Jen Thomas

Radio Presenter, Journalist, Blogger

Black to Red

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to my hair and changing colour. I went back to black in November but a need for bright colours was on me again. It came down to the trusty Colour B4. It stinks to absolute high heaven but it definitely works, and let’s face it, a rotten egg smell is still preferable to multiple strong bleaches. The first two pictures show the auburn/brown colour it revealed (along with the green stain from where I had the turquoise/blue dipdye), this was after two boxes of Colour B4. I waited 5 days (it says to rest it for a week but I had to go out!) before applying Live XXL in Red Passion. The roots went bright red, and the lengths reoxidised and went black again! Oops. To be fair though the box does recommend waiting longer if possible, and using a wash in/wash out ash based colour.

I used a further box of Colour B4 (it says you can use it up to three times in a row safely), and it removed it all entirely. Due to the lifting element in the Live XXL, the top was now a copper, with brown and green on the ends. I left it for another week – wearing a hat – before opting to use Decolour Stripper, a 10vol/3% mild version of bleach, which strips artificial and natural colour. (Most box dyes are around the equivalent of a 40vol, if memory serves correctly). Removers only take out artificial colour, uncovering any bleaching the box dye needed to do in order to deposit the colour. This is the orange/copper you frequently see in complaints where people were expecting their natural shade. This isn’t Colour B4 making it orange, it’s the previous box dyes, so make sure to have a wash in wash out dye to hand.

The Decolour Stripper is very effective, but ,my one quibble is that I needed to use two boxes as it is so thick and my hair is only shoulder length, there isn’t very much in it! It totally removed all of the green from the ends, and lifted the darker brown ends to a very light blonde, and a lighter copper shade at the top. It wasn’t totally even and there were some darker patchers further up, but when you compare it to the black I was very pleased! I applied coconut oil liberally all over my hair, wrapped in cling film then left it overnight. Coconut oil is pretty much the only reason that I have any hair left. I washed it out, dried it,  then applied a mix of Directions Tulip and Pillarbox Red. The top went a bright red, the ends that were blondest had gone a near flamingo pink. I’ll reapply some more of the red but overall it’s in good condition and considering how dark it was I’m very pleased with it. The ends are a little frazzled at the front, but I’ve ordered a massive bottle of K-Pak Joico reconstructor, it’s an amazing treatment that I use once every week or so. Feel free to ask any questions if needed! I’m considering going ginger or blonde next, decisions decisions.

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