Maintaining Coloured Hair

If you hadn’t noticed, my hair is blue. It’s been blue for around five years now, in that time I’ve learnt a lot about maintaining the colour and keeping my hair healthy. So here’s my advice to all you cool kids thinking about dying your hair – not brown.

Bleaching:

To get the best colour your hair needs to be as white as possible. Especially for pastel colours and silver greys. It’s important to get this right the first time, warm tones left in the hair will have an effect on the end result.

Scalp bleaches hurt a bit. It’s a hot and itchy experience. Just hang in there after a while, at least in my experience, your head goes a bit numb.

Some hair bleaches up better than others, it’s a shame but it’s true. Very dark or damaged hair probably isn’t going to take too well to having the crap bleached out of it. You might want to consider lightening your hair more gradually if this is the case.

Lucky for me, my hair lightens up quite well and is not all that damaged, considering how long I’ve been dying it. Which leads into my next point;

bleach will damage your hair. No doubt about that.

My advice would be to not bleach and rebleach hair that hasn’t lightened up enough. You don’t want your hair literally snapping off. There are toners which can help fix up some of the yellowness. I’d suggest trying that first. Or simply settling on dying your hair a bit darker so the warm tones won’t show through as much.

 

After Care:

So it’s the day after you dyed your hair and it’s a bright, frizzy mess. And it will be like that for around a week. You will also experience what I call ‘post bleach dandruff’ and maybe some scalp tenderness depending on how sensitive you are in that region.

Conditioning is key. You want to get that hair all soft and shiny again! Do some hair masks, condition it every day, play it smooth jazz, do everything in your power to restore your hair’s former glory.

 

Maintaining Colour:

You’ve made it through the frizz week from hell and your hair is looking super cool. People on the street are making unsolicited comments about it and everything (that is almost certainly going to happen, I’ve never gotten anything really negative or offensive but be prepared for hair comments).

My advice to you is do not shampoo your hair. This might sound crazy to  a lot of people reading this, but, shampoo is going to rip the colour out of your hair in no time. It will also dry it out and we’re trying to undo some bleach damage here!  I know you can buy special shampoos and things that add colour back in – those are mostly a rip off. Conditioning is what you really need to be doing everyday.

A few weeks down the line, you might want to refresh the colour a bit an an easy way to do this is by adding a bit of hair dye into your conditioner. That’s also much cheaper than ‘colour stay’ shampoos or whatever they’re trying to market to you.

Lighter colours will wash out faster than darker ones.

My best advice about colour maintenance is to just go with it. Your hair colour is going to fade out and you’ll have regrowth and so on. Watching the way my hair changes as it fades is pretty fun for me – sometimes I like how it is faded more than when I first got it dyed. Don’t worry so much about keeping it perfect.

 

Regrowth:

After dying your hair it will become apparent just how fast it grows. Once your regrowth gets about 3-5cm (an inch and a halfish) long you should probably book in at the hair dressers again. Or keep growing it out and you can have ‘dip dyed’ hair in a couple months. It’s important to get your roots coloured around this length because of a thing the bleach does called banding, banding  is simply when the hair closer to your scalp comes up lighter than the hair two or so centimetres down. This is to do with the heat of your head and it’s effect on the bleach. To get the best colour result you want to avoid this.

I know because I let my hair grow out to hell recently and had to deal with bleach bands. To work around it we (the hair dresser and I) decided on doing a sort of gradient of blues, darker to lighter to get away with having that difference in the bands.

Ok, so those are all my tips. Things that work for me might not work for everyone. It’s important to experiment a little and find what works for your hair. At the very least I hope this lets you know what to expect when you first change hair colours. If you have any questions about something I haven’t covered, put them in the comments and I’ll try to help. Or go ahead and share your own advice / tell me about the strangest hair comment you’ve gotten from a stranger.

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