DIY rainbow hair

Let’s talk hair for a moment. In the last 13 years of my life, I have worn almost every shade from cotton candy pink to dark blue. Everything except red, I think.

And I have always dyed my own hair (often with the help of various friends) for a number of reasons, so I am asked rainbow-hair-related questions a lot. Because of all this, I have been meaning to write a post about this whole business forever. So here we go: This is the DIY guide to rainbow hair :)

Okay … My hair was way longer back then.

When I’m talking about hair dye, I am talking about rainbow hair – “rainbow hair” refers to unnatural/neon colors in general, not necessarily to an actual rainbow. And it usually implies semi-permanent dye products such as Special Effects, Manic Panic, or Directions brands (As really bright colors are not available as permanent dyes). So now that we have established what we are talking about, I will tell you what I am usually doing to my – and sometimes my friends’ – hair.

Please bear in mind that this series is not so much a tutorial on how to dye hair, but rather a collection of all the things I learned about dyeing hair with semi-permanent colors. I tried to answer all the questions I have been asked by people who never spent a second thought on their hair care routines. I did my best to write down everything that’s usually not part of the tutorials flying around on the internet I wish I had known ten years ago. Apparently that’s quite a lot …

The 6 individual hair dye tutorial posts:

But let’s discuss a few basic things first.

I love colors, but I’m also quite determined to be able to pass as an adult when I need to, so this generally is the direction my hair adventures are leading these days. When I was an actual teenager, I donned fuzzy neon-rainbow non-hair-styles quite often, and I think that by now I am done with this phase.

Having rainbow hair is great, but looking like a mop is really not what I want anymore. As I’m more of an all-or-nothing kind of person (As in … Everything that is worth doing in the first place, is it worth doing well) this generally means that I will bleach the roots and touch up on the color at least every four weeks, and just try to keep it in a reasonable state.

For hair that is getting the treatment mine does, that mostly means not looking like a bundle of straw a unicorn had puked on. If that’s what you’re going for that’s fine though. It actually sounds like it would work as an ironic twist on the current unicorn hype, and also like someone should hurry and add some glitter … but I digress.

The Downside

It’s worth mentioning that constantly keeping one’s hair a proper neon shade is somewhat annoying, so I thought I’d let you know before we start all of this. You absolutely do not have to bleach and dye your hair monthly, your requirements for that also depend a lot on your personal preferences and hair care routines, style, and potential dress codes for a school or job.

In the end it’s your body, you’re an adult, so do whatever you want (and can get away with). I do have a job and things like that and I have found having rainbow hair is not a big problem really – as long as it’s well maintained. I guess this is one of the privileges of working in a creative field, but so far people could not care less if the head sticking out of my suit came with blue, pink, or purple hair.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional and everything I have to say about hair (dye) comes from my personal experience. At the time of writing this post, I’ve been sporting neon hair for almost 13 years. This means that at this point I know what works for me and my hair very well, and I also know how to destroy it beyond repair. *sigh*

But please be aware even though I have plenty experience now, and I’ve helped many others do their hair throughout the years, your experience might vastly differ from mine. If you follow my instructions, you do so at your own risk.

Language As about half the people asking me about hair tips don’t speak German, I decided to write this post in English. If you feel it should be available in German as well, and you want to translate it, shoot me a message.