I've been in desperate need of a hair change. I'm normally pretty impulsive when it comes to what I do with my hair, but I've been putting a real effort in to finally growing out my hair and keeping it looking relatively healthy. Much easier said than done when I get the urge to color/cut it about 5 times a month!
In the last 5 years, I've brought my hair to hell and back. I went from 100% all natural virgin hair, to every color under the sun (including winter white bleached, a la hair school). With all that color processing, I've had to chop chop chop it off constantly. I practically had a pixi cut at one point after coloring over my bleach blonde and dealing with the uneven tones it left behind.
Since hair school, I've settled on coloring my hair a little more conservatively and for the most part haven't touched it with bleach. I've gone back and forth from brown to auburn over the last 2 years, but that's about it. I've really come to love having red hair, but it can get a tad boring with no variation to it.
I grew my hair out to a very good length for my wedding, but I knew a good 4-5 inches of the ends were secretly trashed from my blonde days and after every shower I was still de-rattifying it and fighting against it's urge to poof out like cotton candy. So I made the decision to cut a ton off again, ending up with a bob just about chin length.
Since October, I haven't touched my hair with scissors and have only gone over it with my usual red color. It's now just past my shoulders (with the help of daily vitamins) and I've been really happy with it. Yet still, the urge to change things up was there, and I finally felt it was safe to get back in to the bleach.
I decided on doing an ombre-red look, keeping it all over red, but a brighter auburn at the ends and deeper from the roots. Here's how I did it, what I used, and the useful tips I came up with!
This is my hair before bleach...
Prepare to bleach!
My hair has been colored over time after time after time, so I knew my ends would be a bit troublesome to cut through. I originally went in with the ColorFix color remover to see if I'd have the same luck I had in my last lightening job, but was disappointed. Not unexpected, but it only lifted the ends barely half a level. I know if I used the color remover another 3-4 times, I'm sure I would have got a much more significant lift, but I wasn't in the mood to deal with that much stink (seriously, the stuff STINKS).
Instead, I caved and decided bleach was the way to go. I used to use the Wella brand blue bleach and absolutely LOVED it, but it's only available to licensed beauticians. I graduated, but never got licensed. Instead, I decided on the L'Oreal Super Blue Creme Oil Lightener. I'd never read a review for it, but after reading the box I figured it'd be okay. The box made it seem like it had everything you'd need to lighten your hair (aka the bleach AND the developer) but this apparently wasn't true...
After I got home, I realized the liquid lightener it came with was just like, an enhancer, but not the actual developer, a fact I was only made aware of after opening the box, taking everything out, and reading the directions on the INSIDE of the box... *mumblegrumble*
Normally I'd recommend going with a 20 volume developer for bleaching, to ensure you got even lift, but I didn't have 20 vol at home. All I had was 10 volume, which is what I used when I colored my hair. Crabby as hell, I decided to try a test strand with the 10 volume developer before getting in my freezing car and driving back to the beauty store. THANKFULLY, the 10 volume lifted my hair plenty, and in the end, isn't nearly as damaging as a higher developer.
Satisfied with the results of my test strand, I got to work on the rest of my hair. As seen in the tutorial, I focused most at the ends, feathering the bleach up the hair about 5-6 inches. I did this to my whole head, using up the entire box of bleach. My hair is very thick, so I was lucky I made it with the 1 box.
This is my hair ON bleach...
Wash that #$&* out!
I chose not to shampoo/condition after the bleach because I knew I was coloring the same day. It's just my personal preference, because I sometimes feel like washing your hair affects the color processing all the way. Instead I thoroughly rinsed my hair for a good 10 minutes until I was sure all the bleach was gone.
After towel drying my hair, I sprayed the ends well with the Its a 10 Leave in Product spray to make brushing through it less traumatizing. I used a wide tooth comb and got through it all with minimal breakage.
I then dried it completely with a hair dryer on medium heat.
This is my hair AFTER bleach...
Once all my hair was dry, I got to work on the color.
The color I've been using for over a year now to keep my hair red is the Clairol Professional Liquicolor in 5RR - Lightest Intense Red. I mix it with equal parts of the 10 volume Clairol Professional Pure White Creme Developer.
After mixing it all up, I split my hair down the middle and clip 1 side up. It's smart to color the perimeter of your face first to ensure you get all the pesky baby hairs. Then I just go down one side, front to back making sure all the hair is equally covered in dye.
Do this to the whole head, clip it all back and wait another 20 minutes.
Wash that $*)# out!
Tip: before jumping in the shower, get as much of the color spills off your face as possible. There are a few ways to do this. The absolute easiest, is to just take a little leftover color on your finger, and rub it in to where there are spills on your face. The color actually cancels out the color on your face and it will wipe away clean.
If you don't have left over color, I usually take a cotton pad with some makeup remover while the color on my face is still wet and wipe it with that. It's worked really well for me. I don't mind if there's still some left on my neck/arms/etc, but this method gets it off my face really well.
Then hop in the shower!
This time I did use both shampoo and conditioner. I actually conditioned using the free sample hair mask that came with my Its a 10 spray. It really worked wonders...
Fun fact, my bathtub drain decided to clog up right then and there, so once I hopped out of the shower, it looked like a murder scene.
Again, after towel drying my hair, I sprayed in more It's a 10 spray to detangle and give it some much needed moisture. I then blow dried it on a medium setting.
Then voila! Red ombre hair!
It turned out about exactly like I thought it would. Also to note, the color lightens up about another good level after another wash, that's why I included a few pictures from right after the coloring to a few days later.
Overall I really like this look. A few things that you could do to get a slightly truer ombre look would be to go over the hair a 2nd time with bleach and just focus on the bottom 3-4 inches, leaving the feathered sections near the middle alone. This would brighten the ends even more and make the ombre effect even more apparent. I was honestly just too lazy to do it, but I'm very satisfied with the look I got.
I hope this tutorial was helpful! If you try your own look or have any questions, feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below!!