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.

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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.

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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.

My Response to: “Women can’t sing rock”. (20 Best Female Rock Singers)

So recently in my hometown, Middlesbrough, a pub called Doctor Browns banned female-fronted bands, with the excuse that ‘women can’t sing rock’. You can read more about the incident here.

I personally thought this was a sexist and unjustified complaint. Fair enough, if you don’t want your business to fail then you only hire the best musicians. But saying ‘women can’t sing rock’ and therefore aren’t welcome to perform there is discriminating.

They claimed customers ‘didn’t like’ previous female rock singers they hired – I don’t think this justifies an outright ban on female rock singers. This simply suggests they didn’t hire a good enough singer.

Banning all other female singers based on someone else’s less-than-impressive performance is incredibly unfair. People shouldn’t be refused a chance based on their gender.

I found it appalling that gender discrimination is still happening in my area. I personally believe women can be incredible rock artists, so I thought I’d respond to this by listing some of the best female rock artists I know.

I realise genre of music is rather debated, but I’ll just say these are the artists that are loosely described as rock. Obviously their music may incorporate other genres, but in my opinion they deserve a place on my best female rock artist list. So here it is, my favourite 20 female rock artists in no particular order:

#1 Siouxsie Sioux:

Siouxsie was an obvious choice for me to mention on this list. As the lead singer of one of my favourite British bands, Siouxsie and the Banshees, I think she represents the best of female gothic rock. Siouxsie has been adored since the 70’s with her iconic look and haunting music – and all but invented goth.

#2 Stevie Nicks:

Stevie Nicks is an American singer best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac. She had a chart topping career and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll’, so she definitely earned her place on my list of the best female rock artists.

#3 Lzzy Hale:

Lzzy Hale is the lead singer from the band Halestorm. Lzzy pretty much sparked my interest in rock music. She has one of the most powerful female vocals I’ve heard. I’ve seen Lzzy sing live and at the time she had a bad throat, but powered through and I can honestly say she still sounded better live and I couldn’t even tell she had been ill.

#4: Amy Lee:

Amy Lee is the lead vocalist of Evanescence. Critics vary on whether Evanescence should be classed as a rock or a metal band. Personally I refer to them as symphonic metal, but I think Amy Lee still deserves a place on this list. If you check out other symphonic metal bands you will see the majority are female fronted, such as Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain and so on… all which deserve a mention as they are amazing bands, but I’ll try to keep this list to strictly rock.

#5 Patricia Morrison: 

Patricia Morrison is probably most known for her backup vocals in The Sisters of Mercy, and although Andrew Eldritch takes main stage as the lead vocalist, I think Patricia Morrison still deserves a mention for her musical talent and contribution to goth rock.

#6 Taylor Momsen:

From the sweet little actress who played Cindy Lou in The Grinch to the lead singer of the American rock band The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen has come very far. Taylor Momsen is a talented actress and model, but the music she produces is worth some recognition for her contribution to female-rock.

#7 Hayley Williams:

Hayley Williams is known as the lead vocalist for Paramore. Their music has vastly evolved over time. I started listening to them back in what I like to refer to as my ’emo’ days, but I still have lots of appreciation for the music they are creating today.

#8 Avril Lavigne: 

Often referred to as the ‘Pop Punk Queen’, but releasing many tracks I would consider punk rock and alternative rock, Avril Lavigne has been massively successful. The Canadian singer is known for presenting a ‘rebellious’ attitude and looking eternally like a teenager, how does she do it? I grew up listening to Avril Lavigne and she has always been one of my favourite artists.

#9 P!nk: 

P!nk has released some incredible pop rock tracks and is an all around badass. She definitely represents the best of a girl-power attitude, just check out her motivational speech to her daughter here. I personally find her inspirational as an artist so I had to include her in this list.

#10 Emelie Autumn:

Emelie Autumn’s music is very different from any other music I have heard. Sometimes describes as ‘fantasy rock’, her creative and unique music alone earns her a place on my list. This quirky style of music is not for everyone, but I adore it and her work and talent is still to be admired.

#11 Dolores O’Riordan:

Dolores O’Riordan is an Irish musician known for leading the rock band The Cranberries. They have had worldwide success and produced some iconic tracks such as ‘Zombie’.

#12 Courtney Love:

Courtney love gained a notable presence in the punk and grunge scene in the 1990’s and rose to prominence as front-woman for the alternative rock band Hole. She had a highly publicised life after her marriage to Kurt Cobain (lead from Nirvana).

#13 Chelsea Wolfe:

I hadn’t known about Chelsea Wolfe long, but I fell in love with her haunting music. She is continuing the evolution of goth rock with her modern experimental sounds. If you are looking for a modern gothic artist then she is worth a listen.

#14 Ellie Rowsell:

Ellie Rowsell is part of a four-piece band called Wolf Alice who have been going since 2010. Their early work sounds folk-tinged but has evolved to a more rock-orientated sound.

