Friday, April 16, 2010

Paint it Black

Minus a brief stint into the world of fire engine red, I have colored my light brown hair black for over ten years. I definitely know a thing or two about black hair and all its charming nuances, in a way that only those who actually possess artificial raven locks can know. Yes, I really want it that dark, no it will not come out as easily as you think. My favorite is working at the salon and clients tell me they want 'black hair' and point to a warm brown. Or the time a rather rude fellow insisted that his new honey blonde shade was black. "If your hair is black," I said evenly, "then what color is mine?" Unfortunately he didn't find it nearly as entertaining as I did. 
Black hair is not for the faint-hearted, commitment phobic or timid. Dark brown is for the masses, black is only for the guts. The so-positive-you're-positive crowd. I had red hair for 6 months, the day I drenched it back in Black No.1 I sighed with relief and said hello to my old friend staring back in the mirror at me. 
So, what's the big deal about different kinds of black hair dye, you ask? Well, I'll break it down for you, starting with the big NOs. Before I became a stylist I was pounding Feria's 'Starry Night' down my cuticles which is not only bad for your hair but is just really. shitty. color. It does it's mulitfaceted shimmer thing for all of one washing and then swirls down the drain leaving your hair with a vague purple sheen and double-bonded dye molecules that refuse to ever leave your hair which leads to matte, inky looking color over time. Double bonded dye means that one molecule penetrates the hair shaft, while the other sits on top of it, making it extremely difficult to remove. Feria also contains metallic salts in its formula which equals doom and disaster if any bleach should come in contact with it if you ever want to *attempt* to get it out.
Moving on, to the color I used for a few years after that. Paul Mitchell 1N. I really don't like Paul Mitchell color even though I used it on myself and clients for many moons. It has a beeswax base and it doesn't spread well in my opinion, even with clear developer, but I digress. A fun experiment occured one day when my salon was out of 1N, and so mixed 2N with a purple kicker....I looked like a brown rooted eggplant. These days I am using Wella 2/0 which for reasons unbeknownst to anyone outside that company is their version of black even though it is NOT a level one, but IS in fact as black as it comes. It is one of my favorite black staples, it's not too matte (green) and not too blue (which I think is pretty, but not on me) but it's not without usual haircolor issues. When the sunlight hits it right it looks flaming red and purple.....but I have other issues with Wella at the moment. I am a huge proponent of animal rights and as many people know Wella is now owned by the Proctor and Gamble who are renowned for conducting animal testing and their unwillingness to explore other options.
I am rapidly gaining interest in a haircolor line from Spain called Lakme. The couple of times I have used it and seen others use it the color looks just brilliant and their bleach is some of the fastest-lifting on the market. Best of all, you guessed it, they don't test on animals. Stay tuned for further evaluation. Oh god now there is sad shelter dog Pedigree commercial on TV, I am done. Please visit
Questions, comments, concerns? Got a black hair experience to share? 


  1. Love your concern for animal rights! Why can't we have effective products that don't harm animals OR ourselves?

  2. Exactly, and if huge corporate companies can find alternative means of testing, so can P&G. I try to avoid giving them my money at all costs which is a shame for Wella because I really do like their color, though they *claim* to not test on animals. Need to do more research....thanks for the feedback!

  3. Well, one time I was like youngest 13 oldest 16 and I went into The Lemon Tree to get a haircut and I asked the lady to dye my hair black. But instead of complying she said "Black? don't want to dye it black." I was very angry at her in an introverted sort of way for not listening to me and just dying my hair black. WTF! She cuts my hair, leaves it the color it was and insists that the haircut is over. What's with some people? Can you even believe that she didn't listen to me? And what the hell is with me for not saying anything?

  4. I had an experience when I was in hair school and was coloring a friends hair when I showed my supervisor the swatch and said 'we're doing a root touch up in 1N" (her hair was already black for the love of god) and she was like ' know this is REALLY dark right?" hahah no shit! People have some strange aversion to it. And it def sounds like you had a bad experience with that stylist, sorry to hear that! Thanks for your input, and please visit again!

  5. Chris Flore. (cfore18). oops missed a letter. How many times has a customer told you what to do and you just ignored them?

  6. hahah wellll.....I try to not do that unless it's insanely hideous what they are requesting