So my hair started out like the picture above, on the left. Brown on one side. Blonde on the other. Split down the middle. The blonde was originally the same color as the brown side. None of this is virgin hair nor my natural color -although I did have regrowth (aka roots that have grown out), so there was a couple inches of virgin hair.
So if you're curious as to how I got it all one even color (besides the ombre added later), a ginger-y red, keep reading!
But first, a disclaimer! Please note I have been to and complete cosmetology school and am in the processes of being a licensed cosmetologist. I am not new to the hair dying processes either. I'm also incredibly familiar with my hair (obviously) and know that it is uncannily strong (hence why usually was the first go-to when wanting to do some fun, bright color that required a lot of bleaching, in school)-my hair can take a beating and have very minimal damage, will repair itself fairly easily and won't break or fall out. Also note, whenever using bleach please look up some tips and advice for care afterwards and be careful. I personally recommend it's best to see a stylist, but I know that's not possible for everyone due to a variety of different reasons, so if you do plan to dye or lighten your hair yourself please read up on it as much as it can, follow directions and be careful! You are messing with chemicals and they can be very dangerous.
Moving on. So as I said before. My hair was half brown, half blonde and had a couple inches of a darker brown regrowth.
Before being able to dye anything even near the color I wanted it I had to first remove the brown colors. For the following reasons: My hair is darker my desired color, both my natural and colored. I needed to get my hair one even color and tone or else the dye would come out two different shades or even colors! While the hair dye I purchased does offer lift, I've never had good experience with it alone lifting it enough, so I still needed to lighten it beforehand. And lastly, about the dye offering lifting (meaning it'll lift previous color) it only works with virgin hair (un-dyed, no previous chemicals), color over color -even that with lift- only goes darker -color doesn't lift color very well.
So I used 40 volume developer, the strongest, and mixed it -equal parts- with powder bleach. I applied that only to the middle (mid-shaft) of my hair to start. I also started in the back since that's where hair (and mine) is usually more resistant. You want to try to work as fast as possible and use a brush, applying the bleach evenly to thin sections. It's best if you have someone helping you. After that was applied and I could see that it lightened up some, I went back through and applied it to my regrowth, avoiding getting it on the scalp as best as possible, and pulling it all the way down, through my ends. The ends and regrowth are the most, I guess you could say, fragile parts of your hair and quick to take color/lightener, so you don't want to apply it there first! Even if you don't have regrowth it's best to stay an inch away from the scalp due to the risk of "hot roots" and chemical burns. Note: When I went back through and touched up my regrowth, I did so for both sides, so the regrowth was being lightened on the blonde half as well - I was careful to avoid overlapping it with the previous blonde.
I waited until I saw my hair was about the same color all over and rinsed it out. I'd say I left it on for about 20 minutes, maybe 30. When rinsing it, I only washed with shampoo, no conditioner. Why didn't I use conditioner? Because I still had one more bleaching session to do and then had to dye it.
So this was the result after the first bleaching. The underneath, bottom half was still a bit dark though. My goal was to get it to match the extensions I ordered. So I went ahead and dried my hair (letting it air dry for a bit first, applying some heat protection spray, then blow drying it). I pinned up the top half of my hair and just went from just off the scalp to the ends when applying the bleach to the lower half. I know I recommend against that but I did so to get through it as fast as possible and because I was only leaving it on for about 5 minutes.
I waited until I saw it lighten up then rinsed it out. Using only shampoo again. This time I did do something different. I took some purple hair dye I had lying around and mixed a small little bit (literally the dipped the tip of my nail) with shampoo and rubbed that all over my hair. If you do this watch carefully! Unless you want your hair to turn purple! The shampoo will help stop it from dying some but that doesn't mean it won't still happen. What the purple mixed with shampoo did is take out the brassy color. So that's what I was watching for. I was watching my hair go from this brassy tone to a nicer, cool/neutral tone. Now all of my hair matched my extensions. After that I let it dry (repeating the same process I used last time).
Time to mix my color! But first! So after all that my hair ended up lighter than I thought. Which means, I bought a developer that was stronger than needed. I would've been just fine using a 10 developer, probably even 20.
The best option would've been to use a demi-permanent color since those only deposit color and has no lift -my hair was now lighter than my desired color and didn't need the lifting. I personally didn't want a demi-permanent color because red fades fast already, and with my experiences demi-permanents fade fairly fast as well -I wanted something more permanent. So I 10 developer probably would've been best.
