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Avoid Bleeding Colours

Published on 30th June 2011

Have you ever done an amazing dye job only to have it ruined when you wash your hair? In this article I’ll explain how you can avoid colour bleeding and how you can use it to your advantage.

Bleeding Vs Blending

The truth is, sometimes there is no way to avoid colours running into each other as you rinse them out. This is particularly true when you have colours like White, Yellow, Lilac, (or any pastel shade), in your hair which corrupted if you have a deeper, more pigmented shade placed next to it. It is unavoidable to some extent but you can use this in your favour!

Bleeding can be a good thing. You can use it to create custom colour blends that look 100% deliberate. The trick is to place your colours carefully.
Take yellow as an example. Imagine you want to do a bright yellow fading into green, fading to blue. If you place the blue at the top, think about what is going to happen when you wash your hair – the blue will wash all the way down the length of the hair and muddy the yellow. So all you need to do is flip your gradient around so that you have yellow on top, then green then blue on the bottom. Always put the deepest colours on the bottom and you can’t go too far wrong. Enhance the look while you’re dyeing by smudging the borders between colours to give a softer gradient.

So what if you don’t want to use a gradient… let’s say you’re doing chunks of a colour?
The key here is to accept that some of your lighter colour is going to be affected. So, using our yellow and blue example above, if you wanted a streak of yellow in the middle of your blue hair you need to make your yellow area about 50% larger than you actually invisage it so that there’s a good portion of yellow that’s not directly touching any blue. Accept that some of the yellow is going to turn greenish. It’s inevitable but you can reduce how green it goes by following the tips below.

Tips to Reduce Bleeding

  • Wash your hair carefully – even suds can stain light hair so avoid piling your hair up on top of your head as you wash and when you rinse let the water run from root to tip without bunching your hair together.
  • Consider washing some areas separately – if you have blonde hair and just a chunk of colour, you may want to think about tying or clipping the blonde hair back while you wash the coloured area. This will prevent the colour rinsing through your blonde and discolouring it.
  • Rinse in cold water – the colder the better. Cold water seals the hair cuticle slightly so less dye escapes.
  • Use conditioner – this will also seal the hair and reduce the amount of colour in the run-off.
  • Choose the deeper colour carefully – some dyes bleed more than others. Avoid really deep shades of plum, dark blue and dark green which will stain everything in sight (hair, nails, bathroom and more importantly you’re freshly bleached hair) and opt for something more pastel. Check out product reviews first to find out how much bleeding you’re likely to experience.

Do you have any more tips? Leave a comment!

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