Holly Hui Hair

I like my red hair. It’s the color that perfectly borders natural and wild, because it can go either way depending on the shade. It’s also just a sexy color. Photographers use me for my red hair too, so if I had a more standard or freakish color I have the feeling I wouldn’t get asked to do pictures half as much. The thing is, it’s been red since I was 19. And I have a tendency to get bored. Before it was red, it was blond, white, black, blue, and green. I changed it a lot. But one color I never actually got to do was purple. It was one of the first colors I intended on trying but I chickened out once my hair was bleached and never quite got around to it again.
Enter the “ombre” dye job. You’ll know this as the big Hollywood trend of girls with long brown roots gradually lightening into blond on the bottom half. Obviously those colors are not for me. But I like the idea of having two hair colors at once, especially ever since I saw Megan Massacre on NY Ink with her fire engine red and black ombre hair while I was just dying for a change of some sort. Suddenly after a bit of google image searching the solution became all too obvious. I wanted ombre hair, bright cherry red at the top, into deep purple at the bottom. Fuck yes.

The trigger

It also occurred to me that instead of seeing Becky and having to bring her a print-out that would require me to go out and buy color printer ink, I should see Drawn and Plastered’s resident hairstylist Holly Hui. I really must say, Drawn and Plastered is really lucky. We have the absolute most talented and awesome people out there working for us because they’re so awesome and support what we do. I’m so proud to say that Holly Hui is one of them. Obviously I couldn’t possibly go wrong here.

The inspiration

The location was definitely different than the fancy salon on Corydon I’ve been going to for the last five years. I wasn’t at all familiar to the area. So that turned my nerves up a little. But as soon as I saw Holly there I relaxed. I gave her my usual middy instructions and told her I wanted the longest part to be at the bra line, however gave her permission to take off more if she had to to get rid of split ends. This scared me as it was quite a bit shorter than I’ve had it for a long time. I also got bangs because I figured it’s been about 13 years, so if I’m going for different, let’s toss that in there too. I’d been toying with the idea for way too long not to. That was even scarier. But having trust will get you far. I held my breath and kept quiet.

Your first time seeing this unstyled is also mine. And how brave am I for posting a picture in absolutely no makeup and stupid pink pajamas?

When it was over I looked…normal. It’s the first time I used Matrix hair color, so it’s going to take some time for it to build up to the brightness and contrast I’d like. The bangs and the smooth straight style also looked unusually modern for me. So I looked great, but didn’t feel like myself. Of course we both knew all it would take was for me to play around a bit at home. The whole point of a middy is versatility afterall, and my bangs were cut long in keeping with this, just barely short enough for me to see. Holly also razored one side so I could wear them to the side without having a corner, and when I curl them up they’ll look very Bettie Page. The length should make them relatively easy to blend in and hide too.

Yep, there are bangs in there!

And later that very night. Who invented this sorcery!

Side note/tip: I quickly found just how easy blending bangs really is. Take the bangs along with a portion of hair from behind them, and backcomb the roots from behind to mix them together with a teasing brush or fine toothed comb. You want the teasing to be really tight, so you wonder how you’ll ever manage to comb it out again. When you let go you’ll have some odd pieces randomly sticking out. Just tuck them underneath with a pin and have the longer part of your hair fall over the ends of the bangs. Hairspray liberally. Ta-da! And I mean it was *quick* – it look less than a minute and you would never know they were ever there.

As soon as I got home I got to curling it in my regular style. This was challenging because a lot of the layers were quite a bit shorter, so it was difficult to get everything into the rollers. Nevertheless it somehow seemed to take quite a bit less time, since there were no more ratty ends, and a shorter length means less hair to roll up, and less maneuvering to reach the ends of it. Once the rollers were taken out, my hair was fuller and bouncier than ever. There was so much less weight that with some backcombing and hair spray it would virtually stick straight out with very little effort. Then with a little combing of the bangs to the side and a bit more spray, I was easily able to get myself into a style that felt really great for me. Very Joan Holloway.

After the first time styling it myself. I’m me again!

Now I don’t know if it’s because it was shorter, the layers were shorter, the products that were used, or the fact that I saw Holly, but out of the now three times that I’ve had this particular hair cut done this is the first time that it physically feels like I expected the middy to feel. Before it just felt like my hair, only the look was different. This time it feels so light and soft, like it could just float away. It feels luxurious and easy and the complete opposite of being buried in hair. It feels fantastic. And it actually made a big difference in my day, like I was wearing silk pajamas instead of jeans. I just had to mention that.

By the end of the night I was in love. I was no longer ambivalent about bangs, and the huge messy curls I had made me feel awesome. Of course anything that makes you feel like Christina Hendricks, Dita, and a spy can’t be anything but all sorts of awesome. Mike is super happy too.

Having trust in your stylist will get you far. If I didn’t have that,¬† I wouldn’t have done it. And I’m so glad I did. You can trust Holly Hui.

For more about asking your stylist for a middy see https://victoriablack4.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/vintage-hair-part-1-the-haircut/ and https://victoriablack4.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/i-got-a-middy-and-a-word-about-setting-lotion/

My Bright Hair Routine

No. No no no no no. No.