#15 Natalie Bassingthwaighte:

Natalie Bassingthwaighte is known as the lead singer of electronic rock band Rogue Traders. I listen to their most popular song ‘Voodoo Child’ on repeat. For me it is a song that never gets old and will always be a favourite. I also come across a lot of fellow Whovians in the comments of this music video from when this song was featured in a Doctor Who episode.

#16 Debbie Harry:

I couldn’t miss Debbie Harry off this list. Most known for being part of the rock band Blondie. They pioneered early American new wave and punk scenes from the mid-late 70’s.

#17 Tina Root:

Tina Root is the vocalist of the band Switchblade Symphony who were prominent in the goth scene throughout the 90’s. As this is mostly an Alternative/Goth based blog I think it’s important to mention female vocalists who have had impact on the goth rock scene. Again, this is something that might not appeal to everyone, however, as this is the type of rock music I prefer to listen to, it’s worth a mention.

 

#18 Johnette Napolotano:

Johnette Napolotano is best known as the lead singer from American alternative rock band Concrete Blonde. Concrete Blonde built up their popularity in the 90’s with their top 20 singe ‘Joey’.

#19 Chibi:

Chibi is the lead singer of The Birthday Massacre, a band well known in the Goth scene. The Birthday Massacre’s musical style has been described as new wave revival, electronic rock, gothic rock, and dark wave. As an ongoing goth band and one with an amazing sound, Chibi deserved to be mentioned on my list.

#20 Theresa Jeane:

Last but definitely not least, Theresa Jeane is the lead sing from The Nearly Deads. I found this band a few months ago and have loved their music ever since. They appealed to me when I found their song lyrics relatable and was pleased to find they are rather interactive with their fans on social media. They quickly became one of my favourite alternative rock bands and I’m looking forward to seeing what their future in music will involve.

I think this list proves my point that women are totally capable of being successful rock singers. If you want to share your opinion on this debate or if I missed any of your favourite female rock singers off the list, then feel free to leave a comment. I’m open to discussions and hearing new music.

24 Common Goth Problems

I really enjoyed writing my ‘What Not To Say To Goths’ post, so I thought I would do another humorous list of things goths go through. Here’s my 24 goth problems:

 

  • Getting a tan when you want to look like death himself.

 

  • Not being able to wear fishnet in the sun in case you get tan lines

 

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  • Introducing your music to people and they find it ‘scary’.

 

  • When you have to use touch alone to find a specific t-shirt because everything is in your wardrobe is black.

 

  • When you think its black, but it turns out to be navy.

 

  • Getting mistaken for an emo.

 

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Toxic Tears (YouTuber)
  • Spilling white powder on your black clothes.

 

  • Black lipstick never staying put.

 

  • When your shades of black don’t match.

 

  • When goth becomes a mainstream trend and people who picked on you for dressing this way start wearing it because its cool.

 

  • When people think you are wearing a costume and ask what the occasion is.

 

  • Not knowing where the other goths are hiding at.

 

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  • When people assume you are confident because the way you dress draws attention.

 

  • When you try to have big hair but it just wants to stay flat.

 

  • Trying to DIY your fave band shirt without ruining it.

 

  • Summer being too hot to wear black.

 

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  • Having brown roots until you re-dye your hair.

 

  • People thinking you are morbid for wanting to walk through the graveyard.

 

  • When you buy something colourful and you spend the day having everyone point it out.

 

  • Goth brands being too expensive.

 

  • People looking shocked if you do something nice like holding a door for them.

 

  • Security following you around a store.

 

  • Black dye transferring from your clothes onto your skin.

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  • Feeling bald without your eyeliner.

 

Let me know any others you have below!

What Not To Say To Goths

So I thought I’d do something a bit fun and light-hearted based on the daft comments I receive regularly for being a goth. Over the years I’ve learnt not to take things people say too seriously, usually people don’t mean any harm by it.

Here’s some of the regular comments I receive and my thoughts on them:

“Oh, I went through a Goth phase. You’ll grow out of that.”

It’s not a phase, it’s a way of life. Do not try to tell me what I will or won’t be interested in. Goth is not just for teens, there are plenty of Elder Goths out there!

“When are you going to stop dyeing your hair?”

Also anything along the lines of changing my hair can be annoying. I often get comments like “If you keep dying it then it will fall out…Your natural hair was such a lovely colour…don’t get it cut like that it will look ridiculous.” It’s my hair so I’ll do what I want with it, the way I look has no impact on anyone else. If I decide to shave my head tomorrow then why is it anyone else’s concern? It will grow back, if not I’ll buy a wig…

“Don’t get that pierced/tattooed.”

I find these types of comments usually come from concerned family members. I’m a girl with 7 ear piercings and I’ve been told if I get more piercings then I’m going to ‘overdo it’. In the past I was going to get a septum piercing to which I was told it would look like a ‘bull ring’ in my nose.

