'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.