Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Typically, hair dye consists of two parts — a creme developer and a color packet. The developer bonds with the pigments in the color packet, making the hair dye permanent. Developer is available in both permanent and semi-permanent options and can be mixed with bleach to lighten hair. Permanent developer is often described as being a certain volume, typically between 20 and 60. The higher the volume, the brighter the results. If you wish to lighten hair dye further, you can mix the color packet with a combination of bleach and 20 Volume creme developer.

Pour about one teaspoon of developer, one teaspoon of bleach and one teaspoon of the color packet of the red hair dye into a non-metal bowl. Use a plastic bowl you do not mind throwing away, because the dye will likely stain it.

Cut a small lock of hair and set it on a piece of plastic wrap. Mix the dye using a hair dye brush and apply it to the strand. Wait 15 to 30 minutes to test the color of the hair dye. If the strand turns the appropriate shade of red, proceed. If the strand turns orange or you do not like the color, do not proceed with dyeing your hair. Instead, bleach your hair using the bleach and 20 volume developer and dye your hair red at a later date.

Pour the 20 volume bleach into a non-metal bowl. Read the directions on the back of the bleach bottle to determine how much bleach you should use. Typically, you want to use 2 to 3 tablespoons of bleach. However, if you have very long hair you may wish to use 3 to 4 tablespoons of bleach. If you use too much or too little bleach, the hair dye may be too thick or thin, and you will have trouble combing it through your hair.

Pour the creme developer into the non-metal bowl that contains the bleach. Read the directions on the back of the creme developer bottle to determine how much cream developer you should add. Typically, you want to use 2 to 3 tablespoons of creme developer. However, if you have very long hair you may wish to use 3 to 4 tablespoons.

Open your box of hair dye. Open the bottle or packet that contains the red hair coloring and pour it into the non-metal bowl. If your hair dye comes with a developer, set it aside to use at a later date. You do not need any additional developer since you have already mixed 20 volume developer with the bleach.

Mix the hair dye together using a non-metal mixer, such as a wooden spoon, or a hair dye application brush.

Apply petroleum jelly or lotion to your ears and hairline. This protects your skin from the bleach and hair dye.

Apply the hair dye to your hair, starting at the tips. Dip the hair dye application brush into the bowl and brush it against the tips of your hair. If you do not have a brush, put on latex or plastic gloves and apply the dye with your fingers. Comb the dye through your hair until it is evenly distributed. Do not apply dye to the roots, as the roots dye faster than the ends of hair.

Leave the dye on your hair for 15 to 30 minutes and then apply dye to the roots. Leave the dye on your hair for about 5 to 10 more minutes and then wash the dye out of your hair with warm water. Do not use shampoo as this may wash out the hair dye.


Typically, the longer you leave red hair dye on your head, the redder your hair will be.

Drape a towel over your shoulders to avoid staining clothes

Wait two to three days before washing your hair with shampoo.


Do not mix bleach with plant based hair dyes, such as Special Effects and Manic Panic.

Though often successful, this method is not foolproof. The only sure method of lightening and then dyeing your hair is to first bleach your hair and then apply the dye later on.

About the Author

Breann Kanobi

Breann Kanobi has worked as freelance writer since 2010. Kanobi regularly submits content online to Gamer DNA. Kanobi received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television from New York University in 2010.