Category Archives: Ask the Attic

More Hairdye Q&A

I know! You guys thought we’d veered off into politics forever! Nope, just sometimes. The world is scary, and we have feelings about it. But you know what else we have feelings about? YOUR QUESTIONS!

So many questions, mostly about hair dye.

So many questions, mostly about hair dye.

Seriously, the idea of you guys being kept up at night by hair dying questions leaves us cold. So, we’re going to do a bit of a Q&A roundup of all the questions we’ve been getting over the past few (very very busy) months.

Q: Can I apply Manic Panic (or Arctic Fox, or any other similar dye) directly to the scalp?

A: Yes you can, however, you’re going to dye your scalp. This can take a while to wear off depending on the brand you use. We’ve found that Manic Panic and Special Effects seem to dye the scalp for a very long time, while often, Arctic Fox rinses off the skin with the very first wash. This can be different for everyone, depending on the oiliness of the scalp and other variables, so your mileage may vary.

Q: Can I dye my hair when it’s dirty?

A: If you’re using a permanent dye that utilizes a developer, yes! You absolutely can, and it can even protect your hair a bit from drying. If you’re going to be using Arctic Fox, Manic Panic, Special Effects or any other non-developer dye, the short answer is no. The long answer is, read this blog post, and you will be a LOT happier with your results.

Q: Can I just put my hair dye on my hands and rub it all over? Do I HAVE to do it piece by piece?

A: Full disclosure here: Yeah, you totally can, but you have to be REALLY aggressive about getting it all over and you REALLY want to have a spotter for those behind-the-ears and nape-of-the-neck spots. When you call your spotter over, they’re not going to be able to be a passive observer. Rather, remember those lice checks your school nurse did in elementary school? Yeah, they’re going to do it like that. They’ll want to take a pick, or a comb, and move all the hair over on each part of the hair and MAKE SURE you’ve gotten everything. This is MUCH less important if you’re doing a re-dye (no new bleaching.) But if you HAVE done any bleaching, this is really important, or you’ll end up with those high contrast yellow patches that look good on just about no one.

Q: Can I use Arctic Fox (Manic Panic, Special Effects, etc.) on damp hair?
Q: How can I make Manic Panic, Arctic Fox, Special Effects, Crazy Colour, etc. last longer?

A: Again, read this post, and you’ll have all the answers you need on those questions!


That’s it for today! If you have any questions you want the answers to, about hair dye, or any other weird stuff you need help with (heck, we’re even pretty good at advice!) Drop us an email, or leave a comment. We hope you’ll check out our shop, visit our Instagram, and all the other fun stuff we’ve got going on!


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How to make your hair dye last longer

You want bright hair dye that lasts. We all do. Each of us has our own favorite. We do our best to keep Special Effects in stock, but it does move quickly, and deliveries are, shall we say, erratic. We’re taking a pause on those for a while, so our current stock is all we’ll have of that brand for a bit.  We also stock Manic Panic brand dyes all year round, and their formulas have REALLY improved in the past few years with regard to how long they last, so, if you haven’t tried out their AMP’D line in a while, you might want to give that a go. We’re also happy to be able to stock Arctic Fox in our store. This is a long lasting dye, formulated to both condition and run less (think less of a shower bloodbath!) Whichever you choose, we know you want  to keep that soon-to-be dyed hair looking as bright as possible, for as long as you can. So use the tips below, and you’ll look awesome for as long as possible! We’ve got ’em!

