Hair Dying 101

You know, sometimes I think they call it hair “dye” because when you’re finished, that’s usually what you want to do.

When I was a wee freshman in college, I had a bit of an identity crisis. Convinced that no one appreciated me or saw me for the trailblazer I was, I walked down to the gas station and purchased a box of bright purple hair dye. Without consulting anyone (not even Google), I locked myself in the bathroom and ripped open the box.

I’m sure you’re already anticipating how this little excursion went, but I’ll fill you in anyway. The bathroom sink (which I shared with like six other girls on the floor at the time), floor, and shower stall were all died a brilliant shade of grape. I’ll never forget the look on my friend’s face when I called her saying I needed “a little help”; it was like I’d slaughtered her family pet and let it hang from the ceiling fan. Somewhere, somehow, something had gone very awry.

I won’t bore you with the details of how we spent hours bent over scrubbing a mixture of bleach and hand soap into the tiles, but I will tell you that the incident was entirely preventable. Now, as a second semester junior, I’ve picked up a few tricks to avoid what is now referred to among my friends as “The Purple Shower Incident”.

Cover everything

I don’t care if you think dye won’t get there–it can and it will. Cover the bathroom counter, the sinks, even put something down on the shower. Dye is notorious for being difficult to get out, and, in my experience, an hour of scrubbing will make only a marginal difference. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it’s better to ruin a few towels and old t-shirts than have to live with a discolored bathroom forever.

Open the windows

Honestly, I think part of the reason I went a little haywire when I was freshman was because the fumes ere starting to get to my head. You might be a little cold, but your head will be much clearer when it’s not full of chemicals. It’s usually too late to do so once you’re are covered in dye, so do it beforehand.

Buy more than you need

Nothing’s worse than being midway through an operation and realizing that you don’t have enough, only to have to pick and choose which areas need it the most. I usually pick up two boxes at the store; even when I don’t need the second one, I can either save it for later or use it to saturate the color more.

Go a shade lighter than what you really want

Most dyes come out darker on your hair than they do on the box, and it’s easy to darken a shade than lighten it. You can always go back and dye over it, but bleaching is a whole different story.

May your showers remain unsullied and your hair be voluminous!