two tips for switching hair color easily - The Dainty Squid

two tips for switching hair color easily

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


One of the main questions I get about my hair is how I seamlessly change colors so drastically. This post, of course, is really only relevant to unnatural colors done with brands such as Punky Colours, Manic Panic, Special Effects and the like. I also need to give my normal spiel about not being a professional, having no formal training, and that everything I know is from personal experience. That's not to downplay what I know though, I've been dyeing my hair unnatural colors for over eight years. I've got it pretty much down to a science.

Below is a perfect example of what my typical timeline looks like and what I'll be explaining in this post. Blue in June, purple in July, and orange in August - easy peasy and with minimal damage! This is a fairly regular cycle for me. I change my hair color every two or three months depending how quickly I get bored.

How to switch hair colors
How To Easily Switch Hair Colors

When my hair was professionally dyed pink for the first time around eight years ago I knew nothing about hair! I had been dying it black since I was around fourteen and the extent of my knowledge was how to apply box color. But since stripping the black from hair and dying it pink no one else has touched my hair color. It costs a fortune, and after a spending a great deal of time researching I realized I could easily do it myself. I've always loved switching colors, and in all my years the two biggest tips I've found that help are...

Let your current hair color fade. Y'all, I take a lot of pride in my hair. I try to always keep root growth at a minimum and my hair color bright. I'm pretty embarrassed by faded hair but sometimes it is a necessity!

I let my hair fade naturally for as long as I can stand it. Then when it hits me that "I have to change hair colors now!" I give myself a few more days. In those three or fours days, hopefully longer, I will purposely fade my hair to the best of my ability. I've never been a fan of bleach baths, using dish soap or anything else like. To fade my hair I rinse with hot water, take baths where I actually let my hair soak instead of keeping it dry, leave shampoo in a little bit longer than normal, and do conditioning treatments at least once a day. The conditioning treatments are especially helpful because before bleaching you obviously want your hair is the best condition possible. You can find a few of my favorite deep conditioning products in this post.

The three photos above show examples of what my hair looked like at it's best during those dye jobs, not what it looked like before being bleached and moving on to the next color. That dark purple faded into the shade it is in this outfit post (where it so wonderfully matched my dress!), and then a week or so of more intentional fading after that I finally moved on to orange.

Use the color wheel. That's my big "secret", which totally isn't a secret at all but it is an important thing that is easily overlooked. I never want to say that something isn't possible or that you can't do something but there are definitely colors that are harder to switch between.

watercolor color wheel by Mara Mattia

While my color changes may seem dramatic they are carefully thought out. I've found that it's easiest to work my way around the color wheel instead of skipping around. For example if you have bright pink hair, it's much easier to move a few shades over on the wheel to orange, instead of rushing right into green. Is it possible to go straight from bright pink to lime green? Maybe but it's going to involve bleaching your hair to a lot lighter of a color first. You obviously don't have to stop at every single step on the color wheel, just keep it in mind when deciding on your next color.

Using the color wheel as a guide is what I consider my best weapon for fighting damage. My color changes are smooth and cause minimal damage because I'm not bleaching the entire length of my hair to switch colors and the color itself doesn't cause any harm. I normally just bleach my roots and that's all.

Since I'm not bleaching the whole length there is obviously still color in my hair when moving to the next shade. Following the color wheel ensures that my next color won't mix poorly with the color remaining in my hair. Mixing complementary colors will result in a muddy hair color which is something you want to avoid.
 
purple hair, hair dye

I'm working on a (super frequently requested!) bleaching guide that should be done soon. If you have other any general hair questions, or questions about my hair - let me know. I'd love to share more hair related content on The Dainty Squid but I need to know what you want to learn about.
xoxo

You can find more hair dye tips and guides in my hair master post.

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22 thoughts

  1. I really enjoy your hair color posts! Thanks for putting them together!

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  2. Great post and awesome tips - especially the colour wheel thing! I'm a designer but I'd never thought to use it with hair shenanigans!
    x

    http://thecornishlife.co.uk

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  3. Have you ever tried the method of using vitamin C powder to fade your hair colour? I keep hearing about it recently in relation to unnatural hair colours and wondered your thoughts if you'd tried it.
    I always find your hair posts a great point of reference, so thanks for putting them together!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, a while ago. I really prefer to fade it as "naturally" as possible though.

      I'm so glad you like them! :)

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  4. I want to go platinum sometime in the new year but I've been dying my hair a deep plum/cherry red colour for years now. I'm naturally dirty blonde, but haven't seen my natural colour since 2008. I'm worried about how hard it'll be to go from dark over processed hair, to almost white over processed hair. Any tips on a possible smooth transition instead of going from one colour to the next? (And of course I'll be going to a salon for the bleaching!)

    - Lauren

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    Replies
    1. Going from one color to the next is your best option for a smooth transition. Platinum is rouuuuugh on hair to begin with and starting at a dark color is even worse.

      Please make sure you go to an AWESOME salon. If someone offers to do it in one step or even two that's just bad news.

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  5. The thing that I can't abide when doing bright colours is just bleaching my roots, so I tend to wait a LOT longer between colours and bleach the whole lot. I have real difficulty doing my own roots. I find it really fiddly. Especially when it comes to the back - I missed a whole bit once, luckily is was covered up when my hair was sown, but yikes! What a disaster! Do you have any tips for bleaching your own roots?! I'd love to change my colour more often and I can't afford my hairdressers fees for doing so (£200 + was the last quote for the colour I want at the moment haha!)

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    Replies
    1. I'll definitely cover that! :)

      Also - YIKES to that quote!!!

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  6. Thank you. I have been trying to get rid of blue but it has proven to be very stubborn. Will try going purple.

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    Replies
    1. Hah! Blue is always such a pain to get rid of. I almost ALWAYS end up going purple after blue.

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  7. This is actually super helpful! I dyed my hair a bright colour for the first time last year (I also started with pink), but have only switched colour once seen as it was such a long process! I get bored, but it's just so much easier to just bleach your roots and keep dying it the same colour.
    I'm now looking to change from blue to red though (possibly a bit of a big jump, but oh well!) so I'll bear your tips in mind. Awesome post!

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  8. I love your hair posts! Searching for info about dying my hair was actually how I found your site (and I'm happy I did!). I would love to here more about if you have any issues with getting specific colors to stay in your hair. For example, my hair is holding onto this green for dear life, but somehow shed my purple down to grey within a week without me even washing my hair! I've heard a lot of people have similar issues too.

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  9. You should try out Arctic Fox Hair Color! An old friend of mine owns the company, it's vegan and cruelty free... And have pretty much nothing but great reviews!!!

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    Replies
    1. You know, I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I keep seeing them pop up all over the web. After the stash in my bathroom cupboard runs out I'll grab some to try!

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  10. great post! and your hair looks awesome in all of these
    i was just wondering which color you had before going green?

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  11. I'm sure you get this a lot but you are a huge style inspiration. Your hair is my dream as are your clothes but that's not to say I don't love reading your blog posts, too. I'm not one to gush at people but I wanted to just say your work is making an old girl in the UK very happy ;)

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  12. Thank you so much for uploading this post ^^ I got a lot of information from it <3 And i have a question ^^ I have bleached my hair twice and it turned out light blond, and then i dyed it a small part green and a bigger part blue T.T It didn't come out as nice as i'd expected so now i want to have a brown hazel color on my hair without any blue or green stains. Is there anyway that i can achieve the brown color ? Thank you so much in advance <33

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    Replies
    1. Probably not what you'd want to hear, but you'd be best going to a professional for that!

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