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.
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!”
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.”
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!”
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!”
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!).”
Rae, your 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!”
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.