Introduction: Dye Your Hair a Strange Color

Picture of Dye Your Hair a Strange Color

A lot of people want to dye their hair with semi-permanent unnatural-color dye, such as Manic Panic, Special Effects, or Punky Color. Its actually quite a process and requires a lot of attention to detail or your hair will look/feel really bad, the color will not come out right, and itll fade instantly. This is, as far as I can tell, a definitive way to do it, from years of trial.

Step 1: Get Stuff

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You'll need:

  • basic hair dying tools: combs, hair clips, a tinting brush, plastic bowls, rubber gloves, petroleum jelly, tin foil (you can get precut tinfoil at the beauty supply store or just cut some everyday kitchen foil)
  • bleach: BW2 or similar bleach powder, get two packets for short hair and a small bucket for longer hair. you really dont want to run out. peroxide developer (20 vol for light hair, 40 vol for dark hair) a small bottle (4oz) for v. short hair, a large bottle otherwise. its cheap stuff and you dont want to run out.
  • toner: "blue lightening"/"platinum"/etc. for dying hair a blue, green, purple, etc shade. "light blonde", etc for dying hair an red, orange, yellow shade. They come in 2oz brown bottles. ask the salesperson to point you to it so you dont get the similarly looking hair dyes. they're often apart and near the bleach.
  • hair dye: "special effects" is my favorite and seems to seep least and keep longest. however, "manic panic", or "punky color" is OK. get a couple similar shades to get a gradient effect. most hair can be done w/ a single bottle. if you have a lot of hair, get two shades to make sure you're covered. you'll also need some left over for touching up. some people use "kool aid", but i cant advise it I buy mine from the garment district, which also sells online. any reputable place will have a color swatch panel. If you happen to have some hair bits, say cause you just cut your hair or something, you can dye them to get a sense of how it will come out.
  • other: j&j baby shampoo, hot oil treatment, an old/unwanted towel that you can use to dry your hair once its dyed

You can't get most of this stuff at a generic drug store, especially the bleach and toner... you must go to a beauty supply store!

Step 2: Bleaching

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cut the tinfoil into small squares.
wash & towel dry your hair.
mix up the bleach powder and developer in a plastic bowl with the tint brush, i feel like its a 'frosting' consistancy.
both people should wear old clothing as bleach will immediatly damage anything it touches.

Starting at the back of the head and moving up to the crown (this is very important!) The person bleaching the hair divides up the hair into chunks and brushes the bleach into the hair, get close to the roots but dont get the bleach on the scalp because it will itch a lot.

After each chunk of hair, fold it into the foil. my lovely assistant crunched the foil, but thats not advisable as its harder to remove without yanking the rather delicate hair

Step 3: Wash Out Bleach

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Depending on your natural hair color (mine is dark blond), your desired color (a medium red), and developer (20vol) you wait 20-30 min or so and then wash out the bleach. i think using a hair dryer on warm will speed it up, but thats just a guess. take out a foil and see if your hair looks good. then wash it out completely. because its just a bleach step, hair will be 'brassy'

Step 4: Tone

Picture of Tone

Toner takes out the brassy color and leaves hair white-ish (blue toner) or blond (gold toner). Its also a mild bleach.

Mix the bottle with peroxide (50/50) and apply to hair with the tint brush, back to front. I think you can foil but I tend not to. After 20min, wash out.

Step 5: Dye

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Finally, with all the prep done, pour out the dye(s) into plastic cups and decide what color should go where. Some people like to have bangs or streaks a seperate color, or fade from back to front or from roots to tips. I wanted a "fall leaves"/"flame" effect so we just alternated shades.

Before you start, rub petroleum jelly along your hairline: the dye will stain your face and ears if it drips or rubs, and its rather hard to remove.

Dye hair from back to front, make sure the hair is saturated, and use a fine toothed comb or stiff brush to brush the dye into the hair. Get close to the roots but dont dye the scalp: it looks wierd.

Now cover your hair with a showercap if its long to keep it from getting all over the place. Some people use a hair dryer to speed this up, but I dont. Wait 30min-1hr to get a good set.

When you wash it out, try to do it in a slop sink or similar because the dye can stain the porcelin and its a pain to get out (softscrub/ajax seems to work well). wash away from the face and body so that the dye doesnt drip onto your skin and paint it. A wand is good here. Maybe have your friend help you out. Wash until the water is clear, 10min minimum...otherwise you will just get dye on everything.

The folks at haircrazy suggest a vinegar rinse to help set the color. this seems like a very good idea, but i didnt know at the time.

Step 6: Upkeep

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After you've washed out the dye, you may want to consider doing a hot oil treatment or two because your hair is very damaged. The dye is a conditioner but I still think it helps.

