Lean, Green, Dyeing Machine

So I don’t know if you realized this, but I have turquoise hair.


Getting to rock super bright hair has honestly been one of the best unexpected perks of my job with Yelp. I mean, maybe it’s just because I’m a huge attention whore, but I really do think that having fun hair has really made me more, well, me. But, of course, as anyone who’s ever dyed their hair any color knows, dyeing is not forever. Color needs to be maintained. If it ain’t the fading that gets ya, it’s these dang Whasian roots.

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And while I have an absolutely amazing hair guru and colorist — Linh with Be Scene Studios — and I love my trips to the salon, my hair both fades and grows too quickly to be able to have him take care of my locks 100% of the time. So, for the sake of my pocketbook and the mileage on my car, I decided it was time to take things into my own hands.

I’ve actually touched up my own roots before, and since I successfully managed not to burn all my hair off last time, this time I decided to document it so that I’d have an excuse to take a lot of selfies you can see what the process is like! I should probably note that this really doesn’t replace my necessity to go have Linh work his magic on me, primarily because I can’t see the back of my head so it’s probably still a root-y trainwreck back there. But it does lengthen the amount of time I can go between visits, so it’s definitely still worth it to me!

First up, let’s take a look at my toolkit:

I’ve got some L’oreal Quick Blue Bleach Powder, Ion Sensitive Scalp 20 Volume Developer, a mixing bowl, some color brushes, combs, duck bill clips, a hair cape, and, of course, some rubber gloves. I personally got everything off of Amazon but if you have a Sally’s Beauty Supply store near you, that’s also a great solution (especially if you don’t want to buy an entire bucket of bleach powder, haha.)

Then comes the prep:

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I parted my hair into five sections (front right, front left, back right, back left, and bangs) and prepped the bleach. I use one scoop of power with around two ounces of developer. You can use a food scale or actual measuring cup if you want, but I just kinda eyeballed it using the measurement markers on the inside of my mixing cup, until the mixture had a frosting-like consistency.

I wasn’t too concerned about the ratio of developer to powder because Linh blasts my hair with 40 volume developer in the salon, so I already knew that 20 volume is like, nothing, in comparison. This also meant it took longer to lift my color, and it didn’t get quite as light as it does with Linh, but hey, better safe than hairless! Plus, as I’ve already said, this process isn’t meant to completely replace my regular salon sessions, just to help bridge the gap between them.

Anyway, from there, it was just about moving through each section, using the end of the brush to left my hair line by line and apply the bleach. Then I waited through exactly one episode of Scrubs and one episode of Switched at Birth (those are very precise time measurements, clearly), and when my roots seemed like they had lifted enough, I washed out the bleach with shampoo — no conditioner! — and let my hair dry… for as long as I could (I’m very impatient.)

Then, it was Manic Panic time! Since I already owned canisters of all my previous hair colors for past touch-ups (I combine a bit of color with conditioner and keep it in the shower so I can refresh my color), I thought about attempting some kind of crazy awesome rainbow hair… but then I realized that if I can’t even properly bleach the roots on the back of my head, how in the hell am I gonna balayage myself myself some rainbow hair?! So instead of using all five colors, I limited myself to doing a dip-dye look with just two.

So I couldn’t exactly take photos of me actively applying the bleach and color (for obvious reasons), but here are some truly beautiful photos of the process, just for you:

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Aaaanyway, after letting the new color sit in my hair through an episode of The Fosters and several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta (I basically let it dry into my hair), I took another shower and… went to bed. It was late by then, y’all!

