Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Special Effects Hair Dye

I get a lot of emails on my hair.  Most of them are compliments (thank you!) but some of them are about what brand and color I use.  I have a lot of experience dying my hair but let me tell you right here that I'm not a professional.  I'm just very meticulous and patient enough to handle this task on my own.  With that being said, my brand of choice is Special Effects.


Special Effects is a wonderful line.  They have every color in the rainbow (and then some) and the color lasts much longer than any other brand I've ever used.  It's relatively inexpensive and really easy to use.  Can there be too much of a good thing?  Maybe.  These colors are so concentrated that they tend too last longer than you'd think.

When I first dyed my hair with Special Effects this year, I decided to go with their Atomic Pink hue.  It was wonderful.  My hair was already processed to a light brown so I didn't even need to bleach it beforehand.  Little did I know that it would take forever to fade!  Now this is actually a positive, but when you're trying to change your color it can be a little tricky.  After a few vitamin C masques it faded enough to continue with my next adventure: purple.

This time I was a little smarter.  I used their Deep Purple hue, but heavily diluted it with conditioner and the Special Effects toner/mixer.  Since I had to bleach my roots (it was getting nasty) I made sure to get the perfect lighter color so I wouldn't end up with really dark hair.  It came out perfect!  The pink is still in full effect but only on my ends.  I actually love the ombre effect I created.


Here is my hair three weeks later, the purple has faded but pink is here to stay!  I'll be touching it up with the Deep Purple very soon.


If you're going to dye your hair with the Special Effects line, here are a few tips:

- Make sure you are ready to live with the color for awhile.  It will hang around!

- It's best to have bleached or processed hair beforehand.  If your hair is naturally dark, don't expect to get any results from the dye alone.

- The more time you leave the dye in, the longer it will last.  When I apply the color I'll usually leave it in for at least 4 hours.  Yes it's time consuming, but it's worth having a vibrant color that lasts.

- Your new color may stain your clothes/pillow case/towels etc.  This usually only happens when I change colors, but I still sleep on black pillows and use only black towels.  Somewhat of a lifestyle change but totally worth it!

- Have fun!  I like to mix colors to create my own.  Last time I freshened up I mixed Deep Purple with Cupcake Pink.  It's my new favorite!

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.  I'm pretty partial to my pinky purple hair so I don't think I'll be changing it anytime soon.  You never know though, I tend to be an impulsive person!




  1. I would never be able to color my hair like this because of my job (meh) but I love it on you! You seriously look amazing in every hair shade!

  2. I'm always quite in awe of your gorgeous hair Ashley! Mine being so dark - I used to do the bleaching and dyeing thing for years with red and sometimes purple...mainly professionally b/c I do not trust myself...haha. I wish my natural color was lighter so I could forgo the bleaching step b/c after doing that so long - it really started to take a toll on my fine hair...blah.

    Anyhow, I adore the purple and pink on you...you pull it off so well it almost seems like it would your natural hair color :-)

  3. Just lovely! =)

    personal style and fashion musings of a LA fashion lawyer living life in the fab lane!

  4. Great tips! I have heard of Special effects! I was so annoyed that when I got my black hair dye, they had new colors for dying hair that they didn't have when I made my own blue dye from mixing stuff with the sky blue (I used Ion color and mixed it with virgin snow manic panic and with a huge bottle of conditioner) that they did have. . .they had a more cotton candy bluish tone and I loved it but I was set on going to black and not having more color any longer, but still. . .if only they had that color when I dyed it in February! Your tips are great! I love this current color on you! It is very vibrant!

  5. I had no idea that you dyed your own hair...I thought for sure you had it done in a salon!

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  6. How long do you think you'll stay that color? :D Looking at that dye makes me want more colors!

    Deep Purple is one of my favorites! Love purples and how it fades to pink. Two colors in one! haha It's crazy how nearly black it comes out when it's not diluted.

  7. Thanks for the article! I can't wait to try this stuff out now.

    Flounces & Hubbub

  8. Special effects is absolutely my favourite brand!! I know some people who use Manic Panic but I found it faded so fast, Special effects is so great. I had atomic pink in my hair for yeaaars, I loved it so so much. Right now i'm using candy apple red and the deep purple. Love this post and LOVE your hair :)

  9. Your hair is so awesome! I wish I had known about this brand back when I had blue tips, they turned an awful green color in just a couple keeps!

  10. So cool! I love your hair!

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  11. Been wanting to dye my hair some crazy color. I just need to work up the nerve! This color is fab on you! Thanks for the tips!

  12. I love your fun color - I love dying my hair but I am SO lazy about lightening and coloring it. Hence why I stay dark! But i'd love to try this if I had a blonde kid.

  13. Amazing. I have always admired your hair colour ever since I first discovered your blog.

  14. Wow. I've always wondered how people get their hair to be cool pinks and purples and wondered how your colour stayed in so well.

    I could never pull off something so bright, but I've been debating making my ends a cool colour and you're not helping with this kind of post ;)

    xoxo Jackie

  15. Thanks for this! I'm planning on experimenting more with my hair this year, too. That is an impressive pink!


  16. I love your hair always, and love this post! I have been considering about dying it red for suchhhh a long time and this makes me feel its way more doable on my own! I am such a big baby about it but think if I start I will be addicted! Do you think my hair is light enough to just put box dye on it over the dirty blonde?

  17. Gorgeous colours :) I wonder if it's available in the UK? Rosie x


  18. Your hair is definitely cool! I've actually been thinking of changing my hair over to blue at some point around the start of next semester (or shaving it all off, I'm not really sure which'll happen first, honestly... I could keep the black for a while too...) I've never gotten to the more interesting colors since my parents didn't want to let me even dye my hair at all, but I figure college is a good time to experiment with it some more. I'll have to keep this in mind, though the potentially staining thing does worry me a little bit. Maybe towels...


  19. I’m obsessed with your hair! Is just the perfect accessory! You look fab with those pink/purple hues but let's face it... you would rock all the colors of the rainbow haha =D

  20. I think your bright pink hair is wonderful! Every time I see it I'm like, "I need that color on my head right now." I think it's great that the dye doesn't fade out too quickly.

  21. Special Effects "Virgin Rose" turned my pre-lightened blackish fringe a marvelous fuchsia for however long it took to grow out. It would fade to pink, but it honestly grew out!!
    As of December 2013, the company has almost all colours back ordered, which might be permanent? Only about four colours are available, but "Atomic Pink" is one, so I'll try it. The other brands just don't compare.
    The staining of hair means staining of ANY AND ALL porous surface. Skin, sinks, etc. so prep as directed!! Use a rag towel to clean up any mistakes quickly.

  22. Special Effects Hair Dye makes your hair glow more than anything.


  23. I have been using atomic pink for many years (used other brands with similar color prior to that) - it didn't rub off too much when I had streaks then the whole top of my head - started to come off on pillowcases etc when I started doing my whole head - I did some research, and first found out the color lasts better if you do not use shampoo after coloring - rinse with water until it runs pretty clear then for the final rinse use half white vinegar and half water - this helps set the color so it doesn't rub off as much, and the smell goes away when dry (still rubs off some, but less) and wait at least a few days to shampoo - this also helps the color last - JD


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