Read my updated hair maintenance post here!
People are always asking me how I dye my hair and prevent fade, so I figured it should write a detailed post about my exact method. Sure, plenty of people go pastel and then let it go and fade to blonde, but this guide is how I maintain my pink locks so that the color is always fresh and perfect.
First and foremost, I want to express to you that having pastel hair is a huge commitment. If it is something you are considering doing, keep in mind that it is not a decision to take lightly. Not only is it very expensive to do correctly, but it is damaging and also time-consuming to maintain. Several hairdressers I have spoken to express their frustration that people don’t quite realize everything that goes into it. Think about it carefully and educate yourself before you take the plunge.
STEP #1: BLEACH & BASE
Oh, bleach, I hate you but I love you. This is the part that sucks the most but it is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve pastel-colored hair. Your hair must be very light blonde in order for the dye to work. I cannot stress to you enough how important it is for you to go to a professional for this step. No matter what, bleach is damaging, but if done incorrectly and without the utmost care, your hair can fall out. It is also crucial to go to a professional who uses Olaplex. This is a fairly new product that, when mixed into bleach, drastically lessens the damage to the hair. If it wasn’t for Olaplex, I probably would have no hair right now haha! I go in to get my roots bleached every 6 weeks or so because my hair grows so fast. For me, 6 weeks is a little over an inch of growth. Any longer than that and I think it starts to look pretty sloppy. My hairdresser also lays down a base pink color for me so that when I leave the salon my hair is freshly pink and even from root to tip. The whole root touch-up process takes around 4 hours. Your very first time could easily take 6 hours or more depending on your dye history.
STEP #2: WASH & MAINTAIN
God bless you if you are the sort of person who can wash their hair twice a week. If this is you, your pastel hair will last a few weeks without needing to touch it up. Sadly, since I enjoy sweat-drenching workouts 6 days a week, I have to rinse my hair basically every day. I say rinse because I never shampoo except every 6 weeks when I get my roots bleached. Instead, I rinse my hair and scrub my scalp with conditioner. This is the same as the Wen “cleansing conditioner” method but without the overpriced Wen brand conditioner. The idea may sounds gross to you, but bleached hair doesn’t get nearly as oily. If you find that you do still need to shampoo, make sure to use something extremely gentle. I recommend Creme of Nature, which is designed for brittle ethnic hair. But keep in mind that every time you shampoo you will remove color, so avoid doing it as much as you can.
Now I’m going to let you in on my super duper top secret fade-fighting magic. I take a bit of hair dye (I use Pravana Magenta) and mix it in with my conditioner (I like Biolage Hydrasource Mask or the generic version from Sally’s). I dilute the dye with conditioner until the mixture is a few shades darker than my hair and then store it in an old Biolage mask jar, though a tupperware would work just as well. When I am in the shower, I first thoroughly wet my hair with cold water (warm water removes more color). Then I apply a generous amount of my conditioner/dye mixture from root to tip. I scrub it around on my scalp with my fingers since this is pretty much the only hair cleaning moment I have haha. I also make sure to comb this through with a plastic comb so that my hair is evenly coated. I then leave this on as a mask for 10 minutes while I do the rest of my shower activities. When I’m done showering, I rinse my hair again using cold water. Doing this maintains my pink color almost perfectly.
STEP #2: OCCASIONAL TOUCH-UPS
Though my in-shower method works almost perfectly, it is still quick and cursory so my color sometimes starts to look ever so slightly patchy after around 2 weeks. When this happens, I do a more thorough touch-up with my same dye and conditioner mixture. First I get my hair damp in the shower (cold water of course) and towel dry it a bit. Then I section my hair and slather on the mixture, applying thick and even from root to tip. Since it is so diluted it doesn’t stain my hands, but you may choose to wear medical gloves if you want to be extra safe. I do this in front of my bathroom mirror and then keep a small hand mirror handy so that I can check that I covered everything evenly in back. Once I have my whole head covered, I comb it through and massage it around. Then I leave it on as a mask for around 45 minutes. Then I rinse it off and my hair is extra soft and vibrant again!
I hope this is useful information for anyone who is considering going pastel or is just curious about the process. As you can see, it’s a major commitment and certainly not for everyone. But my hair is my absolute favorite accessory and for me it is absolutely worth all of the effort.
Bag: Louis Vuitton
Shoes: Vince Camuto
Sunglasses: vintage Krizia (my grandma’s from the 70s)
Bracelet: Jenny Bird from Rocksbox (get a free month of jewelry with code HOUNDSXOXO)