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Schwarzkopf Live Color XXL is a range of hair dyes from Schwarzkopf, a company known for its value for money hair products. The Color XXL range is all about strong and bright colours - red, blue, purple, platinum blonde and deep black - with cool names. For a few months I used this dye in Cosmic Blue (shade 90). The range is available in Boots, Superdrug, Bodycare, Savers, and many supermarkets. A pack of this hair dye will set you back between £3.50 and £5, depending on where you buy it as well as whether or not it's on special offer. I got my latest one from Bodycare at a price of £3.79, while Boots had an offer on a while back offering 2 packs for £7 (though it's not on any more sadly!).
I started dyeing my dark-blonde hair about three years ago, when a colleague referred to my hair as mousy. It's not as bitchy as it sounds - she was comparing her own hair to mine and imagining that we both had mousy hair - but there was no way I was going to put up with mousy hair so I decided to dye it! I started off light brown, then I was dark brown, then last year I decided to go for something a bit more radical and chose blue.
The box for the dye has a blue background and the product name on the front, as well as a young woman and man who are, presumably, wearing the dye. The shade is named on the bottom-right of the box and the dye is described as being 'Waterproofed' with 'built-in wash-out protection to prevent colour fade for extra long-lasting intensity and shine'. The dye is permanent and will not wash out, therefore if you are nervous or worried about dyeing your hair it's best to try a temporary colour first. As is usual with hair dyes, there is a guide on the side of the box indicating what shade your hair will be after dyeing based on your natural hair colour. The box also carries the usual safety instructions about carrying out a skin allergy test 48 hours before you colour, even if you have coloured your hair before. I must say that in nearly three years of dyeing my hair I have never once done this test and I have been fine, but all hair dye boxes do recommend it (probably to cover themselves in case something does happen). You should not use this hair dye if you have experienced a reaction in the past or you have a sensitive, irritated or damaged scalp.
The box contains the following items: Applicator bottle with developer lotion Color crème Conditioner Leaflet containing instructions and plastic gloves for dyeing.
To prepare for dyeing your hair: Wear old clothes and cover your shoulders with an old towel Cover everything in sight that could be damaged with dye in an old towel or cloth - seriously, this dye gets everywhere! Apply Vaseline or a similar product along your parting and your hairline, also over your eyebrows as an extra precaution - this will help prevent the dye from staining Don't wash your hair - some dyes require you to apply them onto wet hair but this one should be applied on dry, unwashed hair.
To use the product, follow the instructions included in the leaflet to mix the dye, which is a very easy process. Then, with the gloves on, you can start applying the dye to your hair. If you've used the dye recently, you should apply it to your roots only at first, then the rest of your hair later; if you haven't, you can shove the whole lot on at once!
The dye, in common with most others, has a nozzle applicator. I find these fairly easy to use, though the dye can come out quickly so be careful. Sometimes a bit gets squirted onto the mirror or something so it's best to wipe it off quickly! Sometimes people worry about dyeing your hair at home, but there's no danger of your hair ending up patchy - considering the amount of dye in the bottle, you'd have to try pretty hard NOT to cover every inch of hair! After application my hair's absolutely saturated with it (for the record my hair is shoulder-length and there's a lot of it!).
You have to leave the dye on for 30 minutes - I find that it doesn't drip anywhere once it's on my hair, so I can sit at the computer or read a book, so long as I don't touch anything with my head! After the time is up you need to wash it off.
Washing off this hair dye makes the shower look as though some blue-blooded member of the royal family has been murdered in it. The dye gets absolutely everywhere. If you have a shower curtain you are fond of I recommend taking it down, because it will probably be ruined. After washing it out (don't use shampoo) apply some of the conditioner included in the pack - half to a third of the tube should be enough if you have shoulder-length hair. Leave it on for a couple of minutes before washing it off.
Once my hair is dried and straightened it looks really well conditioned and shiny. The dye often looks very dark, nearly black, at first but evens out over the next few days I sometimes have some dye around my hairline but this goes away after one or two washes.
I really like the way my hair looks when using this dye, but there are a few things I'm not so keen on. Firstly, when applying I can sometimes end up getting dye everywhere. This is similar to most other applicators, but after using a L'Oreal comb applicator I notice that the nozzle isn't as easy. Secondly, the dye keeps on coming out of my hair even two or three weeks after first applying it. I have to use special towels and try not to ruin the shower curtain. On the same note, for the first few days after using the dye it comes off on the pillow when I'm sleeping, even when my hair's dry. This wasn't a problem at the time, because I was using old pillowcases, but it is part of the reason I stopped using the dye when I went home - I didn't want to stain my nice bedcovers there! Also, after about three or four weeks, with having dyed my hair brown in the past the colour wears off and the bottom of my hair looks reddish-brown while the hair near the roots is blue-black. It's not massively noticeable but it bothers me! To be honest I wish I'd dyed my hair this colour right from the beginning because it would have looked a lot brighter applied to dark blonde hair than onto dyed dark brown hair.
This hair dye is ok and it's also much cheaper than the other one I use, L'Oreal Excel 10. It produces shiny hair but the dye gets everywhere and is trickier to use. I won't be able to use it in the future, not if I want to sleep on nice new pillowcases without getting dye everywhere! What this dye does have in its favour is the range of colours - I'm aware of no other range of bright colours that is so widely and easily available in many stores. If you're after a bright and daring colour this dye's for you, but if you want a more 'standard' colour I'd recommend going for a higher quality dye.