And when I woke up the next morning, I looked like this:

Well, after some makeup application and a bit of PhotoMirror magic, that is. 😉

So there you have it! For those of you who don’t know, Manic Panic is a vegan, semi-permanent dye, which means it doesn’t damage my hair to use it (unlike bleaching, which is obviously awful for it, haha) AND it can go on top of itself (which is why I was able to do the green dip-dye even with turquoise hair underneath.) But it also means that it rinses it out a little bit every time I wash my hair. So, as I’ve discussed in a previous post, there are certain steps I take to maintain my color as well as keep my hair as healthy as possible. These include:

  • Washing my hair as infrequently as I can stand it (dry shampoo is my BBBFF)
  • Rinsing my hair in cold water only
  • Conditioning from root to tip
  • Refreshing my color with dye-infused conditioner every now and then
  • Stop touching it so much (still working on this one — it’s just sooooo preeeetttyyyy!)

Any questions? I love talking about my hair and pretending like I know what I’m talking about so fire away!


  1. I love the colour on you but wouldn’t do it to my hair, I’m not brave enough and I think my hairdresser would throw a fit, which is one of the ‘trials’ of having a friend who you’ve known since you were 15 do your hair! I do have a semi permanent colour on my hair though and I’ve found that putting L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil on my hair before I wash it helps keep the colour on my head not down the sink, it might be worth trying!

  2. It’s so pretty! I’m jealous! Seriously jealous! <3

  3. katiesays:

    whoa, awesome look!!

  4. Caitlynsays:

    Every time I see a picture of you I think about dyeing my hair… and then remember that my job would never in a million years be okay with that. Arg, guess I’ll have to keep living vicariously through you 🙂

  5. amanda junesays:

    My question isn’t about the color but the style. Your curls are gorg! Is your hair naturally really thick? How do you style it?

    • I will second this comment. I love the curls. Do you do something to your wet hair to get it to look like this in the morning?

      • I actually just sleep with it in a bun on top of my head and it gets curly that way. Then I just do some twisting and brushing out with my fingers to get it to do what I want! It doesn’t really stay like that without some product help, but it last long enough for pics at least hahaha

    • Thank you! My hair’s not very thick, actually, but since I started bleaching it I’ve found it does hold curl and shape much better than it used to. My hair in the final photo above is just from sleeping with my hair in a bun and then using my fingers to loosen the waves and twist them in the morning.

  6. Samsays:

    ah so gorgeous!! I experimented with turquoise Manic Panic way back in high school, but my mom wouldn’t let me bleach it so it looked pretty terrible haha. I would love to know the secret to those curls!

  7. So I am a teacher and could not do colored hair during a school year because it is considered a “distraction” per contract, but I would love to do a purple color underneath for the summer. Any ideas on how I could achieve this? Gorgeous with the two colors BTWs.

    • You can absolutely do a color underneath! Your hair stylist would just portion off the underlayer of your hair to dye. I’ve seen awesome-looking examples of this in the past, I think you should go for it!

  8. Jensays:

    Which dry shampoo do you use? I’m looking for ones that don’t make me look like I have dandruff afterwards!


  10. Lisasays:

    Love it! What does your boyfriend think?

  11. I absolutely love your hair with this color combo!! I am in no way brave enough to do my hair in bright colors, but lately I’ve been thinking of adding a pink or blue streak…

  12. Lucysays:

    Hi Gretchen! Love all your hair colors!!! I’ve seen your reviews on Yelp and noticed that you visited DRock salon although you’re normally loyal to BeScene. How do you feel the two compare? I have an appointment with DRock soon so I would love your opinion on whether DRock does a decent job of bleaching/highlighting your hair evenly while minimizing damage. Any tips/warnings?

    • Hi Lucy! I had a great experience at D Rock! They used Olaplex when bleaching my hair which helped keep it silky soft and undamaged even when bleaching. They also did a great job on my cut, I’m just really loyal to BeScene so while I’m glad I tried out D Rock (and would definitely go back for my next cut!) I felt guilty letting anyone else do my color, hahahaha. Hope you have a great experience at D Rock tomorrow!

      • Lucysays:

        Phew- that makes me feel better! Thanks for your quick response and for keeping your reviews honest! 🙂

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