Love these dyes. I've been dying my hair bright colours for about 10 years now and have used most brands. This is by far the best. The colours are so pigmented and last for ages in your hair. The only thing is it is quite pricey (about the same as Manic Panic though) but totally worth it.
I have been experimenting with bright hair colours for 3 years now, I first tried la riche directions plum over my pre-lightened/ bleached blonde colour. I was thrilled with the results initially but after the first wash the colour started to fade and turn a dull brown colour as oppose to the vibrant purple I had wanted. After this I stripped the purple hair colour from my hair and decided to go for an apple green colour, again from la riche directions. It looked pretty to begin with though not as vibrant as I had hoped but faded even quicker than the purple colour, fading in a matter of just 2 washes. This is what lead me to try special effects, I had heard from a friend that it was the best hair dye around though a little pricey as it is an American product and I live in the UK. At first glance the product looks more attractive than any other hair dyes I have used. There is also more of the product than most other bright hair colours. It only took 15 minutes to develop and was the most vibrant colour I have ever used! It fully conditioned my hair making it incredibly easy to get a comb through and leaving it with a dazzling shine. It is the most long lasting semi permanent hair colour I have ever used and just seems to cling to the hair, I have absolutely no complaints about this product apart from the price. To keep the hair colour as vibrant as it can be I used to dye my hair green using this product every 1-2 months and it cost me £12 each time on amazon which is not unaffordable but not as reasonably priced as some other hair dyes.
**Note: Some wording here is the same as in my other hair dye reviews because the information is just as relevant for this hair dye as those. There is specific information about Special Effects hair dye below.**
I've tried four brands of bright hair dye, each several times over the last decade, and would place them thus:
Effectiveness: 1) Special Effects 2) La Riche Directions 3) Manic Panic 4) Stargazer
Colour Vibrancy: 1) Special Effects 2) Manic Panic 3) La Riche Directions 4) Stargazer
Colour Duration: 1) La Riche Directions 2) Special Effects 3) Manic Panic 4) Stargazer
Price: 1) Stargazer (there's a reason) 2) La Riche Directions 3) Manic Panic 4) Special Effects
First of all, you have to be aware that dying your hair with this sort of product can get messy (you WILL get stains on your clothes/skin/bathroom if you're not careful) and the tubs themselves do not usually come with gloves or applicator brushes, so you'll want to stock up on those.
To apply, you effectively paint your hair. You will need rubber gloves and a steady hand, as if this gets on your skin it will leave a stain for about a week or so. Dry, clean hair is best for dying, and on no account should you dye your hair with this hair dye when it is wet or even damp as the colour will be very streaky and uneven when complete. Then, as I said, you leave it on for however long you feel you need for your particular hair kind. Manic Panic advises 30 - 45 minutes, but this length of time will mean that the colour won't last for very long in your hair.
The dyes themselves advise you to leave them on for 45 minutes, but seeing as there is no bleach or ammonia product here, most people will advise you to leave it on a little longer. I have left mine on for hours and hours at a time, and never suffered any ill effects because of it. I personally apply mine in the morning (on a weekend preferably!) and then leave it on for the entire day, around 12 hours. The dye dries on my head and eventually goes hard so that when I touch it, my fingers remain clean. That's when I know that I will get a great colour out of it. I do not advise this yourself, as it is not what they recommend, but I will say that this is what gets the best colour for me, so maybe you should experiment with what works best for you.
Special Effects is an absolutely brilliant hair dye. The colours are gorgeous, and really do look stunning. But don't be alarmed by the deep colour of what comes out of the bottle. It will not be what you end up with on your head! What you'll get, if you've bleached your hair, will be exactly what is advertised. They are very accurate with their colouring. As you will see, this is the thickest mix of all the semi-permanent coloured hair dyes, so don't be too liberal with it. Better to take your time really massaging a little at a time slowly into your hair than to try slopping it on as you can with Manic Panic. A little goes a long long way, and if you're really having trouble mixing it into your hair, then I advise blending it with another, more liquidy hair dye such as Manic Panic or La Riche Directions.
