16th November 2011
Recently I decided that I wanted a change for my hair – and thought at-home balayage (fancy French term for hand-painted highlights) would be a good way to experiment. Even though it’s been around for a while, I still love the look of Alexa Chung’s subtle highlights (seen here
). This is what I did.
1. Open the highlighting kit and mix up the dye as directed on the pack.
2. Brush dry and unwashed hair.
3. Using a mascara wand, apply the dye to the bottom few inches of my hair, and then rub it in with your hands (in gloves!). I kept the dye way below my chin line, but how far you go up will probably depend on your hair length and how obvious you want it.
4. Use the wand to do a few lighter strands up the hair a little so you don’t get a harsh line.
5. Wrap your hair up in an old tea towel and pin it to the top of my head while waiting. You don’t want to get any of the bleach on your skin.
6. Check the colour after 10 minutes by removing some of the dye – re-cover if it’s not light enough or wash out if it is. I kept mine on for 20 mins and then washed out. I then quickly blowdried to get an idea of the actual colour change.
7. Apply the dye again but this time only to the ends for 10 mins. This is to get a gradual change in colour and an ombre affect. You can do this as many times as you like until you get a look that you like.
8. Wash out, deep condition and style.
To be honest, this was quite a traumatic experiment for me. I’ve never had my hair coloured before (ever) so I was really shocked when I took the dye off the first time. Like, really really. But it’s sort of growing on me… Haha.
It’s definitely an easy thing to do at home – you can simply keep applying the dye to the ends for 10 minutes or so until you get the desired result. Oh and did I mention that this process can cost you upwards of a couple of hundred dollars in salons? Although I do think it’s best to get a friend to help you do this so you can do the back properly.
In retrospect I should have done a strand test before I started, but I was too excited to do it so I didn’t bother (refer to the photo of me with the gloves on). I suggest you do this and monitor the colour change. Mine isn’t overly blond because I don’t think it would suit me, but you can make it as blond as you like – even white blond! I also popped into the hair dresser and had a budget ($10) trim (about an inch off) after doing it so that the ends were healthy, as bleaching like this can really dry out your hair. That isn’t essential though. Oh and also I dont think it’s a good idea to do this on already coloured hair. One key thing is that I will probably only wear my hair curly with this look, as it is quite obvious on straightened hair.
The best thing about this sort of hair project is that if you are really unhappy with it you can always chop it off. Why not experiment? If anyone has any tips for this process I would love to hear them. I’ve heard that if you do it on wet hair with a coating of conditioner the blending of the colours is better. Does anyone have any experience of this?
26th October 2011
DIY dip dye inspiration never got any better than this did it? This image is from the new Bec and Bridge High Summer collection and I must say I am dying for the lilac fedora. I want it BAD!
That said, this gorgeous shirt looks like something I could definitely do at home – using a process like this
. Dip a plain white tee in watered down purple dye and allow the dye to slowly work it’s way up the shirt, allowing for the subtle ombre transition between the dyed part and the white of the shirt.
12th October 2011
I’ve been a fan of Free People for ages, mainly because of their perfectly bohemian aesthetic and super cool warehouse headquarters (thanks instagram for reminding me daily of where I DON’T work). I always tune in for their WednesDIY on the Free People blog, so when they asked me recently if I wanted to guest post for today’s DIY I couldn’t say no – check out the DIY Fishtail Skirt I made for them.
We also thought it would be lovely to feature one of their DIYs here. Free People blogger Julia (um, best job ever?) did this amazing natural dyes project which I knew you would love.
I have always wanted to experiment with natural dyes and on a gloomy day in September I decided that it was time. This is such a fun, environmentally friendly project that takes a little bit of time, but very little cash.
There are a number of plants that can be used to make natural dyes, but for my first go-round I chose to use fruits and vegetables that I picked up at a local market.
What I got: red cabbage, lemons, oranges, beets, yellow onions, blackberries, blueberries, spinach.
*It’s important to remember when working with natural dyes that experimentation is key – depending on the amount of ingredients you use and how long you leave a garment in the dye, the color you get can vary.
For pinkish/red dyes:
Beets and blueberries can make a really lovely dusty rose color.
For bluish/purple dyes:
Blackberries and red cabbage can be used to make bluish/purple dyes.
For copper/orange dyes:
I never realized what a beautiful color yellow onions can have! Their skins can make an alluring mustard yellow, coppery color.
For yellow dyes:
Orange and lemon peels can be used to make a soft pale yellow dye.
For green dyes:
Finally, spinach can be used to make a beautiful shade of green.
To make the dye, chop up your ingredients and put them in a pot with twice as much water as ingredients. Bring the water to a boil and let simmer for an hour. For deeper colors, you can leave the ingredients in the water (without heat) overnight.
Remove the hard materials from the mixture with a strainer, leaving you with the liquid dye.
The beets were such a beautiful deep red color! I chopped them up and added water and when I started boiling the water turned red almost immediately.
For the onions, I peeled off the skins and used only that part – I have seen other examples of this online that yielded really nice results but I was actually doubtful that this would really work. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised!
I had high hopes for the spinach… if anyone has tried this with spinach and gotten good results let me know what your secret is
After bringing each ingredient to a boil, I let them simmer for an hour while I prepared the fabrics to dye.
Before dying, you will also need to create a fixative, which will help your fabric hold the dye.
When working with berries, use a salt fixative – put 1/2 cup of salt in 8 cups of water, put the fabric in and simmer for one hour.
When working with vegetables, use a vinegar fixative – mix one part vinegar and four parts water, add your fabric and simmer for one hour.
When you remove the fabric, rinse in cold water.
The fabric is now ready to dye!
I put the fabric in the dye and let it sit for a little while – the longer you let it sit, the deeper your shade of color will be. I removed the fabric when I felt like it had reached a nice shade of reddish pink – such a pretty color:
I was happiest with the color I got from the onion skins – a beautiful amber that worked so well on the fabric.
Wouldn’t it be cool to make friendship bracelets using naturally-dyed string?!
By the next day, the fabric dyed with the beets faded into more of a light pink color, but it was still really pretty! I think next time, though, I would leave the fabric in the dye for longer. The fabric dyed with onion skins actually held out really well, and I LOVE the color it created. I loved it so much, I tried it out on one of my Free People bras
Make sure you have a look around the Free People blog
- they have loads of amazing DIYs.