September 8, 2012

DIY: Dip dye hair

Dip dye hair is so common nowadays and the trend was so last year, but people still do it because it's pretty to look at!

I get a lot of questions asked about my hair, especially on how I did my dip dyed hair myself, so I was thinking, why not blog about it? Most photos come from my iPhone and Instagram, so pardon the quality, but hey, we're all rocking the hipster trend, aren't we?

Here are the list of things you will need:

  • Old shirt
  • Gloves
  • Tint brush
  • Dye bowl
  • Hair dye
  • Hair bleach (bleaching powder + developer)
  • Hair toner (optional)
  • At least three hours

For my dye, I used Special Effects Atomic Pink for my first dip dye.

Special Effects hair dye in Atomic Pink and Blue Mayhem

I know these semi-permanent dyes are really hard to get in Singapore. I bought them from Fuelthearmy. Shipping will take nearly a month, so do plan ahead if you intend to dye your hair for a special occasion. There are a few other online shops in Singapore that do sprees for similar brands of semi-permanent hair dyes such as La Riche Directions or Manic Panic and they will reach your doorstep faster, but I haven't used any other brands except for Special Effects. I've read up on reviews on all these brands and it seems that Special Effects has the best lasting power and vibrancy. I really love Fuelthearmy though, they're efficient and so far, all my dyes had arrived safely. The shipping is more expensive than the dye itself, so do order with your friends to save on shipping costs. One bottle of Special Effects cost around SGD$16 after we ordered seven bottles from the website and split the cost.

The other hard-to-get thing in Singapore would be hair bleach. We don't really see many people here with crazy hair colours and even if there were, most people would get it done in a salon, so there isn't really a market for hair bleach. I got mine from Venus Beauty, which I guess is our local Sally's. Other places you can get hair bleach from would be Swanston from Chinatown or Mustafa Centre. I don't really have a picture of the hair bleach I use but the brand is Lolane and it comes in a purple packaging. The developer I use range between 9% to 12%, which is 30 to 40 vol. If all attempts in getting Lolane fail, you can always choose to buy Gatsby Ex-Hi Bleach or Palty Super Flash Sparkling Blonde from Watsons. I haven't really used box dye bleach before but I think the results would be pretty much the same because you end up frying your hair anyway.

Now, before you start, make sure you lay your entire toilet or wherever you're doing it with black trash bags or newspapers. Believe me, you do not want to get dye anywhere because once the dye touches anything, it's going to leave a permanent stain, which is why you will want to wear an old shirt that you don't mind throwing away and gloves. Another tip would be to put Vaseline around your hairline and ears to prevent staining on the skin. It's a very good tip and you should definitely listen to it.

Firstly, mix equal parts of bleaching powder and developer until you get a creamy consistency similar to that of icing. This part should be fairly simple because Lolane comes in equal amounts of powder and developer for mixing. Next, determine the length of your dip dye and just slap the bleach onto your hair.

I tied plaits so I could make sure I had even application on both sides. This had pros and cons because while I had even lengths of hair bleached, some parts were not even.

Anyway, this is how my hair turned out after one bleaching session. Take note not to leave the bleach on for more than 45 minutes.

As you can see, the colour was still fairly dark at some parts and I decided to bleach it again!

Second round of bleaching:

By now, you will see a lot of hair coming out and even hair melting off. It's perfectly normal because that's what bleaching does to hair. The in-between time taken to wash and dry the hair would be the most annoying part of the entire process but oh well, who cares, you're gonna have stunning hair. Just remember, the lighter your hair colour is, the more vibrant your hair dye will be. It's pretty much common sense.

The next step is optional because I realized it didn't really make much of a difference to the bleached hair. I toned my hair by mixing Schwarzkopf IGORA Royal 0-11 with Lolane developer. Maybe it's the mixing that didn't do it any good, or maybe the toner just sucks.

Anyway, the whole point of a toner is to remove any yellow tones in bleached hair. The colour I was going to put on was neon pink and I didn't want it to turn orange just because my hair had yellow tones. I guess it did help a little bit because the colour is slightly more ashy but I think I can make a better toner myself. I was experimenting with making lavender dye that day and basically, any lilac or lavender dye would make a good toner.

This was made by mixing Special Effects Electric Blue and Atomic Pink, diluted with a massive amount of conditioner. I will talk more about this in my future hair dying posts, which by the way, I'm going to dye my hair again in a couple of weeks and that's going to be really interesting to do.

The next and probably last step would be to apply your dye! Just literally slap on the pink dye and wrap your hair ends in aluminum foil. Now, we wait. I waited for a good two hours before washing it off. The colour came out sooooooooo bright! This was taken right after I blow-dried my hair. The colour was redder in real life initially but it faded to something like this within a few days.

I actually thought the dye would fade to light pink within two weeks or so, but no, my hair was so vibrant and pink I was starting to be scared that the pink would stay there forever. This was how my hair looked like after two months, with no photo filters at all.

I know, it actually looks freshly dyed. Special Effects is so awesome. This was taken on the same day I decided to change the pink to purple.

My SFX Electric Blue and Fish Bowl came a week ago so I had to play with it.

Special Effects Electric Blue diluted with a fuckload of conditioner
This was the exact dye I put on my pink tips because blue and pink gives... purple! Same as the previous dyeing job, apart from bleaching, I left this on for like a good two hours while I went to eat dinner and watch TV. Multi-tasking has its benefits.

My supposedly-purple dip dye came out bluer and darker than expected so I was a little bit disappointed but the colour faded after two washes and it's more purple than blue now!

I think that's pretty much everything you need to know about doing your own dip dye hair. Do it before the trend is over! Well, I think it's already pretty overrated but a splash of colour wouldn't hurt.

It's been fun writing this post, bye!


  1. thanks for posting this :D
    do you know how much the ship fees when u bought from fuelthearmy to singapore? thank you :)

    1. It was around $16 per bottle if I'm not wrong.

  2. the reason the toner didn't have an effect is because your hair wasn't light enough to tone. Stunning results, though!

  3. will the palty 'bleach' hair dye really bleach like normal hair bleach on black hair