And, if you dye your hair regularly, then I would definitely advise you to try a combination of Special Effects with a pot of La Riche, not just for practical reasons but for fun as well. The colours do blend fantastically - I had a turquoise SFX/LRD blend that lasted for months on end! The long-lasting effect of La Riche worked really beautifully with the rich vibrant colours of Special Effects. However, I wouldn't advise doing this unless you're a little adventurous as you will obviously end up with a new colour not on either of the bottles/pots!
It's also a little tricky to get in the UK, but I found a very reasonable website called www.beeunique.co.uk that not only shows you detailed colours, but when I ordered mine, it got to me within 24 hours without any kind of special delivery. Very reliable website! They also carry other hair dyes, if you want to mix and match.
I've given this hair dye 4/5 solely because of the price compared to other hair dyes of this kind, and because it doesn't quite last as long as you would hope for the price. But it does blend marvellously with other hair dyes, and the colour you'll get will just be amazing.
I use Atomic Pink by Special Effects to dye a bright streak in my blonde hair.
I've used Directions and other brands before, and although I don't mind them fading, I hate the fact that they all seem to fade to a yucky, peachy orange colour that clashes with my blonde. I'm awful at keeping on top of my roots, so I wanted a dye that faded to a pretty colour.
And I found it in Atomic Pink.
Although this is an American dye, it is available online (for example, from beeunique.co.uk) for between £5 - £9 a bottle. If you want to dye your whole head pink and you have long hair you made need two bottles, but for me to dye a 5 inch wide stripe on waist length hair, I only needed around a ¼ of a bottle! I love the design of the bottle as it is see-through, so you can tell exactly when you are running low!
One thing to remember is that this dye is very long lasting, and so you won't need to re-dye it as you would have to with other brands. Another point is that Special Effects dyes have been very rare at times when they are over-ordered from the main company, as the dyes are made in circular batches (pink, then blue, then yellow, for example) instead of which colours are most in demand. During these times, dye can cost up to £30 on websites like Ebay. I would not trust this not to happen again in the future, and so if you dye your hair and plan on keeping it the same colour for a while with this dye, it might be an idea to stock up on a few bottles - just in case!
This dye will stain your fingers if you do not wear gloves, and probably your sink and shower as well! Nail polish remover is good for removing it from bathtubs etc. To avoid it staining your face, apply some Vaseline around your hairline! The wonderful thing about this dye is that it is a vegetable dye, so it will not damage your hair, and it doesn't smell icky either! You can leave the dye on for as many hours as you like, which is great as you have no need to keep an eye on the time. You can even wrap your hair up in a shower cap and leave it on overnight, to get an extra bright colour. Personally, I splash lots of the dye on and wrap the section of hair in tin foil, and leave it on for two or three hours. Then, I wash the dye off in the shower in cold water, and condition it to make it feel soft and silky again. Although this dye does not damage your hair, you will need to apply bleach to your hair before using this product if you want it to be truly bright, unless your hair is a light blonde. This is a personal decision, but remember that applying bleach will damage your hair, and on dark hair, this dye may not 'show up' at all. The best thing to do if you are unsure is to do a strand test using the dye without bleach. If you like the colour that comes out, don't damage your hair for no reason!
The effect this dye has is amazing. Atomic Pink is a bright, shiny fuchsia guaranteed to get you noticed in a crowd. I am now impossible to lose at a festival, and old ladies love me when I serve them at the checkout. Be prepared for small children to talk loudly about you as they pass you, and ask to touch or stroke your hair! Atomic Pink does fade eventually, but to a pretty, paler pink. If you want to reduce fading, then DO NOT put any kind (even colour-safe) shampoo directly onto the dyed section of hair. It will make it last so much longer!
Atomic Pink is very, very hard to get out. It will fade a little, or you can bleach your hair several times, but on the whole it will last until it is cut out. For this reason, be sure that your employer will allow you to have coloured hair, and that you are satisfied with the colour yourself. This is not a dye to use if you change your hair colour weekly, because you will cause a lot of damage to your hair trying to get it out. Other Special Effects colours are apparently easier, but I would still approach with caution.
i dye my hair A LOT. i have been every colour under the sun and i have to admit that Special Effects hair dye is the best colour dye I have used.