No. No no no no no. No.

I’ve been dying my own hair for over 11 years now (wow, has it really been that long?) and I’m often asked how I manage to achieve my color. It’s not as simple as buying dye from a box though. To get bright unnatural colors you need to use veggie dyes, and it’s a 2-step process.

So where do I start?

I used to buy box dyes. It seems like the obvious choice. But while looking through the “reds” section, I can’t help but feel like the people who pick the shades need to go back to kindergarten and revisit the color wheel. Dull auburn is not red, guys. It’s little more than a very warm brown. How exactly did you get your jobs again?

So because this color would start out “almost red” and quickly fade to “not at all red”, I would occasionally punch it up with some manic panic. This would be gorgeous for about, oh, four days. The bathroom redecoration on the other hand would last for weeks. Waste of money indeed. So then a very smart and beautiful friend of mine told me to get Punky Color instead. This happened to be around the time the 24 hour drug store down the street started carrying it, so it couldn’t have been more convenient.

Everyone’s hair is different, so you may have to try a few brands to find the best one for you, but on me this is ideal. This shit does NOT fade. After 2 months my color is just slightly more subtle, and in high quality photos is shows up as bright as the day it was done. With my current routine of washing just once a week, it hasn’t noticeably faded at all by the time I need to do my roots.

There is only one issue here, and amusingly enough the beauty consultants at the drug store seem to have no idea about this. Veggie dye does not contain developer, so it doesn’t exactly work on virgin hair. In general it is expected that you will bleach your hair first, so it will be damaged enough to hold the color and have a nice light base so it comes out really bright. I find bleach harsher than I would like, using it makes me nervous, so I start by dying my roots blond.¬†Make a lot of partings in your hair and just slather it in there, making sure to get behind your ears and all around your hair line. When that’s done, I like to scoop up some dye with my fingers and slide them under my hair and rub my head all over with it to make sure I got it everywhere. If this is your first time going bright, you’ll have to lighten the whole thing.

Step 1: doing roots with blond dye.

Step 1: doing roots with blond dye.

Important note: You cannot dye your hair blond if it’s not at least light brown already. Why? Box dyes work by stripping (hence the the developer) your color and depositing their own color in one step. But they don’t contain enough developer to lift your hair more than 2 or so shades. If your hair isn’t light already, just use bleach. Pro tip: Make your blonde dye last longer by mixing a third to half of each bottle from the box in a bowl and save the rest for later, similar to using bleach and mixing dye as explained below.

Step 1 = complete.

Step 1 = complete.

Step 1.5: Dry hair to at least damp in preparation for the veggie dye.

Step 1.5: Dry hair to at least damp in preparation for the veggie dye. And yes, I’m topless. Why ruin a shirt if I don’t have to?

Ooh, like a sunrise!

This is from months ago. It’s like a sunrise!

And now a big secret: Red veggie dyes fade either pink or orange, and most people don’t really want that or they would have dyed it pink or orange in the first place. The best way to avoid either is to mix an orange-red with a pink-red. Yes, you can custom mix with veggie dyes! They cancel each other out and fade gorgeously, to a soft rose red. I used to do this, but I get bored easily so at the moment I’m just going pink. But you can custom mix any shade you want.

Three colors I've mixed together. This particular mix achieves something half way between red and pink.

Three colors I’ve mixed together. This particular mix achieves a pretty shade of raspberry. Red Wine isn’t necessary but here I’ve added it for some extra depth.

IMG_1162Now then, line a bowl with saran wrap so you don’t ruin it, and put your colors in. This part is going to be like mixing water colors in class when you were a kid. You’ll also need a tint brush, and these can be obtained at a drug store very cheaply. You can play with this and keep experimenting until you get a shade you really like.

So mix all this up and start painting your roots with the tint brush the same way you applied the bleach or blonde. If the rest of your hair is faded you can now cover it in the rest of your dye chunk by chunk, either with your hands or the brush, whatever you find easiest.


Yes, this is my head covered in saran wrap.

Then one helpful thing you can do is take the saran wrap out of the bowl and put it on your head. This locks in the moisture so the dye penetrates better, and minimizes your chance of the dye coming off your head onto the couch. Now if you follow the no ‘poo routine and wash your hair with baking soda like I do you may be wondering if this is compatible with coloring your hair, especially cartoon colors like this. You can read more about that here. Put simply here though, yes, but you need to make sure you wash as seldom as possible and use the PH levels of the baking soda and ACV to your advantage when you dye it by having clean hair before you dye it and only conditioning it after.

So wait a minimum of 30 minutes here for the color to take. Veggie dyes are totally harmless so you can let it sit for as long as you want. Then rinse it all out. Make sure you put your gloves back on before rinsing though, especially if you have gel nails. Those are stains that just don’t come out. Oh, and uh, you might not want to wear white shirts if your hair is down. Ever again. This is off limits now. Enjoy!

And all is right again with the world.

And all is right again with the world.