Olive Drab hair?
August 4, 2010 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I want to dye my hair olive drab.

I want green hair, but all the green dyes out there are bright, bright, bright, and I want something more mossy and subdued. Seems to me this should be a simple manner of mixing an appropriate Manic Panic or suchlike with some regular brownish hair dye... but what kind? Is there anywhere online where they throw liability to the wind and give information about what brands and types of hair color product mix well with what others? Or whether I could use one product and then another to get the color I want?

I'm open to using anything I can get at Sally Beauty or online. My hair is currently bleached to platinum, naturally medium brown. It's short enough that I'm willing to take some risks with it.
posted by bink to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Goldwell Elumen, yo. I've heard awesome things about it - they have a range of super-pure "crayon" colors (in addition to normal ones), and their entire line can be combined, lightened, darkened, etc. Very cool stuff (that I only wish I had the wherewithal to experiment with!).
posted by julthumbscrew at 5:38 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I'd avoid mixing MP with normal dye - mixing vegetable-based, deposit-only color with typical peroxide/ammonia color probably won't turn your hair to straw, but the color would likely be more of a slightly green-tinged mud. Not a good look, Muriel.
posted by julthumbscrew at 5:40 PM on August 4, 2010

Best answer: Have you checked out Special Effects? I mix Virgin Rose and Blue Velvet to get a particular magenta/purple (which, it's vegetable based, deposit only dye, so . .it lasts as long as it lasts).

You could try mixing SE Iguana with SE Blood Red. With SE, at least it's semi permanent.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:48 PM on August 4, 2010

You can check the tags or submit a question at Mad Rad Hair on LJ... they're good with weirder stuff but sometimes don't respond promptly.
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 5:56 PM on August 4, 2010

Special Effects is great. I recommend this page because you can see lots of user results photos. I think Sonic Green with maybe a little brown could work.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:22 PM on August 4, 2010

Best answer: Second mixing different Special Effects colors. They mix well and (fairly) predictably, though I've never made olive drab. (But now I'm curious!) I'd probably use Iguana and/or Sonic Green with a smaller amount of Blood Red and/or Napalm Orange. Possibly I'd go for the Sonic Green over the Iguana, or add a bit of one of the blue shades; bluer tints tend to fade to a somewhat mossy-looking green anyway, and that would work well with the effect you're looking for. I would avoid mixing semi-permanents like Special Effects or Manic Panic with regular brown hairdye; the latter may contain additional bleaching compounds or other chemicals that may not play well with the semi-permanent stuff.

(For the future, you may be interested in trying to dye your hair without bleaching. Depending on how dark your hair is, Special Effects dyes result in deeper, less bright and crayon-looking colors that way.)
posted by ubersturm at 6:40 PM on August 4, 2010

Response by poster: Hm. Looks like mixing Special Effects is the way to go. I'll post a followup after I've tried it.
Thank you guys!
posted by bink at 6:51 PM on August 4, 2010

FYI, i had a my hair dyed a bright green (over dark brown hair that had been bleached), and it turned olive drab within, oh, three washes. Green fades FAST. And that was with professional products. So if you can't get it quite right with Special Effects, consider just using one of the brights and washing your hair a bunch of times right after.
posted by Kololo at 7:34 PM on August 4, 2010

Special Effects FTW! I'm a Blue Mayhem girl, myself. Protip: Scrubbing Bubbles (the kind in the aerosol can) is aces at getting dye off your sink, shower, etc.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:27 PM on August 4, 2010

I've only used La Riche Directions, but I know you can mix colours easily. They may also have an olive drab in the range.

I've used it as a 'toner' over chemically dyed red hair and I wonder if a green over light brown would work?
posted by mippy at 7:12 AM on August 5, 2010

From a (recently) former professional hairstylist:

If your hair is naturally brown, and it is currently bleached, simple attempts to put it back to a light/medium brown (putting on a L/M brown shade) should give you that "lovely" color that you are attempting to have, and the color that all professional hairstylists work to avoid happening when returning bleached hair back to normal, regular brown.

