English sophomore Kathleen Pesl said she’s always wanted to dye her dark brown hair, but she never felt the courage to do so until weeks into self-isolation. Pesl had seen an increased flood of hair-dyeing TikTok videos and YouTube tutorials once social distancing began, which spurred her decision to dye her locks a rich purple.
“[Self-isolation] definitely made me do it,” she said. “It gave me more courage to do it just because I know that if it were to have messed up, I wouldn’t be seeing anybody for a while, and if I hated the color, at least I’d have some time to grow it out before I saw anybody again.”
Pesl said she found her color on Amazon, and the second it was delivered, she and her sister got to work. About 30 minutes later, she wasn’t a brunette anymore.
Chelsea Bonham, hairstylist and the owner of Acute Salon in Fort Worth, said one of the hardest parts of dyeing hair at home is getting the right color dye for your already-existing hair color. Mixing shades and getting the desired end result is harder than most stylists make it look.
There are multiple websites like dpHUE.com and madison-reed.com that allow you to upload a photo of yourself to receive professional feedback on how to dye your hair, and many hairstylists are offering custom color kits to help their clients.
Bonham recommended using one of those two options because you’ll receive professional advice and coloring products, so you won’t need to worry as much about how your hair turns out.
It’s important to understand that color can’t lift color, they said. Most of the time, you’ll need to bleach your hair before introducing a new color to your hair. When it comes to fantasy colors like purple, pink or green, you can’t go straight from blonde or brown hair.
Think of a Sharpie, Bonham said. If you get a dark brown sharpie and color a piece of paper, you won’t be able to change that color by coloring over it with a purple sharpie. The same is true for hair, you’ll need a light color first for the purple to be able to show up.
For real estate sophomore Lauren Brusniak, picking the right color wasn’t a huge concern because she was lucky enough to start social distancing as a platinum blonde. Adding color was easy.
To start, she only dyed the strands of hair that frame her face to see if she liked the color and how it looked on her.
She bought a pastel pink coloring conditioner that mostly washes out after each shower. That means she has to reapply it every time she washes her hair, but that allows her to experiment with her look, she said. Once social distancing is over and she has to go back to her job, she’ll let the pink wash out completely.
When using lightening dyes or bleach, Bonham said to start at the ends of your hair and then do your roots last. If you start with your roots, they’ll be lighter than the rest of your head, and you’ll have what stylists call “hot roots.”
Many people worry about the effect that bleach will have on their hair’s health, but Bonham said that professional custom coloring kits come with bond builders, which help protect hair from bleach damage.
Now that Tarrant County barbershops and hair salons are closed in response to COVID-19, many people are considering a home haircut instead of waiting for them to reopen.
Above all, Bonham discouraged the use of box hair dyes, which damage hair and don’t produce good color quality.
Pesl wasn’t worried about ruining her hair type, she was more concerned with her actual hair color. Growing up, she’d learned that dyeing your hair various colors can make it harder to revert to your natural color when you want to. To preserve her hair, she bought a semi-permanent hair dye, and used color shampoos and hair masks to maintain her hair’s health.
Doing your hair at home is definitely riskier than waiting for salons to open back up, Bonham said, but for some it’s worth the risk. So long as you do your research beforehand, hair dyeing can be a fun way to take control of your appearance.
For Pesl, self-isolation was the perfect time. Her purple hair is already fading, but Pesl said she might be interested in going pink or red once everything goes back to normal when her friends can see it.
Brusniak said she’s been on a repeat cycle of homework, sleeping and TV ever since social distancing began. Dyeing her hair gives her a sense of control in a lifestyle that doesn’t allow her to control much.