  • Demi permanent dyes, like Special Effects Hair Dye, Manic Panic®, and Arctic Fox  will always show up best on pre-lightened hair. That doesn’t mean you need to bleach your hair to white! It simply means that if your hair is highlighted or even bleached for a very short period of time, it’s going to work better. Why? Demi permanent dyes sit ON your hair, not IN your hair shaft, like permanent dyes do. When you lighten your hair, you open the pores in the follicle and this allows the dye to get in there and take hold a little bit better. It won’t be permanent by any means, but the color will be a lot brighter and a lot more long lasting. Do you HAVE to pre-lighten? Absolutely not. You’re still going to get a tint with these dyes (and with some colors, a very strong tint!) but if you want to go out there looking like a Fraggle, pre-lightening is the way to go.
  • Before you use demi permanent dye, a little bit of prep is in order. Whether or not you pre-lighten, make sure you wash your hair well. Lather, rinse, repeat. You know the drill. What you may not know is that you should NOT condition your hair before you dye! We know, you’ve just bleached your hair and it feels and looks remarkably like straw. It’s creeping you out! You MUST condition!No! You must not. Trust us. Demi-permanent dyes are suspended in a conditioning base. Your hair will feel better after you’ve dyed it. If you like, when you’re rinsing the dye out, you can use conditioner then.
    So, you’ve washed your hair, you’ve restrained yourself and you didn’t condition, now what? Now, you wait. Your hair needs to be BONE dry. If there’s water in your hair, it’s going to fill up the spaces where you want your dye to go. So you have to just wait it out. Can you blow dry? We don’t recommend blow drying freshly bleached, unconditioned hair. That’s just asking for trouble.
  • Alright. You made it. You’re super clean and super dry. You’re ready! As responsible people we have to warn you, this dye stains. It stains EVERYTHING it touches, and it does it just about instantly. When you dye, you’re going to want to keep a bottle of some kind of cleanser with bleach in it nearby. If you drip a drop, spray it FAST. This probably won’t save you, but at least you tried. We recommend doing the actual dying in a bright, preferably tiled room. Tile tends to resist the staining and the bleach works best there. So, after you’ve donned your dye gear, put on some rubber gloves. These should be non-negotiable. If you don’t wear the gloves, you’re going to look silly, for DAYS and days and days and days. Also, your fingernails are going to be stained and you’ll look quite ill even after the dye comes off of your skin. If you’ve recently painted your nails, and the color isn’t black, you’re going to ruin that too. It’ll still get ruined when you rinse later, but you can keep the pretty nails dream alive a *little* bit longer if you wear the gloves. Some people recommend putting vaseline around your hairline and on your ears. We don’t disagree. This will keep your skin cleaner and make it easier to get the dye off later. If you’d like to do this, go for it. In the Attic, we don’t do this. It’s just too icky. It’s greasy and difficult to get off your skin, it always seems to get *into* our hair and BLEH. We’d rather take the hit and just have red or blue ear tops for a week. Here, we declare it a badge of honor, and move on, but it’s up to you! You can also try a thick coating of skin lotion which is a bit of a middle ground.
    And that’s our “keep it neat” disclaimer!
  • So, you’re clean, you’re dry, you’re wearing the crappiest clothing you own and you’re in rubber gloves. Time to do the surgery.  There are two ways you can go about applying the color. You can use a tint brush (usually a plastic, stiff bristled brush with a “rat tail” at the other end which is used to pull apart sections of hair) or you can go kindergarden on the job and use your fingers. There’s no right or wrong here, only what makes you comfortable. A note of caution though, if you use your fingers, the bottle is going to get really disgusting, really quickly, and if it does fall off the counter, it’s going to make an absolutely incredible mess. If you’re a klutz, we recommend using the brush! You now have two choices, you can use a paper or foam plate as a palette, squeezing a bit of the dye onto the plate and then applying it to your hair with the brush or fingers, or, you can squeeze it right into your hair and spread it around that way. Again, there’s no right or wrong, it’s up to you.*Safety Disclaimer! You should, at this point, do an allergy test. You know the drill. Put a little spot of dye on your skin, wait 24 hours, if you have no reaction, go for it.Start with your hairline, being careful to avoid the “baby hairs” high up on your cheeks in the sideburn area. They’re going to get a little bit of dye on them anyway, but if you’re using a blue based color and you dye them, you’re going to have a smurfy glow for quite a while. You want to make sure you get the color all the way down to the scalp. Yes, we know, the bottles say to avoid the scalp. And, it’s true, when you get that dye on the scalp, it’s going to stain it and stain it badly. However, if you don’t go all the way down, and you’ve bleached, you’re going to have a weird, unattractive, blonde halo. Also, the good thing about your scalp getting stained is that your scalp produces oil. As this oil works it’s way, out, the stain will fade, and it will fade a LOT more quickly than on any other part of your skin. You’ll have a few days of stain for 6-8 weeks worth of  awesome looking hair.After you’ve done your hairline, do the tips. They’ll fade quickly, but they’ll pick up the dye quickly too, as they’re typically the most damaged part of the hair. You don’t need drippy gloopy coverage. When the hair is dyed, it’s dyed. After you’ve got the hairline and the tips done, take a large toothed comb and comb the dye through from hairline to tips. You’ll get some buildup between the teeth, just rub that onto your hair and comb again. Keep doing this until the dye doesn’t spread anymore. When you use this method, you’ll end up using a lot less dye overall. This will make the bottle last longer and make the next day a lot easier for you.