When you wash your hair, use J&J; baby shampoo which will not strip all the color out at once. Harsh shampoos will make the color fade within a few washes. Some people suggest using a "coloring shampoo" (from the beauty supply store) if one is available.

Dont forget to wrap your hair in the dye towel when you sleep (if its long) or cover your pillowcase (if its short)

You can do minor touchups every few weeks to keep it lookin' good!


TexelGirl (author)2011-09-11

When I was dying my hair blue, one of the tips I read was to add some extra dye to a color-safe conditioner. That way you get a color boost with every time you condition. It did seem to prevent fade/dullness much better than when I didn't do it.

MIZAMO_CRAFTY (author)TexelGirl2017-02-26

Thanks! I'll try that this time around!

Kellerini (author)TexelGirl2016-09-19

This is one of the best tips I've read so far. Thanks for the advice!

MIZAMO_CRAFTY made it! (author)2017-02-26

So as you can see I tried to ombré my hair lavender and teal with splat lusty lavender and aqua rush. Got this green and magenta and I am very disappointed.

deannadelvalle (author)2015-06-26

okay so i want to dye my hair emerald green. and i want to know if i need a white hair base for that ?

Nope, you'll just need a bleached, blond base.

elianasweet (author)2016-07-29

very interesting idea

SwaytoUnicorns (author)2016-06-27

I dyed my hair purple using Vidal sassoon darkest intense violet
I hadn't coloured my hair for over a year and i had the dead ends cut before i dyed it
The first time, the colour didnt take on the lengths and it looked terrible so i dyed it again the next day.
It is a permenant dye but my hair was strong before i dyed it and healthy
My hair won't fall out will it?

My hair was my natural hair colour ( medium brown) with previous dip dye dark blonde that has been last dyed 3 years ago but it had grown out and most of it was cut off before the dying process

beautifullydiff3 (author)2016-02-18

I need help and advice for dying my hair. I love your post and I'm goin to use these instructions for dyeing mine. I just dyed my hair dark brown up top and violet, teal, and blue on the tips. It looks ok but it's just not me. I'm just ending a 10 year toxic and abusive relationship. Now, that I'm free I'm goin to use my hair as my voice for other women to see that they can speak. No more silence for me yall!

DoğanT (author)2015-07-08

interesting idea

Erinn544 (author)2015-04-25

I decided to dye my hair a nice ekectric blue color and i used Manic Panic hair dye. My hair is naturally blonde so we did not bleach it. We used 1 bottle on my hair which was long and thick-like. The dye was left to sit in my hair under a cap for about 2 hours, then we rinsed it with cold water and soap. After about a week my roots were visable and the dye would rub out of my hair and got all over me. I plan on re-dying my hair blue or maybe even a hot pink. Any advice so this doesnt happen agin?

kymbraleeb713 (author)Erinn5442015-05-26

Two tips:
1) try using ion color bright hair dye it lasts alot longer than manic panic
2) do bleach your hair, you don't want to have your base color when dying to be blonde you want it to be a white shade so bleach it then get a toner and tone it white so that the color goes on the color that you are wanting

CaseyGreen77 (author)2014-10-28

Omg... so I had to come write here after reading posts about my disastrous night. It's 5 am and I couldnt even sleep due to the monstrosity my hair had become with the dark purple SPLAT. I recently did the blue and was in love with it, I was ready for another color (I have several I purchased to try), and was concerned about the blue /black the was left in my hair. A lil back story, I did the blue on my natural color then decided to bleach the front strands and a small part of my underhair. The blue hadnt washed out yet so I decided to rebleach the front and under hair, and like an idiot, decided to bleach the rest of my hair for a quick 10 minutes to get the blue out completely. Well I definitely effed up the bleaching all over but was like Screw it! I'll dye it the purple, no1 will notice! Holy hell balls it was horrific! I'm not sure if it was the purple, the bleach job or god telling me your to old to dye your hair, but it was a mess! I wish I had a pic but I was bright purple in the front and underhair and a very strange cranberry pink/purple for the rest! So after trying to go to sleep, failing miserably!, I started looking up how to get this out. .. being that splat is a direct dye, most things dont work. I tried color oops earlier to get the blue out and that did nothing. I figured my only hope was either washing my hair vigorously for days or re bleaching it again... and my hair is thin, I knew it would break off if I did. So ive been researching and what I tried was
* johnsons baby shampoo
* a little hydrogen peroxide
* some baking soda thrown in
* and I used a tablespoon, maybe more, of the base for the bleach that comes with splat.
To be more specific, not the packet of bleach, but the bottle of oxide you ADD the packet of bleach to.
I brushed it over the front and under hair for 10 minutes and then did rest of my hair. Put a cap on my head and left it for 15- 20 minutes.
Lemme tell you folks,,, about 80% of the color came out! !! If not more! ! The front and underhair that i bleached blonde is now a lavenderish color and the rest of my hair is back to the light brown color from when I bleached for ten minutes. .. still a mess.. BUT holy crap what a difference! ! Much better then what I started off with lemme tell you! I really wanna do something with whats left but instead put on a deep intensive conditioner and im leaving it on for a few hours. Hopefully this helps for anyone else with the same issue! !

