Hair Dye How-To

I’ve been getting so many questions about my hair color recently, that I think it’s about time I write something about it. Here is what I use!

And, disclaimers. I am not a hair stylist. So, like, when your hair turns orange don’t complaint to me, kay?

I get all of my products from Sally Beauty. I’ve found that the workers there tend to know what they are doing and are eager to help. Sign up for their Sally Beauty card. It’s $10 for a year, but will save your $.50 cents or more each product. They also routinely send out coupons and gave me $5 coupon for signing up.


1. Ion brand creme permanent hair color in Medium Intense Red Blonde. $4.50 (I use two boxes now because my hair is so long. Short hair will only need one).

2. Salon Care 20 creme developer. $3.50 (Lasts 4-8 months).

3. Ion color defense after-color sealer. $6.00 (Lasts a few months. Not necessary, but I like it!).



You’ll need a dye bowl and brush. Both of these were made my Ion and found at Sally Beauty. You’ll also really, really need gloves for the person dying your hair. These bad boys will turn hands pink for a week. Sally sells them for .50 cents!


I’ve been dying my hair this shade for the last 14 months. My hair is naturally a lighter medium blonde, so it probably looks much different on people with naturally dark hair.

It’s quite intense and don’t be surprised if you look like a firetruck when it’s done. I pour equal parts dye(I use two tubes/boxes, so 4 ounches of dye and 4 ounces of ¬†developer together in the bowl). I wear a shirt I don’t care about and tie a rag towel around my neck to avoid staining. Also cover the area you’re dying in with towels, especially under the bowl. This shit stains.

My friends Steph or Brenna(Alli dyed it when I was at school) usually dye my hair and takes about an hour to get my whole head. I put half of my hair up and take pieces out as we go(starting at the nape of my neck, moving to my hairline). This color fades a lot, so we dye all of my hair every time.

Once the whole head is covered in dye, I hold up all of my hair with a claw clip and wait about 45 minutes to wash it out in the shower. I try to always wash my hair with cool water to avoid fading. I usually use a little shampoo and then the after color sealer. It’s sort of impossible to get the water to run clear. You’ll have pink water for most of the month.

Here is a diagram of how the color fades from right after to right before I dye again. I usually re-dye every 4-5 weeks.


Like I said, this color is intense. And for some reason warrants people to constantly talk about it. I’ve had more conversations with strangers about my hair color than anything else. Most people are really nice about and complimentary, but there are of course random creepy old dudes at the grocery store and stranger’s weird desire to call you “Red”. [I’m not talking about you, Alli. I love when you call me Red. ;) ].

Also. People really, really like to tell you what hair color they think looks best on you. From old people at church that I’ve never talked to, to random family members. ¬†I like my hair red because I like it and I really don’t care if you think I look better with blonde hair or brown hair or purple hair.

My hair is pretty shiny for the first week, but the shininess fades as the color fades. As far as damage goes, mine is not too bad. I don’t ever blow-dry my hair or use a hot iron, the curling iron is the only thing I use. I only recently started getting split ends, but that’s mostly because my hair is getting so long(bottom of my bust) and because I’m lazy about getting my hair trimmed.

I think that clears it up. Any more questions?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mily November 23, 2012, 9:52 pm

    Great advice!

  • Cecilia October 15, 2013, 12:00 am

    If my hair is Brown more on the ashy side should I bleach it first?

  • kristy / wrecklesscreative May 25, 2012, 11:27 am

    I’ve been using this color for the last four months and i LOVE IT. I get compliments all the time — even from really old people (which, I think, says a lot). It’s so interesting to me how hair color effects people’s perception of you. It does fade, but the more I dye it, the slower it fades. I wash it in cool water, which helps maintain the color a lot! Also, I have short hair, so all of what you show above lasts me two applications.

  • Chelser May 21, 2012, 4:11 pm

    I looked up this color you said you used because I was going to order it, and it looks ALOT lighter in the color swatch shown, It looks like strawberry blonde, nothing like the color yours comes out, did I find the wrong one?

  • Amy May 19, 2012, 11:10 am

    I have had my hair dyed the same colour as in your pic for about ten months now I’m starting to get really bored of it and I want to get my hair stripped to its natural colour ,any advice ?? My natural hair colour is blonde but has kinda gingery tones to it in the winter I have dyed my hair red with wella colour touch 77/45 (highly reccommend it if you want red hair) about 6-9 times since the first time I put it in, my hair was chestnut before the red ! My roots are really blonde and are now nearly 2inches long :( can someone please help ASAP :)

  • karahaupt May 19, 2012, 7:42 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Sorry, I can’t help you. I will be dying my hair back to my natural (a light blonde later this month), but I am going to a professional to strip the color. I’ve heard horror stories from people who have done it on their own. I would recommend going to a pro. Good luck!


  • Shayna March 15, 2013, 7:25 pm

    I had stubborn orange hair and decided to go to white blonde a couple months ago.

    I’d recommend some sort of color stripper as well to try to remove as many red pigments as possible, and then I used “Quick Blue” bleach powder with 30 developer to bleach out the rest. I had to do this twice to get all of the orange out, and it still had orange hues.