I first used their Nuclear red dye on pre-bleached hair and my god it was BRIGHT. you could see me coming more than half way down the street. my hair looked shiney and healthy despite having all this product on it.
It took me roughly 2 bottles to cover the whole top part of my hair
( i had brown underneath so didn't need my whole head red) i should also mention at this point my hair was almost to my backside! In other words, one bottle goes a long way. use a brush if you can to apply the colour as you find you will get more out of the bottle this way.
for best results with their dye i'd recommend touching up the colour every 3 weeks or so - the colour lasts well when washed but it does start to fade eventually so to keep it bright, a touch-up is needed. The colours are just gorgeous on the hair. Living in the UK you look to pay around £7 a bottle but for the colour you get its well worth it.
other colours which i have used from the SFX range are :
*cupcake pink - this was just gorgeous, id go back to this colour any day!
*Nuclear Red - man this was bright and i think this was my fav
*Joyride with Iguana - these two colours (purple and green) went amazingly together and when they faded they went like my avatar picture.
the only thing about dying your hair a bright colour is that it does tend to fade with time and then there is the horrible problem of roots >__<# as long as you keep on top of touching up your roots and you top up the colour every 3 weeks or so your hair will look amazing
I've been using Special Effects dye for the last five years - it's become so much of my personality that even my boss in my office job encouraged me to re dye my hair after taking a break and going back to natural! I order it online for about £8 a bottle, and the bottle lasts me quite a few applications.
I've found Special Effects to be the best dye I've used. I use atomic pink and it has great colour and staying power, on bleached hair or even without bleaching. I only dye the bottom half of my hair (so I'm not constantly touching up roots) but it gets plenty of comments and everyone loves it. As an example of how well it lasts, I dyed it last for my work's Christmas party, smack in the middle of December. Now, in the middle of March, I've still been getting comments and questions asking if I've just redyed it, as the pink is still so vibrant!
I dye my own hair after my mum refused to help me anymore (something to do with the bright pink hands and sink she ended up with..oops!) and find it easy enough to apply. It is a little messy to wash off in my current house, as I no longer have the giant sink I used to use, so wash it off in the shower, but so far I've yet to dye the shower pink (the shower head was tinted for a little while, but washed off after a little while). It leaves my hair feeling soft and sleek afterwards too, I've yet to have any problems with it being dried out from being dyed for years (the only time I had issues was when I dyed back to natural with another kind/brand of dye!).
One thing to consider is transfer of the dye after applying though. Bath and shower water will be a lovely bright shade of pink (or whatever colour you go for) the first few washes, and then paler as time goes on. Also be prepared for dyed collars on your clothes, dyed pillow cases, and dyed towels from drying your hair. I've yet to have anything permanently dyed, it all washes out on a 30 degrees wash, but do be careful if you're using someone else's bed linen or towelling!
I've also tried fishbowl blue and one of the purple colours (I forget which) which I wasn't quite so impressed with, but these weren't used on bleached hair so that may get a better result. The purple wasn't as vibrant as I hoped, and while the blue was lovely and bright, the results didn't last as long as I hoped. I'd definately be happy trying other colours though as I've heard plenty of good reviews on Special Effects.
After years of dyeing my hair every colour in the rainbow, I've gone through nearly every brand and colour on the market. Manic Panic, Stargazer, Directions, Feria, Smart Colour, everything you can think of. So when I tell you Special Effects is the best I've ever come across, you can see that I don't mean that as any light statement.
The dye comes in a medium sized squeezy bottle which costs roughly £10. Although this is a tad pricey in hair dye terms, it is worth every penny over £5 shop bought boxes, where you would need a few boxes to get the strength of colour and the coverage.
What I usually do is squeeze the bottle out in small portions in a tuppaware box and massage it into my hair using my fingertips (covered in gloves obviously). I found tint brushes a waste of time as they would not cover enough hair quickly or heavily enough, and usually if you just massage the dye in and tie your hair up the dye will bleed into very small sections you might not have noticed and give you final even coverage.
