As going with strange, unnatural colors is typically something done by those in high school or college, age groups where money is typically in short supply, but time is not, it is good to have detailed instructions on doing your own wild colored hair at home.

But for those of you who have some extra spending money, along with the desire for a technicolor appearance, I would highly recommend doing some searching for a salon which will do the color for you, if one is available in your area. Why?

  • The primary reason is appearance. While you can surely get even bleaching and even color application yourself, it's a lot easier for someone else to do. They don't have to struggle to see all the way around your head, and they surely have a lot more experience applying bleach and color to hair. If you're going for a multicolor appearance, this is even more important - a decently experienced and skilled stylist/colorist has no problems getting straight streaks, bleaching just the roots, or doing the tips in an even line. A stylist is also a lot less likely to accidentally fry your hair or scalp with too much/too strong bleach.

  • You also will get some sort of guarantee with your hair. I've never been to a salon where they wouldn't touch up the cut or color if you get out and about, and realize that something is wrong. If you screw up your own hair, you either have to try again, or go pay someone to fix what you did.

  • Time. How Excalibre describes the process, it'll take you at least a full day, if not a full weekend. Go to a salon, and you're looking at a few hours maximum. Eat lunch, get your hair taken care of, and then go off and do other things with your newly colored hair. This occurs without loss of quality - bleachings are nice and light with salon-quality bleach, without taking nearly as long. And with the help of the dryer in the salon, you'll have nice and intense color after about 30-45 minutes, without needing all day. I may just be blessed with hair that holds the dye well, but by the time I had noticable fading, it was time to go get the color redone because of how much my hair had grown out - I never had to touch it up. It looked good right up until the end.

  • You don't need to clean up the mess. Sure, you'll still get stained sinks, tubs, towels, and anything else that comes in contact with your wet hair. But that mess is nothing compared to the potential mess while doing the color. When I'm done with mine, my stylist (who's messy, admittedly), usually has brightly colored hands, spots on her shoes (which are already covered in colors from doing just this), has turned 2-3 towels bright colors, and left a bunch of stains on the floor. Myself, I don't need to clean up anything.

  • Finally, with a willing and experienced stylist, you can do more unusual color combinations and patterns. Some things are just extremely difficult to do yourself, as you're limited in dexterity and sight when working on your own hair.

I'm not saying don't do it yourself - just remember that, like with many things, having someone experienced and with more resources doing it can yield better and/or faster results. And if you have the means to afford having it done at a salon, you'll likely be happier with the results.

One last note - if you do decide to find a salon, be ready to do a lot of calling around. Most hair salons don't exactly have much demand for unnatural colors, thus don't have anyone who can do it. If and when you find a place that does it well, treasure them, for they are few. Even better is to get a recommendation for a place first - Andromache01 informs me that she had a really bad experience with color at a salon, to the point that she could have done better herself, one handed, in the dark. I'd also check on the brand of dye they use for their color, and I'd recommend Special Effects as the brand of choice for getting vibrant color.

Reading the writeups above, you might get the impression, as I did, that their authors have the sort of hair that, when a breeze hits it, everything goes slow motion. Glossy pink or puple manes that wave where they should wave and straighten where they should straighten. These are clearly people whose hair doesn't frizz in the rain, whose ponytails don't have persistent and inexplicable lumps, whose ends are not split, whose roots are not showing. If their hair betrayed them on a regular basis, would they give it such doting attention? Surely not.

Sadly, we are not all gifted with beautiful, obedient hair. There is a second class of hair-growers, those of us whose hair never does as it's told and view it as a plaything at best, a target for abuse at worst.

We've learned the hard way that no amount of conditioning or dyeing will make our hair look good. Whatever the ads promise, we'll somehow screw it up or our follicles will somehow reject it. That's why the good people at Phoenix Brands LLC have given us Rit dye. Rit is a cheap alternative to fancy-pants stuff like Manic Panic. It fades quickly and involves fewer steps that regular hair dye.

Of course, there are lots of good reasons people don't dye their hair with Rit. Number one is that Manic Panic is pretty easy to come by these days. Dyeing this way can cause severe burns and back cramps, and is almost guaranteed to damage your hair. You won't be able to dye your roots and it won't cover up your natural color.

So there's your warning. If you're still up for some DIY foolishness, follow me:

  1. Prepare your hair. Rit is not going to do anything to black, dark brown, or short hair. (If you have short hair, stop now and come back when your hair reaches your shoulders, at least.) For truly unnatural results, you'll need bleached hair. If you prefer to leave your hair its natural color, keep in mind that you'll only be tinting it and keep your choice of color in the warm family - red, orange, pink, or purple.
  2. Color selection is crucial here. Try to get a shade darker than the color you want and stay away from anything pastel unless your hair is white like the driven snow.
  3. You'll need a package of dye, a teapot (maybe two), and a towel. Acquire these things.
  4. Fill the teapot and put it on the stove. While you await its telltale whistle, clip your towel around your neck so it covers your shoulders. Wash out your bathroom sink if you think there might be toothpaste or other funky stuff in there.
  5. Take your kettle into the bathroom. Stop the sink and dump at least half a package of dye in there. Empty your boiling water into the sink. (If your sink is really deep, you may need two teapots. And if you need two teapots, you need a whole package of dye.)
  6. When the steam has died down enough that it's not likely to burn you, bend forward and dip your hair in. Start slow and dip your hair in further, stopping when your head feels uncomfortably warm. You don't want to boil your scalp (much).
  7. Move your head as you dye, trying to bend back and forth so that the hairs on the left and right can get deeper into the water. If you can, turn around and bend backwards over the sink to get the hairs at the back of your head.
  8. Keep your head in until the water is lukewarm, then pull your head out and gently pat dry.
  9. As much as possible, avoid shampooing or wearing white.

There you have it! An archaic and dangerous way of doing something that could be done safely and easily for a few dollars more. Enjoy!

Ok, really now, don't do this. I used to do it in high school and it is really possible, but I did a lot of stupid shit in high school that I wouldn't encourage others to emulate.

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