Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DIY Hair Dye: From Black to Auburn

This spring, I decided to do something I have always wanted to try: dyeing my hair! I learned a lot through my beginner's experiment, and I'll give tips on how not to make the same mistakes I did. This will save you the trouble of hair dye blunders and let you keep that $40 for something nice, not the salon. However, if you want a perfect dye and are willing to spend the money, professionals are the way to go! They know what they're doing much more than I do.

Natural hair colour: dark brown/black with dark brown highlights (typical Asian hair)
Hair thickness: relatively fine
Eyebrows: soft black (quite light)

I used Revlon Colorsilk in Light Auburn (#53), an ammonia-free (no bleach) dye that claims to leave your hair silkier and smoother than before you coloured. After I put in the post-treatment conditioner, my hair was really a lot softer for weeks! The best thing is, this dye is around $3, very affordable drugstore brand.



I put on a white shirt that could take the damage, brushed my hair and separated it (poorly) into 4 parts, and piled on the dye, making sure each strand was wet. However, I ended up pouring most of it on my roots to make sure I didn't miss them, and the result was ... well, read on.

I thought this would only show up a little bit in my hair, and the dye itself was purplish, so as time elapsed, it looked very dark with bright red undertones. I was pretty excited. I waited for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, much longer than the box suggested (killing cells, I know) since dark hair takes a lot longer to absorb dye. When I hopped out of the shower and dried my hair, I was so shocked! I had a crown of orangish red hair D: !!! So my hair looked intentionally two-toned in the wrong lighting, my bottom strands nearly the original colour.


Some people loved it, others said I looked like I was wearing a wig. After a while, the colour evened out. I really love how versatile the colour is. I didn't have to trim my bangs as often, and my eyebrows looked more defined simply because my hair was lighter. It's a very typical Asian colour, so if you have dark hair, you should try it once!

In sunlight, it looks like this:

And in bathroom/yellow lighting:

I also experimented on my boyfriend's very black hair and after 45 minutes, his dyed strands were a dark brown (similar to my original hair colour). This would be great for a very subtle hair colour change or highlights!

After about 2-3 months, I tired of my dark roots of evil so I decided to go back to black (or dark brown). I originally planned on re-dying the bottom portion of my hair to match the top, but it was too much of a hassle and I didn't want to drown my scalp in chemical. So after a haircut, I took a few strands of the darker bottom half of my hair to Walmart and matched up the colour with boxes of Revlon Colorsilk. I chose Dark Brown (#30):

My hair was shorter this time, so it was easier to dye and get all the layers. Tip: always start from the bottom strands near the back of your neck and go up from there. Separate your hair into smaller bunches for more even coverage if you have longer hair and emphasize your tips! The colour was also darker, so 30 minutes would have been plenty but I left it in for over an hour and got a pretty black result. However, after a while without the colour-treated conditioner, it faded properly to a dark brown with slight reddish undertones in sunlight. Perfect : )

If you don't want to create the fading effect and maintain the freshly-dyed colour, make sure you get a conditioner for color-treated hair. I used Herbal Essences Conditioner in Color Me Happy (it contained acai berries), but I think it would have worked even better with a color-treated shampoo.

I love love love Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners! They smell absolutely irresistible and look cheerful in their bright packaging. A cheap conditioner did the trick in locking in my dye and preventing fading. I think my hair was dyed to the core though, so no chance there. Revlon Colorsilk is pretty gentle in my opinion - the dye that dripped onto my white shirt even washed off completely in the laundry with no other treatment.

Have fun experimenting with your luscious locks!

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