Black Hair Dye Advice…
Anya Goy answers your hair questions and problems with professional advice, tips and recommendations.
“Hey Anya! I need some hair colour advice. In a week I’m gonna dye my hair black, any tips?”
– Black Beauty
Hi Black Beauty,
My first tip would be don’t use a permanent black hair dye.
Tip#1: Don’t use a permanent black hair dye.
Should you, at any time in the future, decide you fancy changing to another colour, you will have to strip all the life out of your hair to get it light enough to then dye the new chosen colour.
Permanent black hair dye is the WORST to remove or change. Although it can be changed, your colour options would be extremely limited, and the condition of your hair will be compromised. I know there are some people, even hairdressers who will tell you it’s possible to go from black to blonde, (and i’m not saying it’s impossible), but the hair will feel fried, and need lots cut off to get rid of the damage.
This is something you should consider… are you ready for the “till it grows-out” commitment that comes with dyeing your hair black? If so, great, go with permanent. But if you think you might like to play around with you hair colour in future stick with a semi or demi permanent black dye. At least it is a little less work to pull out when you change your mind.
Tip#2: Choose the right dye for your hair colour
With non-permanent black hair dye there are two options. With peroxide (Demi permanent) or peroxide free (Semi permanent). I know you might think peroxide free sounds like the best option, but in reality the decision is based on what your current hair colour is. If you use peroxide free on the wrong hair colour it can look awful! So which one is right for you?
If you are naturally blonde, dark blonde or have bleached blonde hair you will need to use the peroxide based demi black hair dye. If you were to use the peroxide free dyes (Manic Panic/Adore/Directions…etc.), it may look ok at first, but after a few washes the colour would look dull and grey/blue. After a few weeks it will look grey/blue (if applied over bleached blonde) and muddy green (if applied over naturally blonde or gold blondes).
Why would the colour turn green? It’s basic colour theory: Black is blue based, natural blonde is yellow based. Blue + Yellow = Green.
Why would the colour turn grey/blue? Black is blue based, bleached blonde is like a white canvas. Blue + White = Grey/Blue.
This problem only happens with semi peroxide free dyes (Manic Panic/Adore/Directions…etc.) due to the semi direct dye pigments.
This is why if you are blonde you need to use a demi WITH peroxide. My favourite brand to use would be Richesse by L’Oréal Professionnel. It’s mixed with only 9vol/2.7% Richesse developer and is ammonia free, so very gentle and kind to the hair.
NOTE FOR BLEACH BLONDES: If you are planning on going black, you will most likely need a ‘Filler’ colour in your hair first. Please go to a salon for this. Such a big colour change can have it’s complications and for a good result that won’t fade, go grey or dull I would highly recommend seeking a professional.
Final thoughts for blondes…
If you are naturally blonde, remember you will have your natural root colour showing through very obviously after even just 3-4 weeks. This is a high maintenance colour for the naturally blonde. Also the demi dye’s will fade/lighten, but WON’T fade back to your natural colour. If you get fed up of the high maintenance black and decide you want to be natural blonde again it will be a big day in the salon and will be costly, both to your hair and your wallet. Please consider this before you dye.
For Brown or darker:
So if you have naturally light brown hair or darker you’re very lucky and the ideal person for black hair! Your best option is the semi permanent peroxide free direct dyes. These dyes are also ammonia free and so cause zero damage. These dyes should NEVER be mixed with peroxide developer. They work by simply staining the hair surface (rather than penetrating into the hair’s cortex like most peroxide based tints/dyes do). Because of the nature of these dyes you will find the colour ‘bleeds’ a lot in the shower when washed.
Don’t use a white towel to dry your hair after you have washed, it will stain!
Same goes for white pillowcases, particular if you go to bed with wet hair. It may be annoying, but the bleeding will stop after about 3-4 washes, and the results are worth the hassle.
Here are some of my top favourites for a black hair dyes in a semi…
#1 Adore Black Velvet
This is my favourite of the semi’s for a black hair dye. Adore also has ‘Off Black’, ‘Jet Black’ and ‘Blue Black’, so lot’s of tone options. It’s great value for money, and the constancy is runny, so a little spreads a long way. Perfect for those with thick hair and for easy full head application. The colours last very well, I’d say 6-7 weeks. Available worldwide.
