Manic or Punky, any reviews?
June 11, 2005 11:40 PM   Subscribe

I am going to be dyeing some sections of my hair some wild and funky colour. I have done this before, (blue, pink, purple) using Jerome Russell's "Punky Color" product. Recently, a new product has become available in my town, "Manic Panic." Does anyone have any experience with Manic Panic? With both? Which would you recommend? Please don't suggest any other dye brand, these are the only two I have access to. While you're at it, any tips on dyeing hair unnatural colours? I do plan on bleaching first.
posted by arcticwoman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My wife's family sold beauty products for many years, and the Manic Panic colors were very hot sellers among the urban hipster & punkrocker crowd. I know people were very happy with the stuff, and it came in a wide variety of shades. I used to use Cherry Bomb on special occasions.
posted by luriete at 11:57 PM on June 11, 2005

I used to use Manic Panic dyes all the time. They're good and easy to use, and fade out less (at least in my hair) than the other candy color dyes. If you do one of the darker dyes, I used to have pretty good luck with my very dark hair without bleaching.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:00 AM on June 12, 2005

Hmm... last time I dyed my hair (several years ago) I used a Manic Panic dye (dark cranberry red, IIRC), and it faded within a week. But that was the only experience I had with it; maybe I got a bad batch.
posted by the_W at 12:14 AM on June 12, 2005

I haven't heard good things about Manic Panic's longevity either, but never actually used it myself.
posted by Ugh at 12:25 AM on June 12, 2005

In my experience, Manic Panic and Punky Color are functionally equivalent.
posted by box at 12:40 AM on June 12, 2005

My experience (a bright blue) was mostly negative--like the_W, my hair faded into a rather ugly color within just a few washes...
posted by hototogisu at 1:20 AM on June 12, 2005

If your hair is any shade darker than a very light blonde, you'll need to bleach it before you dye it in order for the color to fully show up and last more than a few shampoos. My hair is dark blonde/light brown, and when I dyed my hair blue a few years ago, I ended up with a lovely shade of green. (Yellow and blue make green...) You can usually find good bleaching kits at the same place you buy Manic Panic dyes.
posted by rhiannon at 1:40 AM on June 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

You might as well use kool-aid.
posted by angry modem at 3:00 AM on June 12, 2005

Don't use koolaid unless you are SURE you want permanent.
posted by konolia at 5:10 AM on June 12, 2005

A lil' bit of history for ya:

Manic Panic is a store in NYC which was founded by Tish and Snooky Bellomo of the 70's era punk band, The Sic F*cks. Their store is considered as much a part of Bohemia as other punk boutiques like Trash & Vaudeville, Relegious Sex, and Search & Destory.

Compared to other methods of dying hair in pastel or vibrant colors, Manic Panic's said to be less abrasive to hair follicles.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:22 AM on June 12, 2005

holy motha.. a new product? you make me feel so old! "manic panic" is like the epitome of 10th grade for me.

they're basically the same, vegetable dye. they last a bit longer if you bleach heavily first, but will fade fairly quickly.
posted by mdn at 5:33 AM on June 12, 2005

Back in highschool I used to use manic panic - I'd leave it in overnight and it'd last a good month - then it'd fade to some really nasty colors - I loved it
posted by soplerfo at 6:28 AM on June 12, 2005

I used Manic Panic for a few years several years ago. I had to bleach my hair first because my hair is naturally dark, but after bleaching the Manic Panic really took to my hair and lasted a long time. I had friends who did not have as good luck with it as I did, however. It seems to really depend on your hair and how receptive to dye your hair is. Often for them, it seemed the red dye would fade to pink, so be prepared for that possibility.

I had bright green Manic Panic-dyed hair at one point, and needed to remove the color as I was going to be in a wedding. I was able to fully remove the color without a problem using a commercial product that removes dyed color.
posted by veronitron at 6:48 AM on June 12, 2005

Okay, I know you said not to recommend any other dye brands, but both Clariol and Garnier are available in most any grocery and/or drug store and when I wanted permanent "funky" colours they really lasted. Okay, it's a more subdued funky, but you can get a great purple (Clariol Men's #74, Purple Haze) or blue (Garnier 210 Blue Black) or any number of ridiculously bright reds in either brand. I dyed my whole head purple in high school for about six months and while it fried me a little, it wasn't nearly as bad as I've seen with other brands under shorter uses.

