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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Colour B4 Extra Strength Review - Part One Preparation

Here we go again.......

This is quite a long post where I discuss my specific needs, past experiences and hair preparation for using Colour B4

Regular readers will know that I actually reviewed Superdrug Colour Rewind twice last year. The first post can be found here and the second one here. Well I had a mini hair dye relapse and the results are less than spectacular :(

About a month ago I caved in and dyed it back to red. BIG mistake! My hair is now the longest it has ever been (I had a mother who seemed to be rebelling over being made to keep her hair long as a child, by ensuring mine was never too far past my shoulders) and I think that it has grown past the length that I can properly dye it at home solo.

I was left with a hot mess of patchy red, brown and *cringe* orange shades. Despite switching to a specific shampoo and conditioner for dyed hair, and only washing it in cold water, it faded within a few days. My roots are growing at such an alarming rate (they were noticeable within a week) that I can't wear my hair with a parting without feeling embarrassed.  Now I remember why I quit dying it in the first place!

So it is time to reach for the dye remover once again, but this time I am fully armed with all the tips and tricks to ensure that (hopefully) my hair is lifted back to it's natural colour. At the very least I want rid of this red patch nightmare.

Let me give you a sneak peek at my patchy mess!

We have roots, red, orange and brown!

You can see a major orange tinge creeping in here

Can you see the darker ends, it's quite visible

Last time I colour removed, I opted for Superdrug Colour Rewind, but this time I decided to go all guns blazing with Colour B4 Extra Strength Argan Oil Edition.

See that great big sticker celebrating 50 years of Superdrug?  Well that sticker makes me instantly suspicious that perhaps Colour Rewind and Colour B4 are in fact the same item, in different packaging.  At the time of purchase, Colour Rewind was on offer at buy one, get one half price (£9.99 a pack) and Colour B4 was £11.99 with no special offer.  I needed two and was sorely tempted by the special Superdrug own offer, BUT Scott Cornwall (who I think is the creator of Colour B4) has posted so many helpful tips and tricks about this product (he will answer most questions on his facebook page) that I felt perhaps my money would be better spent at least trialing this colour remover.

Usually when dying your hair, you are advised to start on slightly greasy hair, colour removers are slightly different.  If you usually use none organic hair products (shampoo, conditioner, styling products etc) chances are that you have a lovely build up of silicone on the inside and outside of the hair shaft.  If like me you use straighteners on a high setting, you may have even baked the silicone into the hair :( This means that if you are trying to use a colour remover (or even dye) the silicone provides a barrier, stopping the product from actually removing the dye molecules.

The best thing to do is a clarifying treatment to try and remove all of this build up.  While I was in superdrug, I did ask about clarifying shampoo, but the range was pretty tiny and at £6 for a huge bottle (which I probably wouldn't use again) it seemed a bit of a waste.  After a search on google, I found that it was pretty easy to make your own clarifying hair masque with just two ingredients;

  • Bicarbonate of Soda (also known as baking soda)
  • Water
I plan to do a clarifying masque today, and apply the actual Colour B4 tomorrow.

There is conflicting advice on using bicarbonate of soda long term - there is evidence that the high alkaline base can actually weaken the hair, and that it may irritate the scalp for a few people.  Interestingly, there are also a lot of 'recipes' on the net using bicarb with lemon juice, vitamin C and shampoo as a 'natural' colour remover.

I was initially going to create my own clarifying concoction using bicarbonate of soda, distilled vinegar, lemon juice and water, but I figured that as I was trying to remove excess build up I should keep it simple!  A peek on Scott Cornwall's blog had me stumbling across a post about Clarifying Hair and Silicone Damage, as a bonus it also included a bicarbonate of soda 'recipe';

"For a deep clarifying treatment put two spoons of bicarbonate of soda into a mug of warm water.  After using a Clarifying Shampoo, pour the Bicarb rinse through the hair and comb through.  Leave for 10 to 20 minutes and rinse off.  The bicarb will help to break down any surface residue and over time can help with severe build up."

As I am skipping the clarifying shampoo, I thought I would tweak the ratios to those listed on another popular blog called maskCARA;

"Recipe: (this is a tough one so brace yo-self)

1/3 Cup Baking soda (I’m convinced that between baking soda, corn starch, coconut oil and duct tape  I could create anything! )

4 T Water

Mix together until it’s a paste. Then (starting with the ends) massage into your *hair. {I did this over the sink so I didn’t make a mess)

Leave it for 10-15 minutes then wash as usual.

* For recently color treated hair always try a test piece first! Celeste has colored hair and it looked vibrant and beautiful when we were done but you never know!"

I will be back to let you know how I get on with the clarifying treatment :)


Well that was certainly interesting!  I doubled the quantities to 2/3 cup baking soda to 8 table spoons of water as my hair is quite long.  The resulting mixture was quite runny, but had the consistency of corn flour mixed with water.

I definitely recommend that you use this in the shower or stood in the bath, because it makes a huge mess!  I took in my hair dying wide toothed comb too as I needed to ensure it was evenly through my hair.  Also be prepared to keep stirring the mixture and to work quickly, as a non newtonian fluid, this stuff will keep trying to separate and the bicarb to congeal into a hardened mass.

I brushed my hair and then starting at the ends, slathered it all on.  It was pretty tricky as it is not very thick and kept running straight out onto the shower floor.  I could have probably done with with tripling the amount, but I made do.

Once it was all on my hair, I started combing it through.  Be prepared for a big tangled mess, but it really is important to make sure it is evenly spread.  The next thing to do is wait for about 20 minutes.  I piled my hair into a big top knot and then wrapped it in cling film (mainly because I didn't want to dirty my towels, but also because it helps keep the heat in).

In truth I probably left it on to closer to 30 minutes as I got distracted by Christmas shopping (I know it's only September!).  After the 30 minutes it was time to rinse, and rinse, and rinse some more!

By this time my hair felt worse than straw, the urge to slather it in conditioner was almost over-whelming, but I managed to resist.  It took close to 15 minutes to try and get the comb through my hair whilst rinsing, but I knew that at least this way it would be well and truly rinsed out.

My hair has finally dried, and it feels weirdly light, but drier than anything I have ever experienced :( It's now dark here, but I will post some photos in the morning.

My ends were not in great condition before, but due to how dry this masque made them, they are definitely worse

Split end central!

My hair did feel a bit unclean, but I figured it was just because I was so used to the effects of shampoo.

All in all, I am glad that I did the preparation process as I feel confident that it definitely helped achieve a much better result.

Part Two can be found here 

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