Esther: Now on to the fun part! Colors! While we were waiting for the bleach to...bleach? We hung out, chatted, read books and half wondered if I was going to rinse out the bleach and find my hair still brown, some shade of orange, or turned into snakes and spewing lightening. Anything is possible with something that smells that strong.
Bethany: After the recommended 50 minutes, we held our breath as Esther rinsed the bleach out of her hair revealing.... a perfectly healthy looking set of curls exactly like all those around them except in a nice light blonde.
(I have to admit that after years of hearing Esther bellyache about her hair, I expected a encounter a bramble patch, but her curls are not only perfect looking, but they feel just like perfect princess curls ought to as well! So maybe fiction isn't completely unrealistic after all!)
Color requires care like bleach, but for entirely different reasons. A little dye on your face or scalp won't damage your skin, but it might damage your pride.
Esther: Haha, blue dye on the face. Do the whole thing and I could look like the Na'vi. Unentertainingly, my face escaped unmarred by blue dye. Bethany is right though, my hair is super fine, and soft and not at all like you'd expect curly hair to be. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, it's so thin... there's not much of it. Good thing I have curly hair to disguise it otherwise I might look rather odd. So the tip to remember here is, if you have fine, thin hair, be careful how much you dye, you might find you accidentally color a bigger chunk than you intended.
Bethany: Well I'd sure wish it on someone, ahem, but where were we? Ah yes.
The first time I tried blue, I put the dye in a bowl and applied it with a brush and all that, but since then I've gotten lazy and also figured I get better results using gloved hands instead of the brush. I personally have difficulty wrangling a brush and getting those bendy bristles to cooperate with my ornery hair, so fingers it is.
Step one: Scoop out a glob of dye and work it into bleached hair, being sure to get reach every little bit unless you prefer tiny uneven streaks running through your larger colored streak. Repeat until everything is well covered.
Step two: This looks a lot like step two of bleaching, except you can leave it in as long as you like. I often bobby pin the dyed part up to the rest of my hair (again, unlike bleach, the worst thing that can happen here is that my brown hair gets a basically unnoticeable blue tinted spot) and leave until I feel like rinsing it out... occasionally overnight if it dries before bedtime. Esther pinned hers up for our excursion to the fabric store and rinsed it out in the evening.
Step three: Rinse until water runs clear. Good luck with that. I've never been able to get the water to run clear with my blue hair, even after weeks of shampooing. I just rinse until the water is not getting any lighter, and then dry with a black or otherwise dark towel. Oh yeah, I'll be using those towels to dry my hair and save my pillows whenever my hair is wet now. Sorry, blue is just the gift that keeps on giving.
Esther: My pillows and light towels have been spared thanks to Bethany's forewarning. I haven't had any problems with the color at all. In fact I sometimes forget I even have teal blue hair until I catch my reflection and go "woah, who's that anime character...oh cool, that's me." So awesome.
Bethany: And now for the review part. I'm sure each person's hair responds to different dyes in its own way and such, so take this with a grain of salt. The first dye I used was the one easiest located in my area, Beyond the Zone Color Jamz in Midnight Blue.
The result in my hair was somewhat less than vivid, and the color that at first stuck turned light and lifeless in just a few washings.
I affectionately dubbed it the skunk look. Contrasted with the nice deep dark shade that Manic Panic offers with its After Midnight Blue, I haven't looked back since making the switch.
While it still does wash out, like all blues, the fade doesn't happen nearly as quickly. With a small amount of hair colored, one container of dye can last a long, long time. I've had blue in my hair on and off for three years now, and I'm on my second container of Manic Panic after not finishing off the bottle of Beyond the Zone.
That being said, I have yet to try the other big name extreme color dye, Special Effects, as it is not as accessible in my area. I can attest to the brilliance (haha) of its neon yellow when I dyed my brother's hair for a costume (long story), but I will have to look into ordering some of the blue when my container finally runs out.
I used the fact that I was playing a flower fairy in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta Iolanthe at the time and would have had to spray paint my hair every night if I hadn't dyed it as my excuse to finally add an extra punch of color to my life. Despite elderly ladies who tell me that surely my husband must be lying when he says he likes my hair, I have never regretted taking that excuse, and only wish I'd tried it earlier when people could've blamed it on my youth. If you have dyed hair we'd love to hear your experience and inspiration, and if you're like I was waiting for a kick in the pants to try something new, consider yourself kicked!