That said, it's staggering to me that Manic Panic is a "new" brand to you. I moved around a lot all through middle school and high school and that's what most punky kids used, and they seemed perfectly happy with it. It does fade eventually to some craptastic shades, but that might be what you want!
posted by nelleish at 6:51 AM on June 12, 2005

Response by poster: It's not really a "new" product to me, I have definitely heard of it before. It's just that it's "newly" available in my small Southern Alberta town.

I know that any of the colours eventually fade to some or other nastiness, but I'm OK with that. I'm only dyeing certain sections of my hair, so I imagine a pot of dye will last me a few "touch-ups."

Thanks for the tip about not bleachiing - that would certainly be easier on the hair. Unfortunately my hair is quite dark and I don't really want to risk getting a) some wierd colour, or b) nothing at all.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:28 AM on June 12, 2005

If you mix a bit of the dye in with your conditioner and rinse with it about twice a week it will fade less. That's what I used to do to stop the manic panic from fading. It worked pretty well.
posted by LunaticFringe at 7:30 AM on June 12, 2005

Yeah, follow our 10th grade routine:

1. Smoke big joint.
2. Bleach hair until scalp bleeds and steams. (Seriously.)
3. Use toner to correct towards white. (Yellow/orange color = bad for accurate color.)
4. Apply manic panic with pastry brush or hands.
5. Take one tab acid, leave dye in all night.
6. Wake up the next afternoon, throw away ruined pillowcases, wash hair, contemplate rehab.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:31 AM on June 12, 2005 [5 favorites]

Manic Panic, for me, has ruined many a white shirts for me. But that's just me.
posted by itchie at 7:51 AM on June 12, 2005

i used to bleach/dye my hair on a regular basis using both products mentioned. I like punky colors more, as it had less of a watery consistancy. Both products are basically the same though. I spend the good part of ages 17-21 doing this.
posted by puke & cry at 8:02 AM on June 12, 2005

I've always found that Manic Panic washes out relatively quickly. My hair is rather light, however, so I don't bleach - I usually go for really rich reds and blues, which work fine with light brown/dirty blonde hair. Again, while you said "no other brands", I've found that Special Effects lasts longest. [And hey, remember that you have access to pretty much anything over the internet.] Smart Dalek says that Manic Panic is less abrasive to hair follicles, but that doesn't really matter if you'll be bleaching - the whole point of bleaching is to damage hair.

I find that leaving the dye in overnight usually helps a lot with dye longetivity. Keeping the dye wet as long as possible seems to help too - I often bundle bits of my hair in tinfoil and sleep on it, and generally that results in a longer-lasting job as well. Any of the major brands [Punky Colors, Manic Panic, Special Effects] will fade eventually, of course, but they are rather accurately marketed as "semi-permanent". If you have longer hair, using a brush-type thing to help get the dye into your hair will really help make the dye job more even.
posted by ubersturm at 8:26 AM on June 12, 2005

I used Manic Panic awhile back and it didn't have any of the staying power of Punky Colors. Just watch out for where the dye goes when you're rinsing it out. Here's my hair-dying tale...
posted by Moondoggie at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2005

i used to use manic panic pillarbox red in high school. what a mess. make sure you use gloves to apply the goo, as the vegetable dye stains your skin upon contact, and remains for a long time. the dye is also really runny, and once it comes in contact with wood or painted surfaces, it basically bonds for life. so cover everything. and keep a wet towel close at hand in case you spatter anywhere.

also, once the color is in, and applied, manic panic does indeed run when wet (and dry), and your pillow will eventually absorb the color as well as your clothes (especially collars and shoulders and hoods)...and if your hair gets wet like swimming or in the rain, it will also streak out. shampoo is its enemy, and everytime you shampoo, the water will run with the color from your hair, as the vegetable dye is hardly permanent at all. you will have to keep it up once a week.

What i suggest is that you don't experiment at home by yourself. Really try to resist the urge. Especially if you decide to bleach your hair first, which really damages it, and is extremely difficult to get even. If you think applying manic panic in streaks to your hair is hard, wait until you try to bleach it: you will most likely end up with white roots and ribbon-yellow ends. honey, i'm not even going to give you advice about bleaching it, because that is a whole other thread in itself...(and no, you can't just use a blond hair color over your natural must bleach it first to strip the color).

learning from my mistakes, i urge you to find a salon that is willing to do the process for you instead. AVEDA makes a full spectrum of amazing, wonderful 'unnatural' colors (like pink, turquoise, askme green)...just like manic panic...and offers them to salons exclusively. The Aveda dyes also are permanent, so they last much much longer than manic panic/cool aid/gauche, and won't run everytime you get your hair wet or ruin all your clothes.
posted by naxosaxur at 8:43 AM on June 12, 2005

I dyed my hair pretty wildly red for a couple years. When I decided to go back to my natural color, it required bleaching everything, dying it to something approximating my natural color, then waiting for it to grow out. During that process, my stylist explained that bleach removes the proteins that dye would normally bond to, explaining why the color fades so rapidly--there's nothing left for the dye to stick to, so it just rinses out.