To make sure it was all fine I first took a strand in the back of my hair and applied a little dye to it, leaving it on for the recommended time then rinsing it. Everything went well! No damage, hair felt fine. I just came to the conclusion my hair was still on the darker side of blonde so it was probably the same level of the hair color I was going, which means the dye lightened it a bit then brought it back up to that level. May have helped even in evening the tone.
So I mixed the rest of my dye, equal parts, mixing 4 oz at a time -meaning I would go back and mix more as needed. Left it on for 25-30 minutes, as the time recommended.
As I waited for the dye to set I applied dye to my extensions, laying them on newspaper and basically painting each strip with the brush. I left out the ends though due to my plans to ombre it. Left it on the extensions for the same amount of time.
This time when I rinsed it, it was with both shampoo and conditioner, except for the extensions -that was shampoo only.
The hair color it came out. It's a bit more red-red hair then in person. In person it's more of a natural ginger color.
So as for the ombre. I bought a lighter color of orange and applied that to the ends. Teasing the hair a bit before hand and then applying it in almost zig zags to avoid a straight line across that hair.
Sadly, it didn't show up very well, it was still to close to the color of the original. So, after rinsing that and drying it I went back through and applied lightener to the ends, only leaving it on for about 3-5 minutes, watching it carefully.
It did lighten up but not to my liking. I wanted it a bit lighter and up higher. So the next day I went through and re-bleached it. Once again leaving it on for about 5 minutes and watching it closely, using the same techniques.
This was the result. Much happier with it. For the bleach I used the same as I had used earlier -40 developer, equal parts.
As for the products I used. I used 6r, dark red blonde from the brand Ion, for the majority of my hair. Originally I applied a 7r, bright red (I believe was the name) from Ion. Note: The hair color level systems works like this; a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the lightest (a platinum/whitish blonde) and 1 being the darkest (black). Mixed both hair colors with 30 developer for sensitive scalp -bought that knowing I'd be pre-lightening, wanted to be nice to my head. The powder bleach was BW or something like that and the developer was 40 developer from Salon Care (maybe Sally's brand?). I purchased this all from a hair and beauty store called Sally's.
Some little side notes and tips.
If you have something like Vaseline apply that around your hairline to keep the dye from staining your skin. Conditioner can work as well. Make sure to keep it off your actual hair though or else the dye won't take!
Wear gloves! Bleach can and will burn after it's exposed to your skin for a longer period of time. And it'll hurt, for a few days even. Be safe and keep yourself protected. It'll also keep the dye from staining your hands. Red dye is one of the dyes that suck the most when trying to get off and staining everything so easily.
Wash bleach off your skin asap. It'll more than likely get on your neck and sides of face, even your arms -try to wash it off as soon as possible, chemical burns suck! Trust me, I just did it. I didn't rinse it off soon enough when it sat on my neck and kept getting on it due to my hair touching it -chemical capes/those plastic-y hair cutting capes and a towel can protect you from this). So now I have a slight burn and it hurts to touch ;-; It'll go away soon enough tho. Nothing severe or major. Just the pain of hair color that happens every now and then.
When you're dying you hair red, keep in mind, that it'll never go away! Not until you grow it out and cut it off. While it does fade and fast and requires a lot of constant upkeep, it won't ever truly leave. You'll see brassy tones keep popping back up once you dye your hair a different color, especially with blonde and brown. It'll be so hard to get rid of that brass blonde and your brown will seem to always turn ever so slightly reddish/have a subtle red tint.
After I do any thing chemical-wise with my hair I won't wash it for a week. I want natural oils to come back in and repair it so I'll wait till it gets a bit oily (which takes about 5 days for me, it's different for everyone tho) and then leave it to set for a day or two depending on how damage it feels or what all I did. I'll keep repeating this too. Waiting a week in between washes for a few months (this number will lower to like 3 or 4 days though -after the first two weeks or so I'll do down to this). Also use different repairing treatments (mostly focused on breakage and restoring proteins), take vitamins focused at strong and fast hair growth, and heat protection spray before styling. Also when washing my hair, I'll let the conditioner set for at least 5 minutes or the entire duration of my shower (so shampoo first, conditioner and rinse it towards the end).
Hope you found this helpful or enjoyed reading. If you're unsure, have fragile hair or damaged hair, but really just in general, I recommend you seek a professionals help if possible. It's really much better to just find a good salon, ask around for different suggestions and reviews, and make an appointment there. This way you have someone who's trained and licensed doing you hair and making sure it'll come out as best as possible. If doing it yourself, be safe and try to have someone there to help you, especially with the back of your head. Test strand everything first too! This way you can be a little bit more sure it's safe and things probably won't go wrong.
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