How I Went from Dark Brown to Pastel Hair

I decided that I was not going to be willing to keep paying salon prices for something I could DIY. To be clear, I do not recommend bleaching your own hair. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t be like me and watch 5 YouTube videos then consider yourself an expert.

The thing is I have Trichoillomania (a compulsive hair pulling disorder), so my hair is already a mess. All the warnings about trying to bleach your own hair and accidentally chemically burning it all off and causing damage and breakage? That doesn’t scare me. As someone who has already made peace with the fact that someday I might need to go back to a pixie cut or just shave my head from all the damage I’ve caused, chemically damaging my hair is a risk I am more than willing to take. Another reason I prefer doing my own hair… I may be pretty open about the Trich stuff online, but that doesn’t mean I want anyone else touching my hair and seeing all of the thin patches and short regrowth.

  • Living with Trich, Part 1
  • Living with Trich, Part 2

Over the next few weeks after the highlights, I added a few more chunky highlights to my hair to add some more drama. Finally I decided fuck it, I’m bleaching my whole head.

I had to go through some awkward color stages. (For those who don’t know, you can only bleach so many levels of color out of dark hair in one process. And it’s good to give hair a rest before bleaching it again. There’s an excellent post on The Wonder Forest about bleaching your hair at home.) When my hair still had lots of brassy yellow tones, I went with more vibrant, warm pinky purple colors because they covered up any brassiness. Now that my hair is bleached to pretty much a Level 10 (except for a few pieces I’ve missed because oops) I have the freedom to play around with really pale pastel tones.

5 Things Every Girl Should Know Before Dyeing Her Hair Pastel

It’s not that we easily give in to sartorial peer pressure, but when it comes to trying out brand-new trends, you’ll find us hard pressed to say no. And so, since it feels like literally everyone is coloring their hair a pastel hue, from former Disney stars, including Miley at the Met Gala, to those hate-to-love-’em Kardashians, it’s almost too easy to imagine our tresses through a candy colored filter. But getting the soft-hued look — and keeping that delicate color in tact — isn’t as effortless as your Instagram faves make it out to be.

For the 411 on all things pastel hair, we turned to Anha Durakovic, SF-based hairstylist and the creative mind behind the temporary pastel conditioner brand Tinge. With 16 years of hairdressing under her belt, four of those spent running Tinge with her boyfriend Zach Bruce, Anha knows the ins and outs of turning your locks into a full-on unicorn mane. Before you step into the salon or DIY, read up on these five things you should know before joining the ranks of the pastel pretties.

1. Work Your Way to All-Over Color: You’ve seen the buzz over celebs who’ve taken the pastel plunge with their full heads of hair. It’s insane. On top of the obvious head turning such a transformation might cause, going straight to an overall color, especially for girls with virgin hair (hair that has never been colored), can be an incredibly emotional (and expensive) experience. Anha recommends that first-timers dip their toes into the trend, “Start with a peekaboo piece. Like doing a chunk underneath or a chunk on the side or a streak in the front or in the bangs,” she says. “I’m almost 100 percent successful at talking someone who’s curious into doing a piece or just a few pieces that she can place in the interior of the hair. It’s low maintenance. You don’t ever have to touch it up if it’s underneath because you never really see the roots. And then , you can just play with that piece of hair over and over again with different colors.”

2. Start With a Bleached Base for Best Results: Bad news for dark-haired girls, and even you brondes out there: going pastel is much more of a commitment for you. The process doesn’t just include picking your favorite shade and slapping it on your mane. You have to bleach your locks first to get the brightest version of the color you love. “The hair has to be porous . When you bleach the hair, you’re removing the color molecules that are already in the hair so that you can actually deposit the color,” she said. Ahna recommends the color-stripping treatment for everyone except those lucky few with virgin blonde hair, which is is naturally porous.

3. The Color You See Isn’t the Color You’ll Get: Remember that whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing? The same applies to the color of hair dye formulas, pastel or otherwise. “ will be much lighter than what you see in the container,” she says. “It takes a lot of color molecules to make the hair dark, so the appears darker in the container.” If you’re DIY-ing your hair, be sure you peep a hair swatch to make sure you’re actually buying (and dyeing) your dream hue. If you’re seeing a colorist, make sure you’re specific about what shade you want as your end color — and don’t freak out when you see them slop on a deeper-looking dye.

4. Rethink Your Haircare Routine: Dyed hair has different needs than your au natural locks. So the hair products you use will change along with the hue of your hair. That’s especially true for shampoo, which can make or break your freshly dyed color. “Using a good sulfate-free shampoo is gonna keep the color longer,” she said. Even with a standup color-protecting shampoo in your shower caddy, your color will fade more and more with each wash, so try spacing out your shampoo schedule as much as possible to keep that color vibrant (remember, dry shampoo is your friend!).

5. Upkeep Ain’t Easy: It’s inevitable: you’ll only look like a bubblegum head for so long before your color starts to fade. That’s fine for those who embrace the resulting smokier tone and growing roots, but for those looking for consistent color, upkeep ain’t easy. “If some people wash their hair once or twice a week, they could go to the salon every two weeks to get ,” she said. If you wash your hair more aggressively, that could lead to a once-a-week stylist visit, which, from experience, can burn a serious hole in your schedule and wallet. To curb the effort, you could bleach a smaller, more manageable portion of your hair, like a classic ombre, and color just that lower portion. This is especially where DIY-ing the look becomes a bit of a godsend. To keep a temporary or semi-permanent hair dye like Tinge vibrant, you can typically apply more color to your hair with every other wash. Once again, DIY FTW!

What hair care questions do you have, about going pastel, chopping off your locks or anything else? Tell us in the comments below.

(Photos via Tinge)

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Good news for all the brunettes of the world staring enviably at anyone who has pastel dipped, highlighted, or dyed hair. Those with blonde, platinum, or lighter locks aren’t the only ones who can experience this whimsical hair color trend for themselves. Yes, it is a good day, indeed, because pastel hair dye for dark hair is a thing and totally achievable.

But to answer the question that’s still on your mind (if you want to know how to dye dark hair pastel), in order to try out fun colors like lavender, pink, blue, and green, you DO have to use bleach. Bleaching your hair isn’t something to take lightly either, so the fear of using this ingredient to go from a dark hue or brunette to pastel at home is understood. So how do you even begin this process? For the first time, head to a salon and consult an expert.

Zoe Wiepert, lead colorist at Bumble and Bumble Salon in New York City, explains that this is an important step to ensure that your hair has been bleached to the right point where your hair color has been properly lifted. Brunette or dark hair takes an especially long time to lift, as the layers of the pigment need to be “peeled back” to get the hair to the place where pastel dye will actually show up. Blondes have less pigment to essentially “peel back,” which is why it’s easier for them to go pastel.

“Think of it like a tree trunk with different rings, that’s like the follicles of your hair. For dark hair, it takes longer to lift because you’re going through more pigment ‘rings,’” says Wiepert.

