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How to Have the Best and Brightest Colored Hair

It’s that time again! I’m making another post on how I have my best and brightest colored hair. This post is about what works for me and my hair type. My hair is fine, bordering on thin. It’s stick straight. I’ve got 2 minor cowlicks (one in  my fringe, one along my hairline in the back).

This is me with Manic Panic Voodoo Blue, Purple Haze, and a bit of Fuchsia Shock peeking through.

Step 0 – Prepare Your Hair
A day or two before you want to dye your hair, wash with a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup that’s in your hair from hair products. As I prefer to use Redken Powder Grip or Rock Your Hair Bombshell Powder, in addition to Kenra hair spray, this is a good step to take.

Step 1 – Lightening Your Hair
I use Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer (20, 30 or 40) mixed with Salon Care Prism Lites Blue or Violet Powder to lighten my hair. I’ve used this to lighten all over. I’ve also used this to just lighten the underside of my hair.

I’ve also had a good experience with Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit 40 Volume.

To lighten your hair, it’s important that you let the air get to it, do not blow dry it or add heat. You need to let it develop, keeping an eye on it to make sure you’re lightening to the color you want. I typically lighten for between 20 to 40 minutes, watching the color closely.

After I’m sure it’s done, I wash  it out, then wash and condition my hair. Right now I switch between Marc Anthony and Black 15 in 1 sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. It was just suggested that I use clarifying shampoo at this step, too, after washing out the bleach. I will be trying it!

Step 2 – Applying Color
Next, I apply Manic Panic Hair Dye. Right now I’m using Voodoo Blue and Purple Haze. Before I had Fuchsia Shock as well. I left some of the Fuchsia Shock peeking through my hair when I touched up the color. I’ve not really had good results with Beyond the Zone on my hair. I didn’t have good results with Special Effects, either. I’ve had good results with Punky Color. I prefer to stick with Manic Panic. You can see the kaleidoscope of colors that I’ve had here.

You can foil off sections of hair or apply a single color to your hair. However you choose to do it, make sure you put a plastic cap on your hair after the color is applied.

Step 3 – Baking Color
What I do next is to apply heat for 20 to 40 minutes with a blow dryer. You can sit under a blow dryer if you have a salon dryer available to you. You can buy a blow dryer bonnet that you can attach to your blow dryer, too. However you do it, apply the heat. Then wrap your head in a towel to keep that heat in. Do not attempt to ‘bake color’ with a permanent hair dye. These instructions are for semi-permanent hair dyes.

Keep your head wrapped in the towel for 1 to 4 hours, whatever you’re comfortable with. Lately I’ve been doing 2 hours with the towel.

After I’m done with the towel, I unwrap and apply heat again for about 15-20 minutes.

Step 4 - Rinse It Out
Rinse your hair. Rinse rinse rinse! Rinse until the water runs clear. This step sometimes takes me a half hour because some colors just bleed terribly. Fuchsia Shock is a bleeder. That color takes forever to rinse out. In contrast, Atomic Turquoise rinses out right away.

Step 5 – Balance
Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. Condition with a PH Balancer and leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes. I have used TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Reconstructor Conditioner for years and really love it.

Step 6 – Protect
After I dye my hair, I inevitably want to see how it turns out. I use Black 15 in 1 Miracle Hair Treatment spray and comb it through my hair. I then blow dry it.

Step 7 – Aftercare
I do try to go as long as possible from when I first dye it to when I first wash it. I typically wash my hair every 5 to 7 days.

I use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. In addition to having an allergy to sulfates in shampoos, I do feel that sulfates tend to be harsher and rip the color from your hair. So I avoid them. Marc Anthony, Black 15 in 1, Shielo, and Redken are all great sulfate-free, cruelty-free lines.

I do find using a heat protectant before blow drying and UV protectant to be important, which is why I’m really glad that I found the Black 15 in 1 Miracle spray, since it does it all.