Wrapping your hair up in a plastic bag was a must, as well as hair drying it with the dye still in to heat activate it.
I also left the dye on for anywhere between 2-5 hours, as Special Effects is a vegetable based dye this didn't damage my hair at all and gave me a real vibrant colour afterwards.
I have also tried running vineager through my hair when rinsing (as this is meant to correct the pH and make the colour last longer), if you condition right after you won't smell like fish and chips afterwards.
What I like the most about Special Effects over most other dyes is how nicely they fade. Most dyes out there will be vibrant for a couple of weeks at most then fade to some sewage type shade but SFX stayed a true, bright colour for ages, months even.
Which brings me to my only complaint- sometimes the colour lasts too long. I tried Virgin Rose once and literally had pink hair for nearly a year- the only way to get rid of it was to cut it off. This pink would also change the colour of any dye put over it and any other dyes would fade to a mix of pink.
Generally it is the pinks & reds which last the longest, followed by the purples and blues, and lastly the greens and yellows which will not stay strong that long as at all (under a month) but still more than dyes of the same colour but different brands.
I would strongly recommend SFX to anyone who wants bright, lasting colour. You will need to bleach your hair first but this is the same for any truly strong result. Not for those who are expecting a wash in wash out dye though or hoping to change their colour every week!
After 5 years of dying my hair from mundane colors like auburn, black, and blonde streaks to eventually wild colors, I finally took the plunge and ordered a bottle of the mother of all semipermanent dyes, Special Effects. Now, it isn't available around me anywhere, so I had to take to the internet to order a bottle. Shopping around I found it for $9.95 and free shipping, but it seems the norm for the price is anywhere from $12-$15. This isn't a terribly expensive dye, but I've never heard anything but good remarks about it. Since I dyed my hair cherry red not too long ago, I was ready for a touch-up.
Special Effects dyes come in a rainbow of different colors. If it's your favorite color, chances are they manufacture it. I went with Nuclear Red, which is the truest Crayola red I could find out of their palette. The manufacturer promises bright, shocking color, and some that glow under a blacklight. I was expecting bright, head-turning, fire-truck red hair that people would be stumbling all over themselves to compliment me over (lol). I quickly discovered that this wasn't going to be a reality.
Special Effects is packaged in an 8 oz bottle that opens with a fliptop. To distribute onto hands, you must squeeze this hard plastic bottle or ruin a bowl by dumping it all out int one. The bottle suggests using a bowl but I didn't have any I wanted to ruin, and I didn't want to use the entire bottle as one bottle is for a whole head of hair. I was only doing the front part of my hair, which is what is normally dyed. However, if you do choose to squeeze, keep in mind that the bottle is made of a very hard plastic and squeezing it becomes an ordeal once your gloves are saturated with dye. This may cause slippage and make a bigger mess than you expected!!
The bottle also suggests bleaching before dying if you are planning on the most intense color, but I was dying over a faded pink. No roots had been showing yet. Just wanted to liven it up. So, you'd think a brighter color would take over a faded previous color. Apparently, this wasn't the case. It also said that you should wash your hair and dry it prior to applying the dye, so that's what I did. Then you just take a tint brush and put it on everywhere you're planning to dye. However, before you do so, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND using Vasoline or something similar all over your hairline, ears, arms, elbows, and anywhere you even have a suspicion that the dye might touch because it will stain. It will stain anything it touches, and if it comes off at all, it's ridiculously tough to remove. So, take precautions before dying. Line white showers with garbage bags or plastic if you have to, wear an old shirt, line your work area with newspaper, and make sure to wear sturdy rubber gloves. Otherwise, you're going to look like you just committed murder. At least, that's what it looked like for me.
I generously applied the dye, which looked like bright red, goopy coagulated blood (no, seriously). It also smelled sort of sickly, not like dye but perhaps Play-Doh with a slight chemical scent. I made sure to hit my roots the most, as that is where dye tends to leave my hair the fastest. After it was all set I let it process for an hour rather than the fifteen minutes the bottle suggested. All done after, I rinsed it all out. This resulted in my skin being stained a faint pink. Beautiful! The dye also took what seemed like hours to rinse out, almost making what looked like a sudsy pink mess of Kool-Aid in the tub. It also stained the tub and I had to take bleach to the ring it left to rinse it properly.