If you want a red or a violet tone pastel look, Wiepert explains that the hair needs to be bleached to a marigold, yellow tone, while those looking for a pastel blue need to bleach their hair until it’s the hue of the inside of a banana peel.

The health of the hair before the bleach and dye also plays a big part in the results you see. “It’s important that it’s in good condition when you start off. If it’s a dry and damaged brunette, your start will be rough.”

To get the color in the look pictured above, Wiepert took Manic Panic Shocking Blue & Violet Night mixed with Manic Panic’s Pastel-izer, teasing the hair at the top before adding the color in to make sure it didn’t appear too chunky.

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While it’s important to visit a salon for the first time, touching it up at home isn’t impossible. “An easy way to touch it up is to take sections, starting at the back of the head in triangles, which helps it to be more seamless. Teasing the hair first helps you get a softer line. Apply bleach in a “V” shape as well, even after teasing the hair,” she says.

When you’re mixing the color, Wiepert says you should add tiny bits into a bowl slowly to ensure you get the exact hue you’re looking for. “Mix in small doses—you can always add more but you can’t take away,” she says.

The sections in the front should be thin and teased before color is added in to avoid that chunky look. Wiepert also says your hands should be clean when you’re sectioning off the hair. When you rub the color on your hair with your hands, the heat from your hands will help soak in the color to your cuticle.

Since applying bleach is usually rather damaging and drying to the hair, you’ll want to use masks and products that can replenish and hydrate your hair on a regular basis. “Use Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdressers Invisible Oil and Quenching Complex mid-shaft to ends every day for healthy ends,” says Wiepert. Another alternative is using raw coconut oil in your hair, too.

MORE: Pastel Hair: Everything You Need to Know About the Trend

What No One Tells You About Going Pastel

I’ve always had very dark hair, my brunette is so rich it’s almost black, in fact. There’s never been much I could do with it. As a teen, I’d see friends with sun-bleached hair and I’d be so jealous. I was so keen to experiment with highlights and going lighter in general, but the few times I DID try it, my hair just went a really unflattering orange/brassy shade. I’d ask hairdressers to make it lighter to get away from that brassiness, and they’d just tell me it would damage my hair too much with all the bleaching involved.

When I heard about Olaplex, and how it allowed you to lighten your hair without the damage element, I was keen to finally do something to my boring, dark brown hair I’d had my whole life. I wanted to go pastel pink. And the first thing you need to know, if you didn’t already, is that to go pastel from brunette and have it be full pastel, is you need to go blonde first. I did my research, learnt about how Olaplex worked and all of that. But it wasn’t until I saw someone with the same deep brunette as me – Kim Kardashian – go to platinum with the treatment that I felt game to try it.

Calling in the professionals

I had three top colourists do my hair. This wasn’t a job done by anyone inexperienced! They had to do two complete scalp bleaches in one day, and then a third the following day. News flash: going blonde is not a one step thing – it takes WORK, a lot of time in the hairdressers chair, and endless patience. But it was worth it, at least at first – the Olaplex did work, my hair felt in great condition. It was shiny, thick, healthy and felt great. And it was SO PINK. I was so happy.

And then, a month later, two things happened. First – I learnt Kim Kardashian had totally lied. She hadn’t bleached her hair. She had only bleached the hairline – the rest was a wig, and once she got over the platinum thing, went straight back to her brunette with no damage at all. And second – my hair quality started to wane. It started to get really dry, and felt like it had lost its weight. The brittleness could best be described as like cotton wool.

After three months I had the rudest shock of my life. News flash – pastel pink is ridiculously hard to maintain, one wash and the colour is nearly gone so you have to constantly top it up. So I let it fade out to blonde. I was travelling in New York when chunks of hair literally began snapping off around my face. My hair had started to turn into an unintentional mullet instead of a lob. It was terrible – I started to cry. I made an emergency trip to a hairdresser, and the only solution was to cut it really short to try and even out the lengths.

Going the chop

When I got back to Sydney, my hairdresser stressed it would be best for me to go back to brown, to try and improve the condition of my hair. But it didn’t work – over the next few months, more and more chunks were snapping off, until eventually everything that had once been bleached had entirely snapped away. I literally had a two inch fringe – around my head. It was fried!! The only way I looked OK was to have a head full of tape-in extensions at all times, to get even length and hide the mullet. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen me with a new fringe in February – that CUT ITSELF. It was literally just snapped off hair, so my hairdresser just tidied it up a bit to make it look intentional.

Recovery has been a long, long process. Going back to brown did improve the condition a bit, and I used treatments religiously every wash, to prevent further damage. But at the end of the day there wasn’t much I could do. You can’t “heal” damaged hair – you can only wait for healthy hair to grow back through, and protect the damaged strands with treatments and minimal heat so they don’t get any worse.

I do want to go back to Olaplex for a minute. It is, honestly, such a good product. It wasn’t the Olaplex that destroyed my hair! In fact, if I had tried the bleaching process without it I honestly think my hair would have entirely snapped off there and then, in the hairdressers chair. I used Olaplex, which is actually a hair treatment in and of itself if you use it without colour products, as my treatment to protect my hair from further damage during the recovery process, and it really does work wonders.

The final look

My hair now is mainly all mine. I only wear two clip-in extensions on either side of my face, because there are still some mullet-y bits there from damage. But it’s been a bloody long road.

Would I do it all again? Maybe. I do wonder if someone had warned me, if I would still go through it just because I was so keen to get a dramatic hair change out of my system. But I also should have appreciated my healthy, glossy hair. Subtle lightening is fine, but such a dramatic change ended up being a disaster. If you’re thinking of making a dramatic change like I did, I’m definitely not saying don’t do it. The lighter your natural hair colour is, the less chance you’ll have the kind of damage I ended up with. But naturally dark-haired girls… really think about it seriously first. Are you willing to risk 18 months of bad hair if it ends up damaged like mine did?

Bonnie Gillies is Editor and Creator of Oz Beauty Expert.

Inside the crazy trend of beauty bloggers applying 100 layers of makeup

Inside the crazy trend of beauty bloggers applying 100 layers of makeup

30 Pastel Hair Colors Ideas & Cool Ways to Wear Them

Unicorn hair. Mermaid hair. Cotton candy hair. No matter what label you stick on it, the essence remains the same: pastel hair colors have conquered any and all trends these past years. We don’t even need to explain why. Just one look at a pastel hair job and you’ll be swooning in seconds.

Today, we’re happy to be your personal guide in the whimsical world of pastel hair colors. We’ll show you the prettiest bubblegum shades in all the land, spanning all colors of the rainbow.

Even more, we’ve reserved a special section in our guide for tips, tricks, and everything you need to know before you start to transform your tresses. Ready, set, pastel, go!

1. Red Pastel Hair Color Ideas

We’ll start things off with a selection of warm pastel hair colors. Arguably, the richest tone in the category is red. A slightly washed out reddish pastel is a dream come true for alternative girls.

