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ATP! Presents: Mariel's Closet (January 2013)

Today we are pleased to unveil the first installment of our new monthly column, from our very own beauty and fashion columnist, Mariel Loveland!

Each month, Mariel will be speaking about DIY fashion, beauty tips and style inspiration. Do you know any totally awesome DIY fashion projects or must-know beauty tips? Drop Mariel an e-mail at and your idea could be featured in next month's column!

I am the worst when it comes to committing to a hairstyle. It's just something I can't do. It took me months to decide to dye my hair for the first time but once I did, I became addicted. Part of what allows me to afford my addiction is doing everything at home. This means that sometimes I forgo salon treatment for multicolored, kind of sloppy dye jobs. Let's just say I still feel the need to apologize to the housekeeper who was left to scrub purple dye off the sheets, towels and bathroom tiles in our hotel at Fest.

Still, color fades so fast, so when my hair finally faded into some bizarre fuchsia color, I decided I wanted something new. I've always wanted dip-dyed hair, and recently it became super trendy and what I believe to socially acceptable in my everyday, not-on-tour-working-at-a-job life. Sort of. I mean, if there was ever a time where blue hair was considered kind of normal, it'd probably be right now. Anyway, I decided to do it at home and you can too. This would normally cost hundreds in a salon, but if you're thinking about doing it at home, you only need to buy a couple things.

First, if you have dark hair like I do, you'll need to get bleach. If you don't buy a hair dying kit that comes with bleach, you can use a blonde highlighting kit instead (they always have that at the drugstore). Don't let the bleach touch your skin like I did. I know that sounds obvious but in the heat of the moment, I got frustrated with gloves and it burned my hands. My hands still don't feel right. Also get hair dye in a cool color. I did blue because the store didn't have turquoise and I wanted dreamy mermaid-esque hair. Don't let this touch your skin either or you'll go to work looking like you murdered a smurf the next day (at least I did). I suggest Manic Panic brand because it fades fast so you don't have to commit to one color for more than a week or two and it causes MUCH less of a mess than most other dyes.

Once you have your bleach, you need to bleach your hair starting with the tips first. Be very careful -- if you've never used bleach before test it on a small patch of skin near your scalp. The chemicals are really strong and could seriously burn you. You don't want to leave bleach on longer than the recommended amount but you need near platinum color to get the brightest, most true color from the dye. To speed the process you can wrap your hair in regular old kitchen tin foil and blow dry it. Heat speeds the process. Make sure to do this in 4 inch sections, so each section of hair is exposed to the heat evenly beneath the tin foil. Keep checking on your hair every 5 minutes or so and once you see the strand start to lighten or turn coppery, put more dye up the strand towards your chin. Only put dye as far as you want your hair to have color. You may find that painting the bleach up your strand with a toothbrush is easier, less messy and creates a better transition. Once you're done, wrap your hair back up in tin foil and blow dry. This allows you to create a smoother transition between the light blonde on the ends of your hair and your natural color.

If your hair is still not at the desired lightness after the maximum time allowance according to the package, stop there. Do a deep conditioning treatment and try to lighten it more next week following the same steps above. I let my hair stay kind of a yellow-ish light brown because I was using blue and wanted turquoise anyway (still this is going to crazy when it fades).

The last step is to add your color. Make sure your hair is clean and completely dry, then follow the directions on the package. When I'm using Manic Panic, I usually leave it on overnight for the brightest possible color. This dye won't damage your hair -- it will actually condition it! Once you've left it on for the desired amount of time, rinse the dye out. To preserve your color, only wash your hair in cold water with color safe shampoo. Yeah that sounds painful, but unless you want to waste your time dying your hair every week (like I do) you'll appreciate colder showers in the long run. Or maybe not. I value excruciatingly hot showers much more.

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