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Unusual Hair Colours

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 23 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
Hair Colour Dye Shade Red Blue Unnatural

As fashion becomes more wide-ranging and dyes improve in quality, there is an increasing number of exciting colours you can dye your hair. But what if you want to do something really unusual? Whilst certain colours will always look unnatural, it's still important to choose them carefully so as to get a look that flatters you and suits the impression you want to create.

Finding the Right Colour for You

The easiest way to think about which unusual hair colours might suit you is to consider which colours work well with your skin - you probably already take this into account when choosing clothes or make-up. In the case of hair, however, there are a few other things to consider.

One thing to think about is how your hair colour will affect the way people notice different aspects of your face. For instance, a dark colour will tend to emphasise your eyes and lips but will also draw attention to lines on your face. Pale colours and reddish colours tend to make uneven skin tones and blemishes stand out, but pale colours can also make you look younger, whilst reds will bring warmth to a sallow face.

Because natural hair almost always varies in shade, dyed hair, even when it's an unnatural colour, can benefit from the use of more than one shade, with streaking or highlighting adding a sense of depth. This can be arranged so as to flatter the shape of your face.

When you choose a new colour for your hair, don't just think about your skin - think about your wardrobe. If you really love red, you might dye your hair that colour only to find that it clashes with all your favourite outfits. You might also want to think about how make-up and jewellery will work with your new look.

There are several ways to test the colours that might work on you. You can buy a cheap wig and see how it looks, or hold a piece of cloth of the appropriate colour around your face, or try a spray-on, rinse-out dye. You can also use a computer graphics program to change the colour of your hair in photographs, giving you the opportunity to measure the result before you make a drastic change.

Dye Quality and Maintenance

Although there are lots of dyes out there to choose from, they don't all work equally well. What you choose should depend partly on your hair type.

If you have very dark hair, you will probably need to bleach it in order to get a pale or bright shade to work, so don't waste your time with bleach-free dyes if this is the look you're going for. You may find, however, that a red or blue dye gives an attractive sheen and a subtler kind of colour to your hair without bleaching.

If you are bleaching your hair before dyeing, think about the colour you plan to use and how it will work with the shade left by the bleach. For pale colours you will need to bleach your hair more heavily, until it looks almost white. The same is true for blues, which will look greenish otherwise. With reds, and with darker shades, you may be able to get away with very gentle bleaching. Blond hair may not need to be bleached at all.

Many dyes contain an element of conditioner that protects your hair. If you bleach first, using a dye like this will help to compensate for the drying effect. Once the dye is in place, avoid using strong shampoos that will strip it out quickly. It's a good idea to reduce the frequency with which you wash your hair - once or twice a week is sufficient for most people.

Inevitably, some dyes fade faster than others. Blues are the worst, often turning an aqua shade after a few washes. This means you will need to keep re-dyeing to maintain your colour.

Switching between Colours

Once you've experimented with one unusual colour you may be keen to try more. It's not a good idea, however, to simply dye one colour over another, as the colours will usually blend together to produce an uneven hybrid tone.

Repeat bleaching can be very bad for your hair, so if you don't want to wait for your colour to fade, try shifting to a slightly different but related tone. For instance, you could shift from blue to purple and later from purple to red. The same is true if you want to restore your natural colour, in which case you should shift towards a colour you can eventually dye over to match your roots.

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