All sources I had found said “It can’t be done.” “There’s no such thing.” Well, if you want something bad enough, you find a way. Here’s my way.
Blue is not a hair color you see on many people, and you’ll find even less information about it on the internet. Most of the information out there talks about how a permanent blue hair dye doesn’t exist and suggests some pretty lame, expensive, messy and (lets face it) really temporary alternatives.
Yes a nice blue hair color is a rare thing, mostly because it is so damned hard to achieve and even harder to keep from fading into a weird blotchy emo green color. I am not a professional cosmetologist nor do I claim to be an expert on hair coloring. I am just a girl who wanted blue hair that would last, and was not willing to take no for an answer.
I live on the road for the majority of the year and I am not someone who has the time or the patience to mess with semi permanent color that washes out after a few days and needs touched up every week… no thanks. I’m not knocking it, if you’re someone who likes to change your hair color every week then it’s perfect… but it’s also expensive. “Take cold showers to preserve your color.” Was advice that I was given several times. I don’t know about you, but I’m not that into cold showers.
So… all the semi and demi-permanent hair colors I tried either faded or rinsed right out, even though I had bleached my hair first. I tried a lot of things in the name of blue hair until I found something that actually works. The following describes the process I used to achieve a Permanent Navy Blue Hair color that is evenly toned and beautiful.
*Note: This process is somewhat damaging to hair, you are going to need a deep conditioning hair treatment (or several of them) if you want to get it back to looking healthy.
HERE ARE THE THINGS YOU WILL NEED:
1. A T-Shirt you don’t mind ruining
2. A really good hair bleach (I used the Feria Brand #205 Extra Bleach Blonding, it’s awesome)
3. Schwarzkopf Royal Colorist Developer
4. Sparks Long Lasting Electric Blue
5. Clairol Mix Tones (COOL) Toner
6. 2 Pairs of gloves
7. A Hair Color mixing bottle with pointed tip for application (get one with ounce measurements)
8. An extra mirror so you can see the back of your head (or a friend to help you)
9. A deep conditioning hair treatment (I used Feria Deep Conditioning Color Treatment)
10. A hairbrush
11. Something to put over your hair while it develops to lock moisture in (I used a plastic bag)
THE STEPS I USED TO ACHIEVE PERMANENT BLUE HAIR:
This is a two part process, I would spread it out over at least two days to give your hair a break after bleaching. I waited almost a week after bleaching and conditioned my hair really well. I know it can be hard to wait when you’re excited about something but trust me, it’s worth it. Your hair will thank you for it by not breaking and falling out… and you’ll be glad for that, right? Also, if your hair contains metallic dye, you shouldn’t use any of these products. Get the metallic dye out first.
Part One, Bleaching:
Unless you have naturally platinum blonde (almost white) hair, this step is critically important. You must be willing to bleach your hair until it is almost white. This usually requires that you bleach more than once because bleach will only develop for so long per application. If you don’t get your hair white or close to it, your hair will turn out black during the coloring process instead of blue, and if you wanted black you wouldn’t be reading this…
The only bleach I will EVER recommend to anyone is Loreal Feria #205 Extra Bleach Blonding for intense lightening. I have had nightmares with all other bleaches I’ve tried. Feria #205 is smooth, not gritty, applies easily, and works really well. If your hair is already somewhat light, you may only have to do this once. Bonus: They give you a lot of bleach so you don’t have to get 2 boxes if your hair is long, and it comes with a really nice conditioner. Yes, Feria is harsh on hair, but it gets the job done. I’ll take that over some wimpy product that is gentle and doesn’t do what it says it will do… to me that’s pointless.
1. Put on that ugly old baggy T-Shirt you don’t mind ruining
2. Put on gloves (DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT GLOVES)
3. Follow the directions that come with the bleach (see tips for extra pointers)
4. Wash, Rinse, Condition, Rinse, Wait before coloring.
Make sure your hair is dry and brushed before you do this. If it is brushed it makes it much easier to distribute the bleach evenly.
Leave the bleach on your head for at least an hour unless you achieve white hair before then.
Once you have the bleach all distributed in your hair you can GENTLY brush or comb it to make sure you got the bleach on all your strands.
Put a little extra on the back of your head to make sure you didn’t miss a spot, have a friend check it to make sure you got everywhere.
If you put a hair cap or a plastic bag over your hair while it develops, it keeps the bleach from drying out while it develops, and it keeps heat in which also helps the developing process. Like I said before, I just tied a plastic grocery bag around my hair… I’m not really all that fancy about things.
