I’ve mentioned a few times that I wanted to go lighter in hair color this summer. I loved the original rich, natural black color of my Perfect Locks extensions so I decided to rock it “as is” for a few weeks. It matched my real hair perfectly! Then I started to get a boredom itch so I knew it was time to try my hand at coloring. I had SO MANY reservations on the best approach to dye my hair extensions/weave. I have seen some pretty awful dye jobs on both YouTubers and celebrities alike where their blonde looks more like a brassy orange or unnatural yellow. That was my worst fear because I knew it would be very hard to correct! So, I decided to avoid using peroxide directly and try to lighten the hair in stages using permanent hair color.
Honestly this wasn’t quite as difficult as I imagined but I do think it would be much easier to color the hair before installing or purchase colored hair (most vendors supply colored extensions as well as virgin hair). However, in my case, I wanted the option to be able to wear black hair, go light and even dye it back dark again if I wanted therefore I had to color the hair after it was installed. This process required my intense concentration so I didn’t even attempt to record a video.
Here are the tools I used: a small whisk to mix the color and developer, divided color mixing bowl, color applicator brush, hair clips, two towels I cared nothing about, applicator bottle, plastic gloves, plastic cloak, plastic bags and of course the color and developer. Every single thing I used can be purchased at Sally Beauty Supply. Now onto how to dye hair extensions yourself, step by step.
- Protection! I placed two large garbage bags on my bathroom floor to protect it and make clean up easier, plastic grocery store bags on my toilet seat where I sat the color, plastic gloves to protect my hands (and fresh manicure!), and plastic cloak to protect my body!
- Mix. I used three different colors/combinations of “blonde.” I chose to do it this way to ensure my color would be multi-dimensional and not flat. Also, because I have black leave out that would not be coloring, I had to dye the extensions in a way that would look natural and blend well with black hair on top. For all color mixtures I used level 30 creme developer. Because I wanted it to go from a chocolate brown in the back to moderately blonde in the front, I used Wella Medium Blonde in two different ways – in an applicator bottle I mixed it in a 1:1 ratio; I used two ounces of color with two ounces of developer. This is the darkest color I used. For the middle brown I used the same Wella Medium Blonde color mixed with two parts developer (4 ounces). And then for a few light blonde streaks I used Wella Light Blonde also mixed in a 1:2 ratio. When you mix the color, allow it to sit for a few minutes to “activate”. You will see the color turn to a darker shade, more like the color indicated on the box.
- Apply. I sectioned my hair into four quadrants. Within each quadrant I worked in small areas to apply the color. For the back two sections I squeezed the chocolate brown color onto the hair using the color applicator bottle. This honestly was the easiest way to do it. As I saturated each section, I kept it off my body by wrapping it in aluminum foil, which also helps the color process. For the front two quadrants I used the lighter brown color most with a few streaks of light blonde applied using the applicator brush and distributed with my fingers. With each section I left about 2-3″ of the roots natural/black.
- Process. After all of the hair was wrapped in foil I sat under my hooded dryer for about 15 minutes. I wanted to sit longer but as the foil heated, it became uncomfortable because it was hard to keep it from burning my skin. I checked the hair after about an hour and it hadn’t lightened to my liking so I ended up leaving it on for TWO hours. It’s just weave so no worries.
- Rinse & Shampoo. I removed the foil and rinsed the hair thoroughly in the sink. I didn’t want to risk rinsing in the shower and having any of the color reach my real hair beneath! I shampooed three times using Shimmer Lights which helps tone and correct any brassiness. The colors blended perfectly and when flat ironed straight, have the appearance of hi-lites and lo-lites which is exactly what I wanted.
- Conditioned. I conditioned using a new favorite, Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm, which I’ve been loving on my leave out and weave. I allowed the hair to dry a bit with the conditioner in and then braided it into four large jumbo braids, covered with a plastic cap and bonnet and went to bed. The next morning I unbraided and rolled out!
The final result is a somewhat ombre look; I’m not too much a fan of this trend but it’s perfect if you want a bit of color when wearing a weave with leave out because the transition from your natural black to the lighter shade(s) looks intentional. I love the level of blonde of my results although in certain light it does lean a little more auburn than blonde than I would like. What do you guys think?!