(Oh, please—you really didn’t think I meant actual naked streaking, did you?) Change is the name of the game, and you can make fun color changes to your hair using Tish & Snooky’s Manic Panic Flashing Lightning & Hair Color. It’s been years since I colored my hair, that is, not since my disasterous attempt to become a redhead in the 80s….so I decided it was time to go out on a limb and try something different.
Trying this product out requires a real commitment—you first have to deal with the Flash Lightning Kit and then the actual color cream. The Flash Lightning Kit comes with plastic gloves & hat, 1 oz. of bleaching powder, 3 oz. of developer, a mixing tub, and a tint brush. (The plastic gloves & hat are a clue that you’re working with something that you need to be careful with.) I have no problem testing oceans of hair care products, but coloring my hair—even a streak—was scary. Be advised that this color is definitely permanent. Do what I did first—research, and talk with your hairstylist. I took the kit in to show my stylist, Shelly Pryor, and got her take on it. As any good stylist will caution you, be careful. If you have dark hair like mine, the kit recommends you leave the bleaching solution on the hair for anywhere from 40-90 minutes. As Shelly explained, in order for the color to take in dark hair, the idea is to strip the color out first. How light you go is up to your own personal sense of daring, but with dark hair I would definitely err on the short side timewise.
Note: In order to achieve maximum Manic Panic coloring results on medium to dark colored hair you must first apply the Bleach Lightening Kit to pre-lighten. Manic Panic colors applied to medium to dark hair without the Manic Panic pre-lightening step will not achieve the best results in color.
Once you’ve lightened your hair, then you can apply the color. Be advised—if you strip the color out of your hair, the color in your newly-stripped hair will be the color in the jar—turquoise, purple, red, green, etc. As for the color, Manic Panic comes in lots of great colors, and I chose Atomic Turquoise. Why? Why not?
How I Tested Tish & Snooky’s Manic Panic Flashing Lightning & Hair Color
First I tried to avoid using the bleaching kit completely, and just applied the color. Yup—you guessed it, it didn’t take at all. So I committed myself to it, and followed the directions on the Flash Lightning Kit. Here’s where I had some confusion: the outside of the box advises you that your hair should be “dry and unwashed” prior to applying the bleaching solution. But the instructions on the inside of the box tell you that the hair should be “clean and dry.” I decided to go with dry-and-unclean hair.
Another point of confusion is in the actual mixing instructions. The outside of the box advised emptying the full contents of the bleach powder into the mixing tub, while the inside instructions want you to only use a teaspoon of the stuff. I compromised and went halfway with it. After all, I only planned to color a small streak of hair.
You are further advised to use the plastic hat; I didn’t. Since I was only doing a streak, I pulled my hair back off my face with a headband, and combed the area I wanted to color forward. As a precaution to avoid staining my skin, I put petroleum jelly around my hairline and eyebrows. I put on the plastic gloves, made a thin paste with the bleaching powder and the developer, and gingerly applied the bleach (using the tint brush) to the “streak site.” According to the directions, I checked the progress every 10 minutes: I wiped away the mixture with a damp tissue and checked the color. Then I reapplied the solution. This went on for 40 minutes, and I succeeded in lightening the “streak site” to a light blonde. At that point I chickened out—I really didn’t want to completely strip the color.
I immediately got into the shower and shampooed my hair thoroughly. Once towel-dried, I put the headband back in my hair, and pulled forward my newly-blonded streak. Next I used a small brush to stroke in the Atomic Turquoise, then combed it through. I let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinsed it out. As my hair dried, I admired my new turquoise streak—not aggressively turquoise, but actually pretty nice! (Of course that inspired me to lay out all my turquoise jewelry for the next day!)
Manic Panic Flashing Lightning Kit Ingredients
Bleach Powder: ammonium persulfate, sodium silicate, EDTA, xanthum gum, magnesium stearate, hydrolyzed collagen, algin, hydrolyzed silica, and silica.
Developer: water, hydrogen peroxide, phosphoric acid, and tetrasodium pyrophosphate.
Manic Panic Hair Color Cream Ingredients
Water, beeswax, ceterayl alcohol and cetereth-20, mistletoe extract, hops extract, chamomile extract, acetic acid, methylparaben, and may contain one or more of the following: CI Acid Blue 9, CI Acid Green 25, CI Acid Orange 7, CI Acid Red 35, or CI Acid Yellow 3.
The Manic Panic Flash Lightning Kit comes in a very art-deco-looking black box with silver lettering. The Hair Color Cream comes in a clear plastic jar (so you can see the color clearly), with Manic Panic’s trademark black, red, and white label.
This is not for the faint or heart or shaky of hand! Decide before you apply the bleaching compound and color how much hair you want to color, and if you can live with that color for quite a while. It’s semi-permanent, but it will take several shampoos and trims to get rid of it. So be sure—don’t do this as a spur-of-the moment thing!
On my own scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, I give Tish & Snooky’s Manic Panic Flashing Lightning & Hair Color a cautious 7. I was mainly bothered by the fact that the instructions were conflicting in two areas. You really do have to be careful with this stuff. It’s lots of fun to give yourself a change like this, but I wouldn’t advise doing much more than a streak or two at first.