It seems like you can't scroll through your Instagram feed without stumbling across someone who is proudly sporting metallic hair color. Metallic dye transforms natural, solid-colored hair into the shimmering, attention-grabbing locks of fantasy characters and social media fashion icons. If you like the look but aren't sure about the logistics of using it, this is the last guide you'll ever need to read.
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What are metallic dyes, exactly?
Metallic dyes get their name from the use of metallic salts that create the unique coloring. These dyes are used in progressive color treatment programs and can cover gray, as well as add an exotic look to your hair. The more you apply it, the stronger the color comes through. It's also easy to use because you don't have to mix or tinker with the formula.
How do you get your hands on this dye?
The good news for any would-be users of metallic dye is that you can order it from online retailers like Amazon or eBay. You could also buy Metallic-lite dyes, such as the L'Oreal Paris Shimmering Colors, directly off the shelf at your local store.
With that said, here are three brands that beginners can't go wrong with:
1. Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids 3 fl oz: 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon
This metallic hair dye has over 2,847 customer reviews and an overall rating of 4 stars on Amazon. Judging by the sheer volume of orders and glowing reviews, it's clear that Pravana's ChromoSilk Vivids Silver dye is a product that delivers.
Customers with naturally darker hair emphasized the importance of gradually lightening their hair before applying this product. Overall, reviewers were impressed with the quality of the color, as well as the product's uses as a corrective after a bad bleaching, or as a means of covering up gray hair.
One user with hair dye allergies found ChromoSilk to be more comfortable on her skin and hair when compared to "normal" dyes.
Priced at just $10.45 on Amazon, this is a product that's worth a glance.
2. Kenra Professional Permanent Metallic Collection 3.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
This product line comes from a brand that's known for offering salon-quality products at affordable prices. Several products in its non-metallic line, such as the Kenra Permanent Color 7N, enjoy solid reviews on Amazon.
The Professional Permanent Metallic Collection comes in silver, bronze, rose, and violet tints. These metallic dyes can be used with other colors to create a metallic look, but can also be used independently on pre-lightened hair.
Reviewers were very satisfied with this product line overall, but some found that the formula wasn't quite getting them the tone they were after. At least one reviewer, who wasn't impressed with the product as a dye, did find it useful as a toner.
The 8VM Metallic Violet can be picked up on Amazon for $10.00 with free shipping.
Kenra also has other metallic products like the Kenra Perm 10SM Extra Light Blonde Silver Metallic 2.05 fl oz, sitting at four stars.
3. Schwarzkopf Metallics 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
This is a line of professional quality metallic dyes with an extraordinarily high 4.5-star rating on Amazon. On the whole, customers were thrilled with the vividness of the color, as well as the color's cool tones.
Available on Amazon at $ 8.34, there's plenty of room to try these dyes without breaking the bank.
Tips for choosing dye colors
If you're a particularly adventurous type when it comes to your hair, you may be interested in doing the metallic dye at home.
Luckily for you, it's more than possible – but there are a few things you might want to think about:
Consider Your Natural Hair Color
With metallics dyes, you have to take your natural hair color into account because it's typically harder to get lighter colors to show up on darker hair. Does this mean that a brunette will never achieve that shimmering silverly tone? Well, no.
However, it does mean that you may have to gradually lighten your hair with bleach before you can take on the metallic silvers. This ties in nicely with this next point.
Darker Hair Works Well With Darker Metallics
Bleaching and permanent de-coloring may not be what you've signed up for if you happen to have dark hair. Fortunately, those with darker hair can achieve that shimmering effect by using darker colors such as purple and dark blue.
You’ll still get that gorgeous metallic effect, but without the time commitment and effort that goes into bleaching your hair until you reach the results that you want.
Texture is Less Important Than You Think
Hair comes in a variety of textures, ranging from rigidly straight to tightly coiled afro. With metallic hair dyes none of that matters, because the shimmering effect will create a more significant impression of movement. This means that there's room for everyone in the metallic dye tent, although your hair type may determine which dying methods are likely to be the most effective for your particular strands.
Certain Dyes May Be Best Left to the Professionals
If you have dark hair and you're trying for a light metallic color, the decoloration process can get complicated quickly. For many DIY hair colorists, a white metallic dye can also be tricky to put in.
That's why for select metallic approaches, it may be in your best interests to either hire a professional or at least check in with one, to make sure that your hair is ready for the final step in your metallic hair dye journey.
Prepping your hair for dye
Don't wash your hair:
At least for a few days before taking on hair dye, this applies to people who are DIY-ing as well as going the salon route. The reason being is simple, washing your hair can easily scratch your scalp. "Color is a chemical treatment, and anytime a chemical treatment touches a sore or scratch on your scalp, it will burn. The color itself doesn't burn, but if it makes contact with a scratch, it's going to hurt." explains hairstylist Mirna Jose. At the same time, you don't want your hair too dirty to be manageable.
Ease off the styling products:
The extra texture styling products give your hair takes away from your hair's ability to absorb the dye evenly. If you want a uniformly colored dye-job, we suggest you ease off the styling products for at least a few days before you hit the dye so your locks have the oppertunity to pruge the products.
A few days before you touch the dye, you should also grab a good deep conditioner or hot oil treatment to realign your hair's moisture and pH. Not only will your color develop more evenly, but it'll (hopefully) make your hair less coarse after you wash out the dye. This simple step could mean the difference between dull and luminous hair. There are a few products that just don't fail;
- xtava Deep Conditioning Hair Mask Treatment: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $15.99
- Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner By Arvazallia: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $12.95
- SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Treatment Masque: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $9.49
- Argan Oil for Hair Treatment By Arvazallia: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $18.99
Trim before you dye it
Trimming your split ends before you dye ensures your color will last longer. Split ends are porous, and pours hair absorbs moisture. When your hair needs to absorb extra moisture, it'll push out the color to take in the moisture. It'll leave the ends of your hair a different shade than the rest of your hair. So unless that's what you're going for, trim it up. But this serves another purpose as well…
Test the dye
Dying your hair is a semi-terrifying experience because you don't know what you're walking into until you're there. But there's no need for that. Test your dye on your split end trims to see what the color is going to look like without testing it on the hair you plan on keeping.
The act of dying
Buy extra boxes
Always buy more boxes of hair dye than you need. Nothing is worse than going through two boxes of dye and realizing you still need to do the back of your head. Plan to buy extras just in case you need them. Worst case scenario? You use the extra the next time around.
Invest in a shower cap
You'll want to grab a shower cap (or dish cover) to cover your hair with. Not only does it help your hair absorb the color better, but it also ensures you don't get any dye on things you don't want dye on, like your back, your couch, or your all-too-curious cat.
Grab some goo
Vaseline, chapstick, or similarly gooey products are great for keeping the dye from setting in unwanted places like your ears, forehead, or neck. You can put it on before or after, but it's an essential if you don't want to look like Grimace from the old school McDonald's commercials.
Invest in some tools
Invest in a good hair coloring brush if you want to ensure an even application. If you're adventurous and looking to do a two-tone dye job, grab an old toothbrush to use for your high- and low-lights. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Segbeauty Balayage Highlights Board and Brush Set: 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $11.99
- Goldwell Color Brush: 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $10.99
- Soft 'N Style 3 Piece Translucent Dye Brush Set: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon for $3.90
Start at the top
While this may seem obvious, in the middle of dying your hair, it may slip your mind. You'll want to start at your roots and work the excess dye down throughout the rest of your hair. It prevents globs from forming and makes a uniform application and color much easier to achieve.
Have a plan b ready
Even after following all of these tips, you might still not love your new hair color. It's not the best case scenario, but it can happen. Be prepared if it does happen by stocking up with some Developlus Color Oops Color Remover or some Colour B4. Hair Colour Remover. The sooner you use this in the event of a mistake, the better the results will be, so it's best to come to the table prepared.
Have you used metallic hair dye or are you thinking about doing it? Hit us with your experience on our Facebook or in the comments below.
Cover photo credits to Guy Tang.