Everthing you need to know about dyeing your hair blonde (HEMA experiment)


I am currently studying for my exams, and afterwards will start working on our music BIG TIME. But, before we go into that wonderful phase, I'd like to write a little beauty post. We haven't been doing these for a while, but I'd like to write this one for the following reason: Every time I want to experiment with my hair, I google as much as I can on it before I get started. I research the product and try to find as many blog posts and reviews that include pictures and a personal testimony as I can. Still, when I read these blogs and forums, I often discover that a lot of people don't really understand how hair dye works, especially with blonde hair. So, a little Blonde dye 101!

If you googled information about HEMA products and already know a lot about how hair dye works, just scroll down to number 5! 

1. Bleach is not the same as blonde dye! 

There is a big difference between bleach and blonde dye. All bleach does is draw colour out of your hair. It makes your hair lighter. That's it. Blonde dye is a colour you apply on top of your existing colour. Often, the two go together. You bleach your hair first and then apply a tint of blonde on top of it. This is what creates the difference between ash blonde, honey blonde, golden blonde etc. So, when you have brown hair and buy a 'do it yourself' package of blonde hair, beware that it usually does not contain bleach and will not lighten your hair.

2. Developer

Bleach needs to be combined with a developer that comes in several varieties of strength, known as volumes. 10 vol being the slowest and gentlest and 40 vol being the fastest and strongest. The thing is, you can often get your hair to a nice platinum white with just a 10 vol, it just takes more time. But honestly, I'd rather be at the salon for four hours and have shiny hair, than to be finished after 30 minutes but have straw on my head.

As you can see when you buy a DIY hair dye package at the store, hair dye also comes with a 'developer' which can be described as "the peroxide or oxidizing component tot the chemistry of colour." It neutralizes your natural colour to make place for the new colour you are adding on top of that. You see, like ink on paper, dye needs to sink into the hair. The developer makes sure it can crawl all the way to the core of your hair.

The things is (as I've said above): the developer that comes with a box of hair dye will not considerably lighten your hair. It will make room for the new colour, but don't expect any miracles. Developer is not the same as bleach, it is combined with bleach or dye.

3. Semi-Permanent is still kind of permanent

When you use a semi-permanent dye, it doesn't mean it will totally wash out after a couple of weeks. It will seriously fade over time, but never really disappear completely. Consider this, especially if you're planning on using a red or a dark brown/black colour.

4. All those codes and numbers mean something

Ever hear your hairdressers having conversations like "I used a 9/03 and added a secondary 6/0" while thinking "What language is this??" Well, those numbers mean something, and they can also be found on all 'do it yourself' packages you can buy at the general store.

The first number stands for the basic colour, ranging from 1 to 10, 1 being very dark and 10 being the lightest. To sum up:

1. Black
2. Very Dark Brown
3. Dark Brown
4. Medium Brown
5. Light Brown
6. Dark Blonde
7. Medium Blonde
8. Light Blonde
9. Very Light Blonde
10. Lightest Blonde

Very exceptionally you will see an 11 or a 12, which stands for super or ultra light, like platinum or white blonde.

The second number(s) stand for the tint or hue of your hair.

0. Natural
1. Blue Ash
2. Violet
3. Gold
4. Copper
5. Mahogany
6. Red
7. Green Ash

Okay, so now you have an idea of how this system works. Now, over to the experiment!

5. The HEMA experiment

I have been experimenting a lot with my hair lately. I went from golden blonde to purple grey, then to silver, then to bright lilac and then to an ombre that went from purple to pink. The thing is, once these freaky colours start growing out, it creates what I call a 'ratty' look. And I don't really mind it, because I love looking a little freaky and unkempt. However, some days, you just want to look classy and feel fresh, and with this hair that just wasn't possible. So, I decided to go back to my all-time favourite colour: blonde! With blonde hair you can still create a freaky look, but also go for classy anytime you want. Just for fun, this is what my hair used to look like:

For the first phase (going from the freaky ombre to blonde) I went to the salon. I almost never go there anymore, but I'm glad that I did. It was super complicated to get the Directions dye out and also, I wanted an ombre effect which isn't easy to achieve by yourself. So if you're going for something like that: go to the salon. Also, if your hair is really dark and/or long, go to a salon the first time!! Really, bleach is expensive, there's no point in bleaching long hair at home.