I dried off my hair and lo and behold, my roots seemed untouched. They were still an ugly, faded pink. As for the rest of my hair, it took, but only slightly. My hair was no redder than any other regular red dye I'd tried before. I felt very cheated, as this was supposed to be the best on the market? I didn't understand the hype. I only got mediocre, patchy red that didn't even cover my roots.
Now, the results may have been different had I bleached, but this dye definitely does not seem fit for touching up similar colors. Either that, or my hair isn't very porous, but that's never the case, as I never usually have issues dying my hair.
So, it's hard to recommend Special Effects to anyone who enjoys odd colors in their hair. I've had better experiences with Manic Panic, Splat!, and especially L'Oreal Colour Rays. Unless you're going to bleach your entire head, go with something else!
I change my hair colour all the time. It seems like the answer to everything.
I often used to cut my hair whenever I needed a change, but, after liking cut hair for a week, i would often cry for six months whilst it grew back.
Colouring your hair is a much less drastic option.
For a while last year I had red hair. Bright red. Pillarbox red.
On a trip to amsterdam I decided to change it to pink. neon pink.
when i got home, i realised that the colour began to fade immediatly, and also ran out very quickly, because I was having to re dye so often.
I looked around on the internet for suggestions, and discovered special effects.
You can either buy from ebay, or www.beeunique.co.uk. prices vary.
The wonderful thing about special effects is that it doesnt fade as quickly as other brightly coloured dyes.
I went from colouring every other wash, to every couple of weeks.
Because of this, and because the bottle is slightly larger than other products, the dye lasted a lot longer.
The colour is beautifully vibrant, and can be mixed with other colours.
If you want to dye your hair more than one colour, then they blend quite well.
There are (i believe) 27 different colours, including UV reactive colours (glow in the dark! yay!).
A lovely feature on the beeunique website, is the gallery, of customer pictures, which allows you to see what the colours look like in real life.
Obviously these dyes work best on bleached or highlighted hair.
Special effects also seems to condition your hair, and leaves it lovely and shiny and soft. No damage.
I've had my hair a couple of different colours as I like to experiment. This time I thought I'd do something crazy and dye all my hair pink. I had used directions before but it seemed to fade really quickly so I wanted to try something else. I came across special effects.
I bought the dye from an online shop called beeunique.com. I decided on Virgin Rose as it was quite dark. It came in a transparant tube, containing 118ml of a dark pink substance, with the consistency of paint.
I covered everything in towels and squirted some of the dye into a cat dish (i'm sure she won't mind!). Then i washed my hair using the la riche pre colour shampoo and dryed it. I sectioned my hair up so I could get to all the hair. I scooped the dye up with my tint brush and brushed it through my hair. Then i brushed the section until it became frothy and pinned it up. Once i had done all the sections I gave it a final comb through and pinned it back up. Because I wasn't doing anything that day I wrapped it up in cling film and left it on for about 4 hours. Then i washed it off. I was really impatient and didn't wait for it all to wash out which was a bad mistake. I was left with hair that felt very powdrery and if i touched it i ended up with pink hands. In the shower the dye went absolutely everywhere and my neck and hands were stained but it wasn't anything that soap and water couldn't help with. For the more stubborn stains my mum used alcohol gel.
The final product:
When I washed it out fully with a little shampoo I had lovely soft pinky purple hair. Because I hadn't bleached it first Some parts were darker than others. I also think this was because some bits were still a bit damp when I dyed them.
Do's and dont's:
Do wear gloves when touching your hair, even in the shower washing it off.
Do put a towel on your pillow at night or use an old pillow case.
Don't get it on your carpet!
Edited to add - If you want this stuff out then you will have to wait a while or wash your hair everyday because it sticks to your hair like a limpet.
I like to try different things. Who doesn't? (My Gran, that's who. She hates different with a passion. you can imagine how proud I make her)
From about the age of twelve I began experimenting with crazy hair. It helped that my mother is a hairdresser and I didn't have to pay for any of it.
