Dip-dye dos and don'ts

Jessie J wears it well ©Diegus Z; Image credit: Mr.Ajedrez

It’s safe to say the dip-dye hair trend is something you might expect the more, ahem, eccentric members of society to experiment with. However, things have turned on their head as everyone seems to be sporting this vibrant trend these days, and the grunge look has become positively mainstream.

The best thing about this trend is that you can go as subtle or as bizarre as you like. Most favour a dark brown or blonde on top with a gradual transition into blonde tips, á la Drew Barrymore or Caroline Flack.

But why not use your imagination and get experimenting? However, be warned, though the method is easy to follow, the results can be unpredictable. Having experienced my own dip-dye disaster (colour was fantastic, state of my hair was not!), I’d like to pass on my wisdom. Cue a list of dos and don’ts to guide you on your way and avoid things going awry...

DO be brave. Every colour across the spectrum is available to you, so go crazy. Katy Perry went blue, Jessie J went purple and Nicki Minaj went…well, just about every colour you can think of (sometimes all at the same time). Why can’t you as well?

DO strip your hair first using bleach if you have naturally dark hair. Try this Jerome Russell Blonde Highlighting Kit, suitable for light to dark brown hair, available at Boots. Use it before applying your chosen colour as normal, or on its own for blonde ends. When doing the latter, be aware that it’s hard to pick and choose the outcome, seeing as it’s based on your natural colour, but this can come in handy if you want to keep things subtle.

DON’T, however, leave the bleach on for too long (the immortal words I uttered during my dip-dye experience: “Is two hours too long to leave bleach on your hair?” – take it from me; YES. Yes it is). The instructions are there for a reason.

DO use spray-in colour if you’re not feeling quite that brave yet. You might feel like some 90s throw back, but this really can work if you don’t feel like going the whole hog with this trend. Many high street cosmetic stores offer a huge range of spray-in colours, such as this one from Claire’s Accessories. You’ve probably not set foot in there since you were fourteen, but who knew they could be so trendy again? Plus, a whole new look for only £3.50? Absolute bargain.

DO use a lightening spray if you’re fair, for ends that are just a few shades lighter than your natural colour, giving a more subtle look. Boots stock the popular Sun In range, such as this one for only £5.77. Just spray onto damp hair and blow-dry, the colour comes through with the heat. Simple.

DO use clip-in extensions for an adaptable, but not permanent, experimental look. Again, Claire’s Accessories is right on trend with this one. They’ve been selling clip-ins for years and it doesn’t take a genius to guess they’ve been a slow seller, but perhaps a sudden surge in sales is about to happen…

DO follow the three C’s: condition, condition, condition. Then, rinse and repeat. Using strong dye colours on your hair, especially bleach, can really take it out your locks, so follow with a thick conditioner. There is a huge range of conditioners out there especially made for coloured hair, but try this Pantene mask for a deep and revitalising treatment that will leave you with silk for hair.

DO be prepared for a tricky cover-up. Once you’re bored of your new tresses or the colour has faded, you may make the decision to simply dye over the top of them, back to your natural colour. However, be warned, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. For those brunettes out there who have lightened their ends, even permanent dark brown dyes don’t cover up bleach for long and it is notoriously hard to predict what colour the outcome will even be. So be prepared for multiple dyeing sessions and a whole lot of conditioning.

DON’T try this trend if your hair is dry and damaged or you’re prone to split ends. Bleach and strong dyes can ruin your hair so unless you want to end up getting it all cut off a few weeks later (yes – I am guilty as charged), then just don’t go there.

DO adapt your style to suit your new hair. This trend requires attitude and the clothes to match. Play up to the grunge look by teaming your new ‘do with a leather jacket, boots and a rocker tee and you’ll be all set to go.

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