If you have oily hair, which I do not, you can always use Batiste Dry Shampoo to help you extend the time between washes. I sometimes do this. For me, I get the best results when I spray Batiste in my hair. Wait a few minutes, sort of rub/massage my scalp, and then use a natural hair brush to brush it out.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

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    • jpreciose

      That pic of you is jaw-droppingly beautiful.When you say that you’re checking on the color (while bleaching) how do you to that?  Do you remove the developer from a section and rinse it or is it easier than that?  Thanks!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        NeenaJ Thank you Neena! So what I do is look at a strand of hair that’s covered in bleach and carefully move the bleach off of the hair to see if it’s lightening.

    • http://projectswatch.blogspot.com/ Emi at Project Swatch

      I love your hair so much!  I used to have purple streaks, then a head of purple hair, then multicolored hair, then purple hair again, I miss it but current job options are not compatible with it.As a datapoint, Special Effects always lasted better for me than Manic Panic (significantly). I would dye, wear it for several hours, rinse out, go to sleep, then wash the next day.  Then wash as infrequently as possible, of course.I know you totally know what works for you – I’m just adding my experience in case it’s helpful to other people who read this post :) I have fine, thin, curly hair, which turns into wavy hair when I bleach it several times.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Emi at Project Swatch Yeah I know a lot of people love Special Effects, and I’m not really sure why it hasn’t ever worked for me. I think just certain brands end up working better for certain hair types.

    • zenezen

      Don’t think I’d even have the guts to pull off this hair but I love it! The mix of colors are so pretty and eye-catching :)

    • zenezen

      Don’t think I’d ever have the guts to pull off this hair but I love it! The mix of colors are so pretty and eye-catching :)

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        zenezen Thanks! I always get stopped in public with people complimenting me on my hair :)

    • http://msbrittanythomas.com/ ClumpsOfMascara

      Your hair is definitely made for coloring! I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who can rock it as beautifully as you!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        ClumpsOfMascara Thanks B! You give me warm fuzzies *hug*

    • BeautyCollegeBudget

      Would you suggest using the developer and the bleach mixture for lightening roots? I have bleach blonde hair at the moment. I usually do my own hair and others, I’m not sure why but I’m just nervous to bleach my own roots. How do you go about lightening your own hair? how do you do the back of your head. When I used to dye my hair one darker color, it didn’t really matter on watching the back of your head, you just applied and let it sit. 

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        BeautyCollegeBudget Yes, I use the developer/lightening powder to lighten my natural hair color.Ray usually helps me lighten my hair, because it’s not easy to see the back of your own head.

    • perilouslypale

      I envy your pretty hair! You have so much patience going through all that! How often do you have to do it?

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        perilouslypale I usually do it whenever I get bored. It probably only needs to be touched up every 4 to 6 weeks.

    • SapphireKharyzma

      Taking notes!!! :)

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        SapphireKharyzma Yay :)

    • KristaCroft

      stumbled across this on pinterest. I too do this same technique for keeping my bright colors bright and I can attest that following these instructions WORK.  I do not have fine hair, I have thick resistant hair.  Pravana’s color extractor does wonders for texturizing (in this case, smoothing and helping open up my resistant cuticle) before bleaching.  And I agree, sulfate free shampoo is a must!  Loreal’s everpure is a cost effective option for those who can’t afford salon brands. Great instructions!!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        KristaCroft Thank you for sharing your experiences! Marc Anthony’s line costs about the same as the L’Oreal Everpure, and it’s cruelty-free :)So Pravana’s Color Extractor is something you use after the clarifying shampoo but before bleach?

        • KristaCroft

          Phyrra KristaCroft The kit actually comes with a clarifying shampoo and is part of the process. I get stopped and asked a lot by people who say their color washes out within a week and my response is always -clarify, bleach (I never use anything over 20vol), clarify, dry, apply in foils or cap, heat, towel or loose winter hat, rinse, pH balance and don’t wash for as long as possible the first time lol. The added bonus of the color extractor is that it’s actually taken out everything but pink for me. (however, I use splat because I’ve had good luck with it in the past…though I’ve been considering a switch to manic panic) Red, blue, turquoise, purple, greens, orange all out without bleaching, but the pink is there for good lol.I haven’t seen Marc Anthony anything before, so I had no idea – that’s fantastic that there are other inexpensive, good options out there :) Thanks!

          • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            KristaCroft I’ll be sure to try clarifying after bleaching next time.You have to hit enter, not shift enter, to make the enter stick in here, for some reason.You can find Marc Anthony at Ulta :) It’s relatively new.

          • KristaCroft

            Phyrra I always do just because I don’t usually bring the bleach down to my ends and it’ll leave my cuticle more open to receive color. Thanks so much for all the responses! Love the blog, very happy I found it!!

          • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            KristaCroft I really appreciate the tip :)

        • KristaCroft

          Phyrra KristaCroft I really wish I could edit my posts after so I could put in real carriage returns lol. I promise I didn’t intend to sound like a run-on thought lol!And just a random note, I’m feeling re-inspired with my hair thanks to finding your link! I’ve been kind of bored with it and lazy with placement (I used to do multiple foils and lately have just done different quadrants) but it’s almost time to retouch and I just might try some other blues out!  Which brings me to a question – I’ve always applied turquoise over blonde, however, I’ve got an all over pink that like I mentioned before, isn’t coming out, have you had success applying over a fuchsia? Is it opaque/dark enough to not turn into a muddy bluish purple? 

          • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            KristaCroft the top of my hair was mostly Fuchsia Shock, and I put Purple Haze on top of it to darken most of it, except for one tiny strip of pink. So i don’t feel that it has turned muddy on me, but I knew I’d be happy with purple, blue, indigo or blurple.

          • KristaCroft

            Phyrra awesome! I never strand test mostly because I’d have no hair as often as I color mine lol so I try to go into it as prepared as possible.  I know with the hot pink it’s already got some blue and is on the cool side of the spectrum, so I just was hoping the slight red and slight green or conversely the mixed purple and slight yellow didn’t neutralize too much.  

    • kiimuu

      Awesome post! The only other thing that I’ve learned that really helps freshly applied color stay is using a heating cap while the dye is in (its easier than having to use the hair dryer to bake in the color, and I think it gives more through results… just yeah, sort of a pain to buy one just for that purpose) and then wrapping an icy cold towel around your hair immediately after removing the heat cap for a few minutes to quickly cool it down (the hair is still in a plastic hair cap, of course). So I guess that helps to really seal closed the hair follicle before the rinsing step. :D

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        kiimuu Is the Heating cap like a blow dryer bonnet? i’ll have to try the icy cold towel!

        • kiimuu

          Phyrra kiimuu Hmm, nah it’s not. It’s a heating cap that you just easily plug in and place over your hair and it warms it right up without any discomfort really. I’ve been on the hunt for a good one, i’ve read they’re a  great tool for deep conditioning too!

    • UneLuneBleue

      I love all your beautiful hairs! We have exactly the opposite hair texture, mine is coarse and wavy. And long. And oily. How I’d love to have your hair for a bit. The grass is always greener…. Oooh, green!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        UneLuneBleue Heheh!

    • BeautyBlogger

      You’re hair here rocks! I think it’s my favorite on you. I am in awe of your abilities!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        BeautyBlogger Thank you!

    • mollance

      Always love your hair.  Although it didn’t really work for me before, I think i must give Manic Panic another go.

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    • misfitgirlie

      Thanks for putting up another detailed hair post. I think your hair is a signature and a lot of people are interested in it! I’m sure this has inspired people!

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    • HelenKatz

      goshhh you hair and makeup just go perfectly together.

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    • JasmineSantaMaria

      I have short, color processed hair and can’t go a day without washing it because it is sticking up all over the place when I get up in the morning. For you, I would recommend the Shielo Volume Shampoo. Its EXCELLENT at protecting the colored hair, and it has worked great to keep the volume in my hair without adding any build up.

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