Jad Montenegro is a local indie singer, songwriter and graphic artist. In a recent interview, Jad opens up about her current obsession of DIY hair coloring/dyeing.
Hi Jad! We just wanted to ask you a few questions about your hair color. How did you get started dyeing your hair?
I’ve always had jet black waist-length, super thick hair. But my sister-in-law told me one day, “Hey, why don’t you try coloring your hair? Even just a subtle brown?”
So I googled how to bleach your own hair, watched a ton of youtube videos (some helpful, some giving really bad advice lol) and bought a pack of bleach at HBC, some developer, and a packet of copper red dye. I got hooked on coloring after that, mostly because if you’re starting from virgin hair you never get the color it says on the packet and you want to keep redoing it. After more research though, I’m glad I didn’t bleach over and over again, which is something people new to dyeing always do. They get gigil and regret it later. 🙂
How did people start going to your blog for hair tips?
I’ve since learned NOT to go crazy about processing your hair, so I started sharing my experiences and tips on my blog under the tag http://jadmontenegro.tumblr.com/tagged/hair. People eventually started messaging me and asking me hair questions, and even though I don’t consider myself an expert hair guru or anything, I try to answer them to the best of my ability 😀 When I was made Featured Artist for Radio Republic, they even did a segment/episode where I talked about how to dye or bleach your hair! That was fun. You can watch that video here.
How many colors have you tried? Do you have certain rules about what colors to go when switching from one color to another?
Honestly, I think I’ve tried them all. I’ve been dyeing my hair since 2011 I think. I first went red, and then worked my way around the color wheel, to minimize damage and my need for bleaching.
Basically I think you should take advantage of fading colors to make your next color choice. I believe there is a sensible way to dye your hair without completely frying it. I’m not without my mishaps (one time I double processed my bangs and they fell off), but for the most part I’ve tried to be patient and not overbleach.
I also wait for my colors to fade and then put on a color close to my old one – that way I move around the color wheel. For example, if my hair was a fading pink, I wouldn’t try to dye it green. I’d put on some diluted blue over it to try and go from a faded pink to a more vibrant lavender. When lavender fades, I’d put on a more green-leaning blue over it to get a teal, and when teal fades, I’d put on a green over it to get a dark emerald color, etc. Or from faded pink I could lean toward the warm spectrum and put on a vibrant red dye over it.
Once, I even decided I didn’t want to bleach past orange. It’s just color theory 🙂
Have you ever had more than one color in your hair at once? How do you do it? How often do you change it?
I’ve always loved having several colors in my hair. For the most part, I’m partial to pastels and gradients (blue, purple and pink is my favorite combo). I know some people love vibrant, pigmented colors that make a stark contrast, but I enjoy having the colors in my hair blend into each other. One of my secrets is, I do the multiple-color thing when I’m coming out of a faded, uniform color. For example, my entire head is a fading blue. I would bleach bath a few strands, dye those pink, and put foil or plastic wrap over the strands to keep them from bleeding. Then I dye the rest of my head blue again, or maybe purple. I wash my hair out with the different colored strands still in their foil wraps, and then wash those last. Here’s a video of my multi-tonal hair.
How do you maintain it or keep the color from getting dull?
There are many things that affect hair dye loss: A)How often you get your hair wet, B)how often you use shampoo, C)how warm the water is, D) how pigmented the dye you used in the first place was, E) how bleached your hair was before you dyed it, and F) how long you left the dye one when you did dye it. In a nutshell, if you increase the frequency of A, B, and C, you will lose hair dye color faster. If you increase D, E, and F, you will have the color longer, but also possibly experience more hair damage. It’s a balancing act! LOL.
Any mishaps or words of caution?
Oh, definitely. I don’t want to be a downer, but I always tell people, you can’t dye your hair and expect to not have damage. You just really have to live with it, and do the best you can to not make it worse. I have a blog post where I post maintenance tips and expound further, but basically: Don’t double process, don’t bleach longer than 40 minutes, don’t bleach if you can fade or do a bleach bath, don’t use 12% oxidizing lotion if you know 3% will work just as well, and if you don’t need to use a permanent dye, use a less damaging semi-permanent dye. And don’t bleach your hair 3 times in one day, that’s just asking for it. Myself, I bleach my hair 2 times over the course of 2-3 months, and certainly no more than 4-5 times over the course of an entire year. Hair (which is dead except for the roots) cannot be resurrected, only cosmetically disguised to look good again, which is why I get a salon keratin treatment when I come out of a particularly harsh bleaching session.
How about maintenance tips like shampoos or conditioners to use?
I deep condition with virgin coconut oil (I keep the vco in my hair for 2 hours and rinse it out). When my hair feels gunky or oily I use a clarifying shampoo very sparingly and deep condition afterwards. I don’t bleach when I can fade or do a bleach bath. I have a hacked recipe here for fading my hair. And I get keratin treatments. They’re probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my poor hair, lol.
Last question, how does someone with Asian hair get those interesting colors like turquoise or lavender? I had blonde hair, but when I put on my blue dye, it just turned green.
In my opinion it’s really just a question of how much you bleach and how much you tone. I have a toning tutorial on my blog, here.
Mixing colors to create a suitable toner for your current bleached base is a balancing act, too. If you have a brassy yellow base, you want to neutralize it, and on the color wheel, purple is what’s opposite that color. So you would need to put on a diluted purple toner on your yellow hair to neutralize it, before you put on the dye color that you want (and avoiding green hair when you really wanted turquoise).
How come my hair turned orange when I bleached it for the first time?!
Asians almost always never get that pale banana yellow. Mostly people get to an orange or yellow orange. You could tone that with blue-purple or blue toner, but the smarter thing is to wait a few weeks and then do one last weak bleaching, THEN tone. Here’s a corrective coloring chart for reference when toning. Left is your hair color, and right is what you need to neutralize it. I almost never buy commercial toners, I just make my own toner by diluting dyes I already own with conditioner.
Here’s a chart for what colors you can expect to come out of your hair when you bleach. Surprise, orange is normal! 😀 All you need is patience. Happy Hair Adventures!
Photos by: Jad Montenegro
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