hair

PASTEL HAIR GUIDE: PART 2 Dying

Hello, my fellow amateur mermaids/mermen/merfolk. Your hair is freshly bleached and thirsty for the fun part: actually dying your hair pastel colors! I did two refreshes in the past two weeks with two different methods and have documented both processes in shameless selfies. Journey with me through a fairytale romance with candy-colored tresses (warning: image-heavy post and lots of informative, masterfully written text.)

Here’s the part where I say I’m not a professional hair stylist etc., but you kids are smart. I think you’ve gathered that from my previous post. That being said, what works/doesn’t work for me may or may not work/not work for you. I can only speak my own experience and hope that it helps guide you. But chin up! Experimenting on a regular basis is one of the most fun parts of the pastel hair journey.

And believe me, I’ve spent my time experimenting to find my hair dye sweet spot. As I mentioned above, I’ve tried my hand with two different methods. But there’s a world of possibility when it comes to unnatural hair colors and each one has their positives and negatives. In terms of high cost, low effort options, there’s a visit to the salon or ready made pastel shades. Although I initially got my purple hair done professionally, I knew I couldn’t afford to visit the salon every 1.5-2 week for a color refresh. Oh yeah… if you want to go pastel on a long term basis, get ready to refresh your color every 7-10 days, maybe two weeks at most. When I first read this information on Haircrazy.info’s very informative article How To Dye Your Hair Pastel Colours, I was a bit skeptical but have found that it’s very true.

So for me, finding low cost options for maintenance of my fun hair was necessary. So in my (almost) three months of purple hair, I’ve used two different methods: the conditioner method and the shade diluter method. Both operate on the same foundation: diluting vibrant shades with neutral bases for a light, pastel result. There are some sligt differences between the two:


CONDITIONER METHOD
Pros:
+ the most inexpensive method
+ smells lovely (assuming you pick a conditioner that smells good… I trust your judgement)
Cons:
– the messiest method
– time-consuming


SHADE DILUTER METHOD
Pros:
+ much easier to control = much less mess/much more even coverage
+ much faster than other methods
Cons:
– unpleasant chemical smell (at least the Ion Color Brilliance brand did for me)
– uses more dye = more expensive over time/harder to gauge brightness of shade

Up until, oh, two nights ago, I used the conditioner method and experimented with the amounts of dye, time left on, etc. I’ll go ahead and detail that process first, although I don’t prefer it. I think it’s a good method for your first few refreshes because it give you a feel for how much product/time/saturation your hair needs.

You will need:

  • Direct hair dyes (I use Pravana Chromasilk Vivids in Violet, Silver, and Pink for a warmer lavender)
  • A mixing bowl and brush
  • Gloves
  • Newspaper for your workspace (Pravana will stain white counters for life)
  • White, silicone-free conditioner (Suave is my go-to… cheap and smells yummy)
  • Dry hair bleached and toned to a 9/10 (the dryer the hair, the more readily it will absorb the color)

  1. Cover your workspace with newspaper. SERIOUSLY. The runniness of conditioner means it will splatter all willy-nilly without you being the wiser. I’ve found splotches of purple several days later on the bathroom door- several feet away from where I gently applied my dye. Just trust me on this one.
  2. Put on your gloves and squeeze out the pictured amounts of dye: 2 dots violet, 1 dot pink (if you want a warmer purple,) and about 2.5 inches of silver.
  3. Mix in however much conditioner you’ll need for your hair: I have short, almost jaw-length hair but it’s pretty thick so I usually need a little more than 1/3 of a bottle.
  4. Adjust the amount of dye and conditioner until you reach about 1-2 shades darker than your desired result. If I have to add dye, I’ll only use the silver because the violet is extremely vibrant.
  5. Apply from root to tip, using the end of your brush to section hair off and making sure to saturate as evenly as possible.
  6. Cap with a shower cap or head towel.
  7. Wait 4-6 hours for best results. I only waited three in the above picture, as I was hurriedly preparing for a weekend trip, but my best results from this method have come from 4-6 hour waits. If you’re brave or don’t care about your bedding, you can always try going overnight but because of the liquid nature of conditioner, I’m not going to.
  8. Rinse in warm water (cold is best but no, uh-uh, I don’t play that game) without shampoo or conditioner.
  9. Let air-dry and admire your beautiful handiwork!

