Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly: How to Pick Bleaches and Dyes

'Go Forth and Dye Fearlessly' is going to be a weekly feature on my blog for the next five weeks; as a veteran of dying my own hair I will be explaining what dyes and bleaches to go for, how to prepare your hair for dying, dying and bleaching your hair and appropriate aftercare. Of course, this is all stuff that has worked personally for me but as you're obviously not me don't take my word as gospel and please do as much research as you feel necessary to prepare yourself for transforming your hair.

The first step of getting ready to dye your hair is picking out your bleach. I wouldn't recommend one of the blonde dyes you can get from brands like Garnier or Boots as these have toners in designed to stop your hair being too orange/yellow. When you're dying over the top that's ideally how you want your hair as white can be too harsh on certain hair types.

Bleaches come in two varieties generally; 30 vol (red) and 40 vol (blue), of which 40 is stronger. The only bleach brand I can actively recommend is Directions Bleach as this is what I've always used and always gives me good results. I use the 40 vol for faster results but if your hair is mouse brown or lighter 30 vol would work fine too; for darker hair 40 vol would be best. Also base this decision on the condition of your hair. You can buy Directions four about £9.99 from a variety of online shops and also Blue Banana. 

What kind of dye you want to buy depends a great deal on the effect you want. For example, if you want dye that is absolutely permanent go with Elumen, which can currently only be purchased through salon type shops or eBay. For slightly less permanent go with Special Effects, which is my current brand. On bleached hair this will last until it is grown out but will fade over time far quicker than Elumen. If you want something more temporary go for Stargazer or Crazy Colour as these will fade out entirely over time and are also cheaper. I've never used Manic Panic so I can't vouch for it.

Colour also plays a large part in how permanent dye is; pink and reds are more likely to stay in forever whereas blues and greens drop out far quicker requiring more touch-ups. Base your colour decision on how often you are willing to dye and how much time your want to spend on your hair. One final consideration is how much dye you need to buy. I use about a third to a half a bottle on my VERY short hair so longer hair may require one, two or three even!

next week: how to prepare your hair for dying.


  1. This is a really informative post, thank you!
    It's the first time I've heard of "Elumen" brand, I'll go google it now...

    Waiting for your next post!

    1. I'm glad you found it informative :) Just remember, with Elumen it DOES NOT come out, even if you dye over it then decide to strip the colour it will still be there underneath xx

  2. I had never heard of Elumen either, must have a nosey and see what it's like.
    I used to use Stargazer Magenta because when it it did start to fade after a few weeks it was looked like a hot pink rather than dull and washed out.

    1. I wash my hair everyday so I found stargazer would last less than a week! x

  3. Manic panic would probably fall in the same category as the Stargazer product. After a few washes it fades unless you put some in your conditioner.

    I really love this post though, thank you for doing it! Bleach is always where I get scared and have no idea which one to buy so this was helpful. :D

  4. I use Directions 40 vol on my really dark brown hair and it works really well :) I also use the Directions hair dye as it's affordable (£3-4 on ebay) and lasts for ages on my hair, but I can't say that for every colour (yet haha!). I think I only have to re-dye it once a month and as I have short hair it's easy and not too messy :)

  5. I love your post! Thanks, I might try directions bleach next time. I always use a brand you get at the local drug store but never really thought about it :D

    I agree with crazy colors and stargazer, these products were just pure waste of money. My hair was only faintly pink and was washed off a few days later.

    Manic Panic is pretty awesome in color, I used hot hot pink, but it's just not my favorite shade of color. I wish they had one a tat less vibrant. But the next step is cotton candy pink, and that's too faint for my liking *lol*. But all in all a great dye, if you treat it right it can last up to a month.

    SFX is just the best dye I used so far. It lasts forever and ever! I have a vibrant pink in my hair for TWO month now! And I really just need to touch up because my roots are showing too much by now ^^. The only downside is that is really does stain everything. It was okay when I just had a few colored streaks, but with the whole head atomic/cupcake pink everything I own is faintly pink xD (it wears off, though)

    I will totally ask my SIL about Elumen. She owns a hair salon :) It sounds pretty great.

    1. I'm glad you liked my post sweet! Stay tuned for the next one on the 31st ;) I agree about the SFX dye! Atomic Pink was awful, stained EVERYTHING.


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