So pretty much everyone who knows me or ever knew me knows I love purple. I decided purple was my favorite color when I was 10 or so and never looked back. And since I was a teenager I wanted to dye my hair purple. But basically, I never had the guts. I wasn’t allowed to have unnatural hair colors in high school. And in college I worried about getting summer jobs and other kinds of judgments. (I did make the mistake of dyeing my hair black from a box, though. Which led to going to a professional to try to grow it out which ended up with me having 4 colored hair for a while: natural brown, red, blonde, and black.)
And since I left college I’ve had professional jobs where I wouldn’t have been able to get away with crazy hair. Until 6 years ago when I had to quit working due to my disability. Since then I’ve often thought about purple hair. But, being a responsible adult now, I always thought about having my hair professionally bleached and dyed. I have no problem coloring my own hair but bleaching? Scary. And I knew I couldn’t afford to maintain a professional dye job.
So in the last year I’ve been considering way to have purple hair that wouldn’t require constant maintenance. I decided I wanted purple streaks or an under-layer. I was planning ongoing to my excellent and very cool stylist for this as soon as I got the funds together. And then my husband lost his job. And there went my plans for funky hair.
Until the last few weeks when I started thinking about just doing it myself. I’m 36 years old, I’ve wanted purple hair for over half my life, I have no good reason not to do it. I started researching dyes and looking at tutorials and realized if I really wanted purple hair, I was going to need to bleach. So I researched that. And finally, decided what the fuck. The fact that I am going to see The Cure twice in two days gave me a perfect event to aim for.
So here is my starting hair. This is longer than my hair has been in YEARS. Probably 10 years. I don’t like it this long, but I haven’t been able to afford a cut since December or so. So that was another part of my rational. If something terrible happened to my hair, just my regular cut would get rid of half of it. This is also my natural hair color. I haven’t dyed my hair for about a year and that was using henna for the past few years, so my hair should be as healthy as possible going in. It’s probably the longest I’ve gone without dyeing it for a long time as well.
So in my research, I decided I’d use Sparks Purple dye, as it’s essentially a dupe of Pravana’s purple for half the price. (And price is a BIG issue here.) I read all the reviews and accepted this was going to be a mess that stained my whole bathroom. For the bleach I wanted a kit cause I’ve never done this and discovered Sparks has all-inclusive kits available only at Ulta. So I went to my local Ulta on a trip to town and there they were….all except the purple. Big hole in the shelf. So now I had a problem, cause I was on a deadline. I didn’t want to pay for shipping, and Ulta has shipping time of 3-10 days. Nope. So I went to Amazon. I ordered the Sparks color and a Jerome Russel Punky Colors bleach kit. (Why I chose that one had to do with price and Prime delivery option.)
I then had a problem because the bleach was supposed to be delivered last Friday and the dye on Monday. I planned to do my hair on Tuesday when my husband was home to help. But I didn’t get the bleach. No package anywhere to be found (although later apparently there were chewed up pieces of Amazon box in the yard so maybe the neighborhood dogs stole my hair bleach.) So I requested a replacement from Amazon and had to wait until Wednesday for it to arrive. This put me on a very tight timeline for the concert on Friday. So last night it arrived at like 8PM and then I immediately had to start bleaching.
My husband was actually really good at applying the bleach. He’s a meticulous person. So the bleaching went pretty well. The back/bottom of my hair didn’t bleach as well at the top. I don’t know if this is just the nature of the hair, or because that part has been previously dyed or what. I was afraid to over-fry my roots so I removed the bleach after about 45 minutes, which is what the kit recommended for medium brown hair. And it was super surreal to be blonde for the first time ever.
The dye had to be applied to dry hair, and I hate blow drying my hair so I had to wait for it to dry after washing out the bleach. And my husband had to go to bed to get up for work in the morning. So I was on my own for applying the color. I’ve colored my own hair a BUNCH of times so I wasn’t too worried. I should have been more worried.
The Sparks color comes in a tube and is applied directly to the hair. The consistency is rather paint-like rather than dye mixed with developer or the paste consistency of henna. So it’s really difficult to get applied evenly to all the strands. My hair is super fine and thin and tangles if you breathe on it when it’s wet and unconditioned. So getting a comb through it to distribute the dye was pretty hopeless. And the dye is so pigmented that it transfers to pretty much anything that comes anywhere near it, so though I took precautions soon I was covered in purple dye. I eventually resorted to using my normal plastic hairbrush to get the dye through my hair, and I applied almost the full tube. I was pretty sure at some moments that my hair was going to come out all splotchy and my skin was going to be permanently colored purple (not to mention my bathroom.)
Anyway, I decided I’d done the best I could do at applying the color. I had intended to wrap my head in plastic wrap, but yeah, no, that was not a one-person job, especially wearing gloves that were too big and covered in dye. So I just kept my sheet wrapped around me and tried to keep up the bathroom and my skin a bit. Luckily I did find the dye came off my sink and vinyl floor pretty well with some cleaning products. So my sink is only lightly lavender now. (Bleach will take it off, according to reviews.)
I left the dye on longer than called for. It calls for 20 minutes, but I left it on more like 45. It was after 1AM by this time. So then I washed it out, just using water and conditioner (not using shampoo was something recommended somewhere in my research.) And although my shower is lavender and parts of my temples and ears remain blue-ish, most of the dye came off my skin in the shower. And of course my scalp is still dyed.
But there is the results, the next day. I’ve read this dye starts out really dark and then fades to a brighter-redder purple and then to a lavender. So that will be interesting. It’s obviously redder where the bleach left more brown/orange in my hair. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. I have one little spot on my roots in the front that didn’t take the dye and I don’t know if I missed it or the conditioner I applied to my hairline to keep from staining my skin (that didn’t work very well) somehow prevented the dye from taking right there. I’ll touch it up later before I shower.
I have no idea what I’ll do with it long term, whether I’ll keep bleaching the roots or let it grow out or something else. We’ll see. But I’m happy with it for now.