How to Get the Perfect Rainbow Hair

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)I am such a sucker for pastel and rainbow hair. Maybe it's because I still dream of being a mermaid. I usually stick to a more natural red shade, but every once in a while I can't resist going blue. Or rather I finally have gone blue; the first time I went "blue" a few years ago, it turned out green! I'm still a newbie to figuring out what dyes work and how to maintain them, so I figured if you want rainbow-bright (or pretty pastel) hair, why not go to some of the ladies who rock these colors so well and get their tips and tricks? From bright orange and teal to cotton candy pink and purple, I've asked them to spill their secrets so I (ahem, we) can follow in their bold footsteps.

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)        Betty, your hair is so bold and beautiful! What's your favorite dye? "Aha! Now that would be telling! I have been dying my hair orange for around 4 years now. I'm a natural blonde and was always reminded that I was lucky to be born with a shade so many women pay for. But if I'm honest, I never felt more like myself than when I turned into my tangerine dream! I first took the plunge at a local hairdressers, but I wasn't completely happy with the shade. So I decided I wanted to create my own. I had visions of a bright solid orange with golden undertones, and after many trials and errors at home, I found my perfect mix. I think it all worked out because I went to a hairdresser originally to get the base right. I go for regular Olaplex treatments at my local sassy savior salon, BLOW, in Glasgow where they gloss me over with Psychedelic Sunset from Manic Panic. I was recently in a photoshoot with them where they died a chunk of my bangs bright yellow! It has been an enjoyable process getting back though, having fun with all the shades of peaches and creams as I build the color to its 'natural'. Really, I couldn't see myself in any other color.

Any tips or tricks for maintaining the tangerine dream? "I have many tips and tricks! First off is you need to train your hair to not need regular washing. This can be a long game for some, but nothing helps the color stick more. A shower cap, dry shampoo and creative styling is colored hair's best friend. I recommend No Drought from Lush and experimenting with fun styles and hats for the fourth or fifth day. I wash my hair once a week, but when I do, it gets the best treatment. Recently I've been using Nounou by Davines shampoo, followed by the same conditioner, then a little spritz of Paul Mitchell color stay before blasting it dry. When my ends need some TLC midweek, I run my fingers through with some Lush R&B hair conditioner to give it back its luster. All the products are cruelty free too!" 

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)      Amanda (or should I call you Honey Pop?), I love your bold pink ombre hair! What's your favorite dye? "I only use Manic Panic hair dye. The colors last the best and they are vegan, so no nasty testing on animal business!

How do you keep your hair healthy while maintaining the pink? "I've actually just written a blog post on keeping dyed hair healthy! Basically listen to your hair. If it feels dry and damaged, get a moisturizing treatment. Talk to your hairdresser about your options. Olaplex is a godsend! I also only wash my hair once a week. Not only does my color keep for longer, it gives my hair time to produce some natural oil. Invest in some cute headscarves to cover up. A good shampoo is a must; I live on Lush and Paul Mitchell products."

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)    Dear Kailey, you are the reigning queen of pastel hair! How do you get your color and keep it so nice? "I've been using Special Effects dye to color my hair for years now and can't imagine having any other hair color! My color is "Cupcake Pink". Diluting the dye with conditioner creates the most beautiful pastel hues. In between dyeing, I also love to use Overtone Hair Conditioner in the shower to keep my hair looking vibrant!"

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)  Alyssa your hair seems to be constantly changing from one pastel shade to another—you even have opal hair! What's your secret? "I like to think of my hair as an art project, and messing around with different "potions" is one of my favorite parts of having pastel hair. I aways use a high quality conditioner as my base (usually Davines), and then add tiny bits of color from there, making the color in the bowl the color I want on my head. Though I've tried almost every brand, I'm pretty devoted to Manic Panic—the colors generally turn out exactly how they look in the tube, and they fade quickly enough that you can change up the color super often. I also really love Overtone for all the different shades, plus the pre-mixed conditioners are great for maintaining just one even color, especially if you're new to the pastel game! 

Any advice for those who are new to pastel hair? "If you're sticking to just one shade, add a tiny bit of your dye mixture to your daily conditioner to keep the color fresh. Also, don't be afraid to take risks! Pastel hair fades so quickly, so it's not really all that scary to experiment and have fun with your look. Just make sure you're always starting with a conditioner base—if you put pure Manic Panic on your head, you may be looking at a much more long-term commitment than you bargained for!"

