Friday, November 6, 2015

Tips and Tricks: Achieving and Maintaining Bright Colored Hair

The long awaited hair color post is here!  As someone who has been coloring their hair at home for years, I've always wanted to give my tips and tricks for anyone who's considering taking the vibrant color plunge.  This post has been on my mind for months, I just wanted to make sure I had all the information gathered before I went ahead and posted it.  Just so you know, while I am well versed with color, I am not a licensed cosmetologist.  Now that we have that out of the way, let's get started!

Pinup Girl Clothing Ella dress in Mary Blair Lips and Roses print in Lavender

Before you consider a vibrant color:

- Make sure you're willing to maintain the upkeep.  Unlike normal hair color, the vibrant hues fade much faster.  I touch up my color about every two weeks, sometimes even more!

- Unless you have light blonde hair, bleach is needed before you color.  My natural is a dark ash blonde (level 6) and I bleach it to a level 9 or 10 to get the best results.  If your hair already has color on it, expect to have your hair bleached several times before you reach a high enough level.  That being said, you may experience breakage during your bleaching journey.

- Depending on what color you use, you may have color transfer on your clothes, pillow cases, shower, etc.  I used to have this problem when I used Special Effects colors, but I've since switched to Sparks color and I have no issues.  But let me tell you, there was a time I wouldn't dare wearing a white top because of my hair!

Bernie Dexter Paris dress in Cherry print

What you'll need:

Sparks color

- Plastic hair color bowl

- Color brush

- Gloves

- Conditioner

- Shower cap

Start with freshly bleached hair.  I usually bleach my hair the night before and color it the day after.  It's not a must, but sometimes the entire process can be long so I split it up.  Make sure your hair is completely dry before you deposit the color.  My color concoctions frequently change, but I'm currently using Sparks Purple Passion, Pink Kiss, and their brand new silver color.  Since the Purple Passion is very concentrated, I only use a very small amount, about the size of dime.  The Pink Kiss and Silver are then added, about 2-3 tablespoons each.  I then add the conditioner to lighten the colors.  The type of conditioner you use isn't important, as long as it's a white color.  Mix it all up and if you're happy with the outcome, start applying it to your hair.  Sometimes it can be too dark (which I'll then add more conditioner) or too light (which I'll then add more color) so it can take a few tries to get the desired hue I'm looking for.

Once it's applied, I don a shower cap to keep the color from drying.  While most colors say to leave it on for 20-30 minutes, I leave it on for 2 hours minimum (remember how I said this process is long?).  It lasts much longer when the color sits longer.  Once you're ready to wash, make sure you use cold water to rinse it out.  Since I start this process with freshly washed hair, I don't shampoo it out.  Again, that's up to you, but the color lasts longer when you shampoo less!

Pinup Girl Clothing Amanda Dress in Red White and Royal Blue

Post color care:

- Try to stay out of direct sunlight for long periods of time.  The sun will fade your hair quicker than it already does!  Hats are definitely your friend.

- Always wash your hair in cold water.  Unless you're using a color care system like Overtone, warm water will fade your hair even quicker than the sun.  Since I don't like taking ice cold showers, I wash my hair in cold water first and then shower with a cap on.

- Speaking of washing your hair, try to do it as little as possible!  I've gone down to twice a week, which is the least I can wash without looking dirty.  I use lots of dry shampoo in between washes, which is a lifesaver!

- Use sulfate free shampoo/conditioner.  This will help prevent your color from being stripped at a faster rate.  Sparks has a color care line that I absolutely love!

- Add some dye to your conditioner to help with the fading process.  I added a drop of my purple color to my conditioner and make sure to leave it on for 5-10 minutes for a mini touch up!

Pinup Girl Clothing Chartreuse Peasant top Laura Byrnes High Waist shorts

I always say having a fun color is a labor of love and the above post is proof!  Have any questions for me?  Let me know in the comments below!




  1. So you use the conditioner in lieu of the sparks clear? I'm planning on going lavender (think Kelly Osbourne) once I have the baby in the Spring. Any tips are super appreciated :)

    1. Yes, you can use either or. I don't know if you're doing this, but when I was pregnant I stopped coloring my hair so I could have as much virgin hair as possible before I bleached it out (I was going pastel pink at the time). Just be aware that your hair will experience a lot of breakage from the initial bleaching, and since I know your hair is red, it's the hardest color to remove from the hair. Just wanted to let you know!

  2. It's definitely a labor of love.. But I love my pink locks! Your hair is gorgeous too. It's nice to know I'm not the only one spending so much time on my hair :) some people make bright coloured hair seem so effortless!

  3. Bright hair is so much work, and that's why I admire people with a full head of it. I've only been brave enough to to streak and small sections because I absolutely hate roots, and I know I wouldn't commit enough time to maintain a whole head of bright hair the way it should be! Love my streaks though.
    Starting with level 6 hair would sure make things easier! I'm a natural level 3, getting it down to 9 or 10 takes either heat or high volume developer with my bleach or both. That's the not-so-fun part!

  4. for a nicer purple, go Sparks pink kiss mixed with Pravana Silver.

    currently i am using Conditioner, Special FX Burgundy Wine + Pravana Silver.. has made the most incredibly beautiful mid rose pink.

  5. Do you put the lightener all over your hair each time or just your roots?


I read and appreciate every single comment!

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