My Hair Color Transformations and Comicon Cosplay!

I had lightened my hair several times within the last half year in an attempt to find a hair color that suited my aging complexion. Age plays a big part in what hair color to wear, and my complexion recently has turned a bit more pale and ashy,┬áless olive and creamy. Also been getting a few grays here and there. My natural hair color of black was no longer an option, because dying black hair black, looks like inky mess. So ultimately, I lightened my hair (soap capped it) to a “bronde”, a bronze-dark blonde.

Tinting it with a Pink Semi Permanent:

But I remember recently about how I used to have a goal to have rose tinted brown hair…a subtle red/pink that would glow under the sun and bright lights. So one day, feeling tired of my “bronde” locks (my previous article about “bronde”), I saw there was an unused tube of vibrant purple/pink semi permanent hair color on my shelf, and decided that was the day that I was gong to use it.

I used Ion Color Brilliance Semi-permanent in “hottie pink”. And I diluted it 1:1 ratio with conditioner and a bit of coconut oil. Why did I dilute it? My hair was a warm caramel color to begin with. Without diluting, the hair dye would have come out darker, more muddy, layered on top of my existing color. But with diluting, the color came out as a tint over my existing shade of hair. It darkened it as a “no-lift” color will, but also added a rose tone to the hair (the purple in the pink dye was cancelled out by orange tones in my hair) With my dark roots showing and the caramel undertones, it was like a cup of tea infused with rose petals. Thus why I call it “rose tea” ­čÖé

Tea anyone? Can you see the rose glow on top of my brown locks?

Going to Light Brown for Montreal Comicon:

Ok, now part 2 of my summer hair coloring: Going to a light brown I call “brown sugar”: it’s kind of a golden, muted brown color…I used a permanent Wella color since the ammonia in it could lift my faded reddish color to the right lightness. The character I was channeling for this color inspiration? “Cat” from the TV series Gotham, as a cosplay costume for Montreal Comicon 2018!

This is my starting color from the washed out Rose tint. (took me about 8 shampoos)
Used 10 volume on roots to avoid lifting brassy orange tones. Rest of my hair 20 volume to lighten ever so slightly…
Mixed an Ash blonde for toning with a double NN blonde for more pigment…a must for darker hair going lighter!

Using a blonde color (level 8) was what I wanted to do because I knew with out bleaching first, my hair couldn’t get any lighter with a permanent color, so I had to make sure any color deposit would be light. Also, since my hair is darker than level 8, I mixed ash with a double neutral for better pigment coverage. After processing, I washed the permanent dye out and the result: Light brown: hello Selina Kyle! It was so much fun transforming my hair instead of buying a wig for costumes. It was actually more economic, and less wasteful for the environment. I thrifted most the rest of the cosplay┬ácostume too!

Cosplaying Selina Kyle “Cat from the Gotham TV Series! Got the hair color I wanted without using a cheap wig!

My current Hair Color: “Bronde” and how to get it…

(**Disclaimer! I’m not a hair professional, but have just done my research and worked with my own hair to get results I’m happy with. But whenever dying your own hair at home, please follow manufacturer’s directions and consult with a professional when possible or in doubt)

As you all know…I’ve been lightening and coloring my hair since late last year, in an attempt to get a lighter color that is neither brassy, or too harsh/dark for my complexion. Check out my articles on hair coloring and soap capping. And recently I’ve been rocking a hair color that I found out was called “bronde”; too light to be a solid brunette, and too dark to be a blonde. Kind of a caramel color in between two opposites. A nice neither region that I would like to reside in for the next little while. Why? It’s not as high maintenance as a light blonde, and it’s not as brassy as that rust color dark hairs get when they lift too little color. It’s just peachy. Check out this Vogue article about this hair color to get some inspiration. But for how, here are some famous “brondes”:

Jessica Alba: at the tonight show with just the perfect balance of light and dark caramels and soft, bouncy waves.
Amber Heard on GQ? As a darker blonde than she normally is, I think she’s got a lot more mystery and allure…
Beyonce is Bey-youtiful with a hair colour that compliments and warms her complexion. 

Okay, so you get the idea…how the color should look, but now how to achieve this neutral tone, middle level “bronde”color…Go to an expert hair stylist who does great hair color, or try it at home with these tips!**

For Brunettes want to go Bronde:

Step 1: Lighten enough: Believe it or not, us brunettes (black or brown hair) have to lift a level or two above middle lightness to achieve ‘bronde”. It’s not fair, but it’s just the way it is. For those doing this at home, you need to get to a level 7 lightness, at least. Check out swatches on how light a 7 level is.

Step 2. Tone/Glaze: This is so important as it adds the finishing shine and touches to a lighter hair color. Lightening dark hair always brings out warmth. And warmth is the enemy when trying to achieve a gentle tone in hair. Use a demi permanent hair dye with a low peroxide developer to add ash (blue/green) pigment to your strands. Use a lighter level than your hair is. So as a level 7, get a level 8/9 ash tone color. Toning with an dedicated hair “toner” only works for hair that has been lifted past a level 8.

