Everything You Need to Know About Rainbow Hair

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring has sprung and the colors are everywhere. You see it splashed all over Instagram, dousing the pages of Pinterest, festival season is just around the corner.... Everywhere you turn, you'll find it. Thats right- colored hair. Now, I've done enough damage to my head over the years to consider myself an expert in the field. The world of unicorn locks can be overwhelming. So this one if for all my beautiful classics who are dreaming of mermaid life but don't know where to begin. This is everything you need to know about rainbow hair!
First things first: you need to determine what color you are going for and if your current hair is light enough to achieve it. The number one rule of hair is that color does not lift color!! This means that if you naturally or currently have very dark brown hair, you cannot just apply straight up pastels and expect lavender. You are going to have to bleach it. If you have blonde hair, there are certain shades you can directly deposit that will work. For instance, let's say you have golden blonde hair and you want dark blue. Since the blue is darker than the canvas, the pigments will deposit and you will have blue hair. But if you have that same golden blonde and you are wanting white/silver or a pastel pink, you'll have to lift your hair a few levels to ensure you get the color you want. Confusing?? It's not really. Just remember this: the lighter the canvas, the more saturated, pigmented, and true to the label color you will achieve.

Now let's say you want to go darker, not lighter. Do I have still have to lift my natural hair? Probably not. If you are brunette and like those warm plum tones, you'll want to look for something that says RV (red violet), or anything along those lines on it. If you're blonde, just make sure you are choosing the right underlying pigments as to not turn your hair green and muddy instead of a rich chocolate. Because you are depositing color, you do not need to lighten. You will, however, most likely need developer along with the color (unless it says otherwise. Read the labels! Most fashion colors are direct dyes and you will not need to worry about this).  I don't recommend using anything higher than a 10 volume developer for depositing permanent colors. When lightening, you'll want something higher (30 or 40vol). I do not recommend using 40 volume by yourself if it is your first time.

The biggest thing I will say is use professional products only! If you use box dye- which is anything you'd find at your local drug store- you will ruin your hair. It may look good for a bit, but chances are you won't be happy with the results. Box dyes often contain henna or metallic ingredients which can have a nasty reaction to other colors or peroxides in the future. It will also stay in your hair for years!! TRUST ME! Both of my parents are hair stylists, as well as myself and my sister, but I admit I've used some wonky colors from Sally's and my hair has literally smoked and caught on fire! You do not want to mess around with cheap stuff.

Now just a disclaimer to all you lovely people reading. I am a licensed cosmetologist living in a house with three other hairstylists. I have done hell to my hair, gone through 14 months of beauty school and have had 30 other girls use my head for experiments. I know the risks and choose to continue playing around with colors anyway. The absolute best way to guarantee the health and longevity of your hair is to go see a professional in a salon. And I mean professional professional. Don't just go to your local Hair Masters or Great Clips. Your hair is an investment. You truly will get what you pay for.

With that being said; if you are like me and believe hair is just hair and you can always cut it, you want to try on your own and want to know how... well, lets dive right in!

You'll need a color cape or towel to drape over your shoulders, some old clothes you don't mind accidental color spills on, clips to section, a comb, a mixing bowl and brush, and your colors of choice of course! Seran wrap keeps bleach from drying up, and foil creates heat to speed up the lift time. You can also hit it with a blowdryer to blast some heat in. I recommend shampooing out the bleach, conditioning, and blowdrying. Then apply the fashion colors on slightly damp hair. You will not need to shampoo this out, but rinsing is a must.

There are so many color lines out there, it can be hard to make a decision on what is right for you. I've used to cheap stuff like Manic Panic and Ion, and I've also used professional lines like Pravana and Pulp Riot. If you do not have access to anyone with a license who can shop at a beauty supply for you, I highly recommend using Ion. If you do know someone who can pick it up for you, go with Pravana or Joico Intensity! NEVER order colors from Amazon. A lot of places like local grocery stores and online outlets can be victim to diversion. Diversion is when third parties purchase product or find old containers and water down/completely change the product. The only way to truly know what you're using is legit is to get it from the source. I always advise to purchase more than you think you'll need. It's better to have a little extra to keep on hand for touch ups than to be running out to the beauty supple for another tube with half a head of orange bleach and pink.

