I typed this up years ago for a young human in Lima, Peru trying to persuade their parent that blue hair was totally do-able. I recently dug it up for a friend and realized it might be nice to post. Here’s how I blue my hair, after 11+ years of consistent experience. The pictures in here are hella old, but I find them charming. Also I miss my mohawk now.
Much affection to Libby Bulloff and Jessica Polka, both of whom traded hair dye jobs with me for years, and to the Hair Dye Party crew for the same.
To get the hue I like, I mix two or more of the following to get a balance between the blues that tend towards purple and those that tend towards green:
- Special Effects Blue Haired Freak (bright, blurple), and/or
- Punky Color Atlantic Blu
e (bright, tealish), and/or
- Pravana Blue (bright) with
- Arctic Fox Poseidon (dark, teal tint) and/or
- Argan Oil Midnight Blue (dark).
- You can get latex or similar gloves from a beauty supply store or a pharmacy
- You’ll want a hairdye brush.
- Hair dye can could come from internet, from a beauty supply store (such as Sally’s Beauty Supply), or punk rock shop.
- Bleach powder and developer, from a beauty supply store if you want to do a lot of it (bucket of bleach and bucket of developer) or a pharmacy if you just want to try one round (box example – not one I specifically recommend, as I don’t use box bleach anymore).
If you don’t bleach, you’ll end up with a neat blue hue if your hair is even mildly brown, but it won’t stay long and it won’t be bright at all. It’ll look rad in the sunlight and otherwise be understated. That said, bleaching is the part that damages the hair. This damage can be trivial – the equivalent of swimming in chlorinated or even salty water – or it can be heavy, like the horror stories you hear about hair breaking or frizzing. The trick is to use powered bleach and 10 or 20 Developer (these go all the way to 40. The higher the number, the stronger the effect. Start low and work your way up with experience).
Apply with a brush from the roots out. I first do the hair line and then go in rows on my head to be sure I get everything. Start at the part, then work my way down one side of the head in parallel rows from my face to just past the back curve of my head. Once finished with that side, I go back to the part and work my way down the other side. Then down the back, still parallel to the floor. Then I get anything beyond the roots I’m interested in bleaching. Let sit until bleached enough, you can’t handle the feeling any more, or it’s sort of fluffy(?) and doesn’t feel/look like it’s doing anything anymore.
Leave on for at least 30 minutes. I let the dye stay on my head overnight. Seriously. I plastic-wrap the top of my head, put a sock cap on and a towel on my pillow, and go to sleep. There isn’t anything in the “fake” colors that has damaged my hair yet.