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Hair-Dyeing Fun with Pravana Locked-In!

Published on 21st July 2015

Ever spent ages on an intricate dye job only to have it blend into a disappointing mess when you go to rinse it out? I certainly have and it’s annoying. So when I heard about Pravana Locked-In I was both intrigued and sceptical. The box describes it as “A revolutionary, vibrant hair color designed to give long-lasting, intense color that does not transfer onto other hair strands or into other colors.” Sounds a bit too good to be true, but as a fan of Pravana’s Vivids line I was keen to give it a try.


Locked-In comes in the same 90ml tubes as the rest of the Pravana range. On opening it the difference is apparent. The colours are translucent like gel rather than the usual creamy consistency we’re used to with Pravana’s Vivid and Neon colours.

Pravana Locked-In has a clear gel consistency which means the colour doesn't bleed.

The consistency of the colour is thicker than I’m used to. It reminds me of jam (without the stickiness) but it brushes smoothly onto the swatch that I’m dyeing.

In the photo below you can see my setup for dyeing swatches. I use a piece of cardboard and staple the weft on the cardboard at the top to hold it in place. For this dye job I’ve also used a bulldog clip at the bottom to keep the hair from moving around. If you want to recreate this on your own hair then I’d recommend using a few control clips to keep your hair laying flat and taught.

Applying Pravana Locked-In Yellow on a piece of human hair weft.

Starting with Locked-In Yellow, I’m applying blocks of colour using a tint brush. For the easiest application of straight lines like this, I’ve found it’s best to hold your brush at about a 30 degree angle to the hair. It can be tricky to apply enough pressure to push the colour through the hair without moving it too much. Using a sheet of acetate would make this easier if you’re doing it on yourself.

Locked-In Teal, a vivid blue hair dye, applied to a weft of hair.

Next up, I’m applying Teal and allowing some overlap with Yellow to create shades of green. It’s bluer than I expected.

The gorgeous pink hair dye seen in this picture is from the Pravana Locked-In line.

I’m enjoying the colour mix of Yellow, Teal and Pink which can be seen at the top of this picture. Since Teal is more like Cyan and Pink is like Magenta it works in the same way as mixing inks.

Pravana's Locked-In purple is an attractive plum hair colour.

Locked-In Purple surprised me. I was expecting more of a violet colour in line with their other colours but it’s actually more of a plum colour. It looks a bit less red in real life.

Locked-In Blue is a rich royal blue colour that won't bleed into the surrounding hair.

Compared to Teal, Locked-In Blue is a bit more of a royal blue colour although not as dark. One of the main properties of this dye is that you can apply colours edge to edge without expecting colour bleed. Since yellow is a colour that’s often corrupted by nearby shades I’m adding colour right next to it.

Red from Pravana's Locked-In range is a really bright hair colour with no pink tones.

Finally, I’m adding some Locked-In Red in this picture. At first it seemed almost like a coral colour but with a bit more dye it became a more vibrant oranged-based red. I was worried about how this one would come out. It looked like most of the colour would wash off but I followed the instructions and allowed 30 minutes for it to process.


So as I said before, I was sceptical about these colours not bleeding and I wanted to put them through their paces. Ordinarily I would recommend anyone trying such a dyeing technique rinse carefully from root to tip in cold water to reduce bleeding. I’d even recommend that yellow should be applied at the roots to avoid it being ruined by colour bleeding from above. However, I was not at all careful when rinsing and actively balled the hair up as I was washing out the colour and used very warm water.

To my amazement the colour had not shifted at all. The yellow seemed to be vibrant and the uncoloured remained blonde!

The dried swatch shows all the Pravana Locked-In colours after rinsing. Notice there's no bleeding!

Impressive; but maybe we add shampoo to the mix it will be a different story.


I used Directions Colour Protecting Shampoo (maybe a shampoo for coloured hair isn’t the best choice when you’re intending to make the colours run but it’s what I had to hand), applied it to the weft and scrubbed a bit more vigorously than I would with my own hair. The suds were completely white; no colour coming off the swatch. After lathering a bit more I rinsed it again in hot water.

Pravana Locked-In colours have not bled after washing with shampoo.

I’m astonished that this colour has stayed put. The yellow is completely flawless. The bleached, uncoloured hair has not been tainted in the slightest. The colours look just as vivid as before.

I really love the transparency of Pravana Locked-In. At first it was difficult to get used to. The colours felt like they were going to be very wishy-washy. I couldn’t imagine that there would be much left after rinsing, going by how they looked on the hair, but the unusual thing about this hair dye range is that what you see on the hair is what you get.
Colour mixing is a bit more difficult than with other dyes and these shades need to be mixed thoroughly before application. Where I overlapped colours you can see that while they did mix in a kind of translucent way, if you want to make a smooth ombre/gradient you’ll need to mix up small batches of dye rather than trying to mix them on the hair.

As you’d expect, all of these shades are inter-mixable. Teal is more like cyan but it’s easily made greener with a drop of yellow and a small amount of Teal in your Purple could easily create a beautiful Violet shade. Teal, Yellow and Pink are such pure colours that you could easily make most shades you’ll need with combinations of these 3 dyes.

The colours can also be mixed with Chromasilk Vivid Clear although I haven’t tested how this affects the “locked-in” quality. The only thing that it’s really missing is a variety deeper shades. I hope that in future we’ll see some darker colours in this line.

Conclusion: a dye that does what it claims! This opens up a variety of creative techniques to try, whether it’s white with bold colour, stripes or stenciled designs. Colour-bleed need not be a problem!

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