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)          Hi, Emi! Your purple hair definitely makes you look like a fantasy creature! How do you get this shade? "I love using Dare hair dye. I found that it gives a nice luminosity and multi-dimensional shimmer that other dyes don’t give you, and it’s an Aussie vegan hair dye! My color is a mix of Forbidden Grape, Poison Berry, and Neon Sherbet. Another favorite is Bleach London dye, which is already premixed (no need for dilution) and leaves your hair silky soft. 

What's your advice for other would-be candy haired peeps? "If you’ve been thinking about coming over to the pastel/rainbow hair side, really do your research. Be aware that it is a longterm commitment, and you will need to change the way you look after your hair by using none sulphate shampoos and using more hair masks to replenish your lost proteins. The fun thing is, once you’ve gone platinum blonde, you can always change up your unicorn hair to whatever shade you like (it’s so much more fun!)." 

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)     Raeyour aqua and blue hair is giving me mermaid vibes. What dyes do you use to get it? "I love using Manic Panic, but unfortunately, it's pretty hard to find here in Germany. When I am home visiting family and friends in the US, I always try to pick some up to bring back with me. Here in Europe, Directions is the popular go-to brand for non-natural hair colors, which I have had good experiences with as well. I tend to mix colors kind of randomly as I am not too exact about it, but for teal hair: 1 Atlantic Blue mixed with 2 Alpine Green. For blue hair, try Manic Panic in After Midnight.

Anything we should watch out for when going blue? "When it comes to dyeing your hair, if you are looking to dye it a lighter, non-natural color, remember that your hair needs to be quite white before you put the color on. After bleaching, if your hair is still on the yellow or orange side, this is going to "mix" with the color you are dyeing your hair. E.G. if you are looking for a light blue and put this over orangey bleached hair, the color is going to turn out green. Oh, and be sure to get a product you can use around your hairline to avoid turning your entire face blue during the dyeing process!"

How to get the perfect rainbow hair (click-through for tips from the ones who wear it best)As for me, I went to my local salon for my bright blue. My hairdresser used a local salon brand in Electric Blue, and I'm going to follow everyone else's tips to try to keep this mermaid hair for as long as I can! Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author: Rebecca Stice. My photo is edited with A Beautiful Mess Presets for Lightroom

  • Such a fantastic article! I’ve always wanted to try different colors for my hair (natural blonde, usually go with red/auburn shades). This is definitely some information to hang on to! Thank you Rebecca! PS, your blue hair is fab!!

  • Love it! I played around with pastel hair in high school back in the day, before it was cool 😉 Then last summer I went a little crazy and went platinum blonde (and being a natural brunette, it took a LOT of work and processing) and added pink and blue highlights, for a cotton candy effect. I miss it!

  • You forgot the queen of vibrant colors – Kaylah from The Dainty Squid! Her hair is always on point, mixing a rainbow on her head and pulling it off like a pro <3

  • UGH this post is JUST what I needed. I started doing my ends pink (want to go the whole hog but I still have an office job…) and I was so frustrated when it kept washing out after only 2 weeks! You really do need to resist washing but my hair is curly so it’s hard not to since it looks like a rat nest when slept on. Can’t brush it either! I end up at least wetting it and using a cleansing conditioner. When all else fails, UP SHE GOES.

  • A word to the wise – when they say pastel hair doesn’t last long, they aren’t kidding. I’ve tried adding pastel pink/corral to my hair so many times now and all the fancy hair salon dyes only last 2 washes. Manic Panic lasts the longest, but the only way to truly make a colour last is to get a more saturated and deeper colour. I’m from Toronto and went to the salon that Alyssa (interviewed above) sometimes goes to, or at least has gone a handful of times, and they were going to charge me >$500 for a pastel look that they admitted would probably only last a few weeks. It’s a serious investment, I’m always amazed at the people who maintain it!