Not that you seem too worried about it, but remember that, most likely, you run the risk of looking as though you have the tried-making-your-hair-brown-but-it-turned-out-to-be-this- pukey-green-instead look. Out-of-the-ordinary haircolors can be perfectly smashing as long as one has the attitude and the rest of the "look" that needs to go with the risky colors.

But, like I said, that's coming from someone who spent years making sure that "olive green" hair never happened! :)
posted by foxhat10 at 1:34 PM on August 5, 2010

Out of the ordinary hair colors can be perfectly smashing as long as one has the attitude and the rest of the "look"

Meaning, you say your hair is short, I think as long as it is a pretty trendy or "hip" short style, like a pixie or something, then it's easier to pull this off. I personally don't think olive drab, like for instance, on a short precision cut bob would look good.
posted by foxhat10 at 1:40 PM on August 5, 2010

Response by poster: Hm. I once went from platinum to what I thought would be medium brown, using a temporary dye (I wanted to go as a brunette for Halloween) and it turned a bright turquoisey teal. If it'd turned olive drab, I would love that!

I ended up using Special Effects, mixing Iguana Green, Sonic Green, and Blood Red. I was too cautious with the red, though, and cavalier with the mixing, so it just looks kind of unevenly greenish. I will do it differently next time. I was thinking of the way food coloring works, where a tiny dab of red overpowers everything. This was not the case with the SE colors.

Thanks for the help, everyone.
posted by bink at 11:13 AM on September 13, 2010

Response by poster: A followup. The platinum mostly grew out, so I had medium brown hair with green tips.

I bleached it a little bit. 30-volume developer, Kaleidocolors purple (it's what I had), left it in for 15 or 20 minutes. My idea was to damage the cuticle and lift the color a little bit but to leave it basically brown.

Rinsed out the bleach. Hair was an odd reddish brownish coppery color. Towel dried.

Mixed Iguana Green and Blood Red, about a 5:1 ratio. Applied to hair, which was still damp. My hair turned a sort of foamy lavender, which settled down to a dark brown color. Waited 20 minutes. Rinsed it out and... the tips were bright green, and the sides were a coppery red, a little darker than before. Dammit!

So I decided I needed to wait for my hair to completely dry, and to be sure all the bleach was out. I shampooed (a lot of green came out in the water), waited, then mixed up another batch, again about a 5:1 ratio. Waited 20 minutes and... the tips are now: a dark blue, almost black. The sides are dark reddish brown. I imagine if I shampoo it again the tips will lose some of their blueness, but basically it looks like I used Sonic Green instead of Iguana Green. (I didn't! I checked more than once!)

I have no idea why this happened. I think my next move will either to be to go over it again with straight green, or to bleach the hell out of it and start over. In any case, green plus red apparently equals dark blue.

TL; DR: It didn't work. Don't try this at home.
posted by bink at 7:27 PM on September 26, 2010

Response by poster: Addendum: when I rinsed out the bleach in step 2 above, the tips were bright green.
posted by bink at 7:48 PM on September 26, 2010

Response by poster: Yet another addendum:

Here's what I've settled on for now: bleach, then Special Effects green, then whatever ash brown ordinary hair dye is cheap at the drugstore. It's a bit darker than I like, but it's not too bright so I'll go with it.

I wish the Special Effects would stick on my natural brown hair, but it doesn't, so I have to go this three-step route.
posted by bink at 4:56 PM on December 20, 2010

Response by poster: One more bit for the history books. I found a product from Redken, a professional thing from their Hi-Fusion line, which seems to be the least bright green out there. It's supposed to be used as a mix-in to tone down reddish colors, but used by itself it winds up being a pleasant dark green color. A bit darker than ideal, but I'm going to play around with different developers.
posted by bink at 8:06 PM on April 24, 2011

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