Ride or Dye: DIY Lavender Ombre Hair

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Documenting the next phase in my hair journey…

One thing pretty much everyone who dyes their own hair will tell you is that dying your hair is a serious addiction. Seriously. Once you start and open up the flood gates of possibilities, you can’t stop. On the other hand, it truly is a fun and exciting way to switch up your entire look (and it’s always rewarding to know you did it yourself!). In this post, I’ll be essentially giving you my own super-detailed tutorial on how I achieved lavender ombre hair.

Also, some quick things to note are that my hair has been exposed to bleach-infused hair dyes as well as straight bleach (for my brassy ombre) before, so I am not starting from virgin hair. My hair is also verrrrry thick and can fair strongly against repeated bleaching, so make sure your hair is in top condition and is strong enough to withhold heavy chemicals before you make the decision to bleach your hair.

So now, here we are. This is probably the more daring of at-home hair coloring I’ve done in my life. Well, I guess it didn’t help that literally every school I went to before college didn’t allow any other hair colors except “natural” aka brown, black, ginger, blonde, etc. But, before I ramble on too long about my hair background, let’s get to the tutorial.

**DISCLAIMER** I am in no way a cosmetologist or hair stylist in any way, but I thought it would be really helpful to write about my experiences with pastel ombre-ing my hair home for all of you out there in my same position hoping to do this at home too! Now, let’s actually get to it!


First off!

Things you will need in your arsenal: 

  • Strips of Aluminum Foil/Plastic Bag(s)
  • Gloves (I used reusable rubber gloves)
  • Mixing bowl and brush*
  • Old Newspapers (to protect your floors and countertops)
  • SalonCare 20 Volume Creme Developer (I use 20 Vol. because my hair has been lifted and bleached before. If you’re going from a darker shade than mine, go for 30 Vol. or 40 vol. maximum)*
  • Clairol BW2 Powder Lightener*
  • Well T18 Lightest Ash Blonde Toner*
  • Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent in the color Lavender*
  • Any white hair conditioner

*I bought these items at Sally’s Beauty Supply.


Phase 1: Bleaching

Wake up, bleach. Stand up, bleach. Sit down, bleach. Pass out, bleach. That basically was my life during these hair escapades. And no, I’m not talking about the TV show Bleach (Although I really wish I was). I have bleached and dyed my hair many times before, and from my experiences thus far, bleaching your hair to achieve pastel color-status is not for beginners. First, you’ll want to do lots of research on this whether it’s watching videos or reading online. So, if you’re still with me on this and are just as hyped as me, let’s get into how I bleached and toned my hair into a pale white-blonde in preparation for the lavender dye.

Here’s my starting point hair (also my designated bleaching shirt which got totally smeared with bleach by the end of all of this):

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So, once you’ve done your research you’re now ready to get a-bleaching!

1) Make sure you cover your countertops and floors where you will be working with something disposable like old newspapers. Remove anything that you could potentially get bleach on and also potentially ingest like toothbrushes or contact cases. The stank and searing odors from bleach are also unhealthy to be exposed to, so crack open a window. I was super Asian and used a face mask, as well (hey they work!). I also made sure to notify my roommate who was home during this time so that she wouldn’t freak out that our apartment would suddenly be filled with the stench of bleach. If you have glasses, I would suggest wearing them because my contacts started to burn at some points during the bleaching. Additionally, if you have lots of thick hair like me, separate and tie up the top half of your hair so you can reach the bottom layers and then work your way up.

2) After all of those preparation shenanigans, I mixed two scoops of the Clairol lightening bleach powder and eyeballed adding in the SalonCare 20 Volume Creme Developer. Now, this was enough for about half my hair since I got some really long locks. By the end of this first bleaching, I used about four scoops total. Basically, the ratio you want to achieve is 1:1 between the powder and the developer. Always be sure to double-check with the directions on whichever products you are using, as well!

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Your little concoction should look a little something like icing or wallpaper paste (Okay but real talk though, who actually has had experience with wallpaper paste and why do people always make references to it?)

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3) Once this is done, separate a small section of hair and and place it over a strip of foil. You want to make sure you don’t grab a section that’s too thick or else the bleach won’t get evenly distributed.

4) Take your brush and start painting the bleach on the ends of your hair to fixate the strand to the foil as well as allow it the most time to lighten for an ombre effect. Then, continue up the hair shaft until your desired start point for your ombre. Once you hit there, lessen the amount of product you put on that area and use your glove to spread it out so that it’s not a straight cut-off line.

5) Make sure the hair you want to bleach is thoroughly saturated to achieve solid results. Once you’re satisfied, wrap up the foil and move on to the next section until all desired ombre areas are covered!

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Here’s me featuring bleach-seared eyes and heavy hair+foil globules hanging from my head.

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I left these in for about 45 minutes. An hour max is probably the longest you can leave it in before you risk some really severe damage, especially if you’re using a 30-40 vol. developer. My hair turned out like this!

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6) Bleaching again and again: If you think about coloring your hair in an artistic sense, you can imagine that attempting to put purple onto a yellow-y canvas probably won’t give the best results, and it’s the same way with hair! I bleached my hair two more times (so three times total throughout this entire process) in order to get my hair to a place where it was light enough to directly take a light lavender color.

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Phase 2: Tone it Up

1) Next I toned my hair. I toned it twice–once after the second bleach and a second time after my third and last bleach. I only did this because I wasn’t sure whether I would bleach it a third time and also turns out I have way too much hair to only use one bottle of toner at a time (LOL)! I mixed a 1:2 ratio of my Wella T18 Toner in Lightest Ash Blonde and the SalonCare Volume 20 Creme Developer and saturated my bleached hair with it.

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2) Next, I wrapped up my hair in a plastic bag as the plastic helps retain heat which speeds along the chemical processes of the toner. I left the toner in for about 30 minutes before rinsing it out and conditioning.

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Here’s my progress after the first toning and then the second and final toning:

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Final Phase: Let’s Lilac (Or Lavender or whatever color you want to call it!)

1) FINALLY IT IS TIME FOR COLORING! I mixed one tube of Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent in the color Lavender with some white hair conditioner and applied it to the bottom third of my hair, especially concentrating the color on my ends.

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I left it in for ~45 minutes-1 hour-ish and voila! Lavender hair! 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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