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Achieving Rainbow Hair

Published on 19th December 2007

I’ve been coloring my own hair for two years, maybe, which really isn’t that long of a time, but I’ve had a lot of experience with a lot of things, and I’m still not the best. I’ve done everything wrong, but I’ve made some masterpieces from my mistakes.

You want to start off with your hair an even, bleach blond, platinum blond color—it can be lighter or darker blonds, depending on if you want your rainbow hair to be bright or more blended together. I’ve done both, but the picture I have is of a darker color.

If you don’t know which bleach to use, you might want to ask someone who does their hair frequently for what they recommend. If your hair is dark, you might want to use Fashion Frost, but if it’s already light, you can use Quick Blue or PrismLites.

Put your desired amount of bleach into a mixing bowl, and then add 20, 30, or 40 vol. developer, depending on how light your hair is (20 for light and 40 for dark) 50 is very damaging and 10 is usually not enough.

I would say to use more bleach than developer, because along with my hairstylist co-workers, I prefer a thicker consistency. It may not look like you have enough after you’ve mixed, but believe me, a little bit goes a long way with bleach.

(Another tip for color, if you want it to be a thicker consistency—-NOT FOR BLEACH—you can use corn starch)

Apply the bleach to your hair (but don’t touch the scalp). You may find it easier to have somebody else do it, but I’m used to doing hair myself, so I can accurately apply bleach, and do it evenly.

Keep it on for as long as it takes to lighten your hair, but remember not to keep it on for too long, because most bleaches only lighten hair 5-7 shades.

Now, wash out your bleach, and blow dry till it’s barely damp or completely dry (depending on what the brand of dye you use requires… Some dyes work better with damp hair, some work better with dry hair. I usually keep my hair completely dry).

Now that your hair is dry, select the colors you would like to use. I prefer a complete rainbow (Red, orange, yellow (if you can find it), green, blue, purple). Honestly, you can pick whatever colors you want, it’s just the effect of many colors blending that this tutorial is about.

Because I chose a rainbow, I’ll teach you my way.

I picked all SFX dyes, but you don’t have to. I chose Nuclear Red, Atomic Pink (just to add some flavor), Napalm, Iguana Green, Blue-Haired Freak, and Wildflower.

Now, I’ve found there’s two ways to do this, so I’ll teach you both ways.

Finished product..

First way:

After choosing your color, take about 1 in. by 1 in. portion of hair and apply your first color on it.

There are no foils needed, but you may do that if you want, considering that will reduce bleeding. However, some people like a bleeding effect, some do not. The picture I have included is a more blended style.

If you like, you can continue on in a ritual of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, red, orange, yellow… (I’ve found it best to put colors that work best next to each other, seeing as green and purple might not look best to each other, try something like red and pink).
OR you can make it completely random, which will be taught in my second way of doing rainbow hair.

After you’ve completed your first section, you continue to the next, which will be either to the left or right of your hair.

The way I did my hair was doing it from the lower sections all the way to the top. Start at the bottom, go all the way around with the colors you prefer. Then, let go of the next layer of hair, do that, then the next, and the next. (Remember, I’m not teaching you how to do each individual layer ONE color, I’m teaching you how to do a rainbow on EACH LAYER of hair.)

Unfortunately, I’m not that great at explaining this, but I hope it sounds easy enough. Just do a rainbow in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion all over the hair, taking circular sections each layer.

Second Way:

This method is a lot better when someone else does it for you.

First off, you need 1,000,000 ponytails. This is a better way to make an unexpected, unpredictable rainbow. After you’ve made 1 in. x 1 in. sections all over the hair and put them in ponytails, apply color on all these sections. For instance, take your red dye, and put it in one section in the front of your hair. Then, let down another ponytail above your left ear, and put it there. Do the same thing above the right ear, and then do it on the curve on the back of your head. Continue this same thing with all different colors. The only real thing you need to keep in mind is to not have the same color be right next to each other. Don’t have two 1 in. x 1 in. sections of pink right next to each other or there’ll be more pink than, let’s say, red.


After your hair is covered in color, wait 30-45 minutes and rinse out carefully. If you do foils or not, it doesn’t matter, because if you’re careful enough, the colors won’t bleed. For the first way, you want the colors to bleed to make a blending effect. For the second way, don’t let the colors bleed, and honestly, they probably won’t! I did it, and they didn’t bleed at all.

Dry your hair, and you’re on your way!

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