Since my previous dip dye I have used various coppery/red/warm brown tones on my hair and because of this I knew it would be extremely difficult to lift the ends of my hair to any other colour than orange. Because of this I decided it would be wise to try and strip the colour out of my hair using Colour B4, an at home colour build up removal kit available from Boots, Superdrug and various supermarkets.
My hair prior to using Colour B4 - As you can see it has a lot of warmth.
I won't go into too much detail about how to actually use Colour B4 as the instructions are all included with the kit and it is extremely important you follow them to a tee, but essentially there are 3 main stages. To begin with you mix bottles A and B together and apply it liberally all over, ensuring you really work it in to the hair, especially the darker sections you require the most lift. What this does is shrink the colour molecules so you are able to wash them out in the rinsing stage. If you have thick or long hair you may want to use 2 kits as I did.
For the extra strength Colour B4 kit you leave it on for 60 minutes, and I will warn you, this stuff absolutely REEKS. Think rotten egg. I'd love to say throw open the windows, but you can't. You need warmth to ensure the best possible results so any drafts are a no-no. I stuck a Tesco plastic bag on my head for extra warmth; Cling film would have the same affect. That's right, encase that stink!
After the 60 minutes are up you go on to stage 2, the rinsing. You have to rinse with warm water for 10 minutes none stop, this feels like a suprisingly long time and I felt seriously dizzy when I lifted my head back up. An easier option they recommend is to just get in the shower, but frankly I didn't want that stinky poo smell all over my body. When the 10 minutes are up you go on to stage 3, buffing. You add half of bottle C to your hair, lather it up, leave to soak in for a minute then rinse for another 5 minutes. Finally you add the other half the bottle and use as you would a regular shampoo. You are then ready to check the results.
My hair after using Colour B4 Extra Strength.
I was really impressed with the results of the Colour B4. I think some people go into it naively expecting to go back to your natural hair colour, but the truth of the matter is you have essentially stained and altered your natural hair colour so the only way to get that back would be to grow it out. The colour I was left with was a very light, coppery brown. In order to get it to the base colour I wanted I applied John Frieda Foam Colour in 'Cool Dark Pearl Blonde'. Although I wanted a light brown result, the Colour B4 leaves your hair very porous and susceptible to colour so it is best to choose a colour a few shades lighter than you are wanting. I also only left it on for 10 minutes instead of the full time as I didn't want it too dark and it is always important to remember cool/ashy colours will neutralize warm/coppery tones in your hair and vice versa.
John Frieda Foam Colour in 'Cool Dark Pearl Blonde'
My hair after using John Frieda Foam Colour in 'Cool Dark Pearl Blonde'
As you can see from the photo above my hair was now more of a standard light/medium brown with A LOT less warmth and reddyness than I originally had in my hair. The next step is to use the L'oreal Preference Wild Ombre kit to get the desired dip dye.
My hair developing - Excuse the mucky towel!
The kit really couldn't be simpler to use. You mix it up as per the instructions, put some on the little brush you are provided with and comb it through your hair to the desired height. I'd recommend starting around chin length if you have medium/long hair, and higher up around ear height if you have short/medium hair. I applied it to the lower part of my hair for the first 10 minutes, then took it higher up towards my chin and left it for a further 35 minutes.
I washed it off and conditioned with my new John Frieda 'Full Repair' hair products (which smell INCREDS) and then slapped on a load of Lee Stafford Argan Oil to try and add some extra moisture. I then dried and styled as usual.
So here's the moment you've all been waiting for...THE BIG REVEAL!
Oh hey double chin!
So there we have it! I'm actually really pleased with the results, it has blended really nicely and I think I actually prefer it to when I got it professionally done at the hairdressers. I found that last time my hair was SO dark and the ends were SO light that it was just a bit too harsh but I think this has a really nice gradient. The one thing I would say is that my hair is feeling really dry, but I expected that. You can't expect to put your hair under that much strain with stripping and bleaching and not have your hair suffer. I am hoping a lot of conditioning masks and treatments will give my hair the nourishment it needs but overall I cannot say how impressed I am with Colour B4 and L'oreal Wild Ombre. Definite stars on the DIY hair highstreet!
I hope this helped some of you if you were thinking about going down the DIY ombre route, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section and I will do my best to help.