We particularly recommend the shade for women with green or blue eyes. The combination creates a powerful and captivating contrast.

2. Pastel Pink Hair Colors

As far as popularity is concerned, pastel pink has definitely stolen the spotlight. A feminine and graceful tone, anything remotely close to light pink is a popping choice.

You can choose any specific shade on the pink spectrum, from an ashy rose to cotton candy. The girly pastel seems to look outstanding on women of all kinds, regardless of their particular features.

3. Orange Light Pastel Hair Colors

Are you the type of girl who always carries the spirit of summer in her heart? Then an orange pastel hair color will do your personality justice!

It’s the best choice for outgoing women who always love to look on the bright side. You can make your pastel orange more intense or washed out, as preferred. We’re sure the results will be breathtaking all the same.

4. Golden Pastel Hair Colors

We’re all for unconventional hair colors. At the same time, we’d be lying if we were to say they’re for everyone. Some girls feel and look like absolute queens when rocking natural hair tones.

Therefore, we’ve sprinkled in some low key pastel ideas for them too. If you want something that’s more wearable on a day to day basis, try a honey golden pastel shade.

5. Rose Gold Pastel Hair Colors

Another trend that has taken the world of aesthetics by storm is rose gold. From makeup and nails to jewelry and even smartphones, rose gold is the picture-perfect tone we’ve all been waiting for.

As a hair color, it brings a discrete metallic sheen to the classic strawberry blonde. It’s a chic, trendy, and sensational pastel hair color choice.

6. Champagne Pink Pastel Hair Color Ideas

While we’re at metallic shades, we have to bring champagne pink into the conversation. Even though it comes in quite close to rose gold, it leans far more towards the platinum side.

Pink is used as an ever so gentle tint for a feminine touch. The resulting rosy blonde is to die for, even more so if you’re looking for a balanced yet distinctive shade.

7. Yellow Pastel Hair Colors

Want to take a walk on the wild side? Then dare to try out a neon and pastel yellow hue. Of course, you can choose to go in a single direction, but the combination is visually delicious.

Start with a vibrant sunflower yellow at the base and move towards a paler tone as you slip to the ends. The tasteful balayage will impress everyone!

8. Neon Pastel Green Hair Colors

If you’re into the whole neon wave, we have yet another pastel-like mix for you to consider. Neon green has made its way to the top of the charts as a massive trend these past few years.

Just like rose gold, it’s become an aesthetic staple in countless areas. As a hair color, neon pastel green will make you stand out from the crowd in a fun and creative way.

9. Mint Pastel Green Hair Colors

Are you more of a wistful soul? Shroud yourself in romance with a deep mint green hair color. While it retains the playfulness associated with pastels, mint green also has a dark and mysterious vibe. As a result, you’ll get the best of both worlds!

For a more vibrant alternative, we recommend seeing all the ways you can rock teal hair color too!

10. Pastel Mermaid Hair

Even though mermaid hair comes in all sorts of forms, a blue-green pastel tone will get you as close to the ocean as possible. The subtle color mix is superb, particularly when you turn things up a notch and slide into the realm of saturation.

11. Pastel Blue Hair Colors

Our next series of beautiful pastel hair colors all revolve around blue. First off, we have a medium baby blue that will send your mind straight to a cloudless sky. It’s an adventurous idea, but one that you’ll also be proud to wear no matter the season.

For some more blue love, don’t hesitate to take a look at our top of the coolest (pun intended) shades of ombre blue.

12. Steel Blue Pastel Hair Colors

On the other hand, you might be searching for something even more on the pastel side. For that, we lovingly recommend a pale steel blue shade. It has equal tints of blue and gray to get the ultimate icy combination.

The outcome suits a wide range of skin tones, depending on whether you want to match a fairer complexion or complement a darker one.

13. Navy Pastel Hair Colors

What if you were to pair polar opposites by using navy and silvery-white? You’d obtain a brilliant contrast for a unique blue pastel hairstyle.

Using highlights or balayage as the go-to coloring technique, a stylist can help you express your creativity and get your hair to artwork level.

14. Pastel Purple Hair Colors

Are you caught between warm and cool pastel shades? If pink is just a bit too girly for you but blue doesn’t hit the mark either, try any type of purple. When you tweak it to a pastel, purple becomes one of the most marvelous hair colors of all.

If you’re hopelessly in love with the color family, we’ve got not one but two treats for you. Discover our comprehensive collections of lavender hair and purple hair ideas.

15. Steel Pastel Purple Hair Colors

Throw in some silver into any pastel hair colors and you’ll have a flawless edgy version. Take purple, for example. Tone it down with a dash of gray and you’ll get a gothic result that’s still as pretty as ever.

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16. Ash Brown Hair Colors

We’re back with a few more options for neutral pastel hair colors. If you want to seize the essence of earth tones and still be on-trend, ash brown is the solution you’ve been seeking.

Owing to its brown and gray foundation, it won’t come across as audacious. We encourage you to try it out if you want a natural approach to your pastel hairstyle.

17. Ash Blonde Hair Colors

Alternatively, you can go a few shades lighter with an ash blonde hair color. The hue is just as stylish as its brown counterpart, not to mention that it’s more on the pastel side. No matter what eye color, skin tone, or hair texture you have, ash blonde is bound to complement your definitive features.

18. Brown Pastel Hair Colors

Perhaps you like the idea of a natural tone pastel but you’re not that into gray tones. Well, in this case, we want to point you in the direction of brown pastel.

Although the base is clearly a rich, chocolatey brown, it has a good amount of pale purple undertones. It’s the most suitable idea for women who desire a slightly washed out coffee color hairstyle.

19. Pastel Gray Hair Color Ideas

Switching sides, we have an idea for girls who want exactly the opposite. If you take the granny hair trend and lighten it until you reach pastel perfection, you’ll have a gorgeous silver tone.

All the same, keep in mind that hairstylists around the world have classified gray as one of the most challenging hair colors to obtain and maintain.

20. Rainbow Highlights Light Pastel Hair Colors

Somewhere over the rainbow… you’ll find a multicolor pastel hairstyle that will take your breath away. When people talk about unicorn or opal hair, the photo above is what they have in mind most of the time.

The pastel shades are beautifully interwoven with steel white highlights to create a dreamy yet edgy hairstyle.

21. Rainbow Ombre Pastel Hair Color Ideas

On the other hand, you can keep the central idea and try a different technique. Instead of individually colored strands of hair, you can get a glamorous gradient with a pastel rainbow ombre.

If you want to add more colors, simply make the sections narrower. Conversely, create wider sections for a limited pastel palette.

22. Bubblegum Pastel Colors

Still, you might not want to go overboard with your pastel hair colors. At the same time, there’s a good chance you are into using one solid color either.

Meet them halfway with an enchanting double tone pastel hairstyle. If you’re into that cotton candy bubblegum approach, sport a baby blue base and use light pink for the rest.

