HI! I’m Chaunna, creator of SugarSkullLife.com.
If you’re new to the world of bright colorful hair, this page is for you!
I started dying my hair a decade ago… along the way I’ve learned some tips and tricks to getting your desired hair color. I’ve pulled together tips and techniques I’ve learned along the way into this “Ultimate Beginners Guide.”
This page contains the information you need to home-dye your hair bright colors confidently!
Step 1: Planning & Supplies
First, get out a sheet of paper to make a shopping list. In this section, I’m going to talk through the supplies you’ll need on hand to dye your hair.
- Find a hair style you want. When I need inspiration for my next color – I head to Pinterest. Click here to view my “hair” collection on Pinterest where you can get ideas
- Now that you know the design/color you want, start a shopping list. On it, write the colors you’ll need. If you have hair longer than shoulders plan to buy double so you don’t run out mid-dye.I use the Ion Brilliance Brights, but have test others. I like the quality, coverage, and price of the Ion colors.
- Find a helper… this isn’t necessary as there are plenty of videos on Youtube with girls bleaching their own hair. HOWEVER, my arms would die having to bleach all of my hair… so I recruited my sister and showed her a few youtube videos on what we were doing.
- Bleach is necessary if you’re naturally brown/black haired (like me). There are loads of bleach haters out there. You’ll have to decide your stance on it. I personally choose to use bleach, but then supplement with extra care after bleach to condition and support my hair to keep it from breaking.If you’re bleaching here are the supplies I recommend:
=>Bleach – I normally use QuickBlue, but an alternative I see often is PrismLites
=>Developer – Depending on how fast you want to go blond you’ll choose a higher volume developer. I often see people recommend the “20 Developer” because it’s safer. However, I regularly use this 30 Developer
NOTE: I bought a small 4oz bottle for easy measuring, but also bought a larger 16oz bottle to use as a refill for future upkeeps.
=>I’ll forewarn you, when you go from dark brown/black hair, and bleach it, it will have a “brass” color. You can remove that brass color to achieve a truer blonde by using “”toner.” Wella T18 is what all the youtube videos recommend and works well. Here is a great video for using Wella. Note: you may have to bleach your hair more than once to get it to a light shade. I bleached my hair twice and spread it across two weekends so that I could deep condition in between bleaching.
- Tools including; Latex gloves, Tint brushes (one for each color), hair clips/ties for separating your hair into sections, mixing bowls.
- Skin protector – I use put vaseline on my skin, but sometimes I still manage to get dye on my skin. When that happens I use Roux Stain Remover
- Counter protector – also known as plastic wrap (yes from your kitchen). I cover my counter to protect it from dye drips. I also use this plastic wrap to keep my hair separated between colors (If you’re dying your hair more than 1 color).
- Last but not least, “dye clothes.” I have an old t-shirt with a wide neck cut out so that it’s easy to take on and off. You could use an apron. This is your preference… also depends on how/where you plan to wash out the dye. If you’re hopping in the shower every time, find something that will be easy to get on and off without getting dye all over it – or something you won’t care about getting dye on.
Before moving on, I just want to recommend buying double the bleach and dye on your first try for a couple reasons. First, if you’ve never dyed your hair before it’s hard to know how much dye you’ll need for the length of your hair.
Second, it’s easy to run out of supplies mid-dye. It would really suck to have to only bleach half your head and then run out and buy more supplies (not that this has ever happened to me before)
Third, when your hair starts to fade, having backup on hand will make it easy to touch up in between dye sessions. I normally touch up or re-dye my hair every 4-6 weeks. My first trip cost me around $30, but after a couple additional trips to the store I’d estimate it was about $75 (with some left over for touch ups and corrections).
Now that I’ve been dying my hair consistently for a few years, I’ve learned what I need to buy, what to keep on hand, etc, so my normal “hair dye” budget is around $40/month.
Step 2: Lightening Your Dark Hair
Three quick things you should know:
- Yes, bleaching damages your hair. If you’re looking for a “safe way” speak to a specialist. Here is a good video that covers a “non-bleach” method. This takes longer, but you’ll have less damage than you would bleaching.
- If you bleach your hair you can still have healthy hair, it just takes a little additional work with deep conditioners.
- Bleaching your hair is for the impatient. If you want your hair blonde this weekend, then go with bleach and just budget for additional quality conditioners/hair masks/ etc.
Here is a playlist of videos I created of how others bleached their hair. These videos cover basic tips, supplies, and techniques. I already covered most in the list above, but these will walk you through how to use them and when.
Here is a quick video specifically on how to apply the bleach to your hair. It’s perfect for a beginner:
Step 3: Protection – Skin & Counter
Bright hair colors… means bright hair dye on counters, clothes, and skin. Here are some tips/habits I’ve created to protect my hair dying area:
- Cover the counters, I started out with newspaper, but dye can still leak through that. I switched to plastic wrap (yes the stuff from your kitchen). I’ve also used that “press-n-seal” stuff. It gets a little pricey just to cover counters, so I went back to the plastic wrap.
- Protect your skin – when you’re at Sally’s they sell creams to cover your ears, neck, and forehead from dye. However, vaseline does the same job and is normally already in your home. I would however pick up some stain remover just in case the dye gets through your gloves, on your forearms or randomly drips on your face, chest, or shoulders. You never know and it’s better to have it on hand than have dye on your face. (Side note: I’ve used oxyclean face wipes to remove dye from skin and counters… doesn’t get it all, but it does lighten it if you’re in a bind).
- I have a “go to” hair dying shirt. It’s a ninja turtle shirt with the neck cut out… you can pick up an apron, or wrap a towel around your shoulders.
- OH before I forget… if you have light colored towels, you should either be OK with having rainbow colored towels OR you should pick up a dark colored towel for your hair. I ended up getting a Microfiber Super Absorbent Hair Towel that I used to keep my hair from dripping on to my bathroom carpets, towels, etc.
Step 4: Adding Color
If you’ve made it this far, you’re committed to having a bright colorful head of hair. This is the easy/fun part in my opinion. It’s where all your hard work turns into AWESOME.
You’re going to need a bowl for each color you’re putting in your hair. You don’t want to have to wash out and reuse the same bowl because the dye you put in will start to dry and overdevelop. I use a set of mixing bowls with one for each dye. Now add in the amount of dye… if you’re unsure, I’d start with half a tube of color and add more as needed.
Separate your hair into the sections that will have different colors. If you’re doing an Ombre color mix, I’d recommend watching the tips this stylist shares for adding in the color:
Next, you’re going to want to think about upkeep. This is a technique I didn’t learn until recently. You can brighten your color with every shower by mixing your colors in with a good conditioner. Obviously, if you have multiple colors it will be more difficult to separate out each section before conditioning, but if you have an ombre or split hair design it’s possible. Here is a video on what to do for that.
Step 5: After Care
If you bleached your hair, you removed all the natural oils that protect your hair. There are LOADS of deep conditions and everyone has their opinion on repairing. I use these:
1. Coconut Oil – I put this on my hair after towel drying.
2. Leave in Conditioner – I add this to my hair a few days per week.
3. Don’t wash your hair daily – you can go 3-4 days in between washes. The shampoo removes the oils that your hair needs. I would recommend picking up a “dry shampoo” for in between washes.
4. Hair masks – I haven’t used any of these, but it’s on my list to try with my next bleaching. I’ve read that leaving it in while you sleep boosts the repair process. I’ll test and update you in a later post.
Here’s a great video for repairing dry damaged hair:
Legal Notice – Please note that I am not a hair stylist, cosmetologist or the like. I’m simply sharing what has worked for me. Please consult a specialist for your hair.