to me that I didn’t mind that it was damaged…..I had achieved a hair color goal that I thought was impossible.
Dylan, we salute you and your hair knowledge and your great hair, in general.
To end this post on a bit of a different note my dears, I learned a trick recently about removing hair color stains from clothes that I wish I would have learned years ago. Hand Sanitizer. Yep. Put it on your color spots asap, and watch them disappear before your very eyes. Why just the other day I saved my favorite pair of jeans from permanent purple spots.
Nikki and I have always had fun together when it comes to hair. Lately, we have been playing with light pinks. A couple months back we bleached, toned with 9v Shades, and mixed the perfect Pravana cocktail with light pink, light purple, and silver. The end result was pretty seashell pink.
It was rediculously cute on her. And she traded me a gorgeous NJ crystal pendant necklace for it. So I was more than down with that.
This time, we opted for something a little more melonistic. We decided to go with Pretty Flamingo by Manic Panic as our base, with a hint of Cotton Candy. I muted both shades slightly with a dash of Pravana SIlver. ( Here is more on DIY hair coloring)
First, we bleached her roots. Then, we shampooed, no conditioner! Then, blow dried. Next, I worked my way through her roots with the Pretty Flamingo, pulling the color down the hair about 3 inches. I followed up by applying the Cotton Candy over the last inch of the Flamingo, and pulling it down another 3 inches. We let that sit for 20, then combed all the color from her roots through her ends to blend it and to get just a tiny bit of color into her ends.
While she processed, she made herself a snack of Kimchi and rice with a fried egg on top. We both love this simple and delicious meal. I got to thinking.
Kimchi is a staple of my diet. I love the taste and the instant pow of health benefits that come along with fermented foods. This is my favorite book on fermenting food at home.
My friends often ask me how I make my Kimchi. I watched Nikki eat her Kimchi and marveled at how similar the color of the Kimchi was to the colors on her head. I decided to write a post about how to make Kimchi and how to make your hair look like Kimchi.
Nikki rinsed and conditioned her hair. We blow dried it. It looked marvelous. Then we took the kids across the street to jump in my neighbors trampoline and I got to watch her Kimchi hair in action. It was marvelous.
My Kimchi Recipe
You will need….
2 heads of chinese cabbage
1 purple cabbage
1 daikon radish
1 head of garlic
red chile flakes
1 chunk of ginger
1/4 cup of sea salt
1/2 cup of water
1 large bowl
1 large jar
1 small narrow jar
Chop cabbage as finely as you can.
Grate the carrots and radish into a pile.
Put everything in a huge bowl. Hugest one you have. Toss with your hands to blend.
In the blender, blend up 5 cloves of garlic, one nice small handful sized chunk of ginger, and 2 tablespoons of red chile flakes with 1/2 cup of water till smooth. Set aside.
Slowly stir in 1/4 of sea salt with your veggies. Make sure it is evenly distributed.
Stir in your blended sauce with your veggies using a spoon ( It will burn your skin a little so do use a spoon.)
Now, stuff your large jar with veggies. Tamp it down and really pack it tight. If there is extra veggies, pack the rest into a smaller jar.
Fill your small narrow jar with water and place it inside your big jar, directly on top of Kimchi.
Push the jar down as far as you can to crush that Kimchi further down. The Kimchi should be almost totally submerged in its own brine. This is how it ferments. In the next couple of days, the brine will increase.
Cover the Kimchi with a cloth and put a rubber band around it to seal it.
Place it in your back room, somewhere where the smell of fermenting cabbage won’t offend:) IT does smell super strong, folks. That is part of the magic.
Let your Kimchi ferment for a week on the counter. Then, refrigerate. Enjoy a scoop of Kimchi on basically anything. Sometimes I eat a bowl of it on it’s own and then I feel like superwoman.
In my opinion, silver haired people are foxy. It’s as simple as that.
Going gray is something that almost all of us have to deal with at some point. It can be a welcome site to find your first silver when you have been expecting them for years. It can also be a total life changing shocker when you realize that you are not immune to inevitable aging.
Over the coarse of my career as a hairdresser, I have encountered entirely too much agonizing over gray hair. I have spent numerous hours trying to perfectly blend grays so that they look like natural blondes. I have fretted over how to blend silver roots. I have pulled out the big guns to decimate those hard to cover resistant grays. I have gone through heads of hair picking out individual gray strands and either yanking them or painstakingly covering them with hair dye so that the world wont ever think they existed.
But let’s face it, babes. Gray hair exists. Going gray is a reality. Let’s stop making it our fearful and obsessive secret and start to have some fun with it!
I want to start by saying this. If you are a dude and you are going gray, please let it be. Don’t even consider coloring it. That shit is hot. For woman, the subject can be a bit touchier.
If you are someone who has always enjoyed playing with your hair-color for fun and you are going gray, proceed as usual. Have fun. Gray hair looks great with color added to it. Your incoming grays shouldn’t effect how high your freak flag flies. You can still be a color experimenter and be gray haired.
How to deal with your incoming gray hairs.
If you have natural, virgin hair and you are going gray you have several options.
A. Just let it happen and embrace it.Your hair color will change, and your texture will change. Don’t fight it, and learn to love it!
B. If embracing is out of the question, then have your hairdresser match your natural hair color and foil it in to gently blend the grays. This option will leave a very soft root line as your hair grows so it is a good one for low-maintenance ladies.
C. Another option is a demi-permanent translucent color like Shades EQ that will blend your grays into your color without totally masking them. This makes it easier to keep up with and easier to grow out when you decide to just rock your gray as is.
D. Just make it go away. Remember, covering and masking your gray hairs with an all over color is setting yourself up for years of commitment to the time consuming and costly hamster wheel of gray coverage. Gray roots do not look good on anyone, so we are talking every 4-6 weeks. But if that is your style, than go for it.
If you have been covering your grays for years and you are ready to ditch the salon trips and transition back to your natural hair color, here is my suggested plan of action.
How to grow out your gray hair
So, you are ready to get back to your roots! Pretty exciting stuff. I’m glad for you. My silver grow-out plan takes 6 months and it starts with a big cut, so get psyched up for it! You get to start with the bang of a fun new cut, and gently phase your color over time to give yourself a chance to adjust to your silver sparkles.
The first thing you will need is a good haircut that will remove as much of your colored ends as you are comfortable with. It is the perfect chance to try that great shlob you always wanted! This cut will set you on your way towards a smooth color transition.
If you have been blending grays with a color that works your grays into your natural without masking them, (like a semi or demi- permanent translucent color) foil the color into your roots instead of all-over-coloring.
If you have been all-over coloring with permanent color, switch to a shade in a demi-permanent translucent color. If you have been going darker, switch to a slightly lighter shade that will blend better with your roots. If you have been going lighter, switch to a slightly darker shade. Shades EQ is great and so is Wella color charm semi for blending grays. Here is a good article about coloring gray hair.
Round 2….keep transitioning In 6 weeks, you will be ready for a haircut and a color touch up. Remove as much length as you are comfortable with (We really need to just get rid of all your colored hair as swiftly as we can so you can start fresh:) Repeat your same color as last time, continuing with your slightly more gray-embracing shade and technique.
Round 3…….Kick it down a notch in 6 more weeks, get another cut. leave your roots alone this time. Bare with me. This is the hardest part.
Round 4……. blend those roots In 6 weeks, get another cut. Get a light partial foil with a translucent demi permanent color to blend in your root line to your natural color.
Round 5…….Another cut. Go in for another cut, leaving the color alone.
Last round…….6 weeks later. Get another cut and have your stylist lightly foil a little more of your translucent-demi color formula around your crown to soften the grow out line one final time. You should be at a point now where you can continue growing and cutting your hair at your own rate, without having to worry about color anymore!
Viva la silver sparkles! Free your hair! Please send me your silver-transitioning pictures. I would just love to see them.
*This post has inspired SO MANY GREAT QUESTIONS from HTHG readers regarding their hair color. Many of the questions are quite complicated and require a bit of time and complex color theory knowledge. In order to answer them all for you, I have begun putting aside an hour a day to address these great questions via a DIY COLOR CONSULTATION (More info at the bottom of the post:) Consultations cost $10 and are tailored to you and your hair color journey…..Basically, I help you troubleshoot your DIY color using my professional experience in the salon. Feel free to still use the comment system on this post to ask a question, another reader may be able to help answer it for you:)
Hey babes. This post has been a long time coming…..I have been thinking about it and planning it and trying to decide just how detailed to get. I decided to keep it on the simple side, and save you all that Eyes Glazing Over thing that happens when you are in over your head with information.
