Tutorial: How to Dip Dye Your Hair


Or should I say… How to Dip DIY Your hair? Haha.

My hair’s the result of fantastic DIY home job executed by Christian G, a close friend who recently graduated as a hairstylist. He’s also the guy who did the hair for these shoots. There’s a lot of sitting around while one’s hair dyes (geddit), so Christian (Chrisu) kindly shared a wealth of hair related tips and a detailed hair dyeing tutorial while we were waiting.

Thank god for professional hairstylist friends.


The Back Story

In my case, I’d bleached my own hair (ghetto DIY style) several times over the past year, so all Chrisu had to do was help me apply the colour. The model in some of these photos is Charlotte, whose hair Chrisu was helping to dip-dye as well. In her case, we didn’t bleach her hair enough for the colour (purple-black, lol) to show. The colour will probably show up when the dye fades after a few washes.


An Important Reminder

I forgot to take photos while bleaching Charlotte’s hair. We take shortcuts sometimes, so please follow the text instructions; the photos are not a good guide!


Hair Dyeing in 15 Not-So-Simple Steps


Step 1: Prepare your equipment. You will require the following:

  • Hair Bleach
  • Hair Dye
  • Colouring Cape
  • Colouring Bowl
  • Brush
  • Timer
  • Sectioning Clips
  • Latex gloves
  • For the inexperienced, get a manual eggbeater. (The bleach has to be very mixed and smooth.)

(Translation- You’ll need newspapers, towels, cheapo tupperware, and possibly some clear plastic bags to act as gloves and or as a cape. And an iPhone. And possibly some snacks. “And maybe two episodes of Friends.”) 

Step 2: Cloak Drape yourself with a cape and section your hair with clips. Each section should not be more than an inch thick.


Step 3: Mix the bleach. There should be instructions on the box, but just so you know, you’re supposed to mix the bleach powder with peroxide/developer.

Step 4: Begin with first section, and apply a thick coat of bleach. To achieve the dip dye effect, only apply bleach to the last two inches of your hair (or whatever length you desire).

Step 5:  Begin with the bottom sections and work your way up. It’s important to paint the bleach into your hair in crisscross stroke, as the brush will push the bleach into your cuticles. Do not comb your hair- you’ll damage your cuticles.

Step 6: Once all the sections have been bleached, reapply bleach if you feel that it’s no longer lightening your hair. That usually happens around the 20 minute mark or so. Do not leave it in for more than an hour!

Step 7: Once your hair is bleached light enough, wash your hair with shampoo, but not with conditioner. Make sure you shampoo thoroughly so that no bleach remains.

Step 8: Blow-dry your hair till it’s completely dry, then section your hair again.


Step 9: Mix the colour. Like bleach, it’s usually hair dye plus peroxide/developer.

Step 10: When it’s ready, take the first section and apply a generous amount of hair dye onto the bleached ends. To quote Christian, “Just smack it and make sure you get it all up in there.” 

Step 11: After painting your hair, use your (gloved) fingers to rub the dye in to ensure proper coverage.

Step 12: Like before, repeat steps 10 to 11 on the other sections of your hair and work your way up from the bottom.

Step 13: Get the colouring done within 15 minutes, or else the colour might turn out uneven. Let it process for another 15 minutes. Then, against the light, take one or two strands (from the last section coloured) and “wipe” the dye off to see if the hair is in the desired tint.


Step 14: Shampoo and condition thoroughly and rinse until the water runs clear. You might want to wear gloves in case you stain your hands.

Step 15: Blow-dry and style accordingly. Enjoy!


Hair Tips by Christian G


Precautions and General Tips

  • Always wear gloves- or you’ll get bleach burns. Colour is permanent on nails, and it can be quite painful. I’m a great example.
  • Always section your hair! An acceptable section would be half an inch thick, so that everytime you apply the bleach you know that you’re getting proper coverage.
  • If you have long hair below the shoulders it’s a lot easier to dip-dye your hair. If your hair is shorter than that, you’ll have a hard time doing the back so get a friend to help. Unless you’re really, really good with mirrors.


On Bleaching Hair

  • Apply loads of bleach; your hair has to be soaked.
  • Never buy just enough bleach. Bleach has to be constantly reapplied. This is a painful lesson that we all learned the hard way.
  • Don’t do bleaching or colouring on carpet flooring because the stains are permanent.
  • Bleach is also strong enough to damage wooden surfaces.


On Colouring Hair

  • If colouring your regrowth, don’t dye your whole head. If you layer colors, it eventually become black. But if your hair is bleached, there’s no need to rebleach before applying colour because that area of hair is already stripped of colour.
  • Colour will only last a week if your hair is too damaged.
  • If you intend to change colours frequently, get a hair stain/acid colour (also known as non-ammonia colour). Hair stains are less damaging as it doesn’t contain any peroxide, and it lasts around 15-24 washes. It’s like crayon- if you colour a white surface you’ll get the exact shade; and you have black hair, you can colour out of the line, so to speak, as the inaccuracy of your application won’t show on black. An example is L’oreal Nuancelle, which comes in colours like blue, orange, lavender, red, bright yellow, and green.


Hydrogen Peroxide 101

  • The chemical that opens up your hair cuticles; it allows color to process into your hair. It’s mixed with both bleach and hair dye.
  • 9% and 12% peroxide are for lifting (Lifting: Dyeing your hair to a shade that’s lighter than your current hair color.)
  • Use 6% when you want to darken hair. I.e. Blonde to green.
  • The difference in percentage determines the intensity and strength of your hair dye and bleach. I.e. 9% would be used to lighten black hair to brown hair, 12% would be used to lighten black hair to blonde hair.
  • It’s also known as a developer.


The Dye Used

I think this part will make a lot more sense after you read Christian’s Hair Tips on Hydrogen Peroxide.

I bought mine from Chua Lee at People’s Park Complex. Unlike DIY home dyes, the peroxide, or developer, was sold seperately (in the same store). The dye was around $11, and the bleach was barely $4. After adding the peroxide, the total was something like $19.90.

I mixed my dye and peroxide using a 1:1 ratio. Same goes for the bleach as well. When you’re colouring hair, you’re supposed to use 6% peroxide, but I made the mistake of using 12% peroxide, which resulted pointless lightening. Regardless, I thought everything worked out for the best!


Obligatory Camwhoring

More photos of my green hair here.
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  1. yina
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    LOVE IT!

  2. supremelydisappointing
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  3. Lucinda
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    The green looks great Lenne! I’ve always wanted to try this but like you, my hair would require A LOT of bleach. Bet I’d burn off the ends in the process.

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