23. Contrasting Pastel Colors

Traditionally, green and red are the representative colors for anything related to Christmas. But seeing how we love to break boundaries and challenge stereotypes, we invite you to put your personal twist on the concept.

How? Lighten the tones and use them for one of the most creative half and half color hairstyles. Tis the season to be jolly – every day of the year!

24. Coral and Silver Pastel Hair Colors

As an alternative, you can test coral and silver as a combination. We especially recommend the idea for women who are into the gray hair trend but want to customize it in one way or another.

As a secondary color, pastel coral will brighten your hairstyle. Simultaneously gray will tone down the potentially overpowering intensity of the coral. Win-win.

25. Complementary Pastel Colors

We’re going back to school for this one, specifically, to art class. Make the most of your color theory smarts and be bold with complementary colors.

The green and magenta tones shown above are just an option. You can also toy around with red and aqua or yellow and blue as complementary combos.

26. Citrus Fresh Pastel Hair Colors

What if you’d rather follow a certain theme for your dual hairstyle? One way to go is with a citrus fresh palette.

You can take any shade from yellow or orange to green or turquoise and attain a charming and summery mixture. We also encourage you to keep the neon pastel approach in mind in terms of intensity.

27. Frosty Pastel Colors

More of a cool girl when it comes to color temperature? Exchange summer for winter as your main source of pastel inspiration. With a well-executed balayage, your tones can flow from darker blue to silver, with subtle purple undertones to boot.

28. Warm Pastel Hair Colors

However, if you’re all about showing off your spicy inner diva, fiery tones might be the best for you. Choose a warm pastels palette, with shades that range from peachy orange to sparkling rose or hot pink.

29. Subtle Pastel Hair Ideas

Whether you’re not ready to make the transition to a full head of pastel hair or you just don’t want to, you can pair the candy tone with your natural color. For instance, let’s say your locks are naturally blonde. Lavender tips will complement them in a lovely way.

30. White Hair with Pastel Tint

Finally, you can use any type of pastel as a subtle tint for your main hair color. Nevertheless, do keep in mind that you need a light base for the pastel tint to be visible. Any blonde shade will work, with platinum white as the most effective option.

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Top Tips for Pastel Hair Colors

It’s all very well so far, but pastel hair colors inspiration isn’t enough. As opposed to almost any other category of dye, pastels are highly delicate to work with.

You have to keep a variety of factors in mind, from your natural color to the maintenance, damage, and investment that come with this look change. Before you start living out your soft-hued dreams, see what the real deal with pastel hair colors is.

1. Pastels Will Pass

First of all, you need to lower your expectations regarding how long your pastel masterpiece will last. We hate to burst your bubble, but those fairytale tones can start fading as fast as three weeks after dyeing.

The girly-girl favorite, pink, is especially prone to washing away in record time. Blue tends to be more enduring, but be prepared for a greenish tint a couple of weeks down the road.

2. Brace Yourself for Bleach

To some extent, dyeing hair pastel is comparable to creating a painting. You need to start with a clean, fresh, white canvas to get the results you’re aiming for.

When applying the principle to tresses, the only solution is regretfully a destructive one – bleach. You need to strip any existing tones to get those candy hues.

3. Dark Locks are Difficult to Pastel

Speaking of which, the task becomes even more challenging for women with darker hair. If your hair is already dyed or you’re a natural brunette, be prepared for a significant amount of bleach.

Almost all hairstylists will agree that bleaching dark locks is a painstaking process as is. Although far from impossible, getting strands from deep to pastel is notably more laborious.

4. Sacrifice Your Schedule

Indeed, obtaining pastel hair can be quicker for some gals than others. However, be ready to block out as much as a full day for the appointment. Just the bleaching part can take up to six hours, particularly if you’re a dark-haired woman.

On top of that, another one to two hours can be required for applying the pastel hair colors. Don’t forget about the additional time needed for washing, drying, and styling.

5. Dish out the Dollars

Pastel hair isn’t only time consuming but also budget consuming. Sure, you can always try getting all that pastel prettiness at home by watching tons of tutorials.

But considering the amount of #bleachfails online, we strongly recommend working with a professional if you want your locks to stay intact. At a reputed salon, a pastel dye job can cost hundreds of dollars. For what it’s worth, the spectacular outcome deserves every cent.

6. Make Room for Maintenance

If you want to retain your gorgeous pastel locks more than a few weeks (and we’re pretty sure you do), prep yourself mentally and financially for regular touch-ups.

In addition, avoid heat and excessive washing like the plague. When you do wash your hair, we recommend using a gentle shampoo that doesn’t have sulfates on the list of ingredients. In between normal washing, you can use dry shampoo, but make sure you don’t overdo that either.

7. Complement Your Complexion

After you’ve seen all the stunning colors you can try, you’re bound to be at a crossroads. If you’re not sure where to start when choosing the most suitable pastel for you, turn towards your features.

For example, you can pick a flattering pastel based on your skin tone. While some pastels look fabulous on women of color, others are terrific for girls with fair skin. The trick is to work with the opposite of your skin’s undertones.

Choosing a Pastel Color Based on Your Skin Tone

Cutest Pastel Hair Colors for Dark Skin

Some of the most jaw-dropping pastel hair colors for dark skin glow with vibrancy. In other words, ladies with darker skin can venture into the universe of neon pastels and jewel tones.

If you have warmer undertones, you can experiment with greens, blues, and purples in various stages of intensity.

Dark skin with cool undertones looks brilliant with bright and saturated shades like magenta or vivid burgundy.

Best Pastel Colors for Fair Skin

As far as pastel colors for fair skin go, the lighter, the better. Just like with a darker complexion, you have to go against your undertones in terms of temperature.

Therefore, a fair-skinned gal with cool undertones can play around with peachy orange and bubblegum pink at their leisure.

On the flip side, warm undertones and fair skin are wonderful for lavender or sky blue pastels.

So, What Is YOUR Hair Motivation?

As a conclusion, you shouldn’t be afraid to try out pastel hair colors. Even though the nuts and bolts can be intimidating, you just need to work with the right colorist to make your pastel fantasy come to life. And be ready for a heart-stopping surprise once the process is complete!

We’ve laid out our final thoughts, but what about yours? If you could choose only one pastel hair color, which would it be? Let us know in a comment so we can discover our readers’ top picks!

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How To Dye Your Hair Pastel Colours

Pastel colours are amongst the hardest hair colours to achieve and maintain but I’m going to share my secrets on how to get that perfect pastel shade!

If you’ve read any of the other articles in my “How to Dye” series you’ll know what I’m about to say. The first step is to bleach your hair to pale blonde… and this time I really mean it. Allow me to explain.

When you dye* your hair you can only add colour. If your hair is dark and you dye over it with a lighter colour like pastel pink it’s not going to do much to your dark hair, so to get a nice pastel shade your hair needs to be as light as the colour you want to achieve.

(* Lightening your hair is a form of bleaching. This relates only to dyeing your hair.)