There are some basic rules to hair coloring that you don’t have to be a professional to understand. They are rules that when applied, just might make your DIY color experience easier, save your hair color from brassiness, save yourself from unplanned color surprises, save your hair from falling out, save your wallet from emptiness.
First off, here is the color wheel, and here is a color level chart. These things are necessary to have on hand when deciding how to get your hair color from point A to point B. When I refer to the level of the hair, I am talking about the amount of darkness. When I refer to the tone, I am refering to the color.
Developers. What are they? Developer is the peroxide or oxidizing component to the chemistry of color. Permanent color comes with developer, no matter where you get it and who makes it. To put it simply, it is the chemical that strips out your natural color, making it possible for the artificial color to work it’s way into the cortex of the hair, where the color molecules live. To understand hair color, you need to understand your developer.
When you go to Sally’s, you often can buy your desired hair color and then choose which developer you want…..10 volume, 20 volume, 30 volume, and 40 volume. 10 is the slowest acting developer, 40 is the fastest. Think of the volume of your developer as the amount of lift or lightening you want to achieve. Using too high of a volume developer can result in unnecessary lightening and major damage to the hair. Too low a volume, and you may not get as light as you want.
When going darker or changing the tone of your hair, say going red and one shade darker, Generally, 20 volume is a good bet. When working with very fine and fragile hair, I always use a 10 volume. When highlighting very dark coarse hair, usually 30 or 40 volume is necessary. When toning light hair, I like to use 1o volume.
So, to put it simply, 20 volume is the safest bet but always consider the condition and texture of the hair and desired result when choosing your developer.
And for the record, for better DIY color options, get your color at Sally’s where you have more choices. Box color from the drug store is just a bad idea, all around.
Darkening light hair. Your inclination would be to get a box of the color you want and slap it on thinking that it must be pretty harmless. What would happen if you put a level 3 dark brown over a level 12 light blonde (see color level chart.) Your hair color would be a flat, gross gray-green-brown.
Now, we must talk about filling the hair. To go from pre-lightened to dark hair, it takes 2 steps. First step, Fill. Filling the hair means replacing lost pigment to the hair before applying your desired color. I’m not going to go too far in depth with this one but I will give you a healthy bite of knowledge.
You almost can’t lose by filling with a level 7 warm gold and 10 volume developer. So apply your filler color first, let it process, then dry the hair, and then step 2. apply your desired color. This is the key to going from light blonde to rich and beautiful dark hair.
Permanent vs Demi-permanent color. Here is what I tell my clients when trying to decide between these 2 options. Are you ready to commit to being dark haired, or red haired, or black haired, or gold haired for at least 6 months? Are you prepared to keep up with the root line that permanent color inevitably leaves you with? Are you going for a bold, rich, high impact color to call your own for a long while? Are you willing to invest in the proper hair care products to keep your color looking nice? Let’s go with permanent. Are you general more finicky about your hair? Do you like to change up the color with the seasons? Do you want the option of going from light to dark and back? Do you like a more natural, translucent look without the upkeep? Do you want more of a tonal change, rather than changing the level of your hair color? Do you want a nice, shiny refresh of the color you already have? let’s go with Demi-permanent.
Lightening dark hair. Do you have virgin hair, never been colored before? If so, then you can choose your lighter shade, keeping in mind that as you lighten, your hair gets more gold. If you don’t want to see much gold or red, make SURE you choose a shade that is ash or violet based. Look on the color wheel. Violet is across from yellow orange. That means they are opposite colors. The violet in the color will help nuetralize the gold tones. Keep this in mind.
If you have existing color on your hair at all, know that a box color will not remove that color. You cannot lighten pre-dyed hair with box dye. That’s where bleaching comes in. Bleaching your own hair is not easy, and not for the faint of heart. I will not go too deep into bleaching and corrective color but I think it is important to consider these points………..
Bleaching hair When bleaching your hair, know that whatever developer you choose will drastically effect the outcome. All developers when mixed with bleach have the capacity to lighten hair to the same color, it’s just a matter of speed. Bleach and 40 volume works fast and strong. 10 V can get you to the same place, but much slower and much gentler.
The first inch of hair at your roots will always lighten much faster than the rest because of the heat from the head. You can use a 10v developer on the root section and 30 on the ends, or leave the bleach off the roots at first. There are many ways to get around this fact, but you have to get creative and be careful.