pinkpinkpink (author)2014-04-22

i've been dying my hair bright colors for a while…. but first time I actually bleached it was this past fall. that's because my light red hair pretty much took whatever color. BUT I decided I wanted to go all out. SO I now have roots that are about 1.5 inches of natural color and the rest is brilliant hot pink SPLAT! which, only seems to get brighter and brighter as time goes on. I'm wanting to do rainbow, but want to tone down the pink. I'm not sure what to do with these roots… should i just dye over? or do a bit of bleach with them as i some how tone down the rest? not sure why i'm not sure...

hairdye (author)2014-03-25

Nice post, Enjoyed reading here!!

lollispock (author)2013-05-26

When I used to dye my hair, I used Directions toners or sometimes regular dyes from the drugstore. I simply did not wash my hair before dyeing (slightly greasy hair is more "opened"), put the colour right on (with fingers only and rub it in) and let it set under a shower cap until it was completely dry. Then washed out with handwarm water. I used regular shampoo and my dyes lasted for at least 1.5 month (depending on the weather, more sun bleached out the colour) before they lost their "pop". I got that technique from an old punk friend :)

AussieAnglerGal (author)2012-01-15

ok thats cool! I've dyed my hair a few times bit mostly it gets a red tint????
i'm a "dirty" dark blond, so i've got blond, hazelnut, brown and occasionally black hair, but i want to dye it black???? most brands say my hair color will stain if i dye it black, but would using highlights for light hair work???

plasticcuppolitics (author)2011-12-05

Any tips on already dyed black hair (fruitice)? I tried once but bleaching it destroyed my hair and only made it orange. If i had kept going the hair would have surely fallen out. I used a platinum blond kit though, maybe salon quality 40 vol wont do that? Any suggestions? I really want turqouis and blue hair!

ufojunkie (author)2008-10-12

Okay just a tip.. No offence to Manic Panic but their Blue hair dye isnt the best. Its turns out green. I've dyed my hair twice with it and both times it was a green; its very pretty but not blue. so if your looking for a bright real blue try something like Raw Color or Color Fiend their both really good and both are at Hot

I just got the best blue color ever, it's called SPLAT from rite aid (if you have rite aid) I cannot believe how well it turned out. I did, however, have to mix it with something else (fudge paintbox whiter shade of pale) because the blue is VERY dark.

Aourie (author)Aleksandr Skotbot2009-06-18

SPLAT sucks. I just dyed my hair blue with it the other day, and its already fading. And thats after it couldn't be seen barely in the first place!

lovergurl (author)Aourie2011-11-16

i used splat and mine never faded its been in abt 6mnths still as bright red as can be did you bleach it before you did yours? i get complaments everday of how they like my hair :)

xxkaitlynxx (author)Aourie2009-12-27

it faded because it is SEMI permenant. meaning it won't last. if you want a color that won't fade so quickly, you need to look for a permenant dye.

Aourie (author)Aourie2009-06-18

And I had it in for a little over a half hour.

Hey i just dyed my bangs blue with this stuff and well...its to blue DX if i put bleach over it could i get it to light blue?

I was just going to talk about SPLAT! I adore it because it really is great dye and it comes in a box with some bleach. I too have noticed that the blue will be very dark if you leave it on very long - but I've started leaving it on for only about 10-15 minutes. Its neon and it really doesn't fade like you would think it might.

plasticat (author)ufojunkie2009-08-18

Maybe it's because your hair wasn't white when you put it on... Blue+Blond=green. I had the same thing happen, and I thought that was why.

Jujubee710 (author)plasticat2011-10-12

I didnt even bleach mine I just put it over the pink I had before&&the atomic turquoise went blue.

