Guess what I did, I colored my hair!
Doesn't it look great! This is the second time this year I've dyed my hair, and I wanted a much more vibrant color this time around. This red is popping and I think it's a really great ombre for fall.
But how does my hair feel? It feels great. And as you can see, my curls are shiny and bouncy as ever:
So how do I get bold color without damage? Let me share my process. Now, disclaimer: I am in NO WAY a professional. These are the steps that I took for great, damage-free color and I can't guarantee the same results for anyone else.
Step 1: Start with Healthy, Well-Moisturized Hair.
As you know, I just finished up my 30 Days of Natural Health and Beauty and as a result my hair is soft and very rested. I wore protective styles almost every day, moisturized every night, and conditioned once a week. When I took my hair down a few days ago, it was super strong and soft. If you are going to be dying your hair (especially if you will be lifting the color like I did), make sure that you are avoiding heat and adding extra moisture for at least a week or two ahead of time. I also don't really have any split ends (I'm always cutting on my hair), which really helps with the way the color takes at the ends (and it looks way better).
Step 2: Detangle Hair:
You don't want to end up overprocessing your hair because you are fighting tangles while you are trying to apply bleach or color. Working with hair that has been recently detangled helps you apply product quickly, which leads to a more even result.
Step 3: Lighten Gently:
I wanted this color to be vibrant, which meant I'd have to take my very dark brown hair up a few levels. I used powder hair lightener and developer at level 20. I didn't use the recommended level 30 for 2 reasons: 1) I didn't want to go blonde, just light enough for the color to show, 2) I wanted to make sure I had enough time to watch the color change to reduce the risk of overprocessing.
I applied the bleach to the ends of my hair first, and then brushed it closer to my roots after it was on all the ends. I probably only went about halfway up because I really wanted to keep my roots dark. I put on a plastic cap and left the bleach on about 8-10 minutes. I ended up with a light brown color.
Step 4: Wash and Condition:
I washed out all the bleach with a gentle shampoo. Conditioned with a light conditioner, and rinsed the conditioner out.
Step 5: Dry Hair Gently:
I soaked up as much water out of my hair as I could with a towel, and then I gently dried my hair, without product, with a diffuser.
Step 6: Apply Color:
I used a color rinse (Manic Panic) instead of a permanent dye. I did this for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted to use something that wouldn't damage my hair any further and that I could touch up with no risk and 2) I wanted to be able to swap out for a new color in a few months once this one fades. I applied it all over my head and then used my hands to really smooth it through my hair. I put on a plastic cap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Step 7: Rinse and Condition:
I rinsed the dye out until the water ran clear, then conditioned my hair. I towel dried lightly, then sealed with oil and added my styler.
Well, I hope this helps any of you out there who, like me, long for bright color but are super scared of damaging our curls.