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Some tips and tricks for using unnatural colours on your hair

Dying your hair is pretty much a Goth rite of passage, and I suspect that very few of us have not tried, or at least considered, going crow black now and then, AMIRIGHT.
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Jealous.
So-called unnatural colours such as deep black, blue, green, pink and what have you are in my opinion pretty awesome, but then I suppose I would say that, being as I haven’t seen my natural hair colour since I was 13. One thing that I certainly find about deciding to do something to your hair; whether it’s colouring it or simply needing a cut, is that when you decide to do it, it is a very “now” thing, and you’re unlikely to want to wait to get started. I learnt this the hard way when I was about 15, and picked up a pot of “Alpine” Directions from the local hippy shop, and proceeded to turn my hands, face and my parent’s nice magnolia bathroom (I am using the word “nice” ironically here, obviously) into what looked like some kind of Smurf crime scene.
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This is what I was aiming for. It is not what I got.
So, whether you’re an unnatural colours master or are simply thinking of trying your luck, here is my advice for dying without the drama, all of which I learnt the hard way, believe me.
Gloves are not an optional extra
When it comes to buying unnatural colours, you can either buy a basic plain pot of dye such as the above-mentioned Directions, or Manic Panic, (Kill Natalie reviews Manic Panic in her YouTube video):

Or you can buy a full kit much like normal boring hair dyes, such as produced by Splat.
If you go the latter route, the kit will include everything you need, including gloves; but otherwise, make sure you buy a pair to use. Don’t be tempted to assume that bright or deep highly pigmented colours will just wash right off your hands; sure they will, but it’ll take like, a week, and this shit really will get right under your nails. Short’n’Crazy tells us more.
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This isn’t me, but it easily could have been.
Work out what you’re going to do about your exposed skin
When you’re dying your hair, you’re gonna end up with dye around your hairline, the back of your neck, on the tops of your ears, and maybe in odd spots on your face or upper arms too. Or maybe that’s just me, cos I am messy as fuck. Anyway, you can either avoid this (well kind of, it’s not always totally effective) by dabbing Vaseline around your hair line and on the back of your neck and your ears, or go really carefully and try to limit splatter.
While the Vaseline method may seem like the most sensible option, it can also mean that you miss bits of your hair around the join, and also, you may get Vaseline in and on your hair while the dye takes, which can cause it to look a bit patchy. For this reason I tend to not use the Vaseline, and just ensure I dye my hair a few days before I have to be seen in polite company, so that the associated smudging will wash off on its own.
Which brings me on to…
Have some bleach to hand
Keep some bleach handy, and some cotton wool and cotton buds too. I am talking household bleach here, not fancy hair dying bleach. You can use this to clean up splatters and smudges on hard surfaces such as the sink, shower and bath, and also (assuming that you do not have sensitive skin and/or are a bit metal) to wipe off large messy patches of dye that get onto your skin.
Choose your towels and pillowcases wisely
Even once you have thoroughly rinsed the dye off your hair and washed it a few times, your towels and pillowcases will tend to get dye rubbed off onto them, even when your hair is dry. This can carry on for up to a couple of weeks after you’ve done your dying, so pick your towels and pillowcases carefully to accommodate for this.
Although to be fair, some people pay good money for this.
Don’t turn the local swimming pool into installation art
Even if you are adamant that you have rinsed the eff out of your hair and there is no more dye left to come off, for about two weeks after dying, it will still come out in water. This is fine when you are in the shower, but if you like to swim, bear in mind that it will also come off in the pool, and that chlorine may do weird and not necessarily good things to your hair colour. Wear a swimming cap, y’all.
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Don’t believe the “lasts for” statements on the packaging
One important consideration when picking what dye to use, is how long you want the colour to remain on your hair for. This can vary from range to range from alleged “wash in-wash out” colours, to permanent dyes that will grow out rather than wash out.
However, don’t set too much store by the statements on the packaging, because whatever you’re trying to achieve in terms of longevity, you’re probably going to end up with the opposite. I have no idea why this is. Some temporary or short term colours will stay on your hair for weeks and weeks, while apparently permanent ones will seem to fade and wash out really fast, and there is no rhyme nor reason for why this happens. It is obviously partly to do with the condition of your hair, but beyond that, I cannot offer any words of wisdom.
If you are flat forbidden from sporting odd colours by your workplace or really need to look vanilla sometime in the near future, steering clear of the dyes is the only real sure-fire solution. Sorry.

Lady Gothique
Lady Gothique
The gal who runs www.gothicangelclothing.co.uk.

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