After going through all the styles and colours I could get my hands on, I was getting bored of colours fading out after a few washes. I wanted me something that lasted!
Fortunately I also have friends that like different things. My friend, rather than going along the short haired lesbian path, decided to go along the crazy hair coloured lesbian path. Its easy to see why we get on so well. She first introduced me to this god send in a bottle and a few things about it made me fall in love (other than the fact it was bright pink).
Firstly the range of colours is amazing. 28 in total, the full list you can get on their website (http://www.specialeffectsusa.com/hair_dye.html)
Secondly was the new buzzword my chum was throwing around. Vegetable dye! VEGETABLE DYE!!! WHAT?!? I didn't have a clue what it meant, but hell, it sounded cool! After a little bit of research, this basically means that it won't burn the crap out of your scalp. Its an eco warriors dream (unless they are against vegetables being used for hair colour...who knows). No chemical nastiness and it actually conditions your hair as you go. We will, however, look past the fact that it turns out a whole lot better if you bleach your hair first...hmm. Couple that with the fact it's not tested on animals, It also means it is Vegan friendly. Though how tasty a meal it would make, I am not sure.
Third amazing fact, it actually turns out the same colour as the dye you put on your hair. One thing that always worries me about the more chemical dyes is the colour they go while they develop. Usually its the exact opposite of the colour your trying to achieve, making you wonder if some idiot has packaged the wrong tubes in the wrong box, resulting in you having to shave your head. This stuff, however, comes in a nice see through bottle, goes onto your head, stays the same colour, comes off your head leaving it the same colour. Less panic, less head shaving.
But wait! THERE'S MORE!!! (god I feel like an ad for cilit bang) You can mix these babies too! By which I don't mean after a few years training you'll know how to make blonde hair dye that looks purple. I mean like PAINT! Five year olds could do this and get the colour they want, which is usually a horrid dark purpley-brown. I don't suggest you let your five year old mix your colour. Another funky little extra is that 8 of the colours in this range will glow under a black light! If that's not cool, I don't know what is.
As for my experience with them, well, I love them. Everyone is always prattling on about manic panic and how great it is. These put manic panic to shame. They last longer and turn out a LOT brighter. When I tried these colours (my favourite being Virgin Rose) people actually stopped me in the street to tell me how amazingly pink my hair was. I always reacted with total and utter shock as if I was not aware I had pink hair. Certainly made for a laugh watching panic spread over peoples face as they are lead to believe I have a weird disease, symptoms: spontaneous pink hair.
Oddly enough, my Gran actually told me my hair looked nice with this colour in. Which is rather hilarious since she told me I looked like a girl with it black. So clearly this dye has some sort of magical powers and should be taken on any quest where you are expected to meet a fire breathing dragon monster with twenty heads and a zillion razor sharp teeth. Ah Gran...
Now for a few tips when using this stuff. For the first few nights, sleep with a towel round your head (specially if you are a bit ugly) or around your pillows. This stuff WILL come off onto everything for about a week or so.
When showering, don't panic. As it's semi permanent, it will leave your shower water crazy colours for about a week as the excess dye is washed out. You can rinse your head clear and still have the water running bright pink the next time you shower.
Wear gloves. Oh god wear gloves. And a matching scarf. The colour will stain EVERYTHING it touches, including your skin. It won't burn, but its not cool having rainbow coloured hands for a few days. Actually....
As an example of how long this colour lasts, I'm going to provide you with a few photos to ogle.
The colour in the photos is Virgin Rose. The first one is directly after my colour was done. The Second one was about 2 months after I had put the colour on, taken on a drunken night out, where me and some friends were jumping round like a flange of baboons. Baboons who had been licking smurfs.
Sadly, these are quite difficult to get in the UK, but you can find them on E-bay or a few websites. They are usually about a fiver a bottle and you get a fair amount in each. I got two head-full's and some streaks out of one bottle.
Overall, this product is one of the best out there and anyone who is serious (or more to the point, the exact opposite) about hair colour should give these a blast at least once. Now get blasting!!
(also on ciao)