  • At this point, you’re going to want to start filling in the middle. Put a little bit of dye on, work it in, and then comb. Repeat this until all of your hair is covered. It’s extremely helpful at this point to have a buddy act as your spotter. A lot of times you think you’ve  gotten everything covered, but you’ve got lots of missed patches. Common places to peek at are the very top of your head, and behind your ears. Use a second mirror if you have to, it’s frustrating to have a great looking dye job with big patches of bleached yellow mixed in.
  • Once your hair is all covered with dye, completely saturated, twist it into a knot on top of your head and clip it securely. You don’t want loose strands falling out and brushing against your face. They’ll leave stains anywhere they touch.
  • Now, break out the plastic wrap and wrap your head! Yes, you’ll look positively foolish, but this will serve two purposes. First, it’ll keep your face, and your house safe. You’d be surprised how often your head brushes against things in your house. A plant, the edge of a door, your shower curtain. Keeping dye off of those items will make the post dye cleanup much easier. The second purpose this will serve is to hold in heat. The heat is going to “bake” that dye into your hair and help it last longer.
  • Once you’re fully wrapped up, you’re going to blow dry that lovely plastic beehive on your head. Don’t hold the dryer *too* close. You don’t want to melt the plastic. You’re just warming up your hair. Do this for about ten minutes. Again, you’re “baking” the dye into your hair and helping it to last longer. When you’re done with that, you’re at the hair dye commitment crossroads, and decisions must be made.
  • What are your plans for the next day? If you have any, skip the next portion and go right to “time to shower.” If you don’t, and you REALLY want your dye to last, get a bandana and tie it around your plastic beehive. Tie it tightly. Embrace your new look, you’ll be working it until tomorrow.
    The longer you keep your dye in at this stage, the longer you’re going to keep your color. Before you go to bed, get a large, dark colored towel, and cover your pillow. This will keep it from being utterly destroyed. When you wake up, it’ll be time to shower, and then, you’re almost done.
  • Time to shower! Ok, you’re ready to rinse this goop out. If you’ve done the previous step, your face is likely smeared with dye and you look a bit like you were assaulted by a Crayola factory worker. It’s ok, we can fix that in the end.Take off your plastic cap. Don’t be alarmed at how hard your hair has become. It’ll feel a bit like plastic, but that’s just the dried out dye. Carefully take off whatever you’re wearing on top and put it right in the washing machine. If it touches anything, it’s going to stain it. Now, get into the shower. Don’t use hot water, use warm. Hot water is not going to be your buddy for as long as you want to keep this dye in. It’ll fade it more quickly. All you’re going to do is rinse. Rinse for a long, long time. I’m not going to tell you to “rinse until the water runs clear” because, particularly if you’re using a blue dye, that’s pretty much never going to happen. With a red dye, you’ll come close, but not blue. You’re going to rinse until the water is *pretty* clear. Rinse until it no longer seems that your head is a paint can that has spilled out in the shower. Make sure you’re rinsing with your face pointed up, so the water spills over your back. This will keep your face from being more dyed than it has to get. If you like, you can put some conditioner on your hair at this point. Not a lot, just enough to work through. Leave the conditioner on while you soap yourself up, but rinse it out again before you wash your face.
  • Washing your face after dying your hair is a bit of a multi-step process. First, you’re going to use whatever you use for the rest of your body. If you have a shower poof or a washcloth that will lightly exfoliate your face while you do it, all the better. Wash it well and then rinse. The next step is to use some kind of facial cleanser. We find that acne cleaners work best at removing the dye. After you’re done with that, rinse your face again. Finally, before leaving the shower, turn the water on as cold as you can stand it, and rinse your hair in the cold water. This will close the pores of your hair and make it look more shiny and keep the dye in longer.
  • Use a dark towel to dry your hair when you get out of the shower. Once you’re no longer dripping, take a look in the mirror. If you’re incredibly lucky, you’ve gotten all the dye off, and hats off to you. If you have dye all over your face, you need to find yourself a smoker. The best way to get hair dye off of your face sounds completely gross, but it works. Get yourself some cigarette ash (if you’re not a smoker, keep a pack in the house and just let one burn down on its own, outside the house.) Once you have the ash, wet a paper towel and dip it in the ash, then take the towel and wipe it on the stains. The mild acid in the cigarette ash will take the dye off of your skin. You’ll be left with ash all over your face, but that’s easily removed with a simple face washing. Don’t rub for too long, or too hard. You’ll only end up burning your skin.