If you just need to lighten 1 level or possibly 2, a French Shampoocan be a great trick. To do this, mix bleach and 40 v developer. Add equal parts shampoo to your mixture. Apply and suds evenly into wet hair and let it sit for 15 minutes or so. Shampoo out. This can be great for stripping out color, if all you want is a bit of lightening or to prep for a toner.
Toning. Why do we use toners? When you don’t want to change the level of your hair color, just the tone. For example, after you bleach to a pale yellow, but you want to be an icy blonde.
When choosing a toner, look at your hair. What color do you see that you want to go away? is it slightly brassy or too yellow? Check out your color wheel. To tone these unwanted colors away, choose colors that contain the opposite color tones in them. Blue and violet ash based toners are great for unwanted golds. Blue and green based toners are what you want to cancel out red in the hair. You following me?
Veggie dyes. When you see vivid pinks, blues, greens, purples, oranges, and yellows in peoples hair , you can bet that it is the result of a bleach and veggie dye. Veggie dye is a single process, deposit only color. This means simply that it doesn’t use any caustic chemicals to lift out color molecules and deposit new ones. It only adds color. This is why it should be used over pre-lightened hair for best results.
Although you can put it over any virgin hair color, if you want a true vivid color, the hair should first be bleached first. On virgin hair, veggie dyes will be very semi-permanent. On bleached hair, veggie dyes will stick around, fading slowly over time.
Popular veggie dyes are Pravana, Special Effects, and Manic Panic. I am a sucker for Special Effects. Their colors are gorgeous and they seem to stick around longer.
For the record, red color molecules are the smallest and they penetrate the deepest into the hair. This makes reds harder to remove. Reds, pinks, oranges, and some purples will fade slower than cooler colors. Blue color molecules are the largest, and they don’t penetrate nearly as deeply as reds. Blues and lavenders and cool greens should be applied to very light hair for best results. But don’t count on them staying vibrant for long. Mix some color in with your conditioner and use it weekly to help keep those colors fresh;)
Also, the longer you leave the color on your hair, the longer it will last after you wash it out. And heat will help the color penetrate. So cover your head with a processing cap and sit under some heat while that color is on your head.
Do you like the look of those very muted vivid colors like dusty rose, mauve, and silver purple? My trick for that is to bleach the hair, and tone it to a very beige-y silver before applying the veggie dye. Then, mix your veggie dye up with some cheap conditioner to lighten it up a bit before applying.
Touching up your roots……Here is what you need to know. There is this thing called hot roots. It is a result of what happens when your color processes faster and more thoroughly because of the heat at your scalp. It results in scarily bright roots. Unless you want your color to look like this (fake!) you must account for hot roots any time you touch up your color. To do this, go one shade darker than your desired color when touching up your roots. Or use a lower developer, like 10v. This will eliminate unwanted brightness in the root section. Touching up your own roots? Check out this post. Touching up your bleached hair? check this post out.
Gray hairs are more resistant to color and generally take a bit longer to process. You will want to use a higher developer if you have a lot of grey, 20v or higher.
When coloring gray, you must also account for the missing pigment. IF you have a lot of gray, and you want to be a cool blonde, you will need to use a neutral or gold shade to make up for the color that is missing. If your grays are super coarse or resistant, I suggest you use a 30 volume developer to really help your hair grab that color.
Hair condition and keeping your color fresh. To keep your color fresh, let’s talk about the condition of your hair. The healthier your hair is, the better it will take and hold color. If your hair has been processed and doesn’t want to hold color, give yourself a couple of protein treatments, then do your color, then focus on moisturizing to help seal the color in.
If you are trying to maintain a pastel shade over bleach, good luck. These colors were not made to last. My tip for this is to add some of your pastel color to your conditioner and shake it up. Deposit a bit of color every time you condition to keep the shade fresh.
My best advice for keeping color fresh is to find alternatives to shampoo. Rinse hair with water, and then condition the ends as often as you can. If you are ShamPHree, use a diluted BS mixture and a more concentrated ACV. Here is more on the subject. Keep your hair in the best condition that you can. Get regular trims. Use hair powder or dry shampoo. Brush your hair. Love your hair.
Also, I want to add that deep conditioning is ESSENTIAL to mindful DIY hair coloring. Veggie-tech by Davines is my personal favorite deep conditioner. I have witnessed the salvation of many a frazzled strand by using this product, and I consider it worth every penny.