Little side note: I chose a slight ombre effect so that it wouldn't be too obvious when my hair starts growing out, and so that it would be easier to maintain at home! The reason I wanted to add some blonde dye on top of it afterwards, is because the pink dye just wouldn't come out. I was hoping that some blonde dye might cover it up some more. This picture was taken the day after I dyed it at the salon:

Okay, so: I went to the HEMA because I loved their red dye and my sister and I both enjoy their brown dyes as well. The quality is fine and it is the cheapest hair dye I have come across so far (less than 7 euros!). When it came to choosing a colour, I decided to ignore the awful looking packaging. The hair on the cover has an icky bright yellow colour. (Seriously, who gets paid to make this?) What did I look at? You guessed correctly: the numbers! I wanted a natural looking light blonde with a warm tint to it. So I went for 9/03. The basic colour/lightness being a 9 (very light blonde), the secondary colour being 'natural' and last but not least the finishing tint to be gold. The box was named 'Natural Honey Blonde' by HEMA.

Once I got home, I applied the stuff all over my hair. I chose to do this, because it softened the ombre look by making the upper part of my hair slightly warmer and more blonde. They always say 'use a brush' and everything, but honestly, I never do that. With the Directions dye I did, but I just don't feel like it's necessary when going from blonde to blonde. I left it in for 30 minutes and washed it out.

The result is really good! It covered up almost all of the pink and softened out the ombre. My hair feels a little dry, but considering the hell I've been putting it through all these years, it's a wonder I still have hair, right? Nothing a good mask can't fix. And by mask, I just mean: throw a raw egg over your head, that'll work magic.

Before showing you the pictures and finishing this little 101, I'd like add:

6. Hair is not healthy or unhealthy. It's dead.

If I ever hear one more girl going "My hair is so unhealthy lately" I might just kill myself. Hair is dead. Once it comes out of your head, it no longer 'lives' just like your nails. Your hair can be strong and shiny, or thin and frizzy, but not healthy. Think of it as silk fabric. If you take good care of it, it will be soft and beautiful, but it'll still be a dead carpet, right?

Okay! So now you should have a general idea about hair dye and how to dye your hair blonde. Enjoy the pictures, and I really hope this helped you! If you ever have any questions, just comment below.

All these pictures were taken in the same room, under the same light, and no effects have been added whatsoever!

7. Toner is your best friend

Is your hair a little too orange? Use a toner. A toner is like a super mild dye that you use to maintain or slightly change/improve your colour. If you have blonde hair, you can use a purple toner (or just a silver shampoo) to neutralise the yellowness of your hair. If you want platinum white hair, or need a good base for pastel colours: toner is your best friend. Silver shampoo can be bought at the salon, or really cheaply at Kruidvat! You can also get a silver toner from Directions. 

Now, the results!

Before: light blonde lenghts with 'ratty' pink parts at the back, and a natural looking ombre effect at the top. 

After: a less-obvious ombre op top with golden blonde lengths and hardly any pink left!

Before we finish, keep the following things in mind: first of all, my hair has only just been washed and blowdried as well. That's why it looks so ridiculously fluffy, it's not the dye's fault! Secondly: the blonde dye will fade eventually (every time I wash it, dye will come out) and since I have lighter hair underneath it, it will gradually become lighter again. However, if you use the same dye a couple of times in a row (for instane once a month) it will wash out less and less. 

For a less fluffy and artificial look, you can see my hair a little more 'naturally' when I wear it like this:

I have to add though, that the thing at the top is a flower and not some weird poufy piece of hair, and also, I used some fake hair to make the bun, because my hair is still too damn short! But all in all, the picture gives a good idea of the results. Still, keep in mind that my camera makes everything look a little artificially yellow/grey. In real life, it's really golden and much prettier! 

Much love, and good luck!

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