Finally, if you want your dye to last as long as possible, avoid shampooing. When you do have to shampoo, do it quickly and don’t use hot water. Your hair will, over time, get used to being washed less often and won’t look greasy or dirty. Your scalp will also thank you for not using so much shampoo. Sleeping on dark towels can be a good idea. There’s never going to come a time when your dye doesn’t rub off in the night. It’s just the price you pay for super bright, super cool looking hair. There WILL come a time, when it’s rinsed enough that it won’t come off on your face. Also remember that reds do not last as long as blues, no matter what you do, that’s just the nature of these dyes.

Do you have any tips to help make your dye last longer? Leave them in the comments! We’d love to hear them and share them with our other customers. Got photos of your gorgeous dye job? Send them in so we can post them in the Customer Gallery!

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Ask The Attic- My House Is A Crime Scene! Help!


What a bloody mess. Photo by Pixie Trash

When hair dye ruins your skin, your house, your very life.

Q- I recently bought Blood Red Special Effects hair dye from you and have a few problems with it.  The dye went on and took to my hair nicely, but I dyed it on Friday (and today is Monday) and already my roots are showing.  Every time I take a shower the dye washes out as if I had put fresh dye on my hair and was trying to redye it.  Because of this, my skin looks like I have a really bad sunburn and I cannot get it to come out.  Also, my clothes are covered in red where my hair touches my shirt, my pillow has turned red, my hair straightener is red, my winter coat (which I have worn only once since dying my hair) is red, and so is a (once) white headband.  My hair touches all of these things when it is dry, so the color shouldn’t be coming out but it constantly does.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can prevent this from happening anymore?

A- Hi there! We have tons of dye tutorials on our blog.You can find them by going to the blog and searching for “hair dye” or just follow this link:

Blood red is the longest lasting red, but it also bleeds for the longest, however, with care (I use this color myself) you can get at least 4-6 weeks of bright color out of it!

Follow up:

Q-That helped a little bit, thank you, but what do you suggest to get it out of everything I own?  I’ve gotten it out of my clothes, but I can’t get it out of my headband, pillow, or coat and I’m afraid of ruining my straightener along with my glasses (I only just realized there’s red on them).  I’m sorry for all the questions, but I usually use Manic Panic and got used to everything that happens when I use that.  Then I decided I wanted to make my hair look like Rihanna’s and my cousin, who I guess knows all of you guys, suggested that I try it and then told me to come to you when I expressed my problem to her.  This is by far my favorite color but I don’t know how to deal with it so it doesn’t get everywhere.

A: For metal and plastics, anything with bleach in it (scrubbing bubbles with bleach) tends to work really well. Fabrics, if you get them quickly, can be cleaned with regular detergent and some oxy clean, otherwise, bleach is the best way to go with those. Keeping a dark dye like this under control requires a bit of behavior modification. Only sleep on dark pillowcases, the constant rubbing and friction in the night is going to stain them with a dye like this (alternately, you can sleep on a towel.) For a headband, avoid light colored bands for the first week or two. BEFORE you step out of the shower, wrap your head in a dark towel (I keep one on a hook in the shower and have an unstained, light gray bathmat, so it does work!) until you’re no longer dripping. When you’re wet, avoid all things white, and just bear in mind that a color like this absolutely, positively WILL run under some circumstances. If you’re looking for little or no maintenance, only a lighter color, or permanent dye is going to get you there. Another not so fun dye fact, the more you bleach your hair, the more ANY color is going to run and the faster it will fade. This is due to damage from the bleaching process so if at all possible, only bleach new growth, never re-bleach already dyed or bleached hair! I hope that helps!

Additionally, something that must be considered with “weird hair” is that there’s absolutely, positively, NO way to get around the “trade off.” You know why Rhianna’s glasses arms aren’t red like mine and yours? Because Rhianna is a millionaire with a ridiculous glasses budget and someone following her around ensuring that the second dye gets on those glasses, they’re replaced (also, I’m not entirely sure she wears glasses, but you catch my drift.) Much in the same way that women in movies are never icky and sticky after sex, and action heroes never have to pee (I’m looking at you, Keifer Sutherland. 24 hours with nary a poop or a pee? REALLY, Sir?) in real life, things are a lot more ugly and messy.

Amalthea fun fact: 2 years ago, I couldn’t take it anymore and dyed my hair jet black. For one solid year, NOTHING I went near was stained! I used white pillowcases and blankets and towels with abandon! My shirt collars were pristine. It was sort of awesome, except that at the end of that year, I felt a bit like I’d given up on life and I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. So about a year ago, I decided to pin down what I hate the MOST about the dying process. It came down to 2 things: Ruined bathroom accoutrements and bleaching. I HATE bleaching. I’m 35 (woah!) and I can’t have fried, frizzy hair anymore, it’s just not cute, so bleaching involves ONLY doing the most recent growth and absolutely NEVER overlapping with touch ups. So, my solution? I go to a salon to get my roots bleached. That’s all they do. I leave there looking like a half bleached drown rat. Sucks for them, rules for me. Also, I am CAREFUL. I have lovely sheets on my bed, but on my side, the pillowcases are black. I have a half red, half white comforter cover. Guess which side I sleep with? My bathrobe is, you guessed it, red. I keep a spray bottle of bleach in the shower and I’m not afraid to use it. But you know what? I have RAD looking hair AND a pale grey bathmat, and that, my friends, is fun hair success.

Got any more tips for dealing with the hair dye mess? Leave ’em in the comments below.

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Ask The Attic- Quick Hair Dye Tips

We get a TON of the same questions about hairdye here at the Attic, so we thought, hey, lets just combine them into one super convenient Q&A, shall we? A: Yes, we shall!

Q: What’s the most important thing I can do to make my dye last longer?

A: We get this one the most. Number one tip? DON’T WASH YOUR HAIR EVERY DAY! Don’t do it! And, honestly, even if you don’t dye your hair? Still, don’t wash it every day. You’re stripping oils out that your hair actually LIKES having in there. When you first switch off from daily washing to, lets say, 2 times a week at MOST washing, yes, your hair is gonna look a little grungy. Give it a couple of weeks to retrain itself and you’ll be amazed at how happy it is.

