So everyone is out here shaving their heads and dyeing their hair blue. I get it. You’ve slept for a record 16 hours and baked three loaves of banana bread (no wonder I couldn’t find any flour at my supermarket). Or you’ve just come home from a day of customers fighting for said flour. Or your quarantine buddies’ incessant screaming and arguing has destroyed most of your brain cells. There’s only one logical solution.
And hey, if there’s any time to fuck up your hair, it’s now.
But (thinking positively), lockdown is going to end eventually and you’ll have to go out in public again. As someone who has had their fair share of hair adventures, from cutting my bangs at 3am after a breakdown to coloring my hair every color of the rainbow, it’s my hope I can save a head of hair or two. So before you slap on that box dye, please give this a read.
(Disclaimer: My only credentials are watching copious YouTube videos and my head of colorful can’t-tell-it’s-THAT-damaged-looks-fairly-even hair so do with that what you will)
1. Your hair is too fucking dark, ok?
Don’t dye a bright or pastel color over dark hair. As a natural brunette, I get the temptation. We’ve all tried it. Save your money. It will not show up. Which brings me to
2. DON’T USE 40 VOLUME DEVELOPER
If you want to go blonde or have a bright pastel color, you’ll need to bleach your hair. I wouldn’t recommend using a permanent box dye from the supermarket (unless your virgin hair exactly matches the picture on the back and it’s the color you want to have for a long time/possibly for the entire life of your hair (box dye is a pain to remove)).
Instead, buy a powder bleach and creme developer (you can get these from Chemist Warehouse). Consult a hair level chart to decide what level developer to get but really you should be using 20 or 30 volume developer. You don’t want your hair to fall off.
3. Bleach is not shampoo!
I had a friend say to me, “How hard can bleaching be? You just throw it on your hair and rub it around.”
This is for these folks.
Part your hair into at least four sections and make sure that every single strand on your head is generously coated in bleach. Use foil to help the bleach to process faster and help you keep track of which strands have been bleached and which haven’t. Don’t cut corners unless you want random spots of brown and orange on your head.
4. Avoid glowy roots
If you’re bleaching your roots too, bleach them last (because they process faster than the rest of the hair) and bleach them when your hair is dirty or that shit will sting (more than it already does).
5. Orange is the new black!
Don’t freak out if your hair is orange or bright yellow. If you’re a brunette, chances are it will be. You don’t have to rock this hair. Buy some toner (purple based if your hair is yellow, blue based if it’s orange) or semi permanent hair color. Problem solved. Make sure it is slightly darker than the shade of your hair or it won’t do anything. And avoid the awkward “yes I’m bleaching my hair myself and it looks shit right now I know” visit to the pharmacy/supermarket by buying everything you need ahead of time.
6. Bright colored hair = bright colored home
Wanting purple hair? I’d advise you to get purple towels and a purple pillowcase. Dyeing your hair blue? You know what, you might as well paint your whole fucking shower blue because that’s the color it’ll be every time you wash your hair.
Oh and you will absolutely accidentally drop goops of dye on the floor, on the wall, and on the ceiling (if you’re really talented). Buy some Jif cream cleaner.
7. Wear gloves …
… or turn into a Smurf.
8. Once you go blue/green, you never go back
A professional hair stylist specialising in color could not get the faded green out of hair (and this is WITH bleach).
Not for commitment-phobes.
9. Cut your hair sober
This is just really dang hard to do on your own. I’m lucky that my hair is wavy so it hides imperfections (I think? I hope). But honestly, it will be a little uneven … it will be a little funky … hairdressers WILL roast you for it (not that that ever happened to me …) All I can say is make sure you’re sober, use sharp scissors, try point cutting, and use hairbands to guide where you want to cut.
10. Don’t have somewhere to be
Doing your own hair is harder than it looks and it’s extremely tedious. Give yourself time. I know, many of us have nothing but time, but still make sure to plan accordingly.
Finally, the question you’ve all been asking yourselves …
11. “I wonder what I’d look like with bangs-”
Maybe I’ve just been scarred one too many times by my terrible DIY bangs and the terrible bangs my mum gave me growing up, but please, I’m telling you there’s nothing for you there but tears and regret.