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How to Dye Your Hair Ariel-Red: A Review of Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Dye in Poison

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Tori loves dying her hair all colors of the rainbow and shares her tutorials with others.



I dye my hair different colors of the rainbow just about every two to three months. When the time came to choose a color, I had plans to cosplay both Ariel the Little Mermaid and Jessica Rabbit: two characters with vibrant red hair. So, I chose Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Poison in order to mirror them.

Supplies You'll Need

This is all the supplies you will need to dye your hair with Arctic Fox's Poison color.

ProductCostWhere to Buy

Arctic Fox Semi-Permanent Hair Dye in Poison, 8 oz


Sally Beauty, Amazon

Arctic Fox Semi Permanent Hair Dye in Poison, 4 oz


Sally Beauty, Amazon

Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener


Sally Beauty

Ion Color Brilliance Sensitive Scalp 20-Volume Developer


Sally Beauty, Amazon

Tint Bowl & Brush


Sally Beauty, Amazon





Step 1: Lighten Your Hair

If your hair is naturally dark or thick, you may have trouble keeping Arctic Fox's line of semi-permanent hair colors in your hair for more than a week or two. It will also be a darker color than what appears in their promotional images or in my own pictures. For best results, you will need to lighten your hair at least a few levels before using Poison on your hair.

If you've read my other articles, you know that for lightening hair, I stand by Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener combined on a 1:1 ratio with Ion Color Brilliance Sensitive Scalp Volume 20 Developer as the perfect product for lightening hair. It is SO easy to use and works quickly with minimal damage.

Because I frequently dye my hair, nowadays I NEVER lighten my whole head since it's been lightened in the past. I only lighten my roots because it prevents more damage from happening. Before dying my hair, I use clarifying shampoo and swimming in a chlorinated pool (I work at one) to get the old color faded to a reasonable level. Then I use the lightener to get my roots.

Need a tutorial on lightening with the Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener, I recommend checking out this tutorial for more details before beginning the process of dying your hair with any of Arctic Fox's semi-permanent colors.

This is what my faded hair looked like a week or two before I lightened my roots and dyed it red.

This is what my faded hair looked like a week or two before I lightened my roots and dyed it red.

Step 2: Apply the Dye

After lightening my hair, I usually give it a day to air dry and rest before applying the dye. I try not to lighten & dye in the same day because it would require me to use a blow dryer, and I don't like applying unnecessary heat until my hair has been properly conditioned by the dye.

When it comes time to dye it, I follow a pretty simple process to make sure my hair is fully saturated.

  1. Section hair into four quadrants and pin back, working on one section at a time.
  2. Wear gloves, & using the tint brush, apply dye to root of your hair.
  3. Use the tip of the tint brush as a parting comb to work your way through the section, applying dye as you go.
  4. Once all of the roots are saturated in that section, use a gloved hand to apply dye and saturate hair all the way to the ends.
  5. Once the section is finished, pin it up and repeat steps 1-4 with the other sections of hair.

If you are a visual person and need to see what this looks like, check out the tutorial below from ElleBangs on youtube.

Scroll to Continue

Step 3: Process & Rinse

After my whole head has been saturated with dye, I like to let it absorb into my hair for around two hours. Most semi-permanent dyes do not contain the harsh chemicals that permanent dyes have, and they also contain conditioning properties. This means the dye ends up acting more like a leave-in conditioner than a traditional dye, and that extends the amount of time you can leave it in and allow the color to absorb.

When it's time to rinse the dye out, stay far, far away from shampoo. Using shampoo will pull out some of the dye, causing uneven color (unless that's the look you're going for). Rinse your hair until the water runoff is clear, and then towel dry.

After towel drying, I will use a blow dryer on a medium heat setting to dry it fully and style like normal.

This color ended up working PERFECTLY for my Jessica Rabbit & Ariel cosplays.

This color ended up working PERFECTLY for my Jessica Rabbit & Ariel cosplays.

Step 4: Maintenance

This color will look vibrant and beautiful for a long time if maintained properly. I kept it for about 10 weeks and it faded beautifully along the way, eventually going all the way back to blonde. I work at a pool & I am a diver, so if I wasn't in the water so much I am confident the color could last longer than 10 weeks. To maintain your color as long as possible:

  • Use only sulfate free shampoo
  • Try to only wash your hair once or twice a week (I wash my hair twice a week due to working at the pool)
  • Use dry shampoo in between washes (my favorite is Batiste Dry Shampoo)
  • Wear a silicone or latex cap any time you find yourself in a body of water that contains salt or chlorine

Here is a progression of how this color faded, beginning from around September 1, 2019 (where it is at its reddest) all the way to around November 11 (where it was basically blonde).

Here is a progression of how this color faded, beginning from around September 1, 2019 (where it is at its reddest) all the way to around November 11 (where it was basically blonde).

Conclusion + Review

Overall, I've been a huge fan of Arctic Fox colors for a long time. This color in particular is one of my favorites that I've ever done. Every color I try from Arctic Fox gets better and better. I would recommend Arctic Fox in Poison for multiple reasons:

  • Its coverage & neutralization of the previous colors I'd had in my hair was nearly perfect - both when I dyed it, and when it came time to dye it again.
  • The fade was gorgeous every step of the way.
  • There are lots of gorgeous red dyes on the market, but this is the truest red I've ever used. It doesn't lean blue or orange - it's perfectly in the middle.
  • As with all Arctic Fox colors, the formula is vegan and cruelty free, and one of the most moisturizing I've ever used.

I only have one gripe after using multiple colors from the Arctic Fox line, and it's that the packaging is not very friendly. Because of the hard plastic, you can't get every bit of dye out, and you lose about a half ounce each time. Additionally, I'd love if the packaging could be a little more eco-friendly - such as being made from recycled plastic, or using sugar cane resin (which is biodegradable) instead of actual plastic.

Overall, I would recommend Arctic Fox to anyone, and I think this color is particularly beautiful.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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