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Old photo of me with a fake septum ring

I also have a few tattoo ideas lined up, to which I’ve been told “You’ll look common” or “People won’t want to hire you for a job”. Sometimes they are worried for my safety, and try to talk me out of it by telling me all the possible infections I could get. But usually their reasons are just superficial. But as most goths know, we don’t look like this to please other people. We choose to look like this because it makes us happy.

“Don’t wear that, it looks boyish”

I’m sure goth guys also get the opposite with people telling them they look ‘too feminine’. I’ve personally been told not to wear certain things because they don’t look flattering enough. One time I was told not to wear a pair of my favourite shoes to a family event because they were ‘too boyish’. News flash: I don’t want to look girly! I don’t care about which gender my clothes were ‘meant’ for, I wear them because I love them.

“You’d look so much prettier without all that makeup”

I think this applies to everyone, not just goths in particular. I don’t wear makeup to look pretty. I wear it because I feel it completes my outfit, I like being creative, and most importantly I enjoy wearing it and the way it makes me feel. It also annoys me when people assume you are wearing it to impress someone. Just no! I’m not going to change who I am for other people, so why would I put makeup on for the sake of them? I wear it because once again it’s a thing that makes me happy!

“Are you into BDSM?”

Please, please, please stop asking us this! First of all, I’m not going to answer that. Secondly, a person being goth doesn’t determine whether they are ‘kinky’ in the bedroom or not.

“It’s not Halloween yet”

Well, Ministry would seem to disagree with you there…

This one is just a classic. For some reason people seem to think they are being funny and have thought up a really clever original phrase to say to us. Nope, I’ve heard this one tonnes of times before. If anyone knows when Halloween is then it’s me.

“Who’s funeral is it?”

Yours…

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There was a brilliant quote being spread round the internet: “If you can dress like this without going to a yoga class, I can dress like this without going to a funeral.” That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this comment.

“Are those your real eyes?”

This may sound like common sense, but honestly some people genuinely believe that bright red contact lenses are my normal eye colour…

“You look so scary”

Sometimes I will actually take this as a compliment, makes me feel like I’ve reached full goth potential!

 

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“You look dead”

Well I am a future corpse…

“You should get a tan, you look so pale and sickly”

Believe it or not I don’t want to risk skin cancer or to end up looking like an oompa loompa, so thanks but I think I’ll stick to my ghostly complexion.

“GOTH!”

I’ve never understood why people feel the need to shout this at me. Yes, I know I am a goth, well done for noticing 👏. I don’t take the word as an insult, it was my intention.

“Look its a vampire!”

I wish I was that awesome!

*Insert sarcastic voice* “Where did you get your coat from?”

Questions are fine so long as you are genuinely interested. But otherwise I don’t see the point in asking. This seems to be a thing chavvy teens love to do. Best one I’ve heard yet was: “Where’d you get your bag from? Toys R us?”. Personally I wish Toys R Us sold goth accessories, it’d be a lot easier to shop!

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My coffin bag

“There’s holes in your jeans”

Thanks for pointing that out, I never noticed that when I bought them…

“Do you worship the devil?”

This is unfortunately a stereotype that comes with being a goth. I’ve had people genuinely ask me if goth is a satanic thing out of pure curiosity. Just to clarify, not all goths are Satan worshippers! Goths can be any religion, just like anyone else.

“Do you cut yourself?”

Hold your horses! Firstly, you should never ask something this personal to anyone, mental health is no joke! Secondly, the stereotype that all goths are depressed is so wrong. We don’t dress in black and listen to this sort of music because we are all mopey. Honestly, if I were to stop being goth I’d be even more miserable, expressing myself in this way makes me happy.

“You have terrible music taste”

I could say the same to you. Everyone has their own taste, just because we don’t listen to mainstream tunes on the radio doesn’t mean my music is any less enjoyable than yours.

I hope you enjoyed these and maybe got a laugh out of some of my experiences. If you have any others, please share them in the comments!

 

 

Music Recommendation: I Don’t Know How But They Found Me

I’m always so excited when I find a new band I love and desperate to share my enjoyment of their music with other people.

So when a new song, ‘Choke’ by I Don’t Know How But They Found Me, appeared in my recommended on YouTube, I was more than willing to give it a listen.

The thumbnail stood out to me, as it had what looked like a skull but the artwork reminded me of that on Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ album cover – two things which strongly appealed to my gothic nature.

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Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

The band itself is an indie rock duo composed of vocalist and bassist Dallon Weekes, formerly of The Brobecks and Panic! At the Disco (another band which I love!). Also, drummer Ryan Seaman, formerly of Falling in Reverse.

The band name I Don’t Know How But They Found Me is a line taken from the 1985 sci-fi film Back To The Future, and so the release date (26th October) of this song is a direct reference to the film as it is the date Doc Brown and Marty McFly intended to travel to in 2010.

This is the second single in a project inspired by a series of 1980-90’s talent shows that Weekes discovered.

Weekes said that ‘Choke’ was written to describe how disenchanted he had become in Los Angeles. He said that he loved the place, but the culture was hard to navigate as he didn’t fit in so it never felt like home.

Listen to the singe here:

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