Q: But, Amalthea, I work out! I sweat, I HAVE to wash it!

A: No, you don’t. Trust me, I’m not some kind of crunchy oatmeal dreads girl. When I did have dreads they were 100% synthetic. I’m not advocating stinkin’ up the joint. However, rinsing your hair in warm water after a workout, unless you worked out in a vat of molasses, WILL rinse out the sweat. I’m a huge fan of summer gardening. I know all about sweating and grossness. I use this method and it really does work.

Q: Ok, fine. You win, but when I DO wash it, what should I use?

A: Whatever you want. It’s really not going to make THAT much of a difference. Personally, I use Herbal Essences Color me happy shampoo and I use a variety of conditioners that I rotate between, including Dove Intensive therapy, whatever’s cheap in the store, and the stuff nice n’ easy uses for after you use their box dye. Thanks to my mom’s incredibly short hair, I have this in no short supply, but they do sell it separately in the store, or so says the obnoxious marketing button on each and every tube of the stuff.

Q: How long does YOUR dye last?

A: I use blood red by special effects and generally speaking, my roots are a problem before fading is. I get at least 4-6 weeks in the fall, winter, spring and 3-4 weeks in the summer because I refuse to give up swimming.

Q: Why does the crown of my hair always fade so quickly? The ends seem to last.

A: Hot water. Your hair dye HATES it when you stand in the shower under the hot water just letting it beat on the top of your head. Now, personally, I’d rather be bitten on the face by a zombie than give up hot showers so I find that the best thing to do is TURN AROUND! Let the water beat on your upper back, not your head. You’ll enjoy this just as much after awhile and voila! You’ll have a dark crown.

Q: I hear you just gutted and completely overhauled your bathroom, how can you possibly dye your hair in it?

A: Take your time, keep bleach in the shower with you, and possibly most importantly, keep a dark towel in the shower with you and wrap your hair BEFORE you step out of the shower.

So, that’s the quick tips for the day. Have any questions? Leave ’em in the comments or drop us an email and we’ll be happy to answer them for you!

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Ask The Attic – More Hair Dye Questions!

For whatever reason, all of the sudden, we’ve been getting a ton of hair dye questions from you guys! And because we like to be helpful, we’re going to answer a whole batch of them right here! How great is that, eh? It’s very great, trust us.

Q: What hair dye colors last the longest?

A: Ok, c’mon, guys, help us to help you! We’ve got the answer to that one in this entry.

Q: How often can I use Special Effects or Manic Panic hair dyes?

A: Well, this varies. The good news is that both of these dyes are incredibly gentle and are both suspended in a conditioning base. You can use them every single day if you want and you’re not going to damage your hair. The bad news is that if you do that, you’re going to live in a world of drippy looking skin and stained sheets, walls and everything else you encounter. As we’ve mentioned before, these are demi permanent dyes and they sit ON your hair, not in it, like permanent dyes do. What does that mean? Well, it means that by their very nature, these dyes are kind of a messy affair. Here in the Attic, we like to consider the mess the dues you pay to be in the awesome hair club, but some people (particularly parents) consider the mess “damaging to their homes.” So, be sane about your applications. If you follow the method we’ve posted in this entry to apply the dye in the first place, you’re really not going to have to re-apply more than once a month and your hair will look awesome (and so will your towels and sheets!)

Q: Does cold water make hair color last longer?

A: Short answer, yes. Long answer? Here.

Q: I can’t figure out which shade of hair dye to use! Help!

A: You know, that’s only barely a question, but still, we’re gonna help. For a pretty decent description of the Special Effects line, as well as a link to our customer photo gallery AND to a larger overall dye gallery, hit up Amalthea’s Attic’s Special Effects page here. You’ll find all that stuff, you’ll be able to order whatever colors you want and you can even see product ingredient lists. Have any other questions? Please send them to us! We’ll do our best to get you answers! Got some photos for our customer gallery? Send those too! We wanna see your gorgeous face!

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Ask The Attic – Cyberlox Fix

Q: My cyberlox are homemade. They’re made from mini-crin and are simply constructed: I sewed the crin onto an elastic. But the elastic snapped a week after I made them.

Is there a simple fix to this, Or is my only option of repair to unpick my stitches and re-sew the crin onto a better elastic?

-Broken Lox!

A:  One option you might try is to get yourself some thin, plastic lacing, we like Flexrace,
and use it to tie the whole thing onto a new piece of elastic, trimming away the extra bits. You could even cut up the
old elastic between each attachment, but leave it attached to the crin (don’t pick out the old stitching.) That way, you
have a perfect pre-made bend in the crin so you’d know where to tie the lacing. The lacing on the above link is thin,
flexible, and very strong, so you can just tie a couple of knots in it and it’s extremely securely fastened. If you send a
photo of the damage, we might be able to come up with some other ideas for you!

