Does Manic Panic Work On Red Hair? An Experiment - That Cheap Bitch

Does Manic Panic Work On Red Hair? An Experiment

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

I have to be honest with you, dear blog readers: I really miss having platinum blonde hair. Only because I could change the color whenever I wanted to with Manic Panic, but nevertheless, I miss it. I went back to being a redhead because my hair was totally fried from all of the bleach I’d used to keep it pure as the driven snow, but I miss cotton candy pink, I miss ice queen blue, and I most of all, I miss purple. OHHHHH purple, my long-lost hair color love. How I long for the days you sat atop my head. **SOBS DRAMATICALLY**.

Mr Crabs worlds smallest violin gif

Although you have to bleach your hair to get pale pastel colors with Manic Panic, you don’t have to bleach your hair to use it altogether. Desperate to add some flair to my boring strawberry blonde locks, I decided to use a combination of Pretty Flamingo (a peachy pink, orangey dye) and Cotton Candy Pink dye to create some ombre/highlights/color streaks (I’m not quite sure what to call them, really). I’d tried doing streaks and highlights with Manic Panic before, and it didn’t work particularly well. But Pinterest says it’s possible! And everything you read online is true, obviously. So I took a leap of faith by trying again.

Let me take you through my process…

In an attempt to get the purest color possible, I used Shimmer Lights purple shampoo as a toner. The shampoo is supposed to take out red and yellow tones from blonde hair. I put it all over my hair and planned to let it sit for about 30 minutes. Instead, I got sucked into working on this very blog, and it ended up working it’s magic for about 2 hours. And by magic, I mean it didn’t really work. It left random patches of my hair looking gray and dull. This is step is unnecessary. But if you ever ask yourself, “what does purple shampoo do to red hair?”, then here’s your answer:

does manic panic work on red hair


Let’s move on to the part that actually matters. Before I applied the Manic Panic dye, I washed my hair and blow dried it. You should not use conditioner before applying Manic Panic. Your hair needs to be totally clean and free of product build-up.

After it was clean and dry, I parted my hair down the middle. I separated my hair into sections and secured them into twisty little buns using bobby pins. I planned on dying most of the hair on the very top of my head with the Pretty Flamingo dye and pinned it all together. Then I randomly sectioned off the hair on the sides of my head into twists, with no real visual plan, because I live on the edge.

The hair at the back of my head towards my neck was too short to pin. From past experience, I’ve learned that the hair back there doesn’t soak up dye as quickly as the front. I applied cotton candy dye back there first. Then I pulled the sections on the side of my head out of their twists and applied either pink or peach dye, alternating colors. I finished off the application by saturating the top twist with peach dye, and a little bit of pink in my bangs.

I let the dye sit on my head for a full 2 hours. When I jumped in the shower to wash it out, I saw that the dye remnants were totally white – a sign that all of the pigment stuck to my hair.

After it was dried and styled, it looked like this:

From the front it looks just a tad pink…

does manic panic work on red hair

…until I turn to the side. WHA-BAM! Peek-a-boo pink realness. 

does manic panic work on red hair

The fade in the back looks even and matches the rest of my hair.

does manic panic work on red hair

When I part it on the opposite side, you can really see the pink. I really love this vibrant pink shade. The Pretty Flamingo dye definitely made my hair a lot more strawberry than blonde, but the color isn’t stand-out neon like I had hoped. Next time I try this, I’m going to use Electric Tiger Lily dye for a more intense orange, and apply the cotton candy dye more liberally.

does manic panic work on red hair Overall, I’m really happy with these results. I’m not mourning the loss of my platinum quite as much as I was before. I’m thinking this color scheme is going to become my signature look for awhile.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

  • Your hair looks like a fiery sunset and it’s amazing!

  • brandy108

    If you haven’t already, try something other than Manic Panic, you’ll be glad you did. Ion’s colors are good, I personally love Special Effects, I have to order it but you may be able to find it in shops near you (but it sounds like with mark up it may be cheaper just to order it from Amazon, some sellers offer free shipping.) It lasts longer, the color is more vibrant, and it’s more even. Virgin Rose starts out a plum purple but in a week fades to a wonderful pink and lasts for months. It will get you through until you trim it all off before you need to redo it, I’d almost wager. Cherry Bomb and Atomic Pink are both nice. Cherry Bomb is darker, like Strawberry Shortcake. Atomic Pink is like a bright pink but it fades fast with a orangey tone when it does, but it is bright pink until then. They have a wide palette to choose from available though. The picture is Virgin Rose, Cherry Bomb, and Atomic Pink used together in some capacity several months prior. This is undiluted, straight out of the bottle, so if you wanted a lighter shade, you could always use the conditioner method, plain Suave coconut conditioner is best as it doesn’t have any silicone products in it.

  • Delaney

    If you want good coloring get Arctic Fox Hair dye. It’s really good and if you want pastel coloring they have a special dye that lightens the color to any extent you’d like

  • Delaney

    Or get Color rewind. (:

  • Allison

    I tried the Pretty Flamingo on my darker blonde hair hoping for pretty pink tones, but I got about the same result you did. My hair looked slightly pink, but it wasn’t as saturated as I hoped for at all. I used Cleo Rose on most of my hair but wanted Pretty Flamingo high lights. What I got was dark pink hair where the Cleo Rose was, and slightly tinted hair where the Flamingo was.