Special Effects has been my ultimate favorite dye for alternative coloring. Hot Lava in particular is my favorite. It is THE best bright red I have ever used, and Ive used every brand and color of red. I havent used this color in about 2 years, but Ive decided to go back to it and just snagged the last two bottles today on my lunch break. I use this color on TOP of an auburn red permanent dye. When I apply i use 2 bottles and squirt the contents (to be honest I just take off the cap completely) into a coloring bowl, then I use a brush to apply to my hairline and usually I'll switch to applying with my (gloved!!!) hands. I will leave it on as long as humanly possible. I use a plastic bag and wrap it around my head. After a few hours I will take the bag off and use low heat and re-wrap my head. I do this twice. Be prepared to have your tub and shower look like a murder scene. I do not rinse it until the water runs clear. This dye WILL run every time you wash (use a color care shampoo and conditioner and wash in the coldest water you can stand). I advise to invest in good color care products and use as little heat styling as you possibly can. I will only wash my hair maybe twice a week when I dye it this color and I also suggest finding good dry shampoo's and such for the in-between days. Be careful having your hair touch liht colored fabrics, it will rub. Yes its a giant pain, but as I always say...if you aren't prepared to deal with the consequences of the upkeep of red hair, you might want to consider a differant color. Red is a pain, but for me its well worth it for how amazing this color is. No other brand has ever held a candle to SE.
Hot Lava isn't as neon-bright as other Special Effects reds, but it's my favorite SE color by far. It is a great orange-based red that won't fade to pink like many of Special Effects' other reds; rather, it fades to an orange, then to yellow. I find that it fades at the roots first, which get a yellow-y tinge after a couple washes. I love Special Effects for its staying power and its creme consistency, which makes for less drippage than some other haircolors.
I spent about a year bleaching my hair and dying it Hot Lava about 3 years ago (I was going for the 'Run Lola Run' look and i have to say this is the perfect color). This is a great product. If you're a first time user be sure to use gloves, if the dye gets on your skin it's a huge pain to get off!
Here are some other tips for first timers -
-apply the dye. use gloves! you don't need to really comb or rub it in, just brushing it on works fine. leave it on for about 15 minutes (i had a friend who insisted on leaving it on for half an hour, but honestly after 10 minutes the effects are pretty much the same)
- when you shower this stuff can stain the curtain or tile. my tip is stick your head forward directly under the flow of water and don't lift it until the water is running clear (this takes a while). then, shampoo 3 times and rinse.
warning - since i was dying my whole head i found my hair would leak a little dye no matter how much i shampooed. that means just by sleeping i would rub off dye on my pillow cases and clothes. I think that's pretty much universal with brightly pigmented dyes though so it's just the nature of the beast, be prepared for it!
If you just are putting a few streaks in your hair this stuff is also great. It'll stay vibrant for about 3 weeks then slowly fade to a nice pink.
I will say since it comes in a squeeze bottle it can get a little messy. you might want to get a paint brush to apply it easier and just pour the dye into a bowl.
Special Effects is the ONLY "funky" hair dye brand I will ever use again! I've dyed my hair every color under the sun, with every brand other the sun. My trademark used to be my fiery red hair. This is the only brand that could live up to my expectations. It was also the only dye that didn't fade out after the first few washes. This color, Hot Lava, is gorgeous not to mention the multi tone, metallic highlights! Inside under any lighting or outside in the sunlight, this color is a show stopper. This is also the only hair dye that will actually condition my hair while coloring. This is a MUST when it comes to bleaching your hair before applying color! There's no mixing of harsh chemicals. It has a thick, creamy texture that doesn't drip. I recommend this brand! Definitely worth the $10!
well if you have used special effects before you will most definitely kiss that manic panic goodbye, this a thick, rich cream in a bottle that totally shines through on any color. however i have been an avid user of hot lava for years from special effects. really dyes your hair, stays in a long time the only downfall is all the staining. definitely worth a try if you want ravishing red hair.