  • Such great tips!! I’m loving pastel hair… mine had a lavender hue for a little while, but I’ve been trying to maintain a silver, platinum color lately. It’s a lot of maintenance but soooo worth it!
    Kisses,
    Sarah
    EverydayStarlet

  • I love all the colors…but you really have to know what your doing. If you don’t, see a hairdresser first. I work with a girl who tries to do it herself, and instead of the pretty shades of pastels interwoven in her blond hair, she has big streaks of funky color. She looks like the Rainbow Brite doll. lol

  • Dude! My 16-year old daughter is going to love this! She recently just had blue hair and rocked it. I am definitely saving this post for her 🙂

    Sincerely,

    Laurali

  • I used to be all over the candy-coloured hair in high school, and sometimes I fantasize about going back. I chatted with my hairdresser about it a bit, and the one caution she gave me is that you really have to balance it by putting extra effort into your make up and overall “look”, otherwise it easily comes off as sloppy. I am so not into wearing more than the tiniest bit of make up every day, so I got scared off.

    All the girls featured here seem to also be into a full face and more stylized “look” – any thoughts on how this could work if you otherwise like to go pretty natural? Can it be pulled off? I have super curly, short hair, so it’s already a bit “wild” by everyday standards.

  • I love this post! I’m slowly getting into colored hair. So far the only crazy color I have done is an ombre of black and mix colors of reds, orange and some purples about 3 years ago. This time I wanna actually dye my whole hair either deep purple or silver but I chickened out at my last salon visit.
    I like the advice from Betty about ‘training’ your hair to get use to less washes and that is what I struggle with the most. The longest I can go without a wash is 3 days… My hair just gets unbelievably oily and gross feeling that I just cave in.

  • so since they only wash their hair about once a week, what do they do when they work out?
    how do you keep it clean if your sweating like crazy?

  • I absolutely adore rainbow hair! I’ve always wanted to have pink hair, but it is not possible with my job 🙁

  • So much good hair in one post!

    I’ve spent the last 7 months making my way through the rainbow but got stuck on pink because it wouldn’t leave my head. It’s through much trial & error that I got it to change after 3 months of trying. It would be rad if someone with more experience could write about removing/switching colors. I know I can’t be the only one who’d be super appreciative of a post like that. 🙂

    Hannah | The Outfit Repeater

  • Aw, shucks! I can’t believe your hairdresser would say something like that to you. If you want colored hair, you should be able to rock it with or without makeup. I honestly don’t see what difference it would make and I frequently leave the house/take selfies barefaced with colored hair! (And hey, it’s also short and curly!)

  • Love these tips, they would have been so helpful for me before I dyed my hair! I did it all myself (salons are so expensive), and went from my natural black hair to platinum blonde, now I have dark blue. ish.

    Angelina Is|Bloglovin’

  • Andrea, I leave the house, post selfies, etc etc without any makeup and with pink hair all the time! I don’t have a bunch of bare-faced photos up on my blog but they are all over my tumblr and twitter hehe. You should definitely look into it more if you are interested and not be scared off by that! <3

  • This couldn’t be timed better! I’m having my hair bleached at the end of this month, and then putting bright colours through it!! I’m still tossing up between pink, blue, and purple…

    I think the easiest part is going to be not washing my hair. I get very lazy when it comes to washing my hair (most of the time it’s a water rinse at most) so I hope my colour will be lasting a long time 😉

  • DUDE NO JOKE! And I leave my Manic Panic is for like 2-3 hours – walking around the house with foils and a bag on my head! Still! Only a lasts a few washes! People who can keep their hair bright for months HOW DO YOU DO IT!? Tell me your secrets!

  • I’m so jealous of people who can pull this off. I have the wrong skin tone for it unfortunately. 🙁

    Erin | beingerin.com

  • Awesome post!

    And its pretty funny because I`m here with my head full of Manic Panic waiting for it to “set” so I become the newest purple haired girl on the block ;P

  • For those who have said that they have trouble with dye staying in you definitely have to wash your hair less! There are some good dry shampoos out there that work great for between washes, Also when you wash your hair use cold water! Or at least lukewarm, hot water will wash the dye out twice as fast! I have also heard that washing your hair with vinegar helps it last longer but I have never tried that.

  • Wow, exactly the information I was looking for!
    Should have tried that, when I had platinum blonde, but now I am black haired I don’t think colour pop would work for me *laugh*

  • These all look amazing! I love a pastel shade and admire the guts it takes to go for a really ‘out there’ colour! I would always recommend getting your hair done professionally, especially if you’re going for something as different as a pastel or vibrant shade. If it goes wrong when doing it yourself, it could go REALLY wrong!