Vibrant-Colored Hair
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Vibrant-Colored Hair

Vibrant colors: Not Just A Cool Instagram Picture.

Funky, vibrant colors are in these days. Whether it’s a full head of pink, subtle shades of blue at your tips, streaks of green, or a peekaboo of red underneath, it’s all over social media. Here’s the thing: It’s not as easy to achieve, or maintain for that matter. Let me break it down for you.

What Do You Mean I Have To Bleach My Hair?

You read that correctly. In order to achieve vibrant colors, you need to lighten your hair with bleach. I know it sounds scary, but don't fret. Depending on the color you’re trying to achieve, you need to get your hair to a certain level of lightness. If you’re goal is red, blue, green, purple (not lavender), or pretty much anything with a lot of color depth, you need to achieve that funky yellow stage (we’re talking ugly corn yellow here). If your goal is to get to a lighter, vibrant color like light pink, yellow, silver, mint green, sky blue, or lavender,  you’ll need to get your hair to a light yellow, if not almost white state. That’s where things get tricky.

How Long Will It Take?

Plan on bringing a good book, a snack, and some coffee, because a process like this takes time. This is what most stylists would consider a double process color, if not color correction, depending on how much hair is being worked on. If you want a healthy outcome, then plan on taking your time, and possibly coming back for another session. If you have old color, or have been previously bleached, this will create a hurdle for your stylist, and is something very important that they need to know about. I'll explain.

But I Did It A Year (or Two) Ago….

Hair history: We still need to know it. Just like when you go to a doctor—barbers used to be considered medical professionals!— we need to know your hair’s past in order to help you. I know you may be afraid of hearing the word no, but trust me when I say, stylists only want what's best for your hair. We need to know what's in your hair so we can use the right product for you. There is no “One Size Fits All” for color or lightening formulas—everything we apply is tailor-made to fit your hair lifestyle. 

Tell Me About My Color….

After your hair has been lightened to the correct tone, now it’s time to apply your color. Expect this to sit for about as long as traditional, permanent color would sit. Some stylists use heat, some use “additives” or “strengtheners,” some mix in conditioner, some apply the color to wet hair, while others might apply it to dried hair instead. Every person has their method that works for them, and often times, multiple methods for achieving a range of outcomes. If your color is applied to hair that has been dried, the color will take brighter and stay longer than if it is applied to hair  still damp from the shampoo bowl.

How Do I Keep It Bright?

After the initial service has been performed, expect to not wash your hair for at least 72 hours—three whole days. That includes not getting it wet as well. Why? Water, through direct contact as well as from the environment (rain, humidity, fog, mist, etc.), attaches itself to the hair molecules, and pulls color out of the hair. So be prepared to style your hair back, or wear your favorite beanie or hat if you aren't ready for the next few days.

For the longevity of your color, you might need to change your wash routine. This means that you should only be washing your hair every 3-4 days, with cold or tepid water. Sulfate-free shampoo will also aid in the future treatment of your color. I know all those shampoo commercials are tempting on TV, but drug store products are full of silicone, detergents, fragrance, and other things your hair doesn’t need. Ask your stylist what you should be using to ensure your color lasts as long as it possibly can.

Almost There.

If you leave your first appointment and you still haven’t achieved the color you desire, please refrain from running to the store and buying a box color to cover all the hard work you just paid for. This will only make the process much longer, and to be honest, much more expensive. Sometimes, even if you have all of your ducks in a row, hair won't always cooperate. It might be stubborn, resistant to lightening, or it might just drop all of the color after just one appointment. Let your stylist know. We aren’t perfect, but we only want whats best for you, and we only want to make you happy.

If it’s a home run with your color, you’re still not done yet. What? Yes. The color may look perfect, but the sooner you come back to apply another coat of the color (usually after about 4 weeks), the better your color will look, and last! This will be a short appointment, so if you aren’t looking to get a trim, you can do a deep treatment, or change it up a bit at this visit as well.

All in all, vibrant color looks fun, and gives your hair a little more life to it, but know it is a high maintenance color that takes time and some good old fashioned TLC. So ask your stylist to get that Instagram hair you’ve been dreaming of!


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