Jujubee710 (author)ufojunkie2011-10-12

My hair turned out blue from the Atomic Turquoise actually.

gblair (author)ufojunkie2011-10-02

if you mix the color automatic turquoise with ultra iolet you get a decent blue!

kbledsoe1 (author)2011-11-11

I have died my hair multiple colors with different brands. I definitely think that Special Effects and Manic Panic are the best brands. I just bleach my hair with a bleached hair bye from CVS or other drugstore. I have dyed my hair with bleach multiple times. The problem with it is that after too many times NO color will hold on to the hair because all the pigment is gone. I would only dye hair once or twice with bleach then the color you want. The Special effects blue, Electric Blue lasted on my hair for about 2 months straight with no fading. After about 4 months it turned a greenish color and had to cut it off.

sharkona (author)2011-10-05

Also, I sleep with the dye in, most alternative hair dyes (i.e. Manic Panic, & Special Effects) have conditioner in them, so even after a whole night, my hair is soft, plus, it sets in GOOD, and lasts a lot longer in my opinion. Just put a plastic bag and a towel on your head & hop into bed. Rinse in the AM. If this is too much to handle leave it in for as many hours as you can stand!

sharkona (author)2011-10-05

This is a really good inscrutableness, but it should also be noted that If you're going to go with blue, purple, pink or green colors, you're going to need it to be white blonde, but DO NOT bleach it again that day, spend a week with ugly hair, wear hats etc, and treat the Sh@t out of your hair with oil treatments and long heavy conditions, then do another bleaching round, the whiter your hair is the more vibrant (& even) the color will be.

gblair (author)2011-10-02

2 table spoons of koolaid, 3 tablespoons of toner, if you dont have toner just use a color safe conditioner, if you use conditioner youll need to add 2 more table spoons of koolaid, and 2 more tablespoons of conditioner! Hope this helps!

kbeattie (author)2011-09-11

I would say avoid baby shampoo. Although its gentle, its not ph balanced and can cause the colour to fade quicker.
Use a colour protect shampoo and a spray in/leave in conditioner, so you only strip the hair once on each wash, instead of twice.
Also, keep a bottle of cream cleaner handy as I have found that it is one of the best things to remove dye stains.

Familia87 (author)2011-08-08

i have this friend she dies her hair blue green purple and red she has natural blond hair but some dark spots so the hair dy misses them how could she get them to dy to

Scwounch (author)2006-02-07

To get your hair that extra bright color, I actually recommend skipping the foil business and rubbing the bleach all over. Sure it will get on your scalp and itch/burn a bit, but no permanent damage will be done. Be a man and take it. Also, leaving the bleach in for as much as double the time is necessary to get from brown to platinum blonde (or as white as possible).

komecake (author)Scwounch2010-05-11

  This is not true. Damage CAN be done. Yes, I've done it, but it's not the smartest thing to do. I have gotten blisters on my scalp more than once. Once they heal, your scalp will stay dry for awhile and cause some wicked dandruff.

 This may not happen to you, but for a lot of people it will. It also depends on the strength of the developer they use. I would suggest promoting this idea as for others it could end badly. There IS a reason there is a warning about getting it on your scalp. They are chemicals after all. 

mdunksta (author)komecake2011-07-13

i got my hair bleached without tin foil and i didn't get squat on my head just a color

amethysteria (author)komecake2011-01-31

You can help your scalp by ensuring that you havent washed your hair in at least two (preferably more) days prior to bleaching.

shiggles (author)Scwounch2010-02-02

yeah i did that once with off the scalp bleach not knowing the difference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!had ozzing scabs on my head for weeks not a good idea never do roots 2 x's due to heat in scalp they lift faster and will over process quickly! really itching was the least of my concerns it looked worse than it felt and it burned like hell!!!!!!!!  yes you could really see the scabbs ugh!!!!!!!!

hsullivan (author)2011-07-09

You can get hair color out of couuntertops witth toothpaste

bstewart11486 (author)2010-06-08

Just a Note: Toner is not a mild bleach! It is a mild dye that has a concentrate of either blue, violet, gold, green, or a combination of those. It is used to counteract the unwanted pigment or to enhance the color. It uses the basic concept of complimentary colors. Layering or mixing complimentary colors nuetralize eachother giving you a more natural color. Ex: Highlighter yellow blone hair would need a violet toner (yellow and violet are opposite on the color wheel) to counteract the yellow and give you a pretty neutral blonde

God Under Siege (author)2006-06-07

Simply not washing your hair as often helps you keep the color lasting longer and keeps your hair more healthy too! Something the beauty and hygene industry totally don't want you to believe, but it's true! Don't wash out the minerals from your scalp everyday. It'll save you money too!

Thats pretty much how I justify it, I just wish I knew where to get the green and blue dyes cheap.

shiggles (author)The Ideanator2010-02-02

in ga our local cvs carries a kit with green blue and purple it's either special effects of splat beauty supplie places the ones with all the barrette and hair weaves have a huge selection of wild temp colors the shops that carry alot of ethnic hair and skin products

shiggles (author)2010-02-02

cheap rum works really well at removing dye from skin and countertops!

my hair is already blonde should i still use this?

  Not if it's the color blonde you want. Toners are to get the shade of blonde that you desire as bleaching often leaves peoples hair brassy or yellowy. There is no need to do it if you like the color.

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