How To Get the Vintage-Inspired Look You Want!

Dying Your Own Hair

Rockabilly hairstyles come in all shapes and sizes – just like us ladies! The key to getting results you like is to try different things until you’re completely happy with the results! If you’ve always been conservative with your hairstyles – make little changes. If you’re more daring – go all out!

On my own hair, I’ve tried blond streaks, auburn, carrot-red, black, and my present look. I lived with each look until I got tired of it…and now I think I’m committed. Maybe some of you girls out there who aren’t pouring money into classic cars can afford to go into the beauty parlor and have this done professionally. I’m just trying to keep my 1955 Studebaker on the road, so I save my pennies and color my hair at home.

Perhaps if you’ve never done this before it may seem a little daunting. Not to worry!

Start with little steps.

Invite a friend over who’s done it before. Try a subtler change to “get your feet wet.” Or maybe try doing a small patch of hair – perhaps on the underneth as a starter. Whatever you’re comfortable with. But don’t be afraid to be a little adventurous – it’s only hair after all!

How I Get My Two-Tone Look

After I got a little bored with the red color of my hair, but still really liked it – I decided to add some stripes! Red is known to be a color of dye that really sticks to your hair. So I did the blonde-ing process in small steps.

When I started with streaks, I bleached out the sections of my hair and would pull through the red dye onto it for just the last few minutes of the dying process. This allowed me to go more gradually through the bleaching process – yet because I was pulling through a little bit of the dye it made the bleached area a more consistent color that I could live with.

So for awhile, I had more subtle streaks that varied from just a little bit lighter from the rest of my hair all the way to a copper-ish sort of color. Then eventually I got to the point of going full blonde with the streaks – as you can see in the progression below…

Follow along and see the steps I take in coloring my own hair (it’s not a pretty process!)


Step one: I start with the above products, but first I painstakingly section off my hair. You can make sections as big or little as you want. I try to stay very consistent in keeping the blond with the blonde and red with the red. It’s takes a few more minutes to catch all those stow-away strands, but I feel its important.


What I like about where I have things situated is there’s some blond at my face and around my part – and then a bigger, sneaky section in the back which puts some blonde color in the full length of my hair. Depending on how I part my hair, I can make the blond look very prominent around my face or I can make it almost disappear. In the pincurls I most often wear up top, the two colors of my hair swirl together nicely.


Step two: Clip back or cover the sections to be bleached. You can use foil and wrap them all up completely to feel safe. I usually just twirl them tightly and clip them down with a bobby pin or pincurl clip. I’ve also found that with long hair, the whole process goes  much more smoothly if I section off my hair into 4-5 other segments and clip up before I start the dying process. This way I unclip one section at a time, dye it, clip it back and move on.


Step three: Dye the rest of your hair with whatever color you’re using. I use Feria #666 (I think the name is “Intense Auburn.”) I stopped buying the drugstore boxes as they rarely had my correct color (and they’re more expensive.) I now go to Sally Beauty Supply and just buy the dye bottles separately then use 20 or 30 developer with them.

Be patient during the dye process! If you’re in a rush you could end up with splotchy areas because you didn’t fully cover them with dye. And it’s REALLY helpful to have a mirror behind you so you can see what’s going on at the back of your head. Also, be sure to have an old, damp washcloth nearby to wipe off your face/ears/neck that get dye on them.

If you’ve never dyed your hair before – don’t be afraid of it. Fully saturate every strand of hair. If it takes you 30 minutes to apply the dye to your hair – still wait the prescribed time once your hair has been completely saturated. Regular hair dye (excluding bleaches) aren’t going to cause more damage to your hair if they’re on a little longer.


Step Four: Now on to the sections you had covered or clipped down for bleaching. If this is your first time, you may not want to combine the dying and bleaching parts to do at the same time. But I’m lazy and don’t want to have to section my hair off twice, so I’ve found a way to make it work for me. If you do rinse out the dye first before moving on, remember that before applying the bleach your hair should be completely dry. You may want to dry all your hair, or just the sections to be bleached – its up to you.

To bleach my hair, I use the packets of powder bleach combined with 40 developer (again, available at Sally Beauty Supply.)It doesn’t seem there’s too much of a difference between brands, I don’t really keep track. It is NOT the bleach you’d use to make your laundry white…please don’t put that on your hair!!

Step Five: Make sure the dyed and bleached sections don’t touch each other. Pay particular attention to the areas where the dyed part meets up with the part you’re going to bleach. I try to pin down my hair in a way that the dyed area is pulled tightly away from the sections to be bleached. You don’t want to take any chances with the bleach getting brushed on the hair you don’t want bleached!

Step Six: Mix the bleach and apply. Be sure you’re wearing gloves – as bleach will eat at your skin really quickly (I know…its happened to me!) Again, you want to completely saturate the hair to be bleached but not to the point where its so messy that its going to puddle over to a non-bleached section.

Once the bleach has been applied to a section, I just kinda twist it together and clip it out of the way a little – without touching any other hair of course. Some people might like to use a small piece of foil – lay the section on top of it and brush on the bleach solution – then you can just kind of fold it up in the foil as it develops.

Keep an eye on your hair. Once its to a color of your liking, rinse it off!  Pay attention to any directions along with your bleach. You don’t want to leave this stuff on your hair too long – it can do major damage!

I find that there’s no need to cover over my blond with any other “blonde” dye. I just bleach it and leave it like that!

And, wah-lah…new hair! A fun new rockabilly-inspired style is as easy as that! If this sounds too daunting to do by yourself?? Take in one of the pictures and ask your hairstylist to recreate the sectioned off look for you!

A few more things:

  • After I’d bleached my hair for awhile, I found that the red would wash over and contaminate the blonde area making it kind of pink. The reason this happened was because the more I bleach my hair, the more porous the hair becomes. Which means I just need to be extra careful with the red dye. So now I take extra precaution when rinsing the red dye off my hair in step four to be certain all the dye is off…and it usually ends up fine. If I’m not careful, I end up having to re-bleach the blonde section about a week later!

Now that the dying is over – onto the funner part…HAIRSTYLES!