Dyeing my hair bright red

My hair color is actually dark brown. Never dyed it in my life. (Photo by Mike Le)

If you’ve read my earlier post on costumes, you’d know I’ve been thinking a lot about Halloween and how I’ve wanted to emulate Clementine’s unique look from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Particularly her hair color.

Green and blue are a little extreme for me since I’ve never dyed my hair before, so I’ll be sticking to red.

I read many Yelp reviews and got hair salon recommendations from friends and family. I was told to stick to box dye but I didn’t find what I wanted at Safeway or Walgreens. The red colors ranged from dark auburn to strawberry blond and they were all about looking natural; not the kind of fiery, unapologetically bright red I liked.

It didn’t seem to go anywhere until I checked Youtube and found this DIY video tutorial:

It seemed so freakin’ easy. Then again the Youtuber loopylady11BTS (Big thanks for making the tutorial!) is an expert at this so it’ll be difficult for a first-timer like myself. But I’ll still try anyway.

She also made a new video on how to dye hair without pre-bleaching. Unfortunately, you’d need a license to acquire the right supplies. Since I don’t know anyone with one who could order them for me, I’ll also be bleaching my hair for the first time.

I'll be storing all the hair-dyeing supplies in a plastic drawer. Looking at them is making me a little nervous.


L’Oreal Quick Blue Powder Bleach 1 Lb

    Has two bags of powder and a tiny plastic measurement scooper

Oreor Creme Developer 40 volume

    To be mixed in with the Quick Blue for bleaching

Special Effects hair dye in Devilish Red

    Only 4 fl. oz. so if you have long hair, consider getting 2 bottles

Soft N Style Hair Colorist Tool Kit

    Includes a plastic mixing bowl (don’t use metal), 2 dye brushes, a coloring tool, a jumbo rake comb and 2 hair clips in a reusable tote

Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask, 8.5 ounces Jar

    I kept hearing that hair dye will dry out my hair like crazy so I got a special conditioner

Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)

    Rub it over your hairline, neck and ears (Anywhere your hair can touch) to prevent the dye from staining your skin.

Shower cap
Plastic gloves
Newspapers/Paper grocery bags

You'll see I'm no Mathlete by my hesitant pen marks.

I’m not sure if anyone else would find this interesting: I was freaking out earlier when I realized I didn’t have a plastic measuring cup so I used an online conversion website to convert ounces into teaspoons. It wasn’t until I took out the bags from the Quick Blue tub did I find a scooper. I can’t remember the last time I did equations out of my own free will haha.

Just in case I need it, I’m keeping the conversion paper in my supplies box.

Okay, now onto the good stuff:

Mixing 1.5 ounces of Quick Blue with 2 ounces of Developer in the plastic bowl. It's a light blue paste. Also smells funky so be near an open window and AC.

Applied it to my hair. A little frightening, yes, I know. You can see that I totally underestimated the amount of hair I have so I missed some in the back. So I made a second batch and touched up the rest the best I could. Then clipped them to dry for 50 minutes.

Jumped into the shower, shampoo'd (no conditioner) and blow-dried it. You should have seen my parents' faces when I walked out during dinnertime.

I was trying to be as careful as possible so I cut up four Trader Joe's paper bags and covered the sink area. Unfortunately, it would later appear that I needed more coverage. Seriously...paper the entire bathroom.

I used about half the Special Effects bottle and was pretty glad to have bleached hair. All I had to do was find the yellow strands and brush dye over them. Again, having trouble with the back. After I was done, I covered my head with a shower cap and waited 15 minutes.

I shampoo'd, conditioned and dried it. This was the result: bright red hair. I can't stop looking in the mirror.

This was written after I dyed my hair and cleaned the bathroom. I effed up big time by using the shower instead of the sink in the garage so the tiled floor is dyed pink…permanently. I mean, I could stain the towel and old clothes but absolutely not the tiles. I thought I was careful but mistakes still happened — especially this huge one. Imagine how my mom felt when I told her this.

The best we can do is fade the pink into a lighter shade. I scrubbed it with white vinegar and hope to use bleach and baking soda tomorrow. I know my mom’s still upset. Not sure how to make it up to her.

So, just a reminder to keep cleaning products on hand if you’re going to do self-dye. And be prepared to lose the original color of your shower even when you think you’re being cautious.

UPDATE: Clorox bleach freaking saved my life. The floor is now white and bleach-y clean. Thanks chemicals!


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