Pastel coloured hair, at its finest is as rare as it's associations, rarer than unicorns, not impossible but what can sometimes feel as unreachable.
A little Stephi hair history:
I've been dying my hair for almost 8 years, not to include the brief lilac hair I had when I was 8 courtesy of my mum experimenting with food colouring.
From these 8 years the main things I have learnt is that no one persons hair is the same and one persons precious hair care regime is another persons enemy.
I have long curly, unruly, thick, coarse and frizzy hair having afro origins on my mothers side my hair is the most unmanageable mop known to man, and has only recently learnt how to be tamed.
I wouldn't dare recommend the products I use to say someone with straight, short or thin hair as only I, and I alone know what my hair needs, sometimes this has influenced my decisions, due to my circumstances to try more stronger bleaches/dyes from having non-porous hair or more natural alternatives with knowledge my hair type will benefit better.
I've tried almost every colour under the sun in a burst of teenage angst to show ways of expressing my creative being and temporary hair colorants seem to have refloated back into societies eye that years ago wasn't deemed acceptable to have pink hair that almost seems normal nowadays, because we all know at the end of the day all trends resurface every few years and only grow stronger.
Realistically I'm going to rant how you should take extra care especially if you have darker hair with intentions of attempting this transformation, as I will guarantee no matter what, there is no reversible treatment that will fully restore the condition, or colour of your original hair. I believed for years my hair was bound in a magic forcefield that would never ever be damaged, but the truth be told even afro strands that have been bleached over 8/9 times does have a breaking point. I only ever try to just retouch my bleached roots to maintain a healthy head.
I'll stop blabbering about the many disclaimers and if that long winded story hasn't reterred you from bleaching I can only heed you a word of final caution as you, yourself can take the responsibility of your actions that cannot be blamed on any product based on the decisions you have made. I am not a trained hairdresser, I can only speak from my experiences and what has worked for me, this is not to say my opinion is the correct one as every individuals hair reacts differently.
The key to maintaining a successful colour is persistence, experimentation and regime.
Certain tips and tricks helped me along my experiments, things I wish people told me when I was first starting out so I wish I can help others who may of been in my shoes once.
1. Bleaching is almost a definite unless you have very light hair naturally and/or wish to have a darker tone to which it still needs to be pre-lightened, various natural methods such as lemon juice are good for gold hair and helps clarify tone alike using chammomile (I recommend very much so if you want to go only a few shades up). Depending on how vibrant and successful you want the pink to show, the whiter... the better.
2. Toner or purple/blue shampoo will become your best friend, if you have peachy orange tones amongst your pinks I suggest investing in a good toner, Provoke Touch of Silver is by far my favourite and the least expensive brand I've seen seen in the UK for about £3/4.
3. Washing your hair in cool water, something I wish I could do without but generally blasting your hair with cool water seals the hair follicles and thus the colorants making it shiny and wonderful and this tip has taken me places with my frizzy mane. A sub third tip: try to learn to not shampoo hair frequently as this too strips colour. Your hair in turn evolves with your habits by not overly producing excessive oils that require washing. This revolutionary trick means I shampoo my hair once/twice a week without it ever getting greasy. Learn to accept your conditioner is mutually your best friend and shampoo will most likely take 4x longer to use up in contrast.
4. Add a few teaspoons to your everyday shampoo or conditioner for colour top ups as a lot of colour is lost during washing and leaving it on for 10 minutes when washing gives the colour a boost if it's faded too much. This elongates existing colour and the key to pastel hair when it starts to get patchy.
5. Try to stay away from products and heat. Straightening, curling and hairdryers are the worst for loss of colour and if possible air dry as much as possible. The same for hairspray the stickiness means the affected areas tend to fade quicker after brushing or washing after products are used.
Who's to say after one unsuccessful dying session you should give up? Certain brands have better pinks that hold greater stability and saturation/pigmentation of colour, whilst others may provide more natural none-damaging alternatives that may not last as long. The key is to try each brand, luckily I'm wonderful enough to provide you with a short summary of my experiences with the brands I've tried and how they've worked with my hair type.
La Riche Directions:
Pastel pink: The first pink I ever tried. The worst pink I ever tried. 1/10. After reading endless tutorials, after bleaching, toning and stripping my hair of all pigmentation to be a blank canvas I bought 2 tubs to cover my head, I ran out early and all ran down the drain when rinsing. This did not show whatsoever.
Carnation pink: Things were looking up, I thought after being so upset with my first attempts to try again and this colour lasted me a whole week with one wash (better, but not what I expected for THREE tubs) Patches occurred quite early in brassy parts. Absolutely brilliant colour once first dyed, would maintain this colour or dilute it permanently if I could!
Flamingo pink: The most vibrant colour, that lasted me the longest, I remember being concerned above others about the staining after I tested a strand after 5 minutes, the saturation is unbeatable and certainly a head turner. If you're to use a pink either for its vibrant or pastel purposes use Flamingo Pink and dilute it with conditioner when mixing and leave it on for an extra 20-30 minutes.
Lavender: I bet you're thinking 'huh? surely lavender is of a purple base' Yes but the named picture above is from lavender, although disclaimer; my hair did have more yellow tones in to perhaps make the final hue pinker. This colour lasted me about 2 weeks with little patches of brassiness where it hadn't taken.
The wonderful part of most the dyes I discuss are the no peroxide properties, which essentially means they're vegetable conditioning dyes with no harmful chemicals, I guarantee your hair has never been so soft after using a hair dye!
Cotton Candy Pink:
I found this had great staining, the colour lasted me for about 2 and a half weeks but the peachy stains it left may be considered undesirable, which lead me to bleaching little parts to really get the colour off. A friend also warned me to be cautious with their blue and green range as on slight brassy toned hair will fade to snot greens with brown undertones, that I cannot imagine to be rather flattering.
This post was inspired by my random impulse to get 2 bottles of Fudge Paintbox's Pretty Flamingo which I hear great things about, I will update with the results in July/august in time for festivals for when I wanted to use it. I hope this information has been of use and I apologise for the novel that came with it!
I've released a series of hair posts for anyone looking for some hair care advise!
Quick Rainbow Hair (spray on)
How To Get Sand Art Hair (rainbow)
How have your hair dye experiences turned out? Any tips or tricks to maintaining super pink hair?