So, hair history. My hair is light brown and I've been dying it dark for a long time. I've also wanted Red Velvet hair for a long time. First I tried L'oreal Power Reds in R48, over hair that had been dyed a few months prior with John Frieda 4N. Power Reds are popular but also very hit or miss. I was a miss. I got nearly black hair with some red glint in the sun, like cherry coke I guess. Pretty, but not what I wanted.
This is with a flash or else you wouldn't see anything but darkness. It's pretty here, but it was nothing like this unless I was standing still in bright sunlight.
After trying to fade it in the shower for about 2 weeks, I bought Manic Panic Amplified in Vampire Red. Due to the before and after pics on their site, including the unbleached ones, I thought I'd be good. Nope! My hair turned faintly purple with a bit more red in the light. It was actually gorgeous so I left it for awhile. Keep in mind, my hair was DARKER than the pic above shows, before using the MP dye.
Ok, so still not red velvet. After looking at these swatches and their claim to lift dark hair, no pre-bleaching needed, I chose L'oreal Hicolor in Dark Auburn Red with a 30 vol. developer. I didn't really want to but I figured this is better than straight up bleaching. Well, it didn't really work. In fact, in normal light I just have dark brown hair again. In sunlight there's SOME red. I took this literally standing in bright sunlight. I also used Ulta shampoo, conditioner, and glaze for red hair, but the reviews on that are so-so and I'm not sure they really help.
So now, I'm kind of at that point. Screw it, I'm going to need to bleach. But I've damaged my hair so much, haven't I? Test strand time.
I grabbed some Manic Panic Flash Lightning in Vol. 30 and bleached a test strand of my hair from a few inches down to the ends. I wrapped it in foil and left it on for 90 minutes before rinsing it out. I wasn't sure what to think. To me it actually looked like a nice red, but in photos and to my 4 year old, it was orange, so there went my dreams of bleaching once and being done.
I decided to bleach the bottom half of what I had already bleached a 2nd time, so I conditioned, left it on for a half hour, rinsed, dried, and re-bleached. Don't do this to your whole head. This is a small test strand and I was fully prepared for it to fall off at this point.
I reapplied bleach to the bottom, wrapped in foil, and left it in for another 90 minutes. Rinse, condition, rinse, dry, voila.
See how most of my hair just looks dark brown? Yeah. Sigh.
I don't really know what to call the bottom color. It's light orange. That's the best I can think of. However, it was bleached twice for a total of 180 minutes, or 3 hours, in the span of about 5 hours, and it's not fried, so that's a plus.
My downside to the MP? This is all the bleach you get. You get a decent amount of developer, but this packet mixed with developer isn't all that much more product in volume, so if you have long hair, I'd buy at least two, if not 3 of these kits if this is what you want to use.
My next step is attempting an ombre ponytail bleaching and then trying out my Pravana reds and magentas! I hear they're the best unnatural color dyes on the market, so I'm really excited try this out. I'll use my test strand first to see it on undyed, 1 bleach, and 2 bleach hair and see how much bleaching I really need to do. I'm hoping none, 1 worst case scenario, but I'll update when I figure out what I'm doing :)