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Friday, 12 June 2020


I have been dying my hair since 2012 -- that's eight years of CHEMICAL TORTURE -- but no, really, it's been pretty fun. I do love changing up my styles, and have blogged a few times about my hair. This article is kind of 'expanding' on some of my other posts, showing lots of pictures and detailing my journey through hair-dying overtime.

My hair is currently dark blue (from dark brown hair; bleached blonde and then dyed blue). Despite all the dying, my hair (thankfully) hasn't all fallen out. The picture on the right is my hair in February 2020. (By the way, blogger is super awkward with picture placements so my apologies in advance for some of them being at odd angles.)

For permanent dying, I usually use schwarkopf, and for semi-permanent, I use directions, adore, and/or crazy colour (I like to mix). I'm not going to write which dyes I've used specifically unless necessary, as I tended to mix dyes and can't remember which ones I specifically used each time. But those are the brands I've used. I mostly dye my hair myself, but have had friends/relatives do it a few times for me. I prefer doing it myself just because I like doing my own hair, but it can be useful having someone else go at it, especially those parts at the back. I mainly buy hair products from Paks Cosmetics, an AMAZING shop for afro-hair products.

2012-13: first time I ever dyed my hair was August 2012. I had wanted red hair for a really long time, but because I'd never dyed it before I was a bit anxious about going bright red straight away. I used a regular schwarzkopf red dye and it went burgundy. I kept re-dying it every few months, especially the roots, and used Loreal Hicolor Hilights for dark hair (ordered on Amazon as couldn't find them in the UK) to achieve that vibrant red.

NOTE: I did NOT bleach my hair to get it red, I simply just kept dying it red using the hicolor products (and some Crazy Colour Fire). I would often dye it over two days, doing a dye job one day that focused on my roots and the rest of my head, and then doing another dye the following day to make the rest of it pop.

If you want to achieve the vivid red look from dark hair, DEFFO buy the hicolor hilights in red. No need to pre-bleach, and it comes out lovely.

everyday hair product I used to use.
post-shower curls

2014: after a year and a half of red hair, I wanted to go blue. I bleached my hair myself pretty badly (this was the first time in my life that I had directly bleached my hair, minus using developer to mix dye). Black/brown hair has red hues, so when you bleach it, it goes ginger (I learned this later when I was bleaching it to go blue). I got my roots and ends pretty blonde, but the middle chunk of it was still red and ginger in parts, so when I put the blue dye over it, it came out green. My green hair did look cool, and I had it for six months with only one touch-up, but it wasn't what I had wanted.

Bleaching the red then going blue...erm, green.

The 'post-shower' pout
2014 (later): bye-bye green, hello pink. I MISS my pink hair; pink is my all-time favourite colour, and while I think red suits my hair better, pink is certainly fun. Because my hair was greenish, getting it ice blonde was easier than it would have been if I was bleaching dark hair (we also bleached it twice). I had the pink for about six months.

2015: back-to-black (well, dark brown). It did feel nice to have natural looking hair again. My hair definitely needed some replenishing time so I wanted to use 'natural hair colour' time as a way to do lots of conditioning and repairing. I also started using coconut oil (a GODsend, for the hair and body). I mainly used John Frieda Brilliant Brunette around this time, which is great for curly hair. Overtime, because of all the past bleaching, the bottom half faded to a lighter brown.

(Quick note: Anyone with curly hair knows that when it's damp, the curls stretch out so it looks longer, and as it dries it scrunches up and the curls tighten. This is why, when my hair is wet or has just been washed, it looks longer and 'looser', and then on normal days it looks shorter but is just fluffing around my head rather than stretched down. My hair length was usually the same in all these pictures, but depending on how wet/dry my hair was, it sometimes appears shorter and sometimes longer.)

2016: aaaand we're red again. I actually wanted it pink, but because we were bleaching dark hair this time, it didn't go blonde enough for the pink to come out. It was pretty vibrant red though, probably the brightest it had ever been. This is likely 'cos when I dyed my hair red in the past, I didn't bleach it prior to dying. In between re-dyes it faded to ginger, as shown below (whereas when previously dying it red, it just faded to a darker red instead of ginger, because it hadn't been bleached).

2018: back-to-black (well, dark brown). It did feel nice to have natural looking hair again. My hair definitely needed some replenishing time -- hang on, this is just a repeat of 2015. When my hair has been dyed, especially when it was red, I didn't want to condition it every day just as the more you wet it, the faster the dye goes, so having my hair dark brown really gave me the chance to do daily conditioning, lots of deep conditioning (I never use treatments, just leave conditioner in for 30-60 mins once a week), and applying coconut oil every evening.


2019-20: In May 2019 I gave myself a hair cut as my hair was SO unhealthy and dry at the bottom, years of dying and bleaching really messes your hair up so I decided it was time for a well-needed chop.

Later, in October, I decided I REALLY wanted to get my hair dark blue, and did lots of research about how best to go about it. I bleached my dark hair FOUR TIMES over THREE DAYS, and applied semi-permanent blue dye. I initially wanted blue-black, but if you apply blue-black dye to dark hair, it WILL just go black. It's not use getting blue-black dye if you have dark hair and want navy blue hair, because dark hair has red hues which cancel out the blue. Blue only comes through on blonde hair, so I used a toner in between to make my hair more dark-blonde and less orange. Worked like a charm (although it was a PAIN).

Pictures below: from dark ginger to dark blonde, using a blue toner to even out the orange parts. Then we have the lovely blue afterwards.

On straightening

Evidently, I like to change my hair up, and while I adore my naturally curly hair, I have recently been straightening it a lot. It doesn't tend to stay 'dead' straight because of the natural bounce, and I prefer it with some volume or wave anyway as opposed to flat.

Before straightening, I apply Palmer's Olive Leave-In Conditioner to my hair, and use a heat protectant serum, and then apply Palmer's Raw Shea Oil Serum afterwards. My scalp tends to get itchy 'cos of how bloody damaged my hair is, so I use DooGro anti-itch oil (usually once daily and at night) to rub into my scalp to ease the itching. I also have Batista Dry Shampoo, to get rid of any excess oil in between washing.

 Dying your hair WILL damage it, inevitably, but if you are careful, you can minimize damage. A few overall hair-care tips before ending this semi-dissertation:

- Coconut oil is your best friend. Get a good quality organic extra-virgin brand that doesn't leave a rancid smell, and apply some each night, especially to your scalp and roots.

- Palmer's have the best hair-care products, especially for us brown/curly-haired people. Their shampoos, conditioners, leave-in conditioners and serums are all wonderful in keeping curly hair strong and healthy.

- There is no need to dye your hair too often; six-to-eight weeks is typically a good length of time to leave in between touch-ups. (I don't shampoo my hair that often which is also why I leave longer times between dying.)

The internet is an amazing place to get tips and advice on haircare, so make use of it, and above all, enjoy the process! Changing up your hair is fun (long as you appreciate your natural hair too -- remember, BLACK WOMEN'S NATURAL HAIR ROCKS!)

Have you ever dyed your hair? If so, what colours have you done? How long have you been dying it for? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
I've also published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: