A Bold New Look: Neon Hair

Picture this: you are bored with your hair. It’s been the same color and same length since high school. You look like every other girl on campus. You want to stand out with a bold color, but you are terrified. You are not willing to spend hundreds on your hair, but you’re afraid a DIY job will leave with orangey-yellow hair and fried ends. Yikes!

When I dyed my hair this summer, I had the same fears, but I decided to go through with it anyways. This is my experience.

On June 7th, I went to Sally’s beauty supply and bought a 30 developer bleaching kit and some Manic Panic Purple Haze hair dye. After 60 minutes of bleaching, my dark brown hair turned a funky gold — with white roots and darker ends. In the end, I covered my bleached hair with the purple haze using vaseline on my hairline.

I got this:

The color was great — very multi-dimensional. I have extremely thin hair, so all the conditioner in Manic Panic made it feel super gross and greasy after the bleaching process finished. After I shampooed, my hair felt a little dry at first, but within two months it was back to feeling normal.

Unfortunately the color faded SUPER quickly. Because it was purple, it toned my hair, leaving with a golden blonde color within two weeks. I was pretty disappointed, so I decided to try Ion Color Brilliance. I mixed the magenta and the orange, which left me with a hot pink. This, unfortunately, also faded really quickly. Into this:


I decided to try Pravana Vivids. The reviews of the product terrified me. According to some, it couldn’t be bleached out. Dying it different colors only turned it purple. Even though it was the most “long lasting” of the colors I tried, it was still gone within a few weeks. Some pink spots still lingered on my hair a bit, but for the most part, my hair became a weird orange color again.

Overall, if you are going to dye your hair, you should probably bleach it more than I did, especially if you want yours colors to be long lasting. There is no such thing as a permanent dye for bright colors, so make sure the color underneath is something presentable! If you choose to go purple, you can always tone your hair later with some left-over hair dye since the lavender counteracts some of the gold tones.

As far as products go, here are my recommendations.

Manic Panic is good if you aren’t sure you want to commit to having neon hair. The dye fades within 1-3 weeks, the colors are nice, and there is a very wide selection. I personally wouldn’t recommend this brand because it faded, leaving me with patchy color. At one point, parts of my hair were completely gold while others were still lavender. There was one spot, however, that the purple stayed for nearly 4 weeks!

Ion Brilliance is around $5 dollars at Sally’s beauty supply, making it the cheapest of the hair dyes. Ion also carries lovely pastel colors. A few reviews of this product cited that it was difficult to work with, but once you mix in conditioner, you shouldn’t have that problem. Unfortunately, this brand also fades quickly. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are serious about having neon hair.

Pravana was my favorite brand. Their magenta dye turned my hair a beautiful, vivid pink. It was also the longest-lasting of all the dyes, although it I did fade quickly because my hair was too dark.

There were other brands I didn’t try — the most well known being Splat. I had heard negative things about Splat not sticking to hair well. If you can not find your desired color, Punky Colors by Jeremy Russell is also an option.

In the end, I would recommend everyone try neon hair! You’ll definitely stand out and the results are always reversible. Once I got tired of my hair fading, I was able to dye it back brown, and it now looks and feels completely normal.