This latest craze in hair, Unnatural Colouring, has been around the block a few times before, but never till now did we see so many iridescent heads bobbing around in our every day crowds.
The mainstream runs thick with a tapestry of hues and it’s here to stay.
Something about tinting hair as though you picked it from a box of children’s crayons has raised all kinds of attention, both good and bad.
No longer the mark of a punk, top female celebrities are getting their Crayola on, making the fashion statement all the more fashionable.
Lena Dunham (Girls) chose green, Dascha Polano (Orange Is The New Black) went pewter grey, Katie Hudson picked a shade of pink and Nicole Richie went blue and then purple.
Keisha and Katy Perry have pretty much been every colour of the rainbow. There’s no question about it - it’s in, it’s hot and it’s trending globally.
But not everybody understands it, and for this reason, taking the plunge into the prime-pigmentation-pool can affect your life in a way you might not have thought about.
I spoke to freelance journalist Laura Shortridge, a seasoned couture colour -arer, to find the ins and outs of going un-natural.
I think brightly coloured hair is gorgeous and have spent a lot of my life jealous of anyone with it. Blue, especially, is my favourite because it reminds me of Pinocchio’s Blue-Hair Fairy that I used to love when I was a child. I went through a period where I was working from home, and I decided to just go for it. I’ve never looked back.
What does it mean to you?
My hair has become a part of my identity. While it could be seen as a liability in many professions, I find that it’s an asset in mine. I’m a writer who tends to cover controversial topics, and my hair reflects that. It’s kinda silly, but when people look at me they assume I’m creative, rebellious, unconventional, brave and bold. This helps me attract the sort of people who are looking for the qualities I have.
How do you respond to people saying you are just doing it for the attention?
Anyone who dyes his or her hair an unnatural colour is looking for a certain amount of attention. If you wanted to blend into a crowd and never be seen, you wouldn’t put a neon sign right on your head in day-glo. I like that I am demanding attention on my own terms. My hair says something very specific about me – more so than a luminous dress or lipstick would, and I like that I choose this message.
Do you ever regret it?
For some reason, the fact that I have unusually coloured hair gives people a weird feeling of entitlement to my personal space. Strangers grab my arm or touch my hair without my permission all the time, usually while they’re letting me know I have blue hair.
That’s the thing - Strangers always seem to feel the need to tell me I have blue hair, in case I didn’t notice myself. This might seem like a small thing, but when you get your hair colour yelled at you, sometimes from a car or from the other side of the street, by complete strangers 5-6 times a day, it gets old.
Does it damage your hair?
The dye itself is more of a conditioning mask and so does not do any damage. However, to get the results you want, you have to bleach your own hair first, and that is very damaging. Stripping it means you also strip away all moisture, leaving it dry and straw-like. You need to treat it regularly to maintain a level of health when keeping an unnatural tint.
Any tips for doing the deed?
Not all dyes are equal. Some bleed, and can leave residue all over sheets, pillows, hands – and boyfriend’s clothes. Others fade ridiculously quickly. Still others have a habit of permanently staining the hair, which is great for someone like me but a problem for people who only want a temporary dye!
I use Manic Panic’sAmplified range, which I get through AnonaMiss Beauty Emporium (tested on celebrities, not animals), and it’s taken some experimenting to find the perfect shades that work for me. Before buying anything, I’ve found it’s a good idea to do some Internet research. People all over the world use Manic Panic, so there’s some good info out there.
I bleach my hair first, and have to bleach my roots with highlighter every now and then before re-dying. I try to let my roots grow out quite a lot before I bleach them though.
Heating up hair while the dye is in makes it set better, so I use a hairdryer. The same rule applies when trying to strip the hair of colour, so it’s important to never rinse with hot water. It’s also important to wash the dye out the first time with a vinegar / water mix, as this helps the colour bind to the hair.
How do you maintain it?
There are four major rules to maintaining:
- Fewer washes: every wash takes away a little more colour, so you learn how to wash your hair less often. It’s not good for hair to wash it too often so this is ultimately a good thing. I used to use dry-shampoo in between washes, but I found it also tends to make the colour fade, so now sometimes I will wash my hair with water only and apply a conditioner in between "full" washes with actual shampoo.
- No hot water: this part sucks, but the colder the water you rinse your hair in, the less colour is stripped away. So you get used to braving cold water very quickly, because cold showers are about to become your new best friend!
- Sulphate-free shampoo :sulphates strip the hair of colour, so it’s vitally important to use a Sulphate-free shampoo. Most are really expensive but Dischem sells a reasonably priced range.
- Mix dye into your conditioner: like the dye, the longer you leave the conditioner in, the longer it lasts, so I usually leave it in overnight once every two weeks or so.
For more extensive how-to’s, visit YouTube or you can follow this comprehensive guide.
For those closet junkies who are slightly commitment phobic, try this out for a one-night-stand with your favourite shade.
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