It's a Hair Thing – Directions Hair Dye goes mainstream

Stroll the streets of Brighton city centre and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in an exotic, colourful jungle. Everyone's going Directions Hair Dye crazy. Boots are even selling a small range of colourful hair dyes including bright purple and magenta pink, proof that funky hair colours have gone mainstream..

The biggest hair dye revolution since punk

Here on the south coast it certainly looks like brightly-coloured hair is huge this year. In fact we haven't seen anything like it since the mid 1970s, when punks dyed their hair outlandish colours.

Way back then my friend Jane and I, broke teenagers, used Domestos to bleach our hair then dyed it blue, green, red and orange with food colouring. The results were ghastly. Our poor mums were distraught. And, of course, the 'dye' ran down your face when it rained. Not a good look.

Luckily today it's a whole lot easier to transform your hair into a vivid, beautiful shade. It's as cheap as chips. And everybody's doing it. There's a middle aged lady in our local Co-Op who's dyed her blonde hair a gorgeous pale turquoise-green, beautifully cut and shiny. Some of our models are hooked on Directions, as the photos show. And our Michaela, below, is an expert. She's been dying her hair colourfully for years.

Using Directions hair dye for different looks

Observing what's going on in Brighton, here are some tips for using Directions hair colour to its best effect.
  • Some people are dying pre-lightened streaks in gorgeous shades: dark purple and pale violet, bright and subtle greens, all sorts of reds, baby blue, palest pink...
  • Some people are having the ends of their hair coloured in fabulous contrast to the rest, or framing their face by just tinting the tips of their fringe
  • Others are going the whole hog, dying the lot, which can be equally dramatic because the colour looks brighter and stronger on paler, sun-lightened areas than the darker hair underneath for an attractive toned look

About Directions hair colour

Directions is made by La Riche, who are based in Shoeburyness, Essex. It's incredibly easy to use and comes in more than 30 stunning colours. Here are some helpful facts and tips about how to use it.
  • If you want to test drive a colour first, dye a small, unobtrusive piece of hair that you can snip off if you decide not to go ahead
  • Shampoo your hair with a gentle shampoo – no conditioner – then towel it dry. Then smear petroleum jelly around your hairline and ears to stop them ending up the same colour as your hair
  • Put the dye in a plastic (not metal) bowl. Wearing plastic gloves, apply it evenly with a tint brush, using enough to saturate your hair but not so much that it runs. Then comb it through. Try to keep it off your scalp if you can – it'll stain your skin, although the stain washes out quickly
  • Leave the dye to develop for 15-30 minutes, depending on how strong you want the colour to be and how long you want it to last - everyone's hair is different. Then rinse your hair, shampoo and condition

You can use conditioner as a barrier if you like, applying it to the parts of your hair you don't want dyed. When you rinse your hair the dye will wash off the conditioned areas, leaving the hair underneath its natural colour.

Clarifying shampoos are designed to strip off the build-up of products on hair. If you use a lot of sprays, anti-friz stuff, gels, oils and conditioners, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and the dye will stick to your hair better. Just remember to use a really good conditioner afterwards.

Feeling creative? It's perfectly possible to mix your own colour, blending two or more Directions colours for a unique shade.

As a rule, the colour you get is stronger and lasts longer on bleached hair. And the longer you leave it on, the stronger the effect. You can actually leave Directions on your hair for hours and it won't do any harm. Some people leave it on overnight, wearing a plastic hood to keep it off the bedding.

If you use a hairdryer on your hair before washing the dye off, it can also help strengthen the colour.

On the off chance you're tempted to do something really off-the-wall, bear in mind Directions isn't suitable for eyelashes and eyebrows!

If you want to maintain that freshly-coloured look, add some Directions to your conditioner every time you wash your hair – it delivers a great little refresh.

Going on holiday somewhere hot? The dye tends to fade faster in the sun. And if you go to a swimming pool beware – with Directions – or many other hair dyes for that matter – on board, the chlorine can sometimes turn your hair a very odd colour.

What if you hate the effect and daren't leave the house? Not a problem. The more often you wash your hair, the faster the dye fades. If you rinse your hair in hot water it'll help the fading process, as will direct sunlight, a clarifying shampoo, anti-dandruff shampoo, or even – oddly – diet Coke... and it has to be the diet version. You can also use a colour stripper if it's an emergency, but it's a bit harsh.

Directions colour on my un-bleached hair fades in two weeks if I wash it every other day, and the bleached streaks stay colourful for twice as long. But as we said, everyone's hair is different.

Check out our Directions hair dye collection

Here's a link to our Directions collection. Enjoy!