Well, today I'm here to share some of my experience with you, and I guess it's up to you if you need it or not?  Maybe. 

Back in my day, it wasn't so different from other teenage experiences at its core.  We wanted to be different, we wanted to be new, we wanted to be ourselves, and we had no clue how to do any of it.  And since we were kids, we were idiots (to an extent), so we'd do whatever we wanted.

Sound familiar?  We all did it, in our own way.

Well, I wasn't a rebellious kid.  I had like, one incident where I got into Capital T Trouble as a kid, but after that I wasn't gonna cause one iota of trouble.  I got good grades, did extracurricular activities, but....despite all my rage, I was still a rat in a cage.


You get it. I was also, you know, a teenager, so I was broke (was?). So how was a kid who didn't have a lot of money stand out? I wasn't about to go and get in trouble again. I couldn't afford to go to buy the latest JNCO jeans. So, I did what I could. I colored my hair. Bright, unusual colors. It was a way to show you were an "alternative kid", like short hand to show you were down with the Grunge/Alternative Rock way of life, you dig.  I did at first to rebel, but.... then I really, really liked the way it looked.  It became more about me and how it made me feel rather than how it made others feel.  You know that feeling you get when you have a really good  hairstyle/haircut.


It's like... a quiet way to feel good about how you look. ANYWAY.

Back in the day, I'd use a product called Manic Panic, which was/is a temporary vegetable hair dye that washes out over a few weeks.  It would show up, but never as brightly as I wanted it to, because I have brown hair.  Just like when you were a kid with a coloring book - if you try to color over black or brown, it just....looks black or brown.  I never did try Kool Aid packets, but I hear people tried those, too. I didn't mess with that. Nowadays, temporary wash out dyes are very common. And not very expensive!

I was into it then, and I still do it now sometimes. Well, the bright colors that is, like green or pink or blue or purple.  I've done more natural colors, as well. Back then, it was rare - now, I see someone with brightly colored hair almost every time I go out! It's kinda nice. And it's funny how the thing I'm into now also does it. Like, full circle?

Starting in the 90's, I have colored my hair probably... a quarter of my life. I've done it tons of times. So, today, I'll tell you the tips and tricks I've learned over the years. Take it as you will.  You can use it, or, if your teenagers want to color their hair, you can read over this first and see if it's worth it in your household.


Now, huge disclaimer: I'M NOT AN EXPERT. I'M A DUMBASS. I'M JUST A PERSON WHO HAS DONE THIS A LOT. I'm not a hairdresser or salon professional, and if you're at all nervous about doing this, don't. If you have really sensitive skin or damaged hair, don't do it. Let a professional handle it.  Also - I'm not being paid by any company for the use of their products. Just in case, thought I'd put that out there.

I don't think your hairdresser will be mad at you, but they're probably going to give you the "you get what you pay for" speech, which... is true.  This will be up to you how good it looks, but in general it'll cost about thirty bucks total.  If you want to be 100% sure it'll look perfect, go to a pro.


Now having said all that... if you do mess it up, it's really not the end of the world. It's hair.  It'll grow back.   For free, even.  If you're super nervous or self conscious, just buy a backup darker color permanent box hair dye like a dark brown or black before you get started.  If you really mess it up or you just don't like it, it'll be safe to go ahead and cover it up with a more normal color.  Well, you'll have to leave your hair alone until it grows out if you want to cover up your mistakes and be sure you're not overdoing it.

And be realistic.  If you're going to try to cover up red hair or dark brown hair or even black hair without a bleaching agent, it might not show up.  Or, it might turn into another color.  Again, if you're hesitant, just hire a pro.

Let's get into it.

How to Color Your Own Hair


The Process Of Hair Color

Now, after having spent at least two hours on this process (although realistically for me, I'll block out a whole afternoon), I will then shower.  NOTE: I generally do not remove the towels on the bathroom floor for this part.  I will also put back on the rubber gloves.  I don't clean up until I'm sure I'm 100% done, rinsed, and finished.

For me, it's easier to get dye off my hair in the shower, because there is more space and more elements in place to protect from the color bleeding to somewhere it's not supposed to be.  And, it's easier for me to see, which is important as well when you're rinsing out dye.  It's also easier to rinse in a way that won't get dye in your eyes (most dyes are pretty safe, but just to be sure). You want to rinse and rinse until the water runs clear, and make sure you're putting your fingers through your hair.  The last thing you want is a random blob of dried dye on the back of your head.

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If you're using a temporary color that doesn't have a conditioner, apply a conditioner now.  If you're using a box,  they usually include one. Use it. I like to put on the conditioner, and then let my hair air dry.  Then, I won't wash my hair for at least four days after I apply it.

Now, don't judge your work on wet hair.  It won't look like it's going to look on the regular for a couple of days.  Let your hair dry, and if you absolutely know you hate it, then you can use your backup coverup dye.  It's okay to do that afterward, but again, if you do -leave your hair alone after that for about six months.  Dyeing your hair three times in a weekend won't affect my hair, but it might yours.  Again, you know your hair better than anybody.  I would say only to do a coverup if you totally boned it, because a lot of temporary dyes can be re-applied to change the hue, or it might fade to a color you like better. If you did a permanent dye you didn't like..... yes, you can cover it up after - if you choose a color that's darker than what you applied earlier.  But again, if you do, leave your hair alone for a bit after.

Here's how mine turned out.

attachment-20240229_112936 (1)

Now keep in mind, I used a bleaching agent, and I used TWO different colors of blue. So you might not get the kind of two toned thing I've got going. It wasn't something I spent a lot of time on, but I did a kind of... almost tye dye thing this time. Sorry, I won't explain that.

Other precautions you might take include either putting a towel on your pillow or changing your pillowcase to an old one you don't care about for a week or so.  That's if you're using a temporary dye, that is.  Permanent dye shouldn't rub off on surfaces or clothes, but temporary dye can.  After about a week you should be good, but you will want to be careful with temporary dye at first.

I think that's probably the whole thing.  I mean, that's what has worked and does work for me. I hope it works for you to bring you some happiness in this cold, dark world where it can be hard to learn to love yourself.

And hey, if coloring your hair pink does it for you, I say, who is it harming? Just go for it.

Colorfully yours,

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Gallery Credit: Jacob Osborn, Nicole Caldwell

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