A bit on the warm side, but I will be toning/glazing with a demi in the next week or so.

For blondes wanting to go darker to Bronde:

I’m not the most experienced in this matter, since I am a brunette, but here’s what I do know:

  • Use a demi-permanent hair color, since you are depositing only and not lifting levels. It’s gentler and from what I hear, shinier!
  • Stay away from ash tones. Ash upsets the darkening process by getting too dark/green too fast and then you’re stuck with it.
  • Always use a demi color one or two levels lighter than you want to achieve. So if I were a light blonde, I would do a 7 or 8 with warm/golden tones to get to caramel. Depending on the intensity of bronde you want, diluting the hair color formula with a clear gloss demi would be smart for avoiding over saturation and it looking flat and fake whenever dying darker.

Hope these tips help for all that want this hair color. I find it suits all skin tones and ages and just looks really healthy. Try it today.

**DISCLAIMER: all advice I give is based on my own personal experience with hair color. I’m not a professional hair stylist, so use my advice with a bit of caution and never hesitate to consult to a professional! Thanks!


My Hair Coloring Journey: Soap Capping and Toning

No More Orange Please!

Orange…That is what I am dealing with when it comes to dying my asian hair; it’s full of red/orange brassiness underneath all that mysterious black. Any kind of chemical processing, on my hair will eventually expose brassy tones as a color job fades. So to cope, last spring, I decided to dye my hair to ash brown, but unfortunately it came out way too dark, almost black, but at least no orange! But as summer rolled around, I noticed it was a very flat and boring color. Ash colors are great, but on darker brunettes, the cool tones are just lost, and unnecessary. I decided then to warm up to a strawberry blondish.┬á But without bleaching first and using just a 30 volume peroxide for lift, I achieved reddish brown hair…not too bad, but slowly, as winter set upon me, and several shampoos after, I noticed rusty orange had showed up harshly and suddenly to ruin the party.

It’s hard to see in this photo, but the brassiness that is peeking out from under neath is kind of visible. My ends are darker because I did a reverse hombre a while ago…
My arsenal for color correction: Bleach powder, 20 vol peroxide, shampoo and conditioner. The Wella color 7A (ash) is for toning that orange after lightening…

I realized my hair turned rusty because without bleaching and lightening my hair first before coloring, the brassy tendency of my hair type would always be exposed in the end. My hair color had to start out┬álight enough to support whatever color I was putting in. So I decided I would do a soap cap to correct it. “Soap capping” aka “bleach bathing” is a formula of bleach and developer then diluted by shampoo meant to be a gentler method of lightening hair. It’s great for removing previous color or lightening a couple of levels. There are articles online on how to do soap capping to lighten hair but the ratio I used was 1:1.5 lightener to shampoo, lathered it into my hair and put a developing cap on it. And it worked. I went from brassy dark brown hair to orange hair! I know, it’s contradictory to have orange hair, exactly what I didn’t want, but once it got to a true orange color (and not the same brassy orange tint I disliked), it was ready to have an ashy color put on top to cover it.

Yikes! this is how it looked after treating with a soap cap! It got rid of the previous color, and lifted my hair to a level 6.5, I am now ready for toning/color…

So to neutralize the orange, I picked up a color with a lot of blue tones…basically an ASHy dark blonde in a level 7 (even though I was a level 6.5, I didn’t want to go darker with a level 6) And voila…the results were pretty nice. I am now rocking a light brown, with no signs of orange, even though I am still on the warmer color side; it’s impossible to totally irradiate the orange, because black hair just has so much of it. But I still think it turned out as close as I could get it with the most gentle and simple techniques.

Yay…no more orange…just a neutral light brown all the way. It’s a pretty colour, but I am not done yet…more to come…

So to recap, soap capping is an effective way to achieve gentle hair lightening. When a developer/bleach mixture is diluted with shampoo, it spreads more evenly, strips pigment slower, more predictably, and is safe enough to do at home on your whole head. If it isn’t light enough, you can wait a day or two and then re-soap cap so that your hair is less stressed out with the process.

My Tips for Safe Lightening at home:

  1. Watch the lightening like a hawk under that cap: Things can change every 5 or so minutes, so to get the amount of lightening you want with little error, keep checking the color as it works. And to prevent frying your hair, don’t leave a soap cap/lightener on longer than 50 min.
  2. Choose the weakest method of lightening and repeat if necessary: That is, don’t be in a hurry to get to what you want…Bleach, even when diluted with shampoo is still a very powerful chemical capable of damage. My first soap cap lifted my hair 2.5 shades! And it was only in my hair for 35 min.! Had I used full on bleach, I am pretty sure my hair would have been fried or too light in some areas! So be careful and go slow.
  3. Do redo darker hair spots: Sometimes, depending on where the hair is on the head, or previous chemical processes in the hair, the lifting results vary. For example my ends didn’t lift enough…I had to go back and redo┬á the ends the next night. But because I used a gentler method, redoing lightening in just some areas will be less damaging.

So am I done? As if!! I am actually aiming for a pinkish brown color. Keep on reading for my part 2 where I will be tinting my light brown hair with a pastel pink semi permanent…