Following that logic, while the dye might not be as bright on top of your natural hair color, the color that you get should last longer than if you bleached first.
posted by katieinshoes at 9:13 AM on June 12, 2005

I have used both Manic Panic and Punky Colors for about ten years or so.

For every colour except reds, Punky Colors is more vibrant, fades better, and lasts longer. At least, in my hair.
posted by Jairus at 9:27 AM on June 12, 2005

I agree with Jairus. Manic Panic isn't as vibrant and they don't seem to have the selection that Punky Colors has, (or maybe that's just the stores around here.)

I bleach & color my own hair- haircuts are already $60- I'm not spending another $100 for a bleach and dye job I can do myself.

My hair stylist is into a brand called Special Effects. It looks great in her hair, but on websites it hasn't looked as vibrant. Everyone in her shop has really vibrantly colored hair, but mostly they're extensions.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:30 AM on June 12, 2005

I've used a large variety of dyes, and, especially with reds and the likes, the trick is to watch what shampoo you're watching, because shampoos can really easily strip out the colour — especially anti-dandruff shampoo.

If you really want the colour to last and have someone helping you, get a cupful of vinegar and pour it over your hair after you've finished dying it but before you rinse it. Works fantastically, but it's really difficult to do by yourself.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:28 PM on June 12, 2005

My friend has dyed her hair a few crazy colors with both Punky Color and Manic Panic. Her natural color is dark brown. With the following procedure, the color only fades a little bit, and only really starts looking ugly after her roots grow in (so she has to redye anyway).
1. Bleach your hair
2. Bleach it again
3. One more time for good measure. Hair should look and feel like straw.
4. Apply color, being very careful to get it all over the bathroom so your friends think you killed someone.
5. *THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP*Wrap your hair in a plastic grocery bag, and use a blow-drier to keep your hair really really hot. Do this for at least half an hour, or as long as you can stand it.
6. Wash out, etc. Putting a bit of dye in your conditioner will help, but that's impractical if you have streaks, etc.
posted by muddgirl at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

I've had best results with Special Effects' "Fishbowl". Awesome fucking shade, lasts a really long time. But yeah, bleach first. Here's a comprehensive how-to.
posted by Tlogmer at 1:09 PM on June 12, 2005

my stylist explained that bleach removes the proteins that dye would normally bond to, explaining why the color fades so rapidly

hm, opposite of my experience - faded less the worse your hair was bleached to start with. If you don't bleach it well, it rinses easily; if you do a proper job of killing your hair first, (and like someone said above, vinegaring it afterward) it stays at least long enough so that it starts looking bad from roots getting too long, not just because the color turns greyish.
it fades, but if you don't bleach properly it practically washes out - IME.
posted by mdn at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2005

Manic Panic will run like a little girl if you sweat. I have seen many a tie-dyed raver who had their MP drip down their faces, chests, backs, etc.

It's not at all a permanent dye, it's not supposed to be. If you want a funky color that sticks around, you're better off having a professional do it. MP is fun stuff for a night or two, but after that it's going to start fading into pastel shades.
posted by dejah420 at 6:38 PM on June 12, 2005

I third Punky Colors over Manic Panic. I've used both, and PC was a superior product.

You didn't mention which color you are going to use. In my experience, extreme bleaching was only necessary for blue colors. (My hair is medium brown, and it required FOUR bleach applications to get it light enough for the color to be blue and not green.) Use a toner/drabber to remove the gold/brassy tones.

Don't wash your hair very often. Once a week, in fact. Yeah, sounds gross, but the shampoo will wash out the color faster. Besides, if you've bleached your hair, a little extra grease will be good for it. Just gently but thoroughly brush your hair every day to distribute the oils.
posted by luneray at 7:42 PM on June 12, 2005

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the advice. I think I have settled on a really deep red. Salon jobs are not an option, I don't have that kind of money. Ordering products over the internet are not an option either, I need it done by Thursday. My hair takes to dye REALLY well, one bleach and PC turns out really vibrant.

From the sounds of it, people seem pretty divided on MP vs PC, so I think I'll just pick the brand that has the colour I like most.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:47 PM on June 12, 2005

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