As well as the light/dark issue you also need to consider the colour of your hair and how it will contribute to the finished shade. If your hair still has a lot of yellow tones after bleaching you’ll find that it impacts on your colour. That gorgeous baby pink colour you were aiming for will become a pale orange when it interacts with the gold tones in your hair.

Here’s a picture to illustrate.
The top band represents your pastel pink hair dye. The second band shows how the dye interacts with your base hair colour. The bottom band represents the base hair colour.

You can see that pastel pink hair dye applied to very pale blonde looks great, on darker blonde it creates a kind of strawberry blonde colour and on darker bases it makes little difference to the colour.

This is the basic principle of achieving pastel hair colour. Get the base colour right and you can have any colour you like.

Step One: Bleaching Your Hair

So I think you get the point. You need to lighten your hair to a pale blonde colour. If you’re not naturally blonde this will mean some kind of bleach. Note: Even if you are naturally pale blonde or white-haired, you may still need to use a permanent hair colour or bleach bath to open up your hair’s cuticles to accept the colour If your hair was previously dyed an unnatural colour, check out our articles on fading your colour for some ideas on achieving a light base.

Bleaching is too large a subject to cover in this article, so read this article on How to Bleach Your Hair or have it done by a professional. Your aim is to achieve an even, light blonde colour without ruining your hair. Do not skimp on the strand and sensitivity tests. They’re an important gauge of whether lightening your hair sufficiently is achievable and whether your hair can handle the chemicals.

When dyeing your hair a pastel shade, it’s more important than usual to ensure your bleach job is even. When you apply the pastel colour it will only draw attention to any unevenness so make sure you examine your hair well in good light to check for dark spots before dyeing it. A black/UV light will show up any inconsistency in colour so if you can, check your hair under one of those. If you find any under-bleached areas apply a small amount of bleach to those areas only, checking regularly until it reaches the same shade as the surrounding hair.

It’s extremely difficult to go from a permanent brown or black to the very light blonde colour needed for pastels. If you bleach your strand test and discover the ends are dark and the roots are light, a great way to get around this is by growing out your old colour and playing with a light-dark ombre effect where you have the pastel colour at your roots and a darker shade towards the ends to cover up the unevenness.

Time to Dye!

After all the hassle of lightening your hair, you’re sure to be itching to colour it! As with everything to do with pastel colours, it’s a bit more difficult than your standard dye job. Since pastels are so delicate, you need to take extra precautions to get the most out of your colour.

If there’s any product build-up in your hair it will become very apparent when you dye your hair with a pale colour. To prepare your hair I recommend you use a pre-colour shampoo or try an anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders. Your hair may feel uncomfortably squeaky-clean now but avoid the urge to use conditioner.

At this point your hair is probably feeling a bit crappy. If you can stand to, blow drying will help open your hair up to take the colour. Otherwise you can skip this step and let it dry naturally.

You’re now ready to colour. Plan to use a lot more colour than you think. When dyeing with pastels you’ll find you need to use quite a lot of dye to ensure good coverage. Take extra care to apply plenty of colour to the ends of your hair and avoid combing the colour through until it’s completely saturated with fresh dye.

Now cover your hair in a shower cap or plastic wrap to prevent it drying out and leave the colour to process for at least an hour (assuming you’re using a direct dye like Special Effects, Manic Panic or Pravana Pastels). You might see the colour darken slightly over time. Don’t worry about that. When your hair is dry it will be at least one shade lighter. Finally rinse and condition!

Photo by Taneisa


Pastel hair requires a lot of upkeep. Plan to dye your hair every 7-10 days depending on how often you wash it. I recommend you use a gentle shampoo for coloured hair. Go for a conditioner with UV filters because pastel hair can quickly turn back to blonde with just a few hours of sun-exposure.

I also recommend you avoid hair treatments that contain protein. Although protein is good for temporarily reconstructing your hair, they also prevent the colour from absorbing properly and with delicate pastel shades this is even more important. Look for “hydrolysed wheat protein”. “keratin” or “silk” in the ingredients and avoid these products.


So now you know how to dye your hair, what shade should you choose?

I like to split pastels into two categories – true pastel shades which are soft and pale and pseudo-pastel shades which have more vibrancy but are generally lighter than the average dye.

True Pastels
Pravana recently released a new line of pastel hair colours. These shades are truly unique, particularly colours like Too Cute Coral, a very pale orange-sorbet colour, and Mystical Mint which is a super light peppermint colour. The line also includes Pretty in Pink – a very soft baby pink colour, Luscious Lavender – a pastel, cool purple and Blissful Blue which is an unusual shade of pale baby blue with no green tones.

Also keeping up with the trend is Crazy Color’s new shades Bubblegum, Candy Floss and my personal favourite Marshmallow. Bubblegum is a gorgeous light blue shade, not warm-toned yet not powder blue either. Candy Floss is a perfect powdery pink colour and Marshmallow is a very pale, warm purple colour.

Photo by glossum

These are shades that are a bit to dark to truly be pastel but they don’t have such intensity as deeper colours. They will usually last a couple of weeks longer than pastels but are still relatively light. Most brands have some colours within this spectrum, usually shades of pink and purple. One stand out colour is Pravana’s Silver. It’s the only truly silver-grey direct dye on the market at the moment and it looks fantastic with dark roots or diluted to make a paler silver shade.

Special Effects Joyride is a long-lasting light purple. It has a lot of pink tones but if you prefer something bluer consider Purple Smoke which I’d describe as a soft cornflower blue.

Directions has a good selection of pseudo-pastel shades. “Pastel Pink(Pastel pink hair colour from Directions)”:“ is pretty unique in that it’s a light pink but with some coral tones. There’s also” Lilac(Pastel bluish purple hair colour by Lariche Directions)”: and Lavender which are quite similar with Lavender having more pink tones and Lilac more blue. Lagoon Blue is probably a bit too dark to be considered pastel but it’s an excellent dye to dilute to create a lighter shade (more on that later). And check out Apricot for a beautiful non-neon yellow.

Manic Panic offers a near-pastel green with Electric Lizard as well as a paler pinkish purple in the form of “Mystic Heather(Mystic Heather is a pastel pink-toned purple hair dye)”:“ By far my favourite Manic Panic colour,” Atomic Turquoise(A light bright blue colour from Manic Panic)”: is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a sky blue hair dye, but to avoid it going green, only use this on very light blonde hair.

For a really lovely pale pink check out Stargazer’s Baby Pink. They also have the shade Purple which as the name suggests is light violet colour.

Photo by” Aodhamair

Mixing Your Own
Still can’t find your perfect shade? Why not mix your own. You can choose any colour and lighten it by mixing it with conditioner or toner. Pravana and Adore offer a clear mixer that you can use to dilute their shades and there’s also the new Manic Panic “Manic Mixer/Pastelizer” which unlike toners is completely free from colour so you can use it lighten yellow without dulling the colour.