    Your best friend will be Wella’s T18(used to be called White Lady) toner with 20 developer. It’ll tone down the bright yellows and orange.
    Deep condition right after bleaching, and do it for as little time as possible because bleach Will damage your. hair. And don’t freak out when the toner turns purple, that’s how it counteracts the yellow. If your hair is super light after bleaching(white blonde) it can temporarily stain it a little purplish, but if it’s just yellow, it’ll take it to a cool, natural blonde color.

    Hope this helps! I get everything at Sally’s.

  • kristy / wrecklesscreative May 25, 2012, 11:29 am

    I just had a convo with a hair dresser – I was asking the same thing – she said to use two applications of stripper (not bleach) and that should strip a lot of the stain off before trying to color or bleach it, but to not bleach it first. Strip .. because your hair is stained and it’ll be healthier not to bleach it right away or at all. :)

  • amy May 26, 2012, 1:43 am

    Thanks :D major help :)))

  • Jamie Ogletree May 8, 2012, 9:17 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog and came across this post from your FAQ page. I dye my hair red too and have been looking for a color that makes it a brighter red so I might have to try this! Oh and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has random people call them “red” :)

  • heather smith January 14, 2012, 12:32 am

    hey.. if you hair is a blonde color, just curious why you are using 20vol developer? did they suggest that at the store? you should try 10 =) it will last longer too since it just deposits into the hair and doesn’t lift.. by using 20 you are ‘lifting’ your hair to that shade making it more porous ;p

  • kimberly scott July 31, 2011, 7:25 pm

    That’s the exact brand and color i used when I was red! It does fade pretty fast though.

    Something you could consider is using a strong protein filler:)

  • Kelseyrosie July 21, 2011, 1:02 am

    I’ve had bright red hair for a few years now, and I totally know what you mean about all the comments! It truly is funny how strangers always want to start up a conversation about my hair. Glad there is someone else who understands the oddball comments. Haha.


  • Beauty411 July 20, 2011, 7:53 pm

    I haven’t dyed my hair in years – eight, maybe? – and scheduled an appointment for next month. I have have very fair skin and medium brunette hair and want to go Florence Welch-red, but that’s too drastic for someone like me. Instead I’m going for a deep chocolate with vibrant red for a natural yet striking change. It’s going to cost me $65 plus tip, though! Your hair looks AWESOME! I wish I wasn’t so afraid to try coloring mine myself, but knowing me, it would somehow end up pink or something.

  • ellenmarie July 19, 2011, 10:20 am

    oh my gosh, love this post! i use manic panic and i just hate how quickly it fades and how it stains all my pillow, or sweaters, or anything i wear that’s white around my neck. does this stain too? i’ve been looking for another bright red dye that isn’t so terrible for my beautiful clothes :) love your post! and i have the same problem, where i talk to so many strangers about my hair! mine’s only been red since january, so i don’t really mind it too much so far ;)

  • Shannon Marie July 18, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Such a cool color and really awesome post – thank you!

  • Ashley July 18, 2011, 9:11 am

    Really funny that I saw this today – I just dyed my hair my favorite shade of red last night!

    I’m not sure about other colors (I’ve only ever done red because it tends to gradually turn back to blonde without having to do touch ups. Yes, I’m a cheepo.), but red will disappear super quick if you don’t use the sealer! Don’t skip that step if you want to keep it longer than 2-3 weeks.

    Oh, and don’t wear white if you think you’re going to get wet or it will rain. I lost a pretty amazing shirt that way… :(

  • kelly ann July 17, 2011, 9:33 pm

    PERFECT. I’ve been getting my hair professionally done for a few years now, and it’s just way too expensive. I’m super nervous to do it myself – but this helped so much! Thanks, miss :)

  • Mary-Beth July 17, 2011, 7:53 pm

    I’ve always wanted bright red hair! One day when I’m employed by someone who doesn’t have a “no un-natural hair colors” policy. haha. So closed minded those people…

  • Kristi July 17, 2011, 7:38 pm

    Just a tip, as a long time dyer, nail polish remover works pretty well to remove stains.

  • karahaupt July 17, 2011, 9:33 pm

    Oh, nice! Thanks for the tip!

  • eloiseinny July 17, 2011, 7:37 pm

    I do the same thing, it saves so much time & money :)

  • Danielle July 17, 2011, 11:45 am

    i’ve always loved your red hair! i’ve wanted to be daring and dye mine red, but i’ve never mustarded up the courage! maybe i’ll try it now :) thanks for sharing!

  • San July 17, 2011, 10:37 am

    I love your hair color. I wish I was so brave to get my hair colored this red! ;)

  • teddi July 17, 2011, 10:34 am

    no questions, just comments. i get annoyed when other people tell me what color they like my hair best. especially when i never ask for their opinion.

  • Sarah July 17, 2011, 10:17 am

    the constant conversations about your hair thing I can very much relate to. Having tons of curly, purple hair is what I spend half of my day discussing with people I don’t actually know :) Your red IS especially lovely btw.

  • Erika Lee Sears July 17, 2011, 10:13 am

    so cute :) I thinking about going back to red. I always change my mind with my hair.

  • gee July 17, 2011, 10:05 am

    thanks for this.
    i really want to do this to my hair..but i am such a chicken.
    plus, i have almost black i am not sure what the dye will do to my hair.
    maybe i will get up the nerve to try it soon! :P

Next post:

Previous post: