How it works and considerations
(If you're going to use it yourself you should still read the leaflet in the box and do a patch test!)
When you dye your hair the molecules of dye (colour) are 'set' into each strand, Colour B4 says it shrinks these dye molecules which allows you to simply rinse them away. The process is fairly simple (if a little tedious) and can be repeated up to three times, although I can't imagine most people wanting to put their hair through that.
Using products containing silicone (most shampoos/conditioners and styling products contain it, it coats your hair and makes it appear shiny) on dyed hair can be a problem. Example: You've just dyed your hair, great! You use the lovely conditioner in the box (containing silicone) to make it feel healthy and shiny again and maybe a squirt of leave-in conditioner too (containing silicone). If you're like me you'll want to straighten your hair a bit, just to get rid of the frizzy bits - this is where it goes wrong...
The silicone which is now on your hair begins to melt under the heat of your straighteners (usually about 220C) and encases your hair - trapping the dye in, meaning a semi-permanent dye which is supposed to wash out after 24 washes will last for months or even years. Every time you re-dye it the same thing happens, until eventually you've got layers of dye and silicone. I'm sure this is what happened to me. Unfortunately, Colour B4 cannot completely reverse silicone damage to hair, the best thing to do if you don't get the results you wanted is to chop off your ends and start again.
Colour B4 says it will reveal your natural hair colour, but unfortunately the hair dye you've been using probably contained peroxide (yep, even if you were dying your hair darker!), so your natural hair colour may be a bit more ginger than you remember! If, like me, you were planning on dyeing it straight away again anyway it shouldn't matter, just try not to be too surprised!
I bought two boxes of Colour B4 Extra Strength, I thought I might need two applications but I didn't, I'll keep the box for use another time in the future. I also bought a box of my usual hair dye for use afterwards.
I used a clarifying shampoo (Naked Detox) beforehand to remove as much silicone from my hair as possible. This made it a bit tatty and difficult to work with so don't do this in a rush! In the Colour B4 box you get gloves and three bottles: A - activator, and B - remover, which are mixed together and C - buffer, which is applied to your hair afterwards. This is simple enough, if you've ever used a box hair dye before you won't find this strange.
You need to work quickly, the strength of the product decreases as time passes so as soon as A and B are mixed together you need to apply them to your hair straight away. You need to leave the solution on your hair for 20 minutes, I'd recommend making a nice hat out of clingfilm - the product works best in a warm environment and the clingfilm will trap in the heat from your head.
After waiting for 20 minutes (don't be tempted to leave it on longer!) you need to rinse your hair for 10 minutes. I got in the shower as recommended on the leaflet because 10 minutes is actually a long time and leaning over the bath would really hurt your neck! This is the most important part as if you don't rinse it properly the dye will just stay in your hair. Set a timer on your phone, and don't stop rubbing and rinsing your hair thoroughly until the 10 minutes is up! The water rinses clear which is unexpected, but don't worry, the dye will be coming out!
After 10 minutes of rinsing you need to apply the buffer (part C), which rinses away any last dye molecules and restores your hair to it's natural pH thus allowing you to dye it again when you've finished (and dried your hair). You first apply it and leave it on for one minute, and rinse for five minutes. You then need to apply it for a second time but it doesn't need to be left on or rinsed for as long, you can treat it as a normal shampoo at this stage with regards to timings.
At this stage my hair resembled straw. You're not supposed to condition it until your next wash and I was devastated when I could barely get a comb through it. You have to dry it to see the results though, so I persevered and was greeted with this....
At this point I should have probably used another pack on my ends but I was in a rush, at least I know for next time, learn from my mistake! Scott Cornwall recommends using a non-permanent colour to avoid further lightening from peroxide but I ignored his advice and went with my normal semi-permanent...
I'm quite pleased with the results, the colour is much richer and less dull - for under £20 I've sorted my hair out! Next time I'll definitely concentrate more on the ends and possibly apply a second pack just to the ends to make sure it's totally even. Even more important is cutting down the amount of Silicone I use on my hair, shampoo and conditioner is a good place to start and I'm trying out Liz Earle's new range now, review to come!
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