Hey babes. Do you like those smokey dusty shades of purple and pink hair that you are seeing lately? Are you afraid to try it because of the level of commitment it takes to make it happen and to keep it up? Me too. So I did the scared-y cat version and created a lovely dusty purple on my hair that lasted all of 4 washes. And now I am ready to do it again!
I have been asked this question many times…..“Can I dye my hair blue/purple/pink/red without bleaching it first?”
I’d like to answer that question with a metaphor. Can you draw with a blue crayon on brown paper? Or a red crayon on black paper? a pink crayon on yellow paper? The answer is yes. But your crayon colors will be muted.
The reason is that when using a veggie dye like Manic Panic, Special Effects, or Pravana, you are just covering the hair with a reflective coat of color molecules. Your true hair color will still be there, lurking underneath like the paper with crayon marks on it.
If we all had white paper for our crayons, our pictures would be bright and bold. But as I learned as a child, you can create different moods by using crayons on different colored paper;)
This is why people often have their hair bleached prior to a veggie dye. To create that blank white slate….But as we all know, bleaching our hair is costly, high maintenance and damaging.
So, applying this rule to my hair, I decided to put veggie dye over it without bleaching it first. I mixed up some Special Effects Virgin Rose with Pravana Violet and Pravana silver and applied it to my mostly natural hair (I have a light ombre-highlight that I do on myself occasionally.) The results were great!
Things to consider when coloring your natural hair with veggie dye
The lighter the hair, the more you will see the color. With darker hair, your color may only show as a cast in certain lights, which can still look super cool.
Highlighted hair, either natural or pre-colored, looks super cool when you put bright colors over it, because you get that mix of dusty and bright, and it fades out nicely.
Veggie dye will not last long in your natural hair. The darker and brighter the color you use, the longer it will stay.
Apply the color very thick! trust me on this one. If you are afraid you don’t have quite enough color to cover all of your hair, mix in some conditioner. Apply it to your dry hair and follow the directions on the package!
The great thing about veggie dye is that you can’t over-process it. It has no chemical process…..Just adds color!
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.