23 May 2014

Continuing the dye adventure: Manic Panic!

If you follow my blog at all, you will know that I love to dye my hair red. It started way back in high school. Nearly all my forays into dye had been the semi-permanent box dyes (we won't talk about the one time I got permanent red highlights, it just wasn't a great look). Sometimes I go for a more natural looking auburn, and sometimes I got for the very red or purple reds. I then experimented with henna from Henna Color Lab (I LOVE their wine red henna). Recently, though, I've been itching to do something a bit more extreme. Something that looks even less like my real hair color. I'm still shying away from lightening my hair to make any color I put over it really pop, so I decided to try Manic Panic over my natural hair as a first step. Similarly to the henna I buy, Manic Panic is vegan, contains no harsh chemicals, and is not tested on animals. Unlike the henna, it comes in all sorts of wacky colors. For this first go around, I didn't go too far out of the box and picked up some Pillarbox Red. I decided to document the adventure. No judging because I'm not wearing make-up for most of this since dying is a messy process. I'm also wearing my fabulous dye clothes (yes, I dye my hair enough that I actually have clothes I wear only when I'm dying my hair, though in a former life they were paint clothes).

First step is to wash and dry your hair (but no conditioner!). It's funny because the box dyes always caution you to dye over unwashed hair so that the oils can help protect the hair from damage. The good dyes (henna, Manic Panic) always have you wash your hair w/o conditioner because the dye formula will actually condition your hair as it dyes it.

Next I had to set up my station:

Not pictures: gloves!
I've gotten pretty good at not being messy, but I still do occasionally drip, so it's better to be safe than sorry and cover the counter and floor with newspaper. I also always wrap a towel around my shoulders, held on by the ever glamorous clothespin. Then I have to have a comb to make sure the dye gets spread evenly, clips to hold up the hair as I go and when I'm done, the dye, a mirror to check the pesky back of the head, gloves, and dye brushes (a recent purchase). Also very important, is the Alba Un Petroleum jelly to put around my hairline and ears to help keep my skin dye-free. You can use Vaseline or conditioner, but I find the un petroleum jelly is far kinder to my skin.

Looks like ketchup, smells like...well, not much actually.
The Pillarbox Red out of the jar looked A LOT like ketchup. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dye had little to no odor. The box dyes always smell rather chemically and henna has a particularly strong herbal scent (Lily claims it smells fishy, but it's really just a wet herb smell in my opinion), but the Manic Panic is pretty darn close to odorless.

Applying it was a bit tricky, as at first I tried to apply it as directed: starting at the nape of the neck, 1/2 inch from the root, a section at a time. I found this rather difficult, however, and switched to the way I apply all the other dyes I do: starting with a center part, I put dye from the roots about 2 inches over on either side of the part, then move the part and repeat. Once all the roots are done, you slather dye onto the tips of the hair. I suspect I will end up with a red scalp for a few days as a result of this, but I was much more confident that I'd actually gotten the dye everywhere. After a few comb throughs and much mirror checking, I was satisfied that I'd gotten the dye everywhere.

Rachel Red-Scalp
The recommended time to leave it in is 30 minutes, or 5-7 under intense heat. However, because it is not a chemical dye and actually conditions, it is safe to leave in as long as you want (there are lots of people on the internet who leave it in overnight). I have work later, so I'm actually typing this up as I let is sit. I'm shooting for an hour and a half for this first time. One great thing is, I only used about half of the jar, so I can dye again with this color whenever I want (aka if I really botched this, or just when it starts to fade). Depending on how it shows up, I may switch to a more drastic color next time. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm wearing a poor-man's shower cap?

Thumbs up for plastic bags!
Yeah, I'm wearing a plastic bag on my head. Woot. Okay, off to make dinner while I wait some more.


So I'm all rinsed out! I actually tend to find rinsing out the dye one of the hardest steps. Trying to do it in the sink and getting it all out always proves impossible, so when I'm nearly done I usually just switch to the shower, as it is the only way I'm able to actually get the water to run clear. Anyways, here's the not-so-dramatic reveal. (Keep in mind this photo is inside, on a cloudy day, with wet hair, so it will look more red later. I'll try and take a picture the next sunny day we have.)

Red head, but not Ariel.
I was really hoping that the color would pop more than it does, but I knew it was a long shot given how dark my hair started. And I totally did wind up with a red scalp. The result on my hair is definitely a nice all-over red, but really not much different than the box dyes or the henna. I'm glad to have covered up my sad brown roots, but I'm thinking this may mean I have to foray into lightening my hair first...

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