Honesty hour, guys and gals: have you ever felt like you were born with the wrong hair color? I did! I have always wanted weird, mermaid-like colored hair—minus the length. I am a pixie at heart: short hair all the way. But I digress. Until recently, I used only dark colors. Let me rephrase this statement. I would try to be brave and go “light,” freak out, and then dye my hair back to black. I did not just go back to black—I would go all the way with definitive words, darn it: “blue black,” “midnight black,” or “blackest black.”
If you are a newbie to hair dyeing the vegan way, like me, let me share my “wisdoms” thus far.
- If you are a brunette, you will have to bleach your hair to actually see the colors—unless you want to go for subtle hair changes. This is part of why I used to dye my hair back to black right away; the colors never looked quite the way I had hoped.
- Those darn boxes lie, I tell you! I have stared at those Revlon boxes, daydreamed to be this magical girl with Weasley auburn hair, and then ended up with dark brown hair instead. Experiment for a while. Sometimes, you may have to dye you hair gradually to get what you want. Some brands just don’t work for your hair. Oftentimes, you need to give your hair a longer time for it to soak up the dye.
- If you are dyeing your hair at home, like a ninja, know that the results are usually going to surprise you. I was not amused when my hair had a cheetah print theme going on (er—my hair decided to go brownish orange with patches of faded black still around). At the same time, I was happy my hair turned strawberry blonde when I was aiming for cotton candy pink.
- Have a sense of humor about it. No, I am serious here: do not cry. I spent so much time crying about my hair color, trying to “fix” it, and then chickening out by going back to black. It did not get to be fun until I realized that it would always be pretty if I decided that it was so. You are pretty (or handsome) no matter what hair color you have.
- Do your research. I ended up buying non-vegan hair developer from Sally’s—their products, in general are not vegan, I have discovered—Ion, a mostly vegan friendly company, makes hair bleach and developers, both of which you can pick up at your local Sally’s (or beauty supply store). I also bought Beyond the Zone’s Color Jamz, which is a mysterious company with no clear view on animal rights or animal testing. I contacted them to get clarification and/or confirmation. I’ll keep you in the loop.
- Manic Panic, the next hair dye I bought, is vegan and, according to the Smiling Sally’s Saleslady, has longer lasting power. (I think a hair dye update may be in order? Maybe we can do a battle of hair dyes? I hear there’s also another vegan brand called Special Effects at Hot Topic! Who’s up to it?).
- Oh, this leads me to my next advice: Give your hair a break. You have to be kind to your hair. Nature’s Gate makes this awesome pomegranate sunflower shampoo and conditioners that are vegan, sulfate and paraben free. They are for colored hair. And, you can find them at Target. How cool is that?
- Create a hair pampering routine. What the Smiling Sally’s Saleslady recommended was to wash your hair with shampoo only once or twice a week. Other than that, condition it every other day. I actually use dry shampoo now (Tresemme!), too, on the days where I don’t wash my hair, so the color does not fade so quickly. Also: that way, my hair does not look greasy and icky!