How To: Preserve Dyed Hair

My hair has been bright pink for almost a year now! I first dyed it the day before my birthday, December 14th 2016, so the dye-versary is coming up next week. This is pretty out of character for me, because I usually dyed my hair a different color every several months, which made it really hard for people to recognize me if they didn’t know me very well.

My hair journey!

Oh my gosh I WANT that warm dark brown! So beautiful. But after all of this dyeing, when I finally got to pink I did the bleaching myself (dumb) and fried it quite a bit (dumb). I didn’t HAVE to cut it off, but I’ve wanted to cut my hair short just as much as I always wanted to change colors. Since it was somewhat damaged, I decided to cut it chin length, like in the last photo. People LOVE this cut. “So cute! So cute! So cute!” I appreciate the the compliments, but I liked the longer hair better, but dramatic and more fun to do things with. So it’s been growing out, and I keep dying it pink, and it keeps get longer, and pinker and… WHOA!!!

Why are people staring at me? Do I have something on my face?

It’s so bright. I kind of… think it reflects my soul. If I can grow it out healthy and keep it looking like this… as much as I am tempted to play with the hair color, it would be worth it. Which leads me back to where I got distracted from the point of this post: HOW DO I KEEP MY HAIR HEALTHY AND FROM GETTING DAMAGED???!!!!

Things I have already started doing:

  1. I DO NOT BLEACH MY OWN HAIR. I got this done twice at Fantastic Sam’s this year, and the roots in between were tolerable. They know what they are doing better than I do. They also give me “deep conditioning”. I also ONLY bleach the roots.
  2. I wash my hair carefully so I don’t have to dye with the pink very often, though the pink should do minimal damage. STOP: I actually have NO idea if the pink causes damage. Time for research.

Okay, so the hair dye I use is Semi Permanent Magenta by Ion, which I buy at Sally’s. According to Haircolor Wiki, “This dye only deposits color and will not lighten your hair at all. There’s no ammonia in this dye and it’s barely damaging.” They also claim it usually only lasts a month, but if your hair is light or bleached it can leave deposits. Which is what happened to me: I keep depositing more and more and more and it doesn’t really fade any more, which is great for upkeep. Even faded, it looks fantastic and people can’t tell it’s faded at all. So the answer to my research is: YAY! Pink is not adding much damage! Just the bleach!

QUESTION: Is Ion vegan?????????????????????????????? Oh no I’m afraid to look, magenta locks don’t leave me. Why have I not looked this up. I’m scared. Okay, here I go to find out… 

ANSWER: So ion hair care is “cruelty free and not tested on animals,” also “none of the ingredients are derived from animal products,” yet some people are saying this is not true. More research needed. At the worst, I will try another hair dye, I was super fond of oVertone for a while which people have been raving about, yet here is my honest review: it doesn’t last as long as other things, and it is SOOOO EXPENSIVE. I also tried Arctic Fox, which is another popular vegan hair color. I tried the color “Wrath” which was WRONG, I should try “Virgin Pink”. But my hair is so perfect, and Arctic Fox is not as intense as Ion, I am so very afraid of losing my awesome pink. *Deep Breath*. My personal philosophy: if something has animal products in it, no matter how I like it, I don’t get to decide whether I like enough to use it, because the animal was not given that choice and I don’t have the right to make it for them. I will be strong!

ANOTHER QUESTION: is the bleach they use to lighten my hair vegan? It has to be, right? I feel like something like that wouldn’t have animal products in it, but I thought that about many many stupid things. Please follow me on the existential hair crisis this is evolving into.

ANSWER: This doesn’t seem to be addressed everywhere, I only found that bleach cleaning products are vegan – I assume hair is the same, and that’s why nobody feels the need to talk about it? Even on vegan hair dye sites, they didn’t list their bleach as “vegan”, maybe they feel stupid explicitly saying it. Hopefully there is someone I can ask for a definitive answer. I also found another statement that Ion is “mostly vegan-friendly”. Why can’t people just be transparent about this and let us vegannes/veganites/veganarians make our own decisions??

Back to hair damage research, let’s see if I can find more tips.

  • Wait a couple days after dying before washing your hair: Great, I already do this, since I love that new dye look.
  • Keep the water temperature down when washing: I actually know this is a classic important step, but I’m too pansy to actually do it. I need to start… wahhhhh. This has nothing to do with hair damage though, just limiting need to re-dye. Now that I think about it, so does the last tip. Oh well.
  • Condition with color-preserving conditioner every time: Hmm… must find.
  • Avoid sulfates and clarifying shampoo, use color-preserving shampoo: I usually use Trader Joe’s shampoo and conditioner for everything, because if Trader Joe’s doesn’t have it than nobody needs it. Yes even canned pineapple, toothpicks and ice. When I go to the grocery store next door I am very shamefully cheating on TJs and need to stop. PETA endorses these products, but it looks like I may need to go on a vegan color-preserving hair regimen finding adventure.
  • Do a deep conditioning treatment once a week: let’s say Mondays! I work weekends so Monday is my Saturday. That’s tomorrow!
  • Don’t use heat treatment: No problem, I air dry.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Doing pretty well atm.

Ugh, I don’t trust any of these sites that say to put weird oils on your hair. Apparently that messes up the balance of oil already naturally on our head. I also found an article that called hair salons with organic products “patronizing”. Hmm.

  • Keep away from sun and chlorine water: Cat vampire! Check!

These tips keep repeating all over the place, so I think I got most of them. They also recommend dry shampoo, wahh. I have been through SO MANY BRANDS of dry shampoo and the scents in them are so strong, I want to vomit. The only way to get rid of the awful over-powering smells is to SHOWER. So… I’ll keep looking:

Leftover questions: Is Ion Brilliance vegan? Is Fantastic Sam’s bleach/all hair bleach vegan? Where can I get vegan color-preserving shampoo and conditioner? What are good vegan deep conditioners? What is a non-scented dry shampoo? I will report back!


While Ion is generally vegan friendly, my hair color does not specifically say it is vegan, which apparently means it is not. Time for a change. Sad day.

I have emailed Fantastic Sams about the bleach: they say both the deep conditioning and the bleach are vegan. Yays.

I have ordered Green and Gorgeous Organic Unscented Dry Shampoo, a brand I have wanted to try for a while. Comes Thursday!

As for shampoo/conditioner, PETA recommends John Masters Organics  for color enhancing. Unfortunately BRIGHT FRIGGIN PINK is not a color they chose to feature. Paul Mitchell brand is vegan. I will try their Color Protect Daily Shampoo and Conditioner and some kind of deep conditioning treatment… actually, there is a Paul Mitchell salon across from my house. I will go tomorrow and talk to them and ask my questions – maybe I’ll start going to them for the pink!!! I’ll wait before ordering anything.