Brand: Adore by Creative Image
Lasts: 5 – 40 washes
Average Price: £4.50 (GBP) | $6.25 (USD)
Size: 118ml | 4oz
Value for money: 4p per ml | £1.12 per oz | 5c (USD) per ml | $1.56 (USD) per oz
Made in: USA
#2 Manic Panic Raven
Manic Panic is available worldwide. Beautiful colour, great constancy, easy to apply. Bit pricy compared with the other brands. I love the pot packaging, no dye wasted, just pop the lid back and and save for next time. Colour lasts very well, 5-6 weeks, sometimes longer with good care. Ideal for those who want the colour to last.
Brand: Tish & Snooky’s MANIC PANIC NYC
Lasts: 3 to 6 weeks
Average Price: £7.20(GBP) | $8.99 (USD)
Size: 118ml | 4oz
Value for money: 6p (GBP) per ml | 8c (USD) per ml | $2.24 (USD) per oz
Made in: USA
#3 Crazy Colour Black
If you’re in the UK/Europe this is an easy brand to get. Colour comes out beautifully, constancy is not too thick (compared with the other UK brand; Directions) so it’s easy to apply. Great value for money. I find fades quicker than Manic Panic, so it’s a good option if it’s your first time going black and you want it to lighten up after 3-4 weeks.
Brand: Crazy Colour by Renbow
Lasts: 3 to 6 weeks
Average Price: £3.90
Size: 100ml | 3.38 oz
Value for money: 4p per ml | £1.15 per oz
Made in: UK
Tip #3: Choose the right shade
Black hair can look stunning when done right, but if you are looking for a natural black use a dark brown shade instead. People often make the mistake of thinking black hair colour is natural, but when we talk about black hair dye, true jet black dye doesn’t look natural. The worst mistake you can make is to use the wrong shade, expecting a natural look and ending up looking like a Tim Burton character. Or, even worse, expecting to look like a Tim Burton character and ending up with a Kim Kardashian shade.
Dyeing you hair black WILL make your skin look pale (unless you are Indian/African/Hispanic etc, but then you will have naturally darkest brown hair anyway). If you’re Anglo (UK/USA/Australia) and you DON’T like the idea of looking gothic, punk or 50’s pin up (think Betty Page, Dita Von Teese), and wanted a more Kardashian look then jet black hair is not for you. But if you like the idea of becoming the Bride of Dracula, Betty Boop or a sexy vintage temptress then this raven shade will suit you well.
Self Portraits above by Sarah Smith
Tip #4: Rock black hair with snow white pale beauty and statement style.
CUT: Black hair draws the most attention to the hair’s shape and style. So consider getting a strong shaped cut. Some good ideas are: bob cuts, long hair with no layers (for straight hair), short blunt fringes Betty Page style (aka “betty bangs”), ‘V’ shape fringes and long hair with blunt layers (for wavy/curly hair). Thinning scissors and razor cuts are a big no-no (unless your wanting Edward scissor hands style hair, then go for it!) Black hair also gives the illusion of thicker, fuller hair. Great for those with normal-fine hair, but if you have a thick mane you might want to consider if you want it to look even bigger.
STYLE: If you like the 50’s pin up, rockabilly or 20’s romantic flapper looks practice vintage hair styling. Victory rolls, finger waves, pin curls and overnight sets often don’t require heat, but rather use setting product to stay put. Hairspray and bobby pins are your best friends. Don’t let your length get to long or it will become harder to style this way. PRO TIP: Don’t wash your hair as much, use dry shampoo instead. Silky clean soft hair is much harder to pin and style. If you like the gothic look much less styling is needed. Gothic is more about the makeup and fashion, hair is usually kept long, sometimes teased up to add volume.
CONDITION: Keep the condition of your hair healthy as possible. Black hair can look dull, and lack shine if the hair is dry. Keep the hair well cut, any split ends will stand out like a sore thumb on black hair. Avoid straightening irons/high heat styling.
I hope this had shed some light on the darkest colour, and will help you in choosing the right black hair dye and shade for you.
Want to create rainbow hair at home?
Discover Anya’s eBook guide: ‘Any Colour Of The Rainbow – The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Hair Colour‘. This guide covers everything from safe bleaching with ammonia free bleach to creating stunning multi colours with foil. Find out all the best products, how to do pastel colours, how to maintain vibrant colour, create ombre colour like to professionals and so much more…