Got a question for the Attic? Leave us a comment or drop us an email and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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Ask The Attic- Swimming With Funky Hair

Q: Hi I have a question about your manic panic and special effects dye products. I know how the color fades through every wash, but I was wanting to know when summer comes around and I were to go swimming would the chlorine or whatever chemicals that are put in pools, would that make it fade quicker or even come ompletely out? I would hate to go swimming and turn someones pool Thanks!

A: Swimming in a pool will make your color fade more quickly (and you’re likely to stain whatever towel you use when you get out, so bring a dark one along with you, instead of risking your host’s towels) but you won’t turn someone’s pool green (you just don’t have enough dye in your hair to pull that one off) or come out a bleached mess.
In summer, between swimming and sun exposure, you’re going to need a touchup more often than you would during the winter, whether you use Manic Panic, Special Effects, or any other demi or semi permanent dye. One of the ways you can help your dye to stay bright is to use a colorizing shampoo. You can also take a tiny bit of the dye you use for regular coloring, and mix it with your conditioner! Let this sit in your hair before your final rinse and you’ll keep your color bright for a LOT longer.

Finally, in summer, it’s always a good idea to pack along some facial cleanser wipes if your dye is really fresh, or if you’re going to get really wet or sweaty. There’s nothing worse than having a rainbow of streaks running down your face, and those wipes can stop ’em before they even start.

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Which Dye Do You Want? Which Dye Do You Need?

When you’re hunting for a type of dye, you’ll notice a lot of different terms being tossed around, the most common being temporary, semi permanent, demi permanent, and permanent dye.

We’re all pretty familiar with permanent dye. You can get it in just about every drug and beauty supply store, and it’s simple to use. If you’re buying the box kits, you pretty much mix everything together, and follow the directions. You’re going to get color that will last, depending on the shade, for the life of your hair. Permanent dyes sit inside of the shaft of your hair and won’t wash out again when you shampoo. Now, here’s the rub, NO color, semi, demi, or fully permanent is going to stay looking EXACTLY like it did the day after dying, forever. It’s just not going to happen, so you’ll want to get that out of your head right now. The closest you’ll get to this miracle is with a jet black dye, and even then, you’re going to get oxidation, and, eventually, it’ll get lighter brown highlights if you don’t touch it up. Oxidation is what fades everything you’ve ever seen left in the sun. It’s a mild form of bleaching, and it’s unavoidable. No matter what “UV protective” shampoo you use, eventually, you’re GOING to fade out. Now, that’s ok, because eventually, you’re going to touch up your roots anyway, but it’s still going to make you crazy, particularly if you use a red shade. Reds, all reds, be they permanent or semi or demi permanent, REALLY like to fade, and they like to fade quickly. It’s the nature of the red beast. You’ll get maybe a week or two of that AMAZING shade you picked out before you start seeing the fade begin.

Day 8. Feel my wrath!

Damn you, “Permanent” dye!

Now, there are a LOT of pros to permanent dye, perhaps the best being white sheets and towels. When you use a permanent dye, you can have WHATEVER color sheets, towels and tee shirts you want! You’ll never stain collars on a hot day, or ruin towels and pillowcases with your hair, even when it’s wet. That’s a pretty powerful lure.


Don’t you love white sheets? So crisp, so clean, so, uggggg!

And, honestly, I’m not going to lie, a couple of years ago, I went crazy and dyed my hair jet black out of sheer exhaustion. I couldn’t take the maintenance anymore. I wanted to grab a random towel, not a dark one. I wanted to step out of the shower and not be worried for the bath mat. I wanted to lie on a couch with a wet head. I wanted to sweat and swim and do whatever I want outside without fears of fading and running and looking awful. So, I kept the black dye for almost 2 years. I got an edgy haircut and told myself it was just as cool. And, it really was cool looking, and low maintenance, but also, I felt like I’d given up on life. I’ve not had a “natural” hair color since I was 12, and I’ve not been 12 for a LONG time. I couldn’t do it, I had to return! Return to the land of dye. And so I did. The thing about permanent dye is that while it lasts a LONG time, and it’s super low maintenance, there’s also a limited selection of colors available to you. Revlon and L’Oreal would love to tell you there are infinite possibilities, and technically, if you’re making your own mixes, sure, that’s almost true, but you’re never going to see a truly permanent green, or blue, or Elmo red. That would be the holy grail of hair dye and whatever scientist discovers that magical formula will be the richest scientist alive. There are various stains available that are *almost* permanent that can give you those shades, but when they fade, they fade BRUTALLY and the process to get them done is often tedious and expensive.

This is where temporary, semi, and demi permanent dyes come into play. If you want to look like a cartoon, permanent is not the way to go. For rainbow colored hair, you’re going to want to go into the drippy, runny world of temporary dyes.