Here are a few recipes to try:

Dusky Lavender
1 part Electric Amethyst
1 part Pravana Silver
10 parts conditioner

Crisp Mint
1 part Turquoise
10 parts conditioner

Soft coral
1 part Apricot
1 part Carnation Pink
10 parts conditioner

Mixing your own colour is variable and the intensity of the colour on the type of conditioner you use, so you’ll have to adjust the mix by eye. Generally your dye should be about 2 shades darker than your intended colour but always do a strand test to check the outcome before applying all over.

Enjoy your pastel hair and have fun experimenting with colour! If you liked these photos, have a look at our Pastels Gallery for more inspiration!

Pastel hair has been on the rise for the past several years, and it’s showing no signs of stopping. From pretty purples to bold blues to dramatic pinks, going with a milky bright shade in an unnatural hue is still totally on trend. There have even been a ton of sub-trends incorporating pastels, including underlights, opal hair, and colombre.

Of course, just as with so many beautiful trends, there’s one big thing you should know before going pastel: It’s a truly tough style to maintain. If you’re a low-maintenance beauty lover, it may not be the best pick for you. That said, there are some pro-approved tips that can keep your locks looking their best for as long as possible.

1. Go to a pro for your color.

For my own hair makeover, I headed to Meri Kate O’Connor, senior colorist and educator at Eva Scrivo Salons in New York City, who took me from a scraggly, split-ended rose gold color to a vivid ombre pink that melted magenta into pastel blush shades.

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

This may not be what you want to hear, but going to a pro is so wise when it comes to such a dramatic ‘do. I know this from personal experience, having bleached and colored my hair at home numerous times and — surprise, surprise — damaged it to the point where several inches had to be chopped off.

Since my college hair coloring days, I’ve primarily had my hair done by pros and the difference is astounding. Rather than a messy, uneven dye job, it’s a sleek, healthier style that looks consistent and deliberate. (Have you ever tried to bleach the hair on the back of your head? It’s very, very difficult to do well.) An experienced colorist is going to give you more professional-looking results that are less likely to damage your hair, simple as that.

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

Read reviews about salons in your area and pick one that both fits your budget and is reputable for the services you seek.

2. Choose your shampoo and conditioner wisely — and with assistance.

“Most clients who are new to the world of color-treated hair don’t know the proper way to take care of their color,” explains O’Connor. “Proper aftercare is a must to maintain bright, shiny, vibrant hair.” What constitutes proper haircare? First of all, it doesn’t involve playing a guessing game — you need to know whether you hair is simply dry or actually damaged.

“If you are using a shampoo for damaged hair, but your hair is just dry, you could be doing more harm than good,” she warns. “If the reparative shampoo you’re using is protein-based and there is already enough protein in your hair, you end up over-depositing the protein, making your hair brittle and more likely to break.” If your hair is simply dry, opt instead for moisturizing products.

So, how can you tell the difference? This is where your stylist comes in. After your initial appointment, ask your stylist to make recommendations based on your hair’s needs, as they have the expertise to steer you in the right direction.

3. Get your hair cut regularly.

As you can see in these before and after photos, my hair was not in great condition until Eva Scrivo stylist Stephen Thevenot snipped off all that deadness at the bottom:

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

Double processes wherein the hair is bleached and toned can often lead to damage, so it’s imperative that you get your hair trimmed regularly. “I always recommend that my clients get regular trims when they book color services with me, especially if they are bleaching their hair,” advises O’Connor. “A cut every six to eight weeks helps keep hair healthy and free of split ends, which can cause more damage.” A good way to stop yourself from going way too long without a cut: Each time you go in for one, book your next appointment right then and there.

4. Prep properly.

Before you even head to the salon, there are steps you can take to ensure your locks stay pretty and pastel for as long as possible — and won’t wind up unhealthy and dull. “For clients that want a double process, I recommend doing weekly deep conditioning treatments for a month prior to the color service,” recommends O’Connor, who adds that the “healthier the hair, the better.”

5. Play with new styles for a fresh look.

Find yourself feeling fussy after just a couple of weeks with a new hairstyle? Rather than going wild with the bleach again, try a new look instead. The cool thing about multicolored hair is that it can look like a totally different shade when you do a new style, like a crown braid:

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

To accomplish this elegant style created by Adonica Torres, stylist at New York City styling bar Glam&Go, apply a spray wax or powder grip to help keep hair smooth while braiding. “I like to start the braid where the hair parts, then Dutch braid it all the way around,” explains Torres. “After securing the braid with an elastic, I start to pancake the braid by gently tugging out the edges.” If any edges seem too loose, secure them with hair pins, then set the style with an alcohol-free hairspray.

Feel like channeling a ballerina instead? Try this pretty bun for a chic dancer-inspired look:

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

To get this look, Torres recommends following the angle from your cheekbones to the crown of your head — this should lead you to a good placement area for the bun. “Prep the hair with a bit of dry shampoo or flexible hairspray, then use a smoothing brush to gather hair towards the top of your head and secure it with an elastic,” she instructs. Next, smooth out your hair in the ponytail and curl four sections — “think like a compass with north, south, east, and west” — and secure each section with hair pins, fanning out the bun so there aren’t any gaps. Mist a setting spray once you’re finished so your pretty style lasts all day.

6. Visit the salon for regular touchups.

Visible roots aren’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to getting your hair touched up on a regular basis — skipping a touchup for too long could affect your results when you finally get to the salon. “The heat from your scalp can affect how the color processes, so it’s important to keep in mind how much root regrowth you have,” explains O’Connor. “If you have any more than three quarters of an inch of regrowth, there’s a possibility that the color can ‘band,’ causing an uneven result.” Head into the salon every six to eight weeks to keep your color fresh.

7. Incorporate dry shampoo into your routine.

We’re big fans of dry shampoo: Not only does it keep your style from getting shiny, it prolongs your time between washes, meaning you can keep your color looking vibrant and beautiful for longer. Rather than scrubbing your scalp with shampoo each time it gets a little greasy, spritz on some of this oil absorber — and follow these easy tips to make the most of it.

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

Just like that, you can say goodbye to grease and hello to refreshed, voluminous locks. The only stipulation: avoid going overboard, lest you accumulate tons of product at your roots.

8. Rinse with cool water to preserve your color.

Ever heard this old wives’ tale that cool water keeps your locks looking great? Turns out it’s true. “Hot water forces the hair cuticle open, allowing the color to seep out,” warns O’Connor. Instead, opt for a chillier finish to your shower. “Rinsing with cool or lukewarm water seals the cuticle and locks in your color, making it last longer.” Plus, it’ll wake you right up in the a.m.!

9. Get a custom conditioner.

“Bright and pastel colors typically wash out quickly compared to other colors,” says O’Connor. To help her clients maintain their color, she mixes customized conditioners that perfectly coordinate with their new shade so they can keep their locks looking great at home.