Chances are you're going to need to bleach your hair. It's not as scary as it sounds! If you are alone and can't exactly section and evenly distribute, try putting your hair in a ponytail and coating the ends or however much you are planning to color. If you have a friend who can help you, that'd be great! This is the most crucial part in ensuring you get the color you want. You may have to repeat multiple times but I do not suggest doing it all at once. Give your hair a chance to recover. Olaplaex, Brazilian Bond Builder, and other additives you can put in the color bowl are great to maintain the integrity of your hair. Also make sure you are using professional peroxide. DO NOT just use household bleach!

So you've lightened your hair, you've got amazing mermaid color, how do you maintain it? After care is so important! INVEST in a good shampoo. Throw out your Herbal Essence and your Pantene. If you want lasting color you must use professional products. You wash your hair everyday? Not anymore! Try going every two days, and then every three. I know people who only shampoo once a week! The less times you wash, the longer the color stays. Dry shampoo is truly your best friend. Find one, love one. My absolute favorite at the moment is Oribe Gold Lust Dry. You'll also want to do some masques and deep conditioning treatments. Bleach and harsh chemicals on your hair are drying. Do yourself a favor and mask once a week. You may also want to consider a trim to get rid of any split or dead ends as a result of coloring.

Find a look you love on Instagram for inspiration. This will help you figure out what colors to get and what to section off for the lightening process. Always do your research on products you plan on using and do not mix brands (ex: a different brand developer and color). Certain products are designed to be used together so make sure you are following the instructions on the label and playing it safe by using the same line. Do an allergy test as well as a strand test. For the allergy test, take a bit of color and place it behind your ear or on any other hidden skin. Wait 24 hours and see if you have a reaction. For a strand test, you'll want to dye a few strands of hair and make sure it can handle the chemicals. If it melts or has some crazy reaction, you probably don't want to proceed. When washing your hair, end your showers with a blast of cool water. The cold will close down the cuticles on the hair strands and can help it last longer. Before the first few washes, use dark pillowcases and clothing in case you are still getting color fallout. And most importantly, if you have any doubts, concerns, or questions please call a salon and get professional advice! Coloring your hair is a great way to express yourself and your style... when done correctly. I'll say it again, the only way to guarantee perfect results is to seek a professional!

March 2014
The first time I used fun colors on my hair since I was in
middle school, loved Hot Topic, and had blue ends.
Just the underneath using Manic Panic

March 2014
Probably the darkest vibrant blue I've had. Used Manic Panic
June 2014
Pink Manic Panic

June 2014
For some reason I have absolutely zero photos
of my hair except this. It's so hard to tell but the underneath
is white! Used Manic Panic

October - December 2015
Bangs.. yikes. and balayage. Back to "normal" colors 

May 2015
Pravana Orchid and Violet for a vibrant ombre

June 2015
The different purples have faded into an allover one color

July 2015
Level 2 dark brown/black all over

November 2015
Hair has grown slightly and now has red tint

December 2015
For some reason thought bangs were a good
idea??? Never again

March 2016
Heard blondes had more fun and wanted to see.
This was NOT easy. 5 color removals, 4 balayages, 5 toners,
4 days, 17 hours, and a 3 inch haircut later

March 2016
Trying to lighten more. Warmer roots

March 2016
Ends are starting to get to a whiter blonde

April 2016
Took the plunge with pink. Used Ion mixed with Joico Intensity
in Hot Pink

April 2016
Touched up with Joico Intensity Hot Pink

April 2016
Starting to fade into a peachy pink

April 2016
Roots are growing out and pink is slowly fading

April 2016
Letting the neon fade out and put in Pravana Chromasilk Pastels
in Pretty in Pink

April 2016
Rainbow!! The yellow, green, and orange are Joico Intensity.
Pink is a mix of Joico and Pravana. Purple is Pulp Riot and
Pravana. Blue is Ion, Pravana and Joico

April 2016
My only other rainbow haired photo that exists

April 2016
aaand not even two days later we are BLUE! Well... faded
green sea monster. Used Joico and Pravana

April 2016
Same day, different angle

April 2016

April 2016
We are vibrant. Second coat of Pulp Riot for an even saturation

May 2016
Fading out again. Definitely need a haircut

June 2016
Back to black and a major haircut

July 2016
Keep going darker and shorter?

September 2016
Balayage once again. Feeling the auburn autumn colors

September 2016
Rosy warm balayage

September 2016
Slowly going lighter

November 2016
Pink is back, back again
Joico Intensity in Hot Pink

November 2016
Pink is back, tell a friend

November 2016
Fading out really quickly this time

November 2016
Back to dark. Surprise surprise

March 2017
Most currently- dark. What's next???

And there you have it. Have fun kiddos! Happy dyeing