Biologically, my hair is naturally red, but it is not bright, nor is it anything close to what I’ve got on my head these days. My natural hair color does help when roots start to grow in, and it does blend better with the red dye.
How do I get my hair so vibrant?
I start off with a base color. I recently was introduced to a fabulous new product from Revlon called Revlon Luminista Light Red #160. This color is gorgeous on its own and I did wear the shade without adding any other color to it for a few weeks. It is a red shade made for dark hair, so it does work rather well as far as lifting your current hair color and depositing this copper shade. It looked exactly as it did on the woman on the box. (When does THAT ever happen?) And, the dye is less than $5 per box. Buy it online at Drugstore.com, because it is near impossible to find it in the store.
As this color started to fade gradually, I bleached a strip of hair underneath my bangs, as you can see in the photo that there are highlights. I didn’t have to get the bleached section totally white, but just a few shades lighter than it already was.
After I washed the bleach out of the bangs, I washed my hair with the Coloure Clarifying Shampoo (only available in Planet Beauty stores) to strip any oils, bleach residue or product residue out of my hair.
Of course, the highlights are optional, but they really bring depth to the hair color, especially when you are going “brighter”.
The secret to the color is the demi and semi-permanent dyes that I use to “stain” the hair. They contain no chemicals and do not lift the hair. They are deposit-only colors. Think of it as dying Easter eggs. I also use these dyes mixed with my regular conditioner every time I wash my hair to refresh the color. Yes.. this is my secret. How do you do this?
Products: Raw Sunset Orange from Hot Topic. This is a demi-permanent hair dye that claims to last 3 to 6 weeks. Currently, this product is sold out, and I am not sure if that means that it is also discontinued. There are similar colors from other brands that I could try if this is the case.
Punky Colour Bright Yellow Semi-Permanent Hair Dye. This dye adds the “sunny” highlights to the hair. It really boosts the glow factor!
I mixed half of the bottle of the Sunset Orange and probably 1/3 of the Bright Yellow in a plastic bowl. With a tinting brush, I started painting on the dye, starting at the roots, on towel-dried hair. You need to wear rubber gloves so the dye does not stain your skin.
I work the dye through my hair by “squishing” it through the strands. Make sure your hair is totally saturated and put on a plastic shower cap. You can choose to use heat if you want to sit under a dryer or use a hair dryer on a low heat setting. I use a portable heat-bonnet (found on ebay) for about 10-15 minutes, but if I am unable to do that, I’ll wait about and hour to 2 hours without heat.
Rinse the product out of your hair with cool water until the water is almost clear. Your hair will feel very soft and conditioned, so you can choose whether or not to add more conditioner. The cool water helps seal in the color and add shine.
After Care: To keep your hair shiny and vibrant long-term, there are a few things you have to do in order to maintain the color. Most importantly, a sulfate-free shampoo will help so that the dye does not fade so quickly. I use Pureology Nanoworks Shampoo and Conditioner, which is a bit pricy, but you can find good deals at Planet Beauty in-store. They sometimes have a deal where you can get the conditioner half-off with the purchase of the shampoo, but don’t quote me on that! It is best to call ahead to see when their next Pureology special will be. You may try other sulfate-free shampoos at your own risk!
Every two weeks or so, I do a clarifying shampoo with the Coloure brand Clarifying shampoo, which WILL strip your color, but it does reduce the product build-up. I will sometimes mix this shampoo with my regular Pureology shampoo and cut down the stripping.
Refresh the color in the shower: I bought a bunch of bottles with tips (look like hair dye bottles) from a store called Harbor Freight Tools. These great bottles are used to mix my semi/demi-permanent hair dyes for use in the shower when refreshing color. I mix about two tablespoons of the Sunset Orange and one tablespoon of the Bright Yellow (just eyeball it, doesn’t have to be perfect) and about three pumps of the Pureology Conditioner. I mix this up in the bottle, add a little water if it is too thick, and I apply this on my hair after shampooing. I put my hair up in a shower cap and wait about 5 minutes.. while I shave my legs, etc.
This is the secret to maintaining the bright hair color.. it will still fade a little, but not as much as it would if you weren’t doing the refresher color in the shower. Making your own color-enhancing conditioner will help you save time and money. I do not recommend washing your hair daily since your hair color will strip faster. I only wash my hair every three days and sometimes I will skip doing a color-refresher if I don’t have any time.
TIPS: Stock up!! I bought 4 boxes of the Revlon Luminista since the color is popular and hard to find. I bought two bottles each of the semi/demi permanent hair color also. It will help save on shipping costs and you won’t have to worry about purchasing products so often. Use a shine serum on damp hair, like the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Hair Serum. It really glosses up that ravishing red shade and protects it from heat, sun and styling damage.
Good luck, and please post in the comments area below for any questions or concerns you may have!