You can also opt for a deep conditioning service before you leave the salon for an extra boost of moisture and healthiness. “I also suggest that my clients do a Goldwell Dualsenses Color Lock treatment in the salon after getting their color done — this serum locks in the color and adds shine for bright, healthy-looking hair.” Ask your colorist if there are any in-salon treatments that will help prolong your brand new hue.

10. Always use heat protectant.

Anyone’s hair can get damaged by heat processing, but folks with bleached strands should be especially careful. “When hair is heavily processed, it becomes weak and dry, so any product that provides color protection and added moisture can help,” explains Torres. Before using your flat iron, blowdryer, or curling wand, use a heat blocking spray to keep your locks from getting dry and damaged.

Before picking a protectant, though, heed this warning: Unless your stylist recommends them, steer clear of heavily tinted products — using, say, a dark brown hair oil could deposit color onto a pale pink ‘do and make it look muddled.

Bonus: Take lots of selfies!

As someone who has had funky hair colors for the majority of their life, I can tell you firsthand that one of the best things about having a fun hair shade is snapping tons of pics that feature it.

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Be the flamingo you want to see in the world. Hair by genius colorist @merikateoconnor and brilliant stylist Stephen at @evascrivosalons 💕

A post shared by Sam Escobar (@theonewithbluehair) on Feb 26, 2016 at 10:52am PST

On top of showing off the ‘do you’ve worked so hard for, it also immortalizes your spectacular, albeit temporary, style. Trust me — you’ll be happy you did!

Kathryn Wirsing/Designed by Dana Tepper

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Sam Escobar Contributor Sam’s enthusiasm for makeup is only rivaled by their love of all things relating to cats.

How to Rock the Pastel Hair Trend If You Work Out a Lot

If you’re on Instagram or Pinterest, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the pastel hair trend that’s been around for a few years now. And if you’ve had your hair colored before, you know that the more you wash it, the less vibrant it looks. Well, the same goes for non-natural colors like pastels and rainbow-brights, especially when you have dark hair that had to be bleached beforehand to achieve a super-pigmented hue. When you’re into fitness, hair-washing on the reg is pretty important, although you probably know to use dry shampoo as a substitute as much as possible. So if you work out almost daily, can you participate in this now-ubiquitous hair trend? We got input from color experts to find out.

What to Do About Washing

According to experts, hair washing is the main culprit behind color fade, whether you’re a bleach blonde, redhead, or fantasy color enthusiast. “I always suggest my clients wash their hair every three to four days and use a dry shampoo between washes,” says Jenna Herrington, a hairdresser who specializes in avant-garde hair and barbering in Austin, Texas. “This will save your color! If you feel like you cannot make it three to four days without washing, be sure to use a color-protecting shampoo and also refrain from washing your hair with hot water, as heat will strip your color.” Another option, according to Herrington, is to use a color-depositing conditioner, which actually drops more color into your hair every time you use it. Herrington recommends Overtone, which comes in a variety of colors and helps keep your locks vibrant. One tip that’s important to remember when using this kind of conditioner, says Herrington, is to always towel dry before applying so that the color can deposit properly.

The Story on Sweat

It’s natural to wonder if sweat has the same effect on pastel hair as washing, since in a really intense spin or boot-camp class, your hair is definitely getting wet. “Our sweat does contain a little bit of sodium, which will affect your color and can cause fading,” explains Jan-Marie Arteca, a colorist at New York City–based salon Broome and Beauty. “It won’t cause as much fading as washing every day would, and you don’t have to worry about running three miles and having your pink hair run down your hairline, but over time the combo of sweating and washing will cause fading.” So yeah, you’re going to have to re-up your color pretty regularly, but your sweat sessions are not likely to have a major effect on your unicorn-worthy tresses.

What Else to Avoid

“Two other factors that can affect hair color are swimming pools and salt water from the ocean or salted pools,” says Brock Billings, colorist at Marie Robinson Salon in New York City. If you decide to go for this trend, try to avoid exposing your hair by wearing a swim cap. “To keep your hair from soaking up the minerals and altering your color, always pre-wet and put conditioner in your hair before going into pools or the ocean,” says Billings. Or use a shine and color-protecting oil treatment like Christophe Robin Lavender Oil-Billings’ go-to before going in the ocean. Another potential source of damage? The sun. “I would suggest if you’re an outdoor runner to protect your hair with SPF just like you would your skin,” says Nick Stenson, chief artistic director of Ulta Beauty. A hat or headscarf works for this, too. (Check out our favorite stylish running hats here.)

Of course, heat is another major culprit-and that goes for every hair type and color. “Make sure before you dry your hair to apply a heat protectant,” says Herrington. Her personal fave is Oribe Balm d’Or heat styling shield. Another option is to invest in color-safe styling tools, like the blow-dryer and flat iron from the Bio Ionic line, since they actually work to condition your hair while you’re using them, and get the job done super quickly, meaning you incur less damage overall. (BTW, here are the best hair products on the market right now, according to our beauty editors.)

A Color Alternative

So what can you do if you’re not ready to commit to all that upkeep? If you’re not really into the idea of bleaching your hair or being extra careful with your mane, check out Splat Midnight hair dye, which comes in three shades and can give you a bold color on top of dark hair (shown below). While it won’t be as vibrant as pre-bleached hair, you’ll still get a fun effect that will last for six to eight weeks. As with any other hair dye, you want to wash your hair as little as possible in order to get the longest color life.

The Bottom Line

Pastel hair is totally attainable as long as you’re willing to deal with the upkeep of visiting your colorist every four to six weeks and seriously cut back on washing your hair. “Vivid hair color is fresh, on-trend and fun and can work for all types of people, so long as they take the right steps to protect it,” says Jim Markham, the founder of ColorProof Evolved Color Care, a line that’s dedicated to keeping colored hair healthy. So if you’re ready and willing, just go for it.

Photo: Katie Thompson. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee.

Before cutting their hair, many women conduct research, collect inspirational images, and then waver for a while, but not Mary Wang. She just went straight to her boyfriend: a man who had never done the deed before. The weekend culture editor at trusted him, and the payoff was worth it (so were the savings). Here, Wang describes the mask she uses to keep her pink hair bright and the Japanese salon she frequents in Brooklyn.

In my shower you’ll find: Viral pastel pink shampoo (to add a bit of pink color with every wash) and Nigelle AX hair mask for colored hair, which I bought from my Japanese hairdresser.

I wash my hair every: Week, though that’s only after I started bleaching my hair. Before, I washed it every other day.

A rundown of my hair regimen: I wash it with pink shampoo, though I’m never patient enough to divide it evenly, so after every wash I basically end up with unintentionally tie-dyed hair. I also try to let my hair mask soak for as long as I can stay in the shower without getting bored. I use a hair oil every few days to moisturize the ends. I naturally have straight, Asian hair, so I’m not used to having a ‘hair regimen’, or even brushing it at all. Now my hair has been bleached so many times, but I’m still trying to do the minimum that I can get away with.

Photo: Katie Thompson. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./Katie Thompson

The worst thing I ever did to my hair: Let it grow long so I could hide behind it!

