From Christmas Blues to Radiant Hues

Just one week left until the main event, my little Christmas Puddings! How are we all? Surprisingly, nearly everyone I’ve spoken to as already mostly prepared (including moi!) so I want to give you all a little round of applause. For those of you who are not ready, fear not! There is still time, and remember – it’s important not to get overwhelmed. I’ve been in a pact this year that has demanded there are to be no tears this month (relating to Christmas, obviously I’ll cry at other things) and if I can manage it, I know you can too.

Sine I do have a little bit more time than I usually do at this stage of the proceedings (and am attempting to limit my consumption of Due South to only 2 episodes a night so as not to be a complete mess when I do finish it), I am going to take this opportunity to dye my hair…PROPERLY! Hurray! Woo! Yay!

cat-dye

Bucky doing his best Vidal Sassoon impression

Now I have been dying my hair all sorts of weird and unnatural colours since I was about 12, and have pretty much always taken the “suck it and see” approach. Being luck enough to have hair reminiscent of a lion’s mane and about 3 times as think, I’ve been able to attack it with pretty much anything I can find and it’s always managed to hold its own (except that one bad experience with a dodgy bleach kit that left me cutting about 4 inches of destroyed hair off with a pair of blunt nail scissors. Still, it recovered and we’re Totally Fine now). It’s been through some rough times – including taking 3 boxes of bleach on more than one occasion, (word of warning – always open a window), having 7 colours on it in one go and letting semi-drunk friends come at it with a razor. Through it all it’s still here and as thick as ever so I can’t see myself stopping in the near future.

However this time, I’m going to be good (shock!horror) and actually do some of the things they recommend on the boxes. Having a spare weekend, I’m going to allow the dying process to carry over a few days, rather than cramming it all into an evening like usual. I would like to point out at this juncture that I have gone from dark purple to bright orange, forest green to shocking pink and a selection of other combinations in about 3 hours max, but in my mature old age I now see the benefit of taking my sweet time over things like this. To that aim, I present to you…The Complete Start to End Process of a Full Over-Haul Hair Dying Experience! Ta da!

For this, we’re going to need:

  • 2x boxes of bleach (whatever you can find in the shop)
  • 4plusx pots of fun colours (Manic Panic / Directions with a little splodge of StarGazer for good measure)
  • 1x plastic gloves
  • 4x old towels (spread over the floor to protect that carpet as best as possible)
  • 1x helpful boyfriend to take photos and tell you when you’ve missed a spot

ross-montage

Ross doing his best Robert Capa impression in the dying danger zone. Bucky was very interested in the whole affair.

Day 1 (Step 1) – The Bleaching

So, as I am naturally quite dark and going from a navy blue to a selection of much brighter shades, it’s important to strip off as much of the previous colour as possible. I’ve been washing with Head & Shoulders, which is excellent for this task (even though it’s not technically my shampoo – sorry Ross!). This has lifted a good amount of the colour off the ends, but there’s still quite a lot of dye left on the top. However this shouldn’t be too much concern as I’ll be layering the darker colours towards the roots (save time when there’s regrowth – all about that efficiency). Anyway, two boxes of bleach should hopefully be enough to cover most of the remaining colour and give me a blank (if somewhat gingery) base to work from. Now – prepare for that stinging!

Like a beautiful blonde butterfly emerging from a hair dye cocoon! Unfortunately, you can’t quite tell on this picture, but there were some excellent ginger chunks and one or two streak of blue that lingered despite persistent attention.

Day 2 (Step 5) – The Colouring

After muchos bleaching and wincing and washing and conditioning, we are now ready for step two. Most of the blue has been covered up (any left over patches can just add “shadow” to the new style, or some B*S like that) and I’m ready to go full out with my new colours. Today we’re mainly going for a look I have heard called “Neon Sunshine” but I am going to rename “Fruit Salad Delight” because that seems much more fitting. Seeing as it’s a bit bleak outside and there are some sad things going on at the moment, I thought it was about time to bring some aggressive cheer back to the proceedings.

tap-dye

This is definitely the most enjoyable part of the process in my opinion. There’s something that speaks to the secretly rebellious nature deep in my soul about splattering a new, bright and wonderfully unnatural colour on top of the blonde. Even though it’s a regular thing that I do now, and becoming more acceptable to have unusual hair in society/work place (woo hoo for #hairfreedom), I still get a sneaky little rush in being able to stand out from the crowd. That being said, it can be a little bit challenging trying to keep the dye specifically on my hair and not the carpet, wall, ceiling, sink, forehead, arms and boyfriend. There are some rather incriminating stains on the bathroom floor that will have to be dealt with if I ever want my deposit back. Still, it’s very therapeutic to slap a bit of colour on there and dance around to some dodgy youtube playlists. With this style, because I’m aiming for an ombre effect (some technical terminology for you there) I’ve had to rope the Man Muffin in to offer moral support and take over any back bits that I can’t reach. My shaved undercut does save a little bit of time these days, but there’s still a patch on my crown that always manages to evade my brush.

dye-on

Anyway, now we must wait, wrapped in cling film and being very careful not to rest hair on any unprotected surface. It typically takes 30 minutes for the hair to absorb the colour, but I usuall wait up to an hour to make sure it really gets in there. The good thing about these dyes is they’re closer to poster paint than peroxide and don’t burn the hair at all. After this, there will be much showering (where I can pretend I’m some kind of super-heroine that can shoot coloured water out of my fingers – don’t judge me I have fun) and 4 millions conditions to make sure my hair is beautifully soft and pampered after it’s ordeal.

Day 2 (Step 37 or thereabouts) – The Styling

Now I am all showered and scrubbed and fresh from the shower, the fancy styling can commence. I never used to hair dry my hair because I passionately hated the frizz I always seem to end up with. Over the last year or so though, I’ve come to realise with the right brush, rollers and about half an hour of serious upper arm exercises, I can get a lovely silky shiny curl which stays for up to 4 days and is definitely worth the effort. It’s always nice to do a good style the first time you’v dyed your hair, just so you can get the full effect of how awesome it looks (though obviously it’s important to use the cool heat setting and heat protection – see I can treat it nicely!). Anyway, all steps aside, we’re now on the home stretch and the new Christmas do is ready to rock and indeed roll!

Annoyingly, you can’t tell the delightfully subtle gradation of magenta through mandarin and ending apricot, but I promise you it’s there. Next time, we’re going to slap a bit more orange on and see how it goes.

I hope this hasn’t been too boring – I know from experience that blogs about hair/make up always seem like a good idea at the time, but the proceed to be as boring as sin and nowhere near as exciting as promised, and I hope this inspires you all to go out and embrace your inner my little pony hair (though don’t do styles any better than mine or I will feel outraged and betrayed).

Farewell for now poppets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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