Friday, 22 May 2015

How to live with brightly coloured hair

I've had bright hair for years now, but recently started bleaching it to get it ultra, ultra bright.  It's been neon pink, it's been red, and it's now a slightly blue toned cerise which I haven't yet photographed... but it's fairly likely it'll continue to be somewhere between red and pink, and very bright.  I'm often asked questions about it, so I thought I'd write about what it's like to have bright hair: the maintenance cost, and the affect it has on your life.

Topping up the colour is essential.  Everyone loves that just-coloured look you get when you walk out of the salon, and unlike more natural colours, bright colours fade very, very fast.  I make colour masks out of Directions hair colour and a squirt of conditioner and leave on for an hour every single week.  That's why my hair always looks freshly coloured.

Sulphate-free shampoo is your friend.  Nothing strips colour more quickly than shampoos with lots of SLS in them (apart from anti-dandruff shampoo).  Wash with sulphate free shampoo, such as L'Oreal's Hair Expertise range - their EverSleek is one of my favourite ranges, and it doesn't strip colour as fast as normal high street shampoo.

Dry shampoo is also your friend.  Washing infrequently helps prevent fading.  I wash my hair three times a week at an absolute maximum, normally more like two.  I keep plenty of Batiste handy to make sure my hair doesn't look like it hasn't been washed in days.

Avoid pale clothes.  Bright colour often transfers a bit onto your clothes as you wear them.  Anything white, or with a pale collar, is guaranteed to be slightly pink after I've worn it.  

Beware of light nail polishes.  Washing bright hair whilst wearing pale nail polish will lead to stained nails, which look very weird.  I usually wear darker red/pink/purple shades as a result, or if I have to wear something stainable, I wash my hair whilst wearing latex gloves.

Embrace black bed linen and dark towels.  Bright hair will turn stain pretty pale bed linen.  Wet bright hair will trash white or pale towels.  My bed linen is black, and my towels are dark jewel tones.  Which leads me to...

Be prepared when you travel.  When travelling to stay at a friend's house, take a black pillowcase - no-one likes a guest whose hair destroys their linen.  Also, take plenty of dry shampoo to avoid having to wash your hair in someone else's bathroom.  When I travel for work, I sometimes pay for a wash and blow dry rather than washing my hair in a posh hotel bathroom, particularly if my hair is freshly coloured or the bathroom has obviously porous surfaces.

Abandon all hope of maintaining your hair on holiday.  Swimming, bright sunlight, chlorine, salt water - all of these will pull colour from your hair.  When I go on holiday, I resign myself to coming back with a weird reverse ombre, with blonde ends and pinky roots.  I make sure I have enough time to dye it back to normality before I go back to work.

Stock up on colour-removal products for your hair and for your house.  I have a couple of bottles of salon-strength colour removers for colour transfer onto my skin, and plenty of bleach at home for those times when the shower ends up with a distinctly rosy hue.  Oh, and a big drum of Vanish for my clothes.

Avoid sweating at all costs.   Sweat+bright hair = pink sweat running down my face in summer.  BAD.  I carry baby wipes to clean up on the go, and in summer let my hair get a little more faded to avoid being damp and pink.

So there it is:  bright hair actually affects much more than your hair itself, particularly if you choose the kind of hue with bleeds, transfers or stains a lot.  I think it's totally worth it though!  Do you have any bright hair life tips?  Share them in the comments below!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

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