Friday, May 24, 2013

DIY Temporary Hydrating Hair Color Mask

Despite what your parents said all the time when you were a kid, being an adult is awesome. If you want waffles, cheese and beer for dinner, you can have it. If you want to stay up until 4am on a work night watching Pretty Wild on Netflix (totally hypothetical), you can. It's great.

However, it comes with a few pitfalls too. Like, I can't just dye my hair purple because I want to, because I have a job where I have to fool people into thinking they hired a grown up, not this waffle-eating impostor.  But when I got a little extra vacation time approved, I started obsessing over having unnaturally colored hair for my week off. I've chalked my hair before, but it looks, well, chalked and gets all over everything.

This Water Color hydrating hair mask seemed like the solution to all of my problems. Temporary, non-damaging, fun colors. The only thing is, it was $24, and for it to arrive before my vacation, shipping would have been another $15. Plus, I couldn't find any good reviews online of people who had used it, or anything that said if it actually came out in 1-5 washes.  Back to the drawing board. 

I talked it over with some colorist friends, who mentioned that those Water Color masques were really just pigment and conditioner. So instead of spending $40 on one jar, I could probably whip up my own at home for under $10, right? 

I decided to go with a lavender color, because I figured it would compliment my blonde best as it started to fade, since my hair can get brassy and I use purple shampoo to tone it. I picked up a jar of Manic Panic Purple Haze and a $1 bottle of Suave conditioner. Make sure you get a conditioner that is white, not one of the ones thats blue or green or whatever.

The first time I tried, I was too conservative on how much purple I would need, and I added about a teaspoon to a half-bottle of conditioner. It was enough to tint the conditioner, but not my hair. I left it on for about 15 minutes and rinsed, and while it was soft, there was no color change. So I ended up doing a ratio of 2 tablespoons of dye to one half-bottle of conditioner, mixed together in a little tupperware. (When you are buying the dye, make sure to buy gloves as well!) It looks shockingly bright and a little dark, but the conditioner really dilutes it more than it looks like. Do a tiny test strip first, to see how it shows up on your hair and how long to leave it on for. 

My hair is bleached, so I left it on for literally about 3 minutes, just enough to stain the hair while I was running the hot water for my shower. However, on my roots where it is naturally blonde, I had to go back and let it sit for about 15 or 20 minutes, so again, test to see what works for you!

If you need it to come out quicker, take hot showers every day and use a clarifying shampoo. I was doing this to ensure it would be out before I had to go back to work in a week, and the purple was completely gone in three days. Perfect for if you want fun hair for this long Memorial Day weekend! To make it last longer, you can add a little more every day before you shower, just put a lid over the tupperware and keep it in your bathroom, it will store well. 

The jar of Manic Panic was $7 at Sally's, bringing this whole project to $8, which is way better than $40. Plus, Manic Panic has a wide range of colors, so you can make your own instead of being limited to the six colors Watercolor offers. This shows up best on bleached hair, but would be fun to play with if you have darker hair that is ombre-d, or just want a very subtle tint. 

And there you have it. Long-weekend friendly passes from adulthood. 



  1. I am REALLY glad you made this post! I am in the military so I can't permanently dye my hair any unnatural colors, but this is prefect for a color-junkie like me! (and not to mention I can afford it lol)

  2. LOVE the purple. There's a lady on IG that I follow (iamsobianrose i think) who has AMAZING hair color that I swear must wash out fast. I bet she uses that watercolor stuff. i've asked but she's never revealed her secret. She's got a different color every week i swear.

    um. i was a frequent buyer of manic panic in high school and college. if only i knew about this conditioner trick it would have saved me some botched hair embarrassment.

    and i believe you answered my question as to what to do w/ my hair when i don't have a job and go to school full-time: platinum + color masques. :)

  3. What was the volume of the bottle of conditioner?

  4. Meg, I love how this looks! I've been wanting a change, but also can't go in for a permanent look, so I think I'll be giving this a try. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I used the turquoise Water Color mask and looooved the color it gave my ombre. But yeah, honestly, the washing out process has sucked. Right now, it's a sickly green color-- like I've been soaking it in chlorine for ages. Definitely would take more than a week to wash all the way out. I'm interested to hear how long your mixture takes!

    1. mine was about the same purple for the first two washes, then it faded to a verrrry pale purple, almost grey toned, so i washd it once more with a clarifying shampoo and it all came out!

    2. My hair is bleached blonde, but its more of a golden blonde. I plan on bleaching it once more to take some more of the brassiness out, but I was wondering if the purple helped to take out the brassiness as well?

    3. If you have bleached hair, I highly recommend you wash with a purple shampoo like Shimmer Lights from Sally's FIRST before you try anything else to remove brassiness. Purple shampoo is very effective! Bleaching it again will only damage it! First try a purple shampoo and then for something stronger, try the purple dye recipe like the author did above but be careful not to turn your hair purple. Do not bleach hair that has already been bleached. It will turn your hair to straw.

  6. First of all you look so pretty with lavender hair, I love it. Second, as a hairstylist who doesn't do hair as my primary career, it pisses me off that I can't have whatever color hair that I want at work.

  7. This is awesome, I am definitely trying out your version. I wanted to try out the watercolor ones in pink and seafoam, but the price was out of my range. Thanks for sharing (: !!

  8. I love Watercolor! It makes my hair so soft and leaves a wonderful color. I wouldn't recommend your version only because in Manic Panic, there is formaldehyde (alcohol) and Suave conditioner isn't all that great to treat your hair. Sure, it may leave a color, but I would rather have my hair feeling soft and looking great, than to have color and dry it out

  9. Hi Simone!

    Unfortunately because of the time constraints, watercolor wasn't an option for me! Though my hair was left very soft, perhaps its just used to taking a beating :) For those concerned about how their hair will hold up, this same at-home mixture would work well with your favorite conditioner and a formaldehyde free color! I'm glad to know Watercolor does work well, though!

  10. I purchased the L'Oreal EverStrong Masque which is white, and is in a "tub" type of container (eliminates the need for a tupperware tub). Added 2 tbsps of Beyond the Zone Color Jamz Party Time Pink (they were out of any pink Manic Panic colors), and it seems like this color masque is going to do the trick for me, in terms of temporary, fun colors. I'm going to buy another tub of the masque and another color (maybe the purple Manic Panic), and see how that goes. Thanks for an AWESOME and useful idea. I just love that I can play with this for a few days, and then be "back to (boring) normal" for work or whatever. Thanks again!

  11. I cannot get this to work on my dark hair! I have added more and more dye, but I hate to add too much because I don't want it to be permanent. Do you have any ideas other than lightening my hair?? Going blonde isn't really an option for me....

  12. I cannot get this to work on my dark hair! I have tried 4 times with more dye and longer wait times and nothing is working. I am afraid to add too much dye because I don't want it to be permanent! Any ideas other than lightening my hair?? Going blonde isn't really an option for me....


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