How to dye and maintain bright hair colours

I often get questions regarding my hair colour, so I’ve decided to post everything I have learned over the years. I started experimenting with hair colours when I was about 16, and continued until I was 18, when I took a break for about 2 years and have now started again. I’ve learned a lot through trial and error, youtube videos, blogs, etc and tried many methods – some which didn’t work at all or are more trouble than they’re worth. So here is what I’ve learned:

What dye to use:

It depends on how long you want to wear the colour. Spray on stuff obviously washes out within 2 washes or so. “Pre-mixed” dye brands such as Manic Panic, Stargazer and Directions are much better in quality and last longer, but I found that when using Directions, the colour would wash out completely within 3 weeks.

To achieve the longest lasting colour, you should use powder pigment dyes I’ve never had the colour wash out completely; I redye my hair every month and a half, but more because of my regrowth than faded dye. I am not sure of the brand name, but I get mine from my local tattoo shop. They are chemical free and you mix them with conditioner and water, so they don’t damage your hair at all! They come in tubs like these:


The awesome thing about both pre-mixed dyes and the powders that you mix yourself is that you can mix colours to create your own shades. I usually mix 3 or 4 colours to get to the one I like.

Here’s what my hair looked like the first time I dyed it bright colours, using Directions dye (age 16):


Tips for dyeing your hair bright colours:

  1. If your hair is darker than light blonde, you will definitely have to lighten it. My natural hair colour is ash blonde / light brown and the dye doesn’t take well on it. But instead of using normal peroxide, I use a blonde highlighting kit. These are more ideal because they don’t make your hair as yellow as bleach. I use the brand Kair, but I’m not sure if you get that everywhere. Before lightening your hair, wash your hair in ice cold water and leave it to dry, then apply the lightening kit. The coldness helps for lightening hair. I actually learned this tip from a hairdresser and it shortens the lightening time for me by about 20 minutes.
  2. Make sure you wear old clothes or cover up everything you don’t want to get stained with an old towel and wear gloves. The dye is difficult to get out of clothes and also stains sinks, showers, etc.
  3. After applying the dye, apply heat for 5-10 minutes. I just use my hairdryer and make sure I evenly apply heat to my whole head.
  4. After applying heat, cover it to keep the temperature constant. I just tie a plastic bag on my head. It looks ridiculous but it works.
  5. Leave the dye in as long as possible. I try to leave mine in for 6-8 hours. The longer you leave the dye in, the more vibrant the colour and the longer it lasts. Some people even sleep with the dye in. I’ve tested it and it really makes a huge difference.
  6. When rinsing out the dye, use cold water. This seals the pores in your hair to keep the colour. Make sure to rinse until the water is very transparent or clear.

After dyeing, there are a few things you should know:

  1. To remove dye stains, apply alcohol to the area. You can use anything that has alcohol in, even deodorant or nail varnish remover. To remove dye stains from your face, use q-tips dipped in alcohol or nail varnish remover.
  2. Hot water will make the dye come out faster. It’s not nice washing your hair with cold water, but if you want the dye to last as long as possible, it’s highly recommended.
  3. Every time you wash your hair, the colour will go everywhere. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. When my hair was red it looked like a massacre every time I took a shower. It does wash the colour out a bit, but that is also why it is recommended to wash your hair as little as possible and use dry shampoo in between washes. I wash my hair twice a week and use dry shampoo the rest of the time.
  4. Invest in sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the main reason bright colours fade so fast! Marc Anthony is a great brand that is sulfate free and can be found at Dischem. I use the coconut oil one.

I hope this helps and that you enjoy dyeing your hair awesome colours! Here are some of my latest colour adventures:


Feel free to ask if you are unsure of anything else!