Hair is strongly tied to your identity in such a profound way, both in color, length and texture. It is always a little weird when you make a major change with it, you don’t quite feel like yourself any longer. I’ve been dyeing my hair since age 11 and for the most part it’s been black. I went a good five years trying out all the colors of the rainbow but the maintenance for keeping the hair purple, cherry red, blue or green back then (ca 2008-2013) was too much for my lazy ass so I just dyed it back to black. The idea of going ginger has been in the back of my mind for a while but I hesitated because a.) don’t want to lose too much of the length I’ve been saving out and b.) it could mean 6 months of bleaching and coloring before feeling satisfied enough. Then, boredom struck. I bleached it yesterday and tried a color bomb for the first time in my life and this is the result.
I’m pretty fucking excited! It’s not perfect yet but it’s so much better than I ever dreamed it would be after the first try. I am more reckless than knowledgeable and I’m not a hairdresser but if you’re wondering what took me from 7 years of permanent blue black box dye to this, here’s how.
- I am very blond to begin with and my hair is very fine. It’s always been easy to both bleach and dye.
- Ginger is pretty much what you’re becoming when you bleach black hair, those are the pigments that are the hardest to remove. Lucky me!
- I bought the same bleach that used to work well on my hair in the past. All bleach damage! If you haven’t used a certain brand and shade before, try it on a small section of your hair first. Try to find something that lifts as many levels as you can. The bigger number, the higher peroxide concentration. I sort of hesitated in the store when I saw a different brand that advertised to lift 9 levels instead of the 7 levels that my old, trusted bleach promised (Mood Silver Blond 107). I stuck with my regular brand because it has worked so well before.
- I bought two packs of bleach, because long hair. You don’t want to stand in the bathroom an realize the bottle is out before the hair is done. In the end, only one was used.
- Bleach the hair, follow the instructions on the box. I always section it a little and then I start with the ends, working my way up towards the scalp.
- Have a friend or a good mirror to check the back of your head.
- Bleach reacts better in heat, I always, always, always cover the hair with aluminum foil. Super easy and makes all the difference.
- Set the timer for what the box tells you to, don’t be a rebel.
- Rinse and use the treatment that came with the box. Already before rinsing I could see that the bleach had lifted the color more evenly than expected and that it was truly light ginger red already, except for the roots that was super blond. The hair quality felt like normal afterwards and not at all fragile. Success!
- I dried the hair with a towel and then added the color bomb. I’ve used Directions and Manic Panic cremes in the past but decided to try the “new” bomb thing. This is Revlon Nutri Color Creme #400 Tangerine. It is a bright orange and feels like a balm or a treatment, smells delicious too. It’s not the color to go for if you want to look like a natural ginger but I was expecting to have more dark patches and various brown areas after the bleach. An earthier tone could easily have gone more brown and I preferred the Disney effect to brown hair.
Done! For this time. Pro tip: Never ever ever put the hair through more than one bleach session at a time. I’m going to wait at least four weeks before putting any sort of peroxide based dye in my hair and continue to use the color bomb when I wash it. (I might buy a color bomb in an earthier tone and combine with the tangerine closest to the scalp to see if it has a calming effect on the super bright orange.