A Beginner's Guide to Bleach and Hair Dye

Before I start with the practical side of the story, you should know this: I am in no way a professional nor do I know everything about dyeing and bleaching your hair. The 'Beginner's Guide' in the title does not only refer to those of you who have never bleached/dyed your hair before, but also to yours truly; it is literally a guide written by a beginner. These are simply a couple of things I wish I'd known before I started bleaching and dyeing, some I found online, some I learnt from friends with more experience than me. The website that helped me the most was HairCrazy.info, they offer some very useful advice and I bought my dye there.
I hope this post helps you in your hair dyeing journey.

Supermarket dyes
When I was fourteen years old I bought my first packet of hair dye, one of those 'funky colours' L'oreal had at the time that were discontinued not too long after. The effect on my naturally dark brown hair was minimal and it didn't last long either. After that I got my hair done at the hairdresser's several times, though that soon got too expensive to my liking. I then started using 'supermarket hair dyes'. I never had a really bad experience with those, I'm even quite fond of the Schwarzkopf Live Color XXL series. The black one is quite long lasting and the red one turns into a deeper and brighter red every re-dye.

 Source: Google Images

So if you're simply looking to do something else with your hair but don't want to go through the entire bleaching process, I definitely recommend this brand. They also have purplish and bluish dyes but I have no experience with those. 

 The first time I dyed my hair red it looked like the top left picture. Considering that I used the dye over dark brown hair with partially black hair lengths, it took pretty well. In the picture next to it was about the third or fourth time I re-dyed it. As you can see, a pretty vibrant colour without having to bleach my hair. The last picture is the colour it fades to. Orangey, but definitely not too bad.

If you want a brighter colour and your hair is not light blond, you will have to go a couple of shades lighter. I used to be very biased concerning hair bleach but in the end, it's really not that bad. Your hair won't fall out as long as you're responsible, careful and you don't overdo it.
I used Directions volume 40 bleach, because my hair was red when I started and red/orange tones are very hard to get out of your hair.

Source: Google images
Here's a couple things I learnt, some I read about before I started, some I learnt the hard way:

This is what my hair looked like after:

And to get this colour, I added:
To the process. As you can see, a bleach bath does not work wonders, but it definitely helps.

Once you've finally finished the bleaching process, it's time for the fun part: find the dye you want! I personally recommend Special Effects dyes, they're absolutely fantastic. I had Directions' Violet first but it washed out almost immediately and didn't apply well to my then yellowy-orange hair. Special Effects' Pimpin' Purple is the dye I used the second time and it ended up looking way better and infinitely more vibrant.
Also know that lighter shades generally wash out pretty quickly, so if you want a long-lasting colour that doesn't require much work, you'd better get a slightly darker dye.

After round one of bleaching and round one of dyeing, this is what my hair looked like. Bright red roots, reddish hair lengths. Not what I wanted at all.
I hadn't bleached my roots and hair lengths seperately and I suspect the Directions dye was too light for my hair colour at the time. 
After the second go of bleaching and dyeing, it looked pretty much the same.

And this is what my hair looks like now, after using Special Effects Pimpin' Purple. So much better. 
The entire bleaching-dyeing-bleaching-dyeing-bleach bath/bleaching roots-dyeing process happened over a course of four months so my hair is still pretty healthy. I did get it cut shorter but that was not a necessity, more something I've been wanting to do for a while. I can't comment on the lasting of this dye yet since I've only just dyed it but I have heard some very good things about it.

So now you have pretty dyed hair! I still have a few tips to keep your hair happy after this entire process.

I hope this post has been of use to you, if you have any questions or suggestions, do let me know!

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