This photo features Danielle's hair with her hand in it. The hair is white and purple but features a darkened filter. The photo has a pink border with the text, "albinism, platinum hair, and dye: Part One: My journey" in the center
Albinism,  Everyday Life,  Hair & Beauty

Albinism, Platinum Hair, and Dye, Part One: My Journey (with Photos)

As a person with albinism or an albino as most people are familiar with hearing, I have faced a lot of challenges with my vision, photophobia, and other albinism related traits. Despite those struggles, albinism has given me one gift that I have come to truly enjoy. I have white hair. Without any pigment in my hair, I can end up a bit washed out (read: extremely white) in photos, so over the years I have experimented with various hair dyes and dye patterns. I’m going to share some of those with you along with photos and my personal tips and tricks learned from both experience and time spent with hairdressers.

My Dye History

I have had so many different hair colors and styles throughout my life, and I have enjoyed each and every one of them for various reasons. So, here we go. I’ll apologize in advance, because there are a ridiculous amount of photos of me in this post. Some of them are quite old and not very good quality.

The Blues

Danielle with bright blue hair

My very first experience with hair dye was a horrid pink that I did while I was in high school. I couldn’t find a photo of that one, but this is my second go at hair color. This is a color from Manic Panic, which is a company I have loved over the years. I think the shade was Bad Boy Blue, but I’m not positive.

For this odd pattern, I put rubber bands in the ends of my hair as a marker for where to stop. I had no idea I was dying this much of my hair, but I enjoyed the look nonetheless. It’s a beautiful color, but it quickly faded to a more turquoise green color. You can see in the photo that I was straightening my hair. This was a recent skill I adopted during my late high school years.

My Once Signature Look

Danielle with black dye in the underside of her hair

I was very into this sleek black look in the underside of my hair. I kept this style for several years. I felt like it really added more color to my face rather than leaving me looking very washed out. For the first year, I wore it mostly straightened.

This color was almost always done by a professional. Sometimes that happened in a hair salon, and sometimes my aunt, who happens to be a barber, would do it for me. I have touched up the roots in the front myself, but it always felt a bit like tempting fate when I would do this. I definitely have ended up with black drips on my face more times than I can count.

An Oops Along the Way

An odd mix of natural, black, and bleached black dyes.

This is a perfect example of what happens when you try and “fix” something that didn’t quite turn out how you expected. I had the black highlights put in and felt that it was too much black. So, I had some of the black bleached. Huge mistake. I ended up with these brownish orange-y colors mixed in. When a dark color is bleached, it often leaves behind an orange-y hue. Just keep that in mind. It certainly wasn’t my finest work.

Embracing the Short Cut

Back to black in the underside of my hair, worn several different ways.

Here, I went for a very short haircut. I absolutely loved having short hair! I went back to the black in the bottom layer rather than the chunky highlights. Ignore the less than quality eye makeup in some of these. I was experimenting. I discovered I did not like black liner and mascara after a while.

The messy styles were accomplished with hair wax by the way.

A few colors I’ve had paired with the black over the years

I’ve added some fun colors along with the black over the years. Pink, purple, and red shades have definitely been my favorites.

Red and black faux-hawk

This color is one of my favorites. This red color was weaved into my hair. I loved this faux-hawk cut as well. This color was paired with some type of color enhancer. It certainly made this red very vibrant, but it didn’t keep it from fading quickly.

Halloween Fun that Lasted Way Too Long

My hair with black, blue (originally purple), and green in it.

This dye job was inspired by the Joker. I dyed it on a whim to dress as Joke for Halloween. It made for an excellent costume. The black was in the process of growing out. The purple and green were both Manic Panic colors. I believe they were Ultra Violet and Electric Lizard. I essentially parted my hair and convinced my boyfriend to paint on the hair dye for me. He did an excellent job honestly.

The purple faded to blue in a day or two and gradually faded out beautifully. The green, however, faded to a yellow-green and lasted for months. The next photos are the result of trying to cover the remaining green.

Growing Out the Green

The growing out process took quite a while

At this point in my life, I had decided to grow all of the dye out of my hair to prepare for job applications and interviews. These four pictures show that progression. The top left photo is an attempt to cover the remaining green color that refused to fade out completely. Needless to say, I won’t be doing any more greens.

Sun, Sand, and Salt

Salmon colored dye before and after a beach trip

This fun salmon color was done right before a trip to the beach. I loved this color. It was an Arctic Fox color. Salt water and sun were not kind to this temporary dye. It lasted a week or two at the most. I’ll talk more about how to prevent this from happening to you in part two of this post.

I’ll Take that in Rose Gold

Rose gold hair color

So, I couldn’t stop dying my hair. I went into a salon and requested rose gold and came out with this color. I absolutely loved this one. I was in the process of learning how to treat my naturally curly hair during this photo and the previous two photos. The second one is a particularly awesome hair day.

My Hair Currently

My current purple hair color, three months after getting it done

I recently had the ends of my hair dyed with two different purples: a darker purple on the tips that fades into a lighter purple which fades into my natural platinum color. I have had this color for three months, which is quite an accomplishment for demi-permanent and semi-permanent hair colors.

So, how have I made it last this time? Purple is one of the colors that usually fades quickly. Purple, blue, red, and really anything with red in it will fade quickly in most cases. But here I am three months later with purple hair color that has faded very little over the past three months.

I give all the credit to the curly girl method. Put simply, the curly girl method is about taking care of your hair with less chemicals and keeping it healthy and moisturized. So, I use sulfate and phthalate free shampoos, silicone free conditioners and styling products, no heat styling, and I take care of my hair and scalp without over-washing, which can dry out certain hair types. It’s definitely been a process to learn which products and techniques work well for me, and I’m still learning to be honest. It has been a joy wearing my hair curly for the past year or so. Hair dye doesn’t really fit into the curly girl method, but my hair doesn’t require bleach, so I went for it anyway. I haven’t put any permanent dye with developer into my hair in over a year.

My Hair Dye Recommendations

I’ve definitely had some fun with my hair over the years, but I’ve also learned a lot about caring for my hair and using hair dye. I’m certainly no expert or hair professional though, so I always recommend you go visit a salon before trying hair dye yourself.

Look out next week for a whole list of recommendations for healthy hair and helping your dyed hair last!

Stay Curious.

I have Albinism and am legally blind. I have a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I'm currently pursuing my passion of writing through this blog and for the Albinism InSight magazine.