After the bleaching, when you condition your hair you can leave the conditioner in overnight to help repair the damage.
If your hair is not close to white after the first bleaching, you’ll need to bleach it again. Wait as long as you can stand it before bleaching a second time (do not do it the same day).
Part Two, Coloring:
This, my funky daring haired friends, is the fun part. This is where all the blue colored fruits of your labor are going to finally pay off. Make sure you have all your stuff ready: Mixing bottle, developer, color, toner, gloves, hairbrush, clock, etc. and let’s do this.
Here are the ratios I used (I have long hair):
The main thing here is that you mix equal parts of developer and coloring. So, the color bottle was about 2oz and the toner was about 2oz and those both count as your color, meaning you have 4oz of coloring, so you will use 4oz of developer. If you got the Schwarzkopf Royal Colorist Developer it most likely came in an 8oz bottle so you will use half. If you have short hair you will not use this much, but it’s probably easier to mix this amount anyway and waste a little than to try to get half the color into the bottle.
The Steps I used:
1. Make sure hair is clean, dry and brushed before you begin.
2. Put on your gloves and a T-Shirt you don’t mind ruining
3. Pour 4ounces of developer into your mixing bottle
4. Squeeze entire contents of Clairol Mix Tones (Cool) into mixing bottle, close bottle, point away from face and shake for 20 seconds or so. *Clairol Mix Tones (Cool) is meant to be used in small amounts to remove brassiness from hair, but in this case it is your secret weapon. Because you are using the whole tube, it is going to turn your hair blue. Way more blue than if you used the Sparks color alone.
5. Open mixing bottle (pointing away from face) and pour entire contents of Sparks Long Lasting Electric Blue 3oz bottle into your mixing bottle, close, and (pointing away from face)shake well. Shake until it looks like everything is mixed.
6. Once it is well mixed you can apply it to your hair. Unless you have extremely long hair you are not going to use the entire contents of the bottle. Be generous with it, but don’t feel like you need to use it all just to not waste any. I made this mistake and ended up with it dripping everywhere, just use however much you need and throw the rest away. (You cannot save the mixture for later use, it won’t work).
7. Make sure you didn’t miss any spots, check the back of your head with a mirror or have a friend check. You can even gently brush through it to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
8. Watch it develop. At first it will look like a light blue but very soon it will develop into a deep vibrant blue and then to a dark blue black. I let it develop all the way to a blue black because I wanted a dark navy blue, but if you like the mid-range vibrant blue I would imagine you could rinse it out at that point and keep it lighter… Don’t hold me to this, I didn’t do it that way.
9. Once your color is developed, between 25-45 min depending on how dark you want, you can wash your hair. Using a gentle shampoo, wash the coloring mix out of your hair. Your shower is going to look like you murdered a smurf so be prepared to rinse the walls and shower curtain.
10. Apply a deep conditioner and let it sit for no less than 5 minutes. You can even leave it in and rinse it out later for a really deep treatment.
TIPS & SIDE NOTES:
If you let the color develop for the full amount of time, it is going to look like it’s black when you first step out of the shower. You will see a little blue, don’t panic, the blue is there. When it dries, it will be a deep blue-black (Think comic book hair) It will fade a little each time you wash into a nice navy blue (remember, even permanent color fades to some degree with time)
If you got blue dye on your skin, chances are it’s still there to some degree. If you’re like me, you got some on your skin… not to worry, it will wash off completely next time you shower. With that in mind, don’t do this the day of a big event or date or important anything. Do it a few days to a week prior.
You are going to have some color bleed for a while each time you wash your hair. Even though it is permanent dye it is going to bleed, and when it is wet it can stain your towels and shirts. Designate a hair towel that you don’t mind turning blue. I have had this color for a month now, and it has changed very little with washing but still bleeds color when I shampoo. I’m not worried about it because it still looks great, as I’ve come to expect with Sparks color. This color bleed also happens with reds and other permanent colors but not for quite as long as the blue. The reason for this, I don’t know.
Be prepared to hear “You’ve got blue hair” a lot. People tend to state the obvious when they’re caught off guard. It’s funny to me, and sometimes I myself forget that my hair is blue and it catches me by surprise.
Enjoy your true-blue victory of hair color awesomeness. They said permanent blue hair color couldn’t be done… You just did the impossible. Congratulations.