So now that my hair can finally be considered long and I'm suitably employed in a very happy-go-lucky, hippy-dippy, fashion-free-for-all human sciences faculty, I've decided it's time for some fun hair dye! This will be my first time dyeing my hair, and since I've seen a lot of great colourful here around here I thought I'd put some questions here in case to see what you experienced people have to say.

First and foremost: which dye? I'm not in the US so access to brands is somewhat limited: from what I've seen so far the most commonly available international brands are Manic Panic, Punky Colour and Special Effects.

I don't know if these details matter, but in case they do, I'll probably be choosing a darkish shade of blue; my hair is dark brown, thin, somewhat fragile and mixed-race dry & curly (and I've never bleached it before, so that will be a big part of the experience); and since I don't really know how it will react to being bleached and dyed, I'm thinking of dyeing the ends in a sort of dip dye/ombré effect.

So, wise people of GT: any thoughts? Tips? Experiences? Great online tutorials?