My Experience: Dyeing and Maintaining Black Hair

First off, I apologise for the lack of posts this past month. If you follow my Instagram you may already be aware that I have been very busy this month attending parties, events such as Steampunk weekend and The Circus of Horrors, and going to gigs like Pale Waves and The Xcerts. I still have more trips planned and other concerts coming up as March approaches, but I do hope to share some of these experiences with you all on my blog.

Anyway, in this post I wanted to talk you all through my experience with dyeing my hair black, as I know when I first started dyeing my hair (about 2 years ago) I was very nervous that something might go wrong. I had to ask someone who was experienced with box dyes about how to get the best results. I wanted to share my experience with you all, in the hopes I help some people who are planning on using box dyes for the first time.

As a child I always wanted black hair, even before the whole goth-thing began. I know black hair is a very popular colour amongst goths, but remember, you don’t have to dye your hair black to be goth, don’t let people tell you otherwise!

Before I begin I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way a professional or expert on this. This is purely my own experience and for other people it may be different, if you have any concerns or problems through your hair dyeing process, then you are best asking questions to a qualified hairdresser who knows what they are doing.

So I’m going to take a look back at the questions I asked when I was first beginning dyeing my hair and the answers that I have now through my experience.

Which hair dye should I use?

I personally use box dyes because they are cheaper and faster than attending a hairdresser. I have always used Clairol Nice ‘N Easy (Black 83) in demi-permanent, as this has always worked for me. My hair was originally a light brown colour and I find that this covers it.

hair dye
Clairol Nice ‘N Easy Demi-Permanent in Black 83 (I thik I should also mention this blog post is not sponsored).

Now this bit is important for me; I use demi-permanent, (not semi-permanent or permanent dye). I didn’t use semi-permanent, because I didn’t want it to wash out quickly. I don’t use permanent, because the dye penetrates more layers of your hair and is therefore more damaging.

The box I use of demi-permanent says that the colour will wash out in ’24 washes’. In my experience this is not the case (so if you want a temporary colour that will wash out, don’t use this!). The colour remains in my hair until my roots have grown out again, and by that time I am re-dyeing it again to cover up my roots anyway.

How do I prepare for dyeing my hair?

  1. Don’t have hair products in your hair, e.g. hairspray, dry shampoo, and so on. You don’t want to risk anything making your hair patchy.
  2. Don’t wash you hair right before you dye it, leave your hair 2-3 days if you can, so the natural oils will protect your scalp.
  3. Dyeing hair can get messy! Be prepared with a wet cloth in case you get any dye on your skin so you can wipe it off straight away. Alternatively, if you put Vaseline round the edge of your hairline this stops the dye getting on your skin. Although usually I find any dye on your skin will wash off in the shower anyway.
  4. Don’t wear your favourite clothes and preferably have a shower cap so that you can put it over your hair while you wait for the dye to work.
  5. Wear gloves so you don’t get it all over your hands, the box dyes come with a pair in the instructions.
  6. ¬†Always do a patch test a few days beforehand, so that you know you aren’t allergic to the dye.
  7. Always read the instructions in the box.
  8. Preferably don’t use a white or fancy towel to dry your hair afterwards.

Should I cut my hair before or after I dye it?

Cut it afterwards. Don’t worry, you won’t see the natural colour on the tips of your hair because your hairs are too fine for that. After dyeing your hair, it can get damaged so getting it cut can give it the revitalising it needs. Every time you dye your hair, the tips are getting more and more dye into the layers, so the tips are more damaged. If you get regular trims this will maintain the health of your hair and avoid split ends.

I’ve heard people say they left the dye on for several hours or overnight? Should I do this?

Definitely not. The instructions are there for a reason. You shouldn’t need to leave the dye on for longer than the instructions say. If this is the case then the dye isn’t very good. The longer you leave it on the more chance you have of getting an allergic reaction, burns or hair damage. The dye I use says to leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse immediately. I do this and it has always worked.

Will I need more than one box to cover my hair?

When I first dyed my hair, I had very long hair and I only needed one box of dye. One box should be enough. However, my hair is very thin and fine. If you have thicker or super long hair and are worried about it not covering all your hair, it won’t harm to grab two boxes just in case.

How do I care for my hair after I have dyed it?

After rinsing out the dye use the conditioner that comes in the box. I know people who just throw that away, but it really helps. My hair always feels very brittle after putting the dye on it and using the conditioner helps it feel strong and healthy again. I leave it to soak into my hair for 5 minutes.

After dying my hair I try to avoid washing it or using shampoo on it for a few days. However, I will always use conditioner when washing my hair.

I use shampoo and conditioner which says it is ‘colour revitalising’. This is supposed to protect and maintain the colour in your hair.

I also always use heat protection before blow-drying, straightening, crimping or curling my hair.

Note: Hairspray will pull out the colour of your hair, you will notice that more dye comes out in the shower if you have used hairspray. However, it’s never been to the extent that you can see the natural colour through it again. But I tend to only use hairspray when I am crimping or curling my hair.

When should I re-dye my roots?

I leave my hair to grow a good 3-4 cm approximately. This is probably around a month and a half to 2 months of growth before I dye it again. I don’t want to dye it too frequently because I don’t want to risk damage. You can buy root covering sprays for the days you feel you need to cover over your roots. I bought ‘L’Oreal Magic Retouch Black root touch up’ while it was in the sale. I tend to only use this to cover my roots on special occasions or events where I want to look my best, as I feel this stuff is rather pricey for what it is. (It’s more expensive than the dye itself!). However, it does the trick of being a temporary solution until I re-dye my hair.

What do I do when it is time to re-dye my roots?

It is recommended to always test the dye before you redye your hair in case you develop an allergic reaction, especially if you choose to switch brand.

I personally stick to the same dye. Why fix what’s not broken?

You should only need one box, as you only need to cover your roots. The rest of your hair should still be covered as it usually hasn’t washed out.

I start by applying the dye to my roots first. Then, when I have finished I will continue to apply it into the lengths and tips of my hair.

taglio-capelli-scalati-medi-katy-perry
Just throwing in a photo of my fave lady when she had her black hair, the stunning Katy Perry 

That’s it for my experience with black hair, I have yet to try any other colours.

The first two times I dyed my hair I had my mother apply it to make sure I didn’t miss any spots and that it wasn’t patchy.

After that I find with practise I am able to dye my hair myself with ease and don’t have any problems with missing a spots or patchiness.

However, remember that hair dye comes with risks and I would say wait until you are 16+ years old before you attempt to permanently dye your full head of hair.

Dyeing hair is great for expressing yourself and I personally feel a lot happier and more myself with my black hair, so if it is something you want to do then definitely go for it.

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