The best thing I ever did to my hair: I used to have long black hair that reached below my waist. I wanted to cut it short, but didn’t want to have this emotional moment in an anonymous hair salon. So I bunched it in one thick braid and asked my boyfriend to chop it off in one go. That, and him washing the stray bits of hair off of me afterwards, was one of the most intimate moments of my life. He cut my hair every single time ever since, until I started bleaching my hair. It might be important to mention that my boyfriend has zero experience cutting or styling hair.

How often I trim: Every few months or so, or whenever it starts to annoy me.

My hairstylist is: I go to Shizen in Brooklyn for coloring. They’re so attentive and detailed: they even cover your ears with miniature shower caps to protect them from bleach!

Photo: Katie Thompson. Photo Editor: Biel Parklee./Katie Thompson

The most important thing people with hair like me should know: Getting pink hair means learning to live with uncertainty. It never maintains a stable shade, ever. The color starts to fade basically as soon as you step out of the salon. After that, it’s a constant struggle of adding in pigment yourself and hoping it turns out right.

Check all that apply – my hair is dyed, is chemically straightened, is permed, has extensions, is braided/in locs: My hair is dyed.

What I love most about my hair: No matter what you do to fuck it up, it always grows back. It’s so resilient!

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Production Credits:
Photos by Katie Thompson
Hair by Lucas Wilson using Bumble and Bumble
Makeup by Eric Vosburg
Produced by Biel Parklee
Hair Assistant: Sergio Estrada
Makeup Assistant: David Rivera

Ever since Stefanie magically transform my hair to a dreamy pastel peachy-pink from a red ombre I have been experimenting with a few different products that have helped prolong the color. I figured I’d be gracious and share some of these tips and tricks I discovered for making fun new color last longer! I gathered this knowledge from reading countless hair blogs and from Stefanie (duh, she’s my hair guru!) and then put them to the test on my own hair. Of course these things aren’t going to work for everyone out there but feel free to ask any questions and I can have Stef respond 😉

1. Have a professional get you to a light enough blonde for the pastel color to show.

  • I would never suggest bleaching your hair yourself and for my really long hair I would not trust anyone but a professional. Stef used Olaplex while bleaching my hair to ensure the strength of my hair. When she did my hair she did two rounds of bleaching my hair with Olaplex to get rid of all the stubborn red left behind before coloring my hair peachy-pink. What is Olaplex you may ask?? Well we have a post here explaining it, but basically it protects you hair during a color or bleaching process.
  • To keep any dryness from the bleaching of all my hair at bay I have been using the take home Olaplex treatment.

2. Wash your hair less and when washing use cold water

  • I have been loving the Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-powder dry shampoo- I can add it to my hair at night and in the morning I awake to fresh hair with some serious Texas volume. I also have been liking the Kardashian Beauty Take 2 Dry Shampoo. It works in a pinch to absorb oil, give texture and also acts as a sort of hair perfume.
  • Cold water keeps the hair cuticle sealed which means your color is less likely just to rinse out.

3. Use color depositing conditioners and color safe shampoos

  • I create a custom concoction of Davines red conditioner and copper conditioner mixed even parts with my Davines Oi Oil conditioner that is a regular white conditioner so that way I have a soft pink/peach pastel conditioner that I leave on towel dried hair for up to 30 minutes. If your hair is more of a true bubble gum pastel pink you could just use the straight red conditioner mixed with a regular white conditioner. If you have a more lavender/purple pastel hair I would use the Davines silver conditioner mixed with a tiny bit of the red Davines conditioner.

4. Try Temporary hair color

  • If you are ever in London, like I was in Jan/Feb, pick up several bottles of the BLEACH London ‘Super Cool Colour‘ to give your light hair a tint that washes out in up to 10 washes. I picked up the Rose and Awkward Peach colors and have been loving them. Sadly they don’t ship to Canada as of yet.
  • Use blush (as in your blush you used on your face this morning) as a wash out hair chalk. I found that my mineralize blush from MAC in Dainty works great as it has a domed shape and is easy to run over my hair for days when my color has faded a bit but I don’t have the time to do fix number 3 or 5 in my list.

5. Use a semi-permanent color

  • I have tried the Crazy Color in Candy Floss in and I found that it was a bit too bright to be considered pastel so the next time I try it I think I will dilute it with some regular conditioner. I found it lasted more washes than the color depositing conditioners but you have to be a tad bit more careful with the application and wear gloves to put in on your towel dried hair.
  • I also like Manic Panic mixed with conditioner to make it a pastel tone. I personally use the Pretty Flamingo color for my peachy-pink hair.

**A tip I found for grey/white hair that has taken on a green ting is to do a rinse with ketchup or tomato sauce. Apparently you hair can take on a green ting from hard metals in water, especially swimming pools with chlorine. The vinegar in the ketchup helps to stop the chemical reaction and then red is the opposite of green so it counteracts the green ting.

Here are some of the fun pastel colors that Stefanie has done. You can email her at [email protected] to book in a hair appointment or to purchase pastel hair product (Olaplex, Davines, Kardashian Beauty and Crazy Colours were all bought from Stef).

Hope those tips helped and let me know if you have any tips or tricks for keeping your hair in pastel heaven!

Overtone sells three levels of pigmented conditioner: pastel, vibrant and extreme with daily conditioners or weekly deep conditioners. Daily versions have less pigment than weekly. I use mine every few weeks and then let it wash out so that i can enjoy the different colors as it washes and fades out. They have so many fun colors: teal, lavender, silver, peach, rose gold. With 24 colors in all, the sky’s the limit!

Overtone Pastel Pink Weekly Deep Conditioner. These have more pigment than the daily conditioner version. See how bright it looks in the pot, but depending on how long you leave it on, it can turn out pastel or bright pink. I like to leave it on a little longer so that I just use regular conditioner during the week.

There’s one caveat, it will show up better on bleached hair. I get my hair balayaged a few times a year and then paint on the conditioner onto my highlighted hair. I then let it sit for various times depending on the intensity of color I want to achieve, up to 30 minutes or so and then wash it out and shampoo, condition with regular hair conditioner and then air dry. Overtone helps to make it fool proof by showing a color swatch of how the various colors turn out on lighter to darker hair.

If you don’t wash your hair that often the color will stay longer, or you can use the daily conditioner for a lighter everyday color deposit. Some colors make my hair look darker, pastel purple and pastel pink made my roots more visible.

I like to wear bold statement earrings with my pink hair. Gold brings out the warmth in the color and silvers and grays pair nicely as well. You would be surprised just how versatile pink hair can be!

Shown: Janna Conner Evelina earrings

Peach tones by using Overtone Pastel Orange and Pastel Pink

Lavender hair using Pastel Purple Overtone. Next up, Pastel Blue!

Click here to get $10 off your next order of Overtone! What’s the craziest color you’ve ever done? Tell me in the comments below!

How to pastel hair

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