I’ve wanted blue hair since I was 12, and 2018 was the year I finally got it. After a year of trying out different blue dyes, I can say that I have a few definitive preferences, which I’ve broke down below.
As a point of reference, my natural hair color is a light to medium brown, “ash brown” is the technical term, though it’s usually called “mouse brown.”
Manic Panic: I used this one in college, back when I just had a few streaks bleached and then dyed the rest of my hair blue. I don’t remember the exact shade I used.
When it came time for touch ups, I just applied it all over my head. It turned the brown black, and freshened up the blue at the same time.
I stopped using it because the dye stopped wanting to stick to my hair, and the bleached portions grew out. I might have better luck now (I suspect the water in Florence was partly to blame for the my dye issues), but you really need bleach for this to work at it’s best, and I am lazy. I hate bleaching my hair.
L’Oreal Colorista: This was the first blue I tried on my most recent dye journey, and it’s the only one I can’t recommend at all. I used the teal, which is formulated for dark hair, and it did…absolutely nothing. I don’t even have pictures of it, because there were no results to show.
Arctic Fox: Out of all of them, this is definitely the one with the results I liked the best, but you really need bleach for this to work. The color I used was Aquamarine, which I loved. The first shot is what it looked like the first time I used it. The bleach wasn’t able to get out all of my old hair color, and even with toner we couldn’t get my hair white-blond, it was more yellow. So the first usage came out a bit darker.
The base color got lighter after each subsequent application. I really love the way this looks and Arctic Fox has the gentlest hair dye; it’s easy to clean up, doesn’t get all over the place, doesn’t bleed a ton, and they are the most ethical hair dye company on this list. But, I have to use bleach with it. I don’t like what bleach does to my hair, I hate that it’s an extra step, it’s hard to bleach my own hair, and the dye won’t stick to virgin hair–it has to be bleached or been exposed to dye in order for the color to take.
When I finally got sick of the bleaching, I dyed the top and front part of my hair black with a random cheap dye, and then continued to touch up the bottom/back with Arctic Fox. While still a 2 step process, it was actually easier to do this than to mess with the bleach, and made my roots a bit less noticeable/annoying.
Then we moved to Seattle. I had to get rid of all my dye supplies when we moved, and I just didn’t have the money to start from scratch again, which would have been about $40 for all the tools, both parts of the bleach mixture, and the hair color, so back to the drug store I went.
Splat: I hate this dye. Hate it. While it had great color payoff and lasted a long time, it also bled everywhere, stained our bath tub and countless linens and articles of clothing, and continued to bleed like crazy for 3 weeks after I dyed my hair. Even when my hair was dry blue dye would rub off on my clothes, and I had a blue neck and ears for weeks because as soon as I cleaned up, more dye would rub off. I will never, EVER use it again.
I don’t even remember how long after I dyed my hair this picture was taken, but there is a reason you can’t see my ears or the sides/back of my neck. Or my cheeks, really. It was bad. I felt like a smurf. Or like I was coming down with some kind of weird plague. And just to add insult to injury, my hair felt dryer and more damaged after using Splat than it did after all that bleaching with the Arctic Fox. The one pro I can say is that the color lasted a really long time.
My latest experiment has involved going back to familiar territory. When my hair isn’t blue, I use Garnier Olia in 2.0 “Soft Black” or 6.60 “Light Intense Auburn.”
This time around, I tried out their IN2, “Intense Pure Indigo.” It’s not quite the blue I love, but it is about 3,000 times easier to clean up than the Splat–a little witch hazel on a cotton round and my skin and the tub were nice and neat. It is one of the harsher chemical mixes (though not as bad as Splat), and it did make my eyes water a little at one point. But out of all of them I think it has the easiest application, and I no longer feel like I have a communicable disease that ruins anything in my wardrobe that isn’t black, and on me it came out about the same color as the Splat. In this case, I’m willing to trade a less intense color for ease of use.
My next experiment is going to involve delving into the world of Overtone and pigmented conditioners because my hair needs a serious deep treatment, and while I know the turquoise Overtone won’t be enough to color my hair, I would like to see if I can use it to tweak the indigo into something closer to my favorite teals. Stay tuned to see how that comes out.
Like what you see? Check out In Character Part V: Hair & Makeup.