Rainbow hair

Her hair looks amazing, her towels? Not so much.

Before choosing a dye, ask yourself how committed you are. If you REALLY want blue hair, but for just one night? Temporary dye is your friend. You’re going to want to go with a spray, or with something like Dye Hard Gel.

Dye Hard is going to give you ridiculously bright color that’ll wash out the next day. It sits on top of the hair (imagine paint on a wall.) It’s suspended in a gel, so it’ll also style your hair, but it’s going to look like it’s got gel in it. As Jerri Blank might say, quandary.

The next step up is going to be semi or demi permanent dye. The difference between these two is the size of the dye molecule.  (Don’t be scared, this won’t get too sciencey.) Basically, semi permanent dyes have a slightly larger molecular structure than demi permanent dyes, and thus, they don’t get as deeply into the cortex of your hair. Neither of these dyes goes ALL the way in, and even demi will wash out again when you use shampoo, however a demi permanent dye is very likely going to leave a stain behind. When you use permanent dyes, the developer helps to raise the hair’s cuticle allowing the dye to penetrate, and when combined with the hydrogen peroxide, the molecules enlarge and become trapped inside the hair. With both semi and demi permanent dyes, you’re going to get a MUCH better result on pre-lightened hair. The reason for this is twofold, one, the pre-lightening process opens up the cuticle and allows the color to penetrate as deeply as possible (this is ONLY if you don’t condition first, see our tutorial for an explanation of this) and two, color shows up more brightly on a lighter background. Black or brown hair will eat up any bright color, blonde or yellow hair is a much better canvas to work on. Some dyes labeled semi permanent can often behave as demi permanent. Many colors put out by companies like Special Effects and Manic Panic leave enough of a stain that while they’re generally called “semi” permanent, for safety, it’s best to consider them demi permanents. A pale pink is absolutely going to fade out to almost nothing eventually, but a deep blue? That’s not going to disappear until you dye over it. It’ll fade, but the hair will always have a blue or green tint. That’s just the way it is. Now, much like permanent dyes have their pros, so, too, do the semis. You can get ANY color you want with semi permanent, and that color will be shockingly bright. You can mix colors without fear. Because no developer is used, there’s no awful smell (once you get past the bleaching stage) and most of these dyes are suspended in a conditioning base, so your hair will actually feel soft and smooth after putting them in. Finally, and something Glenn Close would clearly enjoy, you will not be ignored. This is attention getting hair. No doubt about it.

Now, as we discussed, the downside is basically the mess. On your hands, your tub, your towels, your sheets. So there you have it. If you’re going to look like a pretty peacock, you’re going to pay your dues. If you’re not up for that challenge, permanent might be up your alley.

There is ONE other option, and I hesitate to even mention it, but I feel that I must. And that option is:

Leave your hair alone.
Keep the color you were born with.
Go gray, then white, then die, without dying.
Many have done it before you, and many will do it after you.
This is something that you can try, but if you do, you’re a stronger man than I.

For some, that’s the way to go, but, personally, I prefer this instead.


Absolutely gorgeous.

I’m a hair dye for life kinda gal, what can I say? Eventually, I’ll give up and go permanent, but for now? I’m still riding that rainbow.

Back to the Attic

Time For A Shopping Review

In Notes From The Attic, sometimes we’ll review music videos, and sometimes we review and teach you how to utilize beauty products, on occasion we’ll even review a concert. Today, we’re starting a series of shopping reviews. But what kind of shops will be we reviewing? Well, it would be pretty unfair for it to be the usual kind of shop, being as this is Amalthea’s Attic’s sister blog, no? Yes, yes it would. So instead of a clothing store, or something else standard, we’re going to review something WE love and something we hope you’re interested in as well. We’re going to be reviewing… (drum roll please)


Tropical Pitcher

A lovely pitcher plant, waiting for its prey.

Ah, carnivorous plants. Truly, the most exciting planty house pet you can have. Unlike cats and dogs and the like, carnivorous plants are silent, never smell and work for their keep! Admittedly, I do have the loud, smelly, lazy pets too, but these plants are alwaysWe’ll be reviewing four basic types of plants in these reviews. Tropical pitchers, as shown above, American Pitchers, seen here:

a mix of both tropical and hardy sundews, such as these:

Staghorn sundews
and finally, the most famous carnivore of them all, the Venus Flytrap.

Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full

All of these plants come in varying colors, shapes, sizes and temperaments. Some are partial to baking in the hot sun, some prefer chilly chilly nights. A good supplier will ensure that you have the information you need to keep your plant happy in the same way that a good pet store will give you all the information you need to keep your pet happy.

Today’s review is going to cover a company called Sarracenia Northwest, who sell by way of Based out of Eagle Creek, Oregon, I’ve been purchasing plants from SN for a couple of years now.