Although the above method saved me lots of money, it just sucked up too much of my precious free-time, especially with the approaching summer weather and subsequent burst of socializing and trips and travel and events. Last Friday night, I unearthed a tube of shade diluter that I’d gotten on some forgotten, long ago Sally’s trip (it might have even been free at some point? I don’t know) and used in place of conditioner with more dye and less time. And ta-da: the most even color I’d gotten in the least amount of time… even less than my salon purple. I’ve been so excited about this breakthrough, even though it’ll end up costing me some more money in the long-run. I don’t have much free time and I certainly don’t have time for faded-out, brassy hair. I’ll pay a couple extra dollars for that.

You will need:

  • Direct hair dyes (I use Pravana Chromasilk Vivids in Violet and Silver… I skipped the pink because my hair color is naturally warm enough)
  • A mixing bowl and brush
  • Gloves
  • Newspaper for your workspace (Pravana will stain white counters for life)
  • Shade diluter (I use Ion Color Brilliance Semi-Permanent Brights Clear Shade Diluter)
  • White, silicone-free conditioner (Suave is my go-to… cheap and smells yummy) or really, just your regular conditioner. You won’t be using enough to make a huge difference.
  • Dry hair bleached and toned to a 9/10 (the dryer the hair, the more readily it will absorb the color)
  1. Cover your workspace with newspaper. This texture adheres much better your strands but still, why risk your deposit.
  2. Put on your gloves and squeeze out the pictured amounts of dye: 2 dots violet (I added another right after my first mix) and 1 large squiggle of silver.
  3. Mix in however much shade diluter you’ll need for your hair: I have short, almost jaw-length hair but it’s pretty thick so I used half of a tube.
  4. Add a tiny amount of conditioner, just enough to dilute the viscosity slightly. It’ll make the mixture easier to spread over your hair but don’t go crazy.
  5. Adjust the amount of dye and shade diluter until you reach about 2 shades darker than your desired result. You want this to be more vibrant than you would if you were using the conditioner method (refer to above picture.)
  6. Apply from root to tip, using the end of your brush to section hair off and making sure to saturate as evenly as possible.
  7. Cap with a shower cap or head towel.
  8. Wait 30 minutes, maybe 45 tops. In the above pictures for this method, I waited exactly 30 minutes and it came out perfectly… a teeny bit darker than my goal so it could fade out nicely and last a bit longer.
  9. Rinse in warm water (cold is best but no, uh-uh, I don’t play that game) without shampoo or conditioner.
  10. Let air-dry and admire your beautiful handiwork!

And there you have it! With a bit of common sense, direction, and extremely bleached hair, you too can be the mermaid fairy princess of your dreams. Although the fading time can be a pain in the keister, it also opens up a world lacking commitment and therefore, full of possibilities. I loveeee my lavender but my eye’s been wandering to experimenting with a pretty pink or coral shade and (after a few months of hair growth, knock on wood) an ombre bob with pastel tips. A world of pastel possibilities, my friends.

My next post will be on pastel hair maintenance but I predict it’ll be a little further in the future. This past weekend, I found out first hand that unnatural dyes + sunshine = major/fast fading. I’ll be researching and trying several different solutions during my summertime adventures and I’ll report back to you guys with (hopefully) some success stories. Do you have any tips for maintaining pastel hair or suggestions for the dying process? Tell me in the comments below! Until we meet again, my aspiring pastel lovelies.

xoxo,
leahwinehouse

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. As the writer, I may mention, discuss, and review products but I have not been paid or sponsored for any of my opinions. My opinions reflect only my personal feelings and experiences, unless otherwise specified.

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12 thoughts on “PASTEL HAIR GUIDE: PART 2 Dying

  1. Ohhh this is so helpful! I use a combo of mint and purple (Nicole Richie’s old formula) but this time I didn’t use enough lavender so it’s wