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Manic Panic Vampire Red Hair Dye Review

I've been dying my hair a variety of colors for the past few years. Here I review some of the more interesting dyes I've used.


About a year ago, one of my friends suggested I dye my hair red, which was quickly supported by the rest of my friends. I had wanted to dye it for a while but was having a hard time settling on a color. I thought red was a great idea and went out to buy one of the popular red dyes from Manic Panic. Little did I know at the time that the "permanent" in semi-permanent would be a sign for the months to come!

Dying My Hair

My hair-dying method is a bit unorthodox. Instead of using dye brushes, I put on disposable gloves and use my hands to apply the dye directly to my hair. It's a bit messier, but I find it easier to get to all of my hair with this method. After I was done, I waited about 40 minutes before I decided to rinse it off.

The shower quickly turned into a bloodbath! I turned the water temperature all the way down to freezing, but even then, red dye was coming out of my hair in buckets. It stained parts of the bathtub a pink color, which I was able to scrub off afterward. I waited under the showerhead for over 20 minutes, and still, red was coming out of my hair. Eventually, the water started running clear.

I let my hair air dry and took a look at the results a few hours later. I was expecting my hair to be much redder and thought I had washed all of the dye out! It was getting late, so I decided to go to sleep and evaluate my hair again the next day.

The Next Morning

The first thing I noticed upon waking up was that, the horror of horrors, I had stained my pillowcase! I hadn't had that problem before with other dye colors, but in retrospect, I probably should have slept with a towel under my head.

The color was much better than what I remembered from the night before. I have light-ish hair, which used to be a pretty solid blonde but is now slowly turning brown. But it's still light enough to dye without bleaching it first, which does mean that colors show up a little more darkly on my hair. This means that the Vampire Red dye was a slightly darker tone on my hair, but still pretty red. I was happy with the results!

The Next Few Months

You know how on the listing for Vampire Red, the informational section predicts that the color will last 4–6 weeks? Quite the contrary!

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By my best guess, I would say that the dye lasted 6 months. That's not to mention the months after that where my hair was still tinged a reddish-pink color!

I was happy at first that the color was holding and that I wouldn't have to redye it anytime soon, but then gradually became irritated that I couldn't get the red out of my hair. The strongest reds faded after a few weeks, but the red itself stayed in my hair for a long, long time, but at more of a pink color than the red I wanted.

I got tired of the faded red, especially as I wanted to dye my hair another color. I scoured the internet for clues and found a variety of websites and forums where other people complained about the longevity of the Vampire Red dye. In many places, I found the same suggestion: Dandruff shampoo and baking soda.

Dandruff Shampoo and Baking Soda: Does It Really Strip Dyed Hair Color?

I was glad to have seemingly found a solution to my problem, so I went out and got a bottle of Head & Shoulders and some baking soda. Everyone seemed to have a different opinion on the ratio, so I just poured some of both into my hand while I was in the shower and mixed them together. I then massaged it into my hair and left it for about 15 minutes, and then rinsed it out. Afterward, I used conditioner in an attempt to keep my hair healthy.

A few hours after the shower, when my hair was finished air drying, I was disappointed to discover that it hadn't done much at all. Most people had reported that it had at least lifted the color somewhat, but my red tones hadn't budged an inch.

Every day after that, I kept trying. I tried out different ratios of shampoo to baking soda, leaving it in for longer before rinsing, applying it multiple times in the same day, but to no end. The red simply refused to go. After a few weeks of no results, I gave up.

The Aftermath

In the end, I simply had to wait for the red to fade naturally, which it did, months and months after I first applied it. Towards the end, the light red tones looked pretty cool in my hair, but it wasn't really worth the months of a more pinkish color that I didn't really want.

Maybe the dandruff shampoo and baking soda trick works for other people, but for me, it probably just ruined my hair health without bringing about any results. Perhaps it works better on less intense hair dyes.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about Vampire Red. It looks pretty great when you first apply it, but then you're locked into whatever colors it fades to since it's so hard to get rid of without getting it professionally removed. It's good if you want a long-lasting dye; however, it didn't really work out for me since I like the dependability of being able to change my hair color every so often. Ultimately, it's a fine dye, but I'll be looking into other reds if I choose to dye my hair that color again anytime soon.

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