How will vibrant hair dyes show up on virgin brown hair? Read on & watch my videos below to see how different brands and colors have worked on me before you try on your own hair!!
In high school I went through some crazy hair phases - from platinum blonde to dark red, you name it! I spent much of my 20's with long blonde highlighted hair, spending tons of money at salons in Tokyo and NYC. After meeting my now husband, I settled into my "mousy light brown" hair and have not changed it color-wise for over a decade! But... I got bored. So, I recently started my adventure with vibrant semi-permanent hair dyes, ones that wash out in 4-15 washes and don't have bleach, ammonia, or any really damaging chemicals. They're cheap, they're fun, but do they work??
In a nutshell, you can't expect to look like Mal from Descendants without bleaching your hair first, but you can still have fun without lightening it. I'll add my youtube videos below as I try new colors - comment below with what you think, what colors you've played around with, etc!!
L'Oreal Colorista (Burgundy)
This was my first delve into the vibrant semi-permanent hair dyes (in January 2018). I bought 2 boxes at Rite Aid for about $20, and spent about $50 at the salon having them apply it because I was too scared to try it and ruin my hair and bathroom haha!! It was beautiful, purplish reddish dark brown, but it did wash out very quickly, about 50% the first wash and by 5 washes was pretty much gone. I did shampoo with warm/hot water and regular shampoo with sulfate, so I'm not sure how much this had to do with the quick fade out. It was fun and I liked it, but with the salon expense, totally not worth it.
Clairol Color Crave (Orchid)
This was my 2nd "crazy" color, and my first ever time dyeing my own hair (or anyone's, for that matter). Watch the video, it's helpful but mostly funny - I take you through my paranoid prep of my head (Burt's Bees ointment all over my hairline, ears, and neck) and bathroom (garbage bags all over), dyeing my hair, washing it out, and how it looks dyed. It was very dark, blueish purple in sunlight, almost black in regular indoor lighting. There was ZERO SMELL from the dye itself or on my head afterward, which was awesome, but makes sense since there aren't really any harsh chemicals in there. The vaseline worked well at protecting my skin, and I ended up getting some dye on my hands and arms when I forgot gloves washing it off, but it came off with a quick rub with hand sanitizer! I'll update this page when I find out how quickly it fades, I'm a bit nervous it'll go grey during the fadeout, since it is quite a blueish hue of purple. It's supposed to last 15 washes and this time I'll be trying to use colder water and special sulfate-free color safe shampoo and conditioner (Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo & L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Moisture Conditioner - affiliate links).
L'Oreal Colorista Teal
My 3rd "crazy" color, I let my YouTuber fans vote and pick this one out actually!! Unfortunately, it came out a bit more green than blue and I'm not really loving it. And it really lingered, more than 6 months later and the green hue was still there, and highlights made it reappear! But it covered up easily with the next colors.
Manic Panic Amplified Hot Hot Pink
My 4th color job, and my favorite results so far!!! LOVE THIS STUFF!! But... it washed out VERY quickly, quicker than the others.
New Cut & Half Head Highlights (12/2/2019):
oVertone Coloring Conditioner Rose Gold for Brown Hair (dyed 12/4/2019)
The in shower conditioner kept it from fading like 90%, so amazing!! I used it in almost every shower - I'd towel dry, apply in shower, comb through, let sit 5 minutes, then rinse out and shower off, no gloves needed (it tinted my palms a wee bit pink each time but it came off quickly and wasn't obvious at all). As soon as I finished the bottle (took about 2 months, i wash my hair just 1-2x a week) and started taking hot showers without it, it faded very quickly, almost gone in about 5 washes!
oVertone Coloring Conditioner - Purple for Brown Hair
This purple guys, it is STRONG STUFF!! I recommend wearing gloves in the shower when using the in-shower conditioner because it tinted my hands and nails pretty significantly each time. I did this color during COVID lockdown so didn't really care all that much that my palms/nails got tinted, and my kids got a kick out of it LOL! But, just a heads up!! The purple lasted the same as the last overtone color I did - in shower conditioner kept the color pretty good and it faded very quickly when I stopped.
oVertone Coloring Conditioner - Extreme Pink
Great color!! Came out pretty much same color as Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink (see above). To save money you could do the Manic Panic for initial color and keep it going with the oVertone in shower extreme pink conditioner... After I stopped using the in shower conditioner, it didn't want to fade all the way out. But I moved on to my next color (below) and it covered the remaining rose gold hues no problem!
Manic Panic Shocking Blue over Rose Gold Hair
(dyed 11/4/2020) Beware, this blue man, it gets everywhere!!! Until my first shampoo, it bled like CRAZY!!! My fingers got stained anytime I touched my hair, and blue was all over my computer keyboard, shirts, etc. Yikes!! After the first wash it was fine, but it faded SUPER quick and after it was all gone, the pink from my previous color remained under it! Kinda weird but I loved the pink so it's all good.
Purple & Pink Ombre with oVertone
(dyed 1/14/2021) I decided to try using 2 colors for the first time, and didn't have the skill or patience to go strand by strand as the professionals did. So I went with my typical "massage in by hand like shampoo" method and it actually came out great!! I used Purple for Brown Hair on top half and Extreme Pink on bottom half.
(dyed 5/17/2021) I wanted to try a new color and was on the fence between Crazy Color Fire and Manic Panic Vampire red, in the end went with the latter since I've had good luck with Manic Panic on my unbleached brown hair in the past. This one seemed thinner than I'm used to and I made a bit of a mess but it came out FABULOUS!!!! Loving it!
July 20, 2021 - used oVertone extreme green over my (still tinted red from manic panic vampire red) brown hair. didn't love it, i think the red canceled out the green mostly? it washed out SUPER quickly, maybe 3 shampoos. tops.
September 8, 2021 - Dyed my hair black with oVertone Rich Black coloring conditioner! Very thick and easy to use it seems to have a bit of a purple hint. Very dark but not black black on my brown hair. Still a fun color, I really love it!
Not hair dye related, but here are my fun DIY haircut videos!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)