I get really bored when it comes to my hair and I’ve always wanted fun, pastel colored hair. In high school I had blue hair for a few weeks, but as a responsible adult with a job in a corporate firm, the fun colors would not fly. Then this summer I came up with the idea of trying a hair dye that washed out in a few days so I could have fun weekend hair.
I did some Googling and came across tons of praise for the temporary Water Color Hydrating Color Mask that is sold by Urban Outfitters. Unfortunately it was sold out so I kept looking for other options.
Then I saw this awesome blog post on how to make your own wash-out hydrating dye mask at home. The dye was supposed to wash out in 3 days, be gentle on your hair, and seemed very easy to make so I decided to give it a try. I had a long weekend coming up, with a Dave Matthews concert, and I thought it would be the perfect occasion to have have lavender hair. I’d also like to note that I had a hair appointment later in the week so if it turned out to be a mess, I could get by with it up in a ponytail for a few days. I wasn’t sure it was even going to work.
I went to Sally’s and picked up a jar of Manic Panic semi permanent dye in Ultra Violet. My highlighted hair tends to turn brassy, and since purple shampoos are often used to correct the red tones, I thought lavender would be a good pick since it might correct some brassiness that was starting to show. Since there was no way I was going to bleach my own hair, I knew it would only show up on my highlighted sections rather than my entire head. NOTE: This method probably wont work on darker hair since dye only deposits on top of your current color rather than stripping and replacing it.
I took a bottle of white colored conditioner I had and mixed 2 tablespoons of the Manic Panic into 16 oz of conditioner. I put on some gloves and started applying it to my hair. I applied it to my entire head rather than the individual highlighted sections because I wanted to save time and get as much coverage as possible, even if it wouldn’t show up on the darker sections. I left the dye in my hair for 8 minutes instead of the recommended 3 to ensure it was dark enough. After 8 minutes, I rinsed it out and shampooed and conditioned my hair as I normally would. If you are interested in trying this out yourself, I recommend following the directions here.
It was hard to tell if the dye worked while my hair was wet, but as I blow dried it, the smile on my face grew. I LOVED it. It worked much better than I had expected. I could have done a better job covering every strand, but really, I didn’t care that it wasn’t perfect- I had fun hair.
I put on my flower crown and headed to the concert. A compliment I got from a woman working the beer stand made beam. I know a bright hair color making me so happy may seem silly, but I felt like for that night, a little part of my personality that I usually have to keep in check was able to come out.
When we got home from the concert I hopped in the shower to wash my hair. As much as I loved the color and didn’t want to get rid of it, I needed to get a head start on washing it out if I wanted it gone by Monday. Over the next two days I washed my hair 3 more times using Head and Shoulders to help strip the color.
The day after the concert, and after just 2 washings, the lavender really was mostly gone. The only problem was that my previously blond highlights were now more of a gray. Luckily, the rest of my hair was light enough that the difference wasn’t stark and the grayish sections blended in pretty well. When I went back to work on day 4, all the purple was gone. A few female worker friends asked if I lightened my hair color, and when I told them what I had done, they all said they would never have noticed.
I think if I had left the dye in for the recommended 3 minutes instead of 8, it would have washed out much faster, but I don’t think the color would have been as vibrant. It was already very light at 8 minutes, so 3 would have probably been very dull.
The only big drawback to the dye experiment was the left over gray strands, but thankfully my colorist made them blond again a few days later. A different color might fade closer to the original blond color, but since purple is often used as a corrector for gray or very light blond hair to counteract reds and yellows, it makes sense it faded the way it did. Another, smaller, drawback was that the Head and Shoulders stripped my hair, just like it was supposed to. After using it 4 times in 3 days my hair felt brittle and in need of some extra conditioning. I think it did more damage than the small amount of dye used.
The color was a lot of fun while it lasted and I loved it. I’d definitely consider doing it again, so long as I had an appointment with my colorist right around the corner.