Admittedly, it can be scary to purchase a plant online. Plants are inherently delicate items and my guess is that if you could ask them how they feel about being shipped cross country, they would say, “No, Sir, I don’t like it.” Thankfully, the people at SN seem to be SUPER aware of this fact.

When your plants arrive from SN, you’re going to get a box that looks like this:
Ooh! A present.

The first thing you’re going to notice is that NOTHING is moving inside of this box. If you shake it (and, you know what? don’t shake it, seriously) nothing shifts in there. SN takes their packing seriously, and somehow, they manage not to charge an arm and a leg for this fact. No matter who you purchase your plants from, if they’re packaged reasonably well, you’re going to pay more for shipping them than you do for, oh, say, a pair of socks, so prepare yourself for that. It’s a living thing, extra care needs to be taken to help it arrive safely.

Lots of peanuts

Once you get past the mountain of packing peanuts, you’ll find little space pods inside your SN box!
They come packaged safely!

I know, they’re not really space pods, but imagine you’re the plant. These are your rocket ships to another state! SN uses a series of plastic cups and a whole lot of tape to ensure that your plant travels in humid comfort until it’s at your house. You’ll notice that your plant comes with a little marker that gives the latin name of the plant, so you can look up any questions you may have later, which is always useful. I tend to stick these in the dirt next to the plant once it’s potted and use it as a reference guide if the plant isn’t growing as quickly as I’d hope.

And the packing comes off well

Potting plants is thirsty work.

To get past this stage, you’re going to need scissors or a razor blade. These things are packaged WELL. Once you’ve cut the cups off, there’s still ANOTHER layer of tape holding down the soil and you’ll want to trim all of that off before repotting.

Final Result

Ahhh, home at last!

Now, if your plant is a tropical, you’re going to want to pot this baby. Luckily, SN provides a wonderful instruction sheet with each plant that’s specific to that plant’s needs. They’re almost fanatical about plant owner education, and that’s a big plus in my book. If you are on facebook, you can friend them at snwplants. You can also follow them on twitter at snwplants. Both of these pages lead to photos, sales, educational links and everything else you could need. The site also sells video tutorial sets that can help you REALLY become an expert plant keeper. Some of the plants you’ll purchase through these sites don’t need to live in pots. If you’re going to be keeping flytraps, hardy pitchers or sundews, then they don’t even WANT to be in a pot. These plants like to have a dormancy period and they appreciate a cold winter. How cold? Well, they’re shipping them to me from Oregon, and I’m keeping them outside in NY, where, for several days this past winter, it was below 0 degrees. In spring, they WILL come back for you, and they’ll be happy they were outside.


Look how happy they are! Flytraps want to be outside, and they want to be in the sun. So, give them those two things and they’re going to be happy with you.

If there are any negatives to SN, it’s going to be an issue of selection. They definitely don’t have the biggest selection of carnivores out there. They ship extremely quickly, but things can also sell out very quickly, so if you happen to see a rare plant that you REALLY want, be sure to pick it up immediately or it will very likely be gone. So, to close this out, if you’re looking for carnivorous plants, I can safely recommend Sarracenia Northwest. The prices are fair, the shipping is fantastic and the plants are, in my experience, healthy and happy when they arrive. Oh, and a final thumbs up for SN? They, much like Amalthea’s Attic, give you reward points for each purchase! And because carnivorous plants are a lot like Doritos (you’re not going to have just ONE, stop lying to yourself) this comes in pretty handy. So give em a go at

Next review will be a newbie in the market, Predatory Plants! Keep an eye peeled. If you know of a shop you’d like us to review, or if you have one that you’d like us to take a look at, please, let us know!

Back to the Attic

Another Round Of Quick Dye Q&A!

Ok, kids, it’s time for another lightning round of Q&A. Got a Q? Let us know, we’ll get you an A!

Q: I want to swim with my dye! Help! (Similarly, how to make your dye last longer, or how to keep your dye from fading in the pool, etc.)

A: Lucky for you guys, we’ve done this already! Just go here and here!

Q: How many colors can I use at once?

A: Just ask this girl.

Hair dye

Q: Just how often can I put dye in my hair? I mean, is it bad if I keep touching it up?

A: If you’re using semi or demi permanent dye, particularly Special Effects or Manic Panic, you really can touch up your dye to your heart’s content. This DOES NOT mean you can bleach as much as you want. Once the hair is bleached, it’s done. Leave it alone. If you want to do a proper touch up, what you’ll do is wash your hair well, DO NOT condition, let it dry till it’s BONE dry and then do your touch up. When you rinse that out, you can condition if you like. I use this method and really only have to touch up once every 6 weeks or so. Don’t forget, the more you touch up, the more you risk having a bathroom that looks like this:

Messy Shower

and really, no one wants that. Particularly your mom.


Ok, so that’s our super quick Q&A for the day. Seriously, if you want to know something, just ask! If we don’t know, we’ll find out, and then you’ll know and, well, shooting star, the more you knooooow and all that.

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