Bleaching for bright (or dark) colors:
I figured I can elaborate from my last post, from going on rant mode to actual explaining mode. Frankly, knowing some background info stylists use in the salons will help you gauge the brightness of funky colors based off your own starting color, and what you need to be at to get a particular shade of color as well. Furthermore, what all this is about is to not only help you from damaging your hair, but save a lot of frustration from a bad dye job.
Basically, I will start off with each color that I know of from personal experience, or have seen just based off others’ results and explain where you need to be at to get the right result. Before I do, however, let me educate you on the type of levels that determine the light or darkness of your hair:
Stylists go by this level chart in the dyes they use. For example, if you wanted a dark aburn, you can reference this conversion chart to determine how light or dark you want that aburn to be. Ususlly numbers listed next to a hair color on a dye box is stating what it is on this chart.
How does this apply to the funky colors? It is very helpful in knowing what level you need to be for certain colors. It seems to me a great unknown amongst the funky color “newbies” if they need to bleach or not for certain colors, and how light it may need to be as well.
Thus, I will go over each popular basic color in the funky color line. And as expected, first and foremost the color I will start with will be… purple!
My hair has been every shade of purple. From this:
And to even as far as this:
And everything else in between. It’s now comfortably at my desired shade, which is this:
If I were to take out the purple and peek at the blonde level I am at right now, I’d say I am at a level 7 or 8 under all that color.
In my experience purple is a very flexible color in the funky dye line. You can pretty much achieve some kind of shade of purple even if your hair isn’t completely bleached to a higher level. The first photo my hair wasn’t bleached at all. It seems, however, the more violet-toned purples are more pigmented and therefore leave color in even dark shades of hair as opposed to the pinker-toned purples, which fade much faster.
But to get a bright shade of purple like the two last pictures, or like this:
Your hair does need to be a high-leveled blonde, at least a 7 or 8.
Same goes with red. Red and purple react similarly when they are a funky colored dye.
But if you want, say, a fire-engine red… a blonde base is necessary if your starting color is not. But if you want that deep, dark red like this:
You can get that even if your starting color is like a medium/dark brown or level 3 or 4. If that is too dark and you are looking for something more like this:
Bleaching is most likely required. The picture above I assume is probably a level 7 or 8. The good news for both red and purple as I’ve stated before… you don’t need any specific shade of blonde to acquire a nice, bright result UNLESS you are looking for a neon affect (in that case, a pale, or platinum shade of blonde is required, which is about an 8 or higher). Anything starting from a level 5 is fine for a nice purple or red that is noticeably so.
So, now for….Pink!
Well, pink is basically self-explanatory. You absolutely need a high-leveled blonde and preferably, (unless you’re looking for a magenta or fuchsia result) a pale to platinum blonde (9 or 10 even, and no less than an 8) if you want that “cotton candy” or “hot” pink shade. However, once you’ve lifted your color this high, your possibilities are much more open to experimenting with other colors and you can go through the color wheel without having to rebleach your hair, because you started out so light!
Yellow and orange are basically the same, but somehow I have found that yellows and even oranges are sometimes the easiest to absorb in bleached hair and stays true for quite a while (that may be because when you bleach your hair, it’s usually a yellow or orange tinge to start with). However, you cannot have anything else but blonde hair to have yellow. (Duh). I’d say at least an 8, maybe a 7 depending if you’re already yellow… and as for orange, it’s a bit easier than yellow and you don’t have to be quite as light; maybe as low as a 6 or 7.
Similarly to yellow and pink, a light to pale blonde (at least a 7, if that) is desired. It’s usually acceptable if your starting blonde has yellow tones to it because that will only make your green, well, “greener”. If you are looking for a bit more of a teal you can try toning it out, or (better choice in my opinion) mix a bit of blue with the green dye. I did this method for the peacock colors (which is a mixture of teals, greens, aquas, and blues) I added to my hair as you can see here:
Nevertheless, unlike pink and yellow, with green you can also have a dark(ish) base to start off with (maybe as low as a 5). As shown in the picture bellow, this girl (her flikr is IAmAMongrel) did not lift her hair to a very high level, as said from her Flikr, “I started with a fairly dark base (a light to medium brown) and used Special Effects Sonic Green with a smidgen of Iguana Green”:
In conclusion, green comes, in terms of versatility, after purple and red. Nevertheless, it’s still a bit to work with, and you want to take precaution because… it’s green, and I mean; it’s between looking like the Joker, or a mystical, forest green-haired fairy… so do some research on your dye and lift color accordingly. (Also forewarning, try not to mix green with any other color besides blue or yellow…).
BLLLUUUUUEEE. *starts singing Eiffle 65*.
As fun as that song is, dying to get blue is NOT very easy (or fun sometimes). I think blue is up there in terms of being one of the most difficult to get just right. Blue is just finicky because of all the factors that may altar it’s final result: how blonde the base is, and if there are any yellow (or red) in the blonde which will make that blue more of a teal or even a green (or in the case of the red, a purple). Usually if you DO bleach and still have yellow, before bleaching again try to tone it. In my opinion, since blue is a cool shade, to get that nice true blue, you need to at least be a 8 with the least bit of copper/yellow tones. In other words, be as “ashy” as you can (ashy being a general term for cool-toned hair). When I bleached out to get some blue/aqua strips on the bottom part of my hair, I was about a 7 or 8 and this is what it looked like:
It’s true you don’t NEED to be a platinum to be a blue. As long as your hair is mostly void of unwanted tones you can get a nice blue sheen:
So it’s up to you. You want the nice, bright, neon affect? You can’t get there starting with a very un-neon base. That’s that. Want simplicity and subtlety? It’s just as that… minimal bleaching, if any depending on what you have already.
As far as all the “in between” colors, like aquas, teals, turquoises, plums, fuchsias, lime greens, ect… you need to remember the color palet/wheel.
This also applies to when you have a color, say, purple, and you want to go to green. Instead of frying your hair by bleaching each time you change your hair color, go by the color wheel and, how you say, “migrate” chromatically to your desired pigment; it’s a longer process, and it also involves letting fading between changing of the colors, but it’s much easier on your hair and thus saves you from damage. I know a lot of people who use these funky or vegetable-based dyes have a hard time choosing or staying with colors, and bleach has become their only alternative to go from one to the next. But trust me when I say there are oftentimes other methods of getting rid of color, or getting to another color without putting your hair through a huge amount of processing. One of these days I will post about these methods.
I hope this helps with some of you. I am very passionate when it comes to coloring hair, not only because I am inspired by beautifully colored hair, but because it truly can be an artistic expression. If you are using bright colors to express yourself, then do it proudly. As I’ve said in my last post:
"If your hair is your piece of art, then treat it as such. Think of it as a canvas… you can’t always scrape off the paint or get a new canvass every time you attempt to paint a picture.” - Violet Lauren