Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pink hair! In which I destroy my hair in several ways so you don't have to.

I've been thinking about this for a long, long time, and today is the day that I'm finally going to try it. I want to dye the ends of my hair pink. And I'm going to do it myself, using only random household materials like hydrogen peroxide, food colouring, powder cooldrink and, um, swimming pool chlorine.

Please note that I have really long and healthy hair, because I never do anything to it. I'm going to be dyeing the ends only, so if anything goes horribly wrong then I can just cut them off. I wouldn't be messing around with unknown chemical processes if they were going to go anywhere near my actual scalp, or if I couldn't afford to lose a bit of length if I decide that I hate it and the only remedy is to cut my losses and run.

Why do I want to dye my hair pink? Well, I have really long hair (did I tell you that yet?) And I want to do something really dramatic to it. But cutting it all off is just out. Like, I really don't like those makeover TV shows, and I really don't like the fact that whenever they come across some poor unfortunate soul with long hair, they immediately leap on her and chop it all off, usually making it sound as if long hair is some kind of dreadful psychological issue that she needs to overcome.

And don't get me started on the freaky compulsion to straighten people's hair, they seriously act like curls are some sort of mark of Cain. I've literally seen someone write that you have to have straight hair to look "professional". Professional? Seriously? I smell a rat, and it smells like racism. I mean, have you noticed that with any female character in a TV series - if she makes it to the second season, her hair always mysteriously goes dead straight.

...Ahem. Pardon the digression. I just have a lot of feelings about that issue. Getting back to the matter at hand, why pink? I actually think that a sort of blue-green or turquoise will be a better long-term colour for me, but I'm doing this to punctuate my life and tell myself that things are looking up! and pink feels to me like the ultimate feel-good, statement-making, optimistic, exclamation-markish colour. Besides, Art Student Owl says Must Have Pink Hair.

Here are my materials:

Honestly, I wasn't planning to use the chlorine after every search I did for it came up with a lot of people screaming DON'T YOU DARE! The aim was to lighten the hair first with peroxide, and then to dye it with a mixture of more peroxide and food colouring. But after I doused my ends in peroxide and it dried off after half an hour and did precisely nothing, I decided to break out the big guns. As it seemed that the peroxide didn't work so well because my hair is too healthy (#firstworldproblems #humblebrag) I figured that the chlorine might at least damage it enough to absorb the peroxide later. I used about a tablespoon of chlorine in a glass bowl of water (between a half and one litre, I suppose) and didn't put my hands in it, just dipped the ends of my hair. I did it outdoors and made sure the bowl was downwind from my face. I did this twice, and still I don't think the colour is much changed. I dumped the rest of the mixture in the pool after I was done (recycling, guys!) Again, note that all this is going on about 80 centimetres from my scalp. And here's the result:

It doesn't look particularly different from before, but I asked two people and they say it's definitely lighter. Now I could keep on bleaching it and drying it over and over, but that would require patience.

So instead I decide to move right on to the colouring stage. Now, apparently if you are right and virtuous on the internet you only use products designed and marketed at great cost for your specific purpose, and the product that everyone recommends for this purpose is something called Manic Panic. However, if I just started ordering and importing everything I wanted, I would be living in a nest of art materials while not eating anything. Which would not be good. So instead I decided to go the kludge route, and found that this tutorial was very helpful.

I'd also heard that Kool-Aid is supposed to be better than food colouring. Unfortunately, Kool-Aid, like Manic Panic, is not available where I live. So I went and bought a random packet of powder cooldrink called Amila in the hope that it would be similarly virulently coloured. I got the "mixed berries" flavour 'cause I figured it would be sort of purplish.

I mixed some of the Amila powder with two brands of "Rose Pink" food colouring (liquid and gel) and some of the peroxide (That's what "developer" is, when talking about hair colouring) in the glass bowl and squished the ends of my hair about in it. Then I worked the sticky, sugary, peroxidey, red mixture up a bit into the rest of my hair, hoping that it would create a sort of ombre effect. I looked like an advert for Dexter.

After that I tied my hair in a knot, put a plastic bag over it and secured the whole thing with a hair elastic.

And I'm planning to keep it on like that as long as my patience holds out. My hands are currently bright pink and the sensitive bits under the nails hurt from the peroxide, so definitely use gloves if you do the same thing. And tomorrow we'll see how it turns out!


  1. Eeep! You are braver than I am! I wouldn't dare to try this with my hair. But I can't wait to see the results ;)

  2. Haha, I would never have tried it if I hadn't told myself I could cut the ends off if it didn't work out. Your hair is in such great condition, I'm sure the worst that could happen would be that the colour didn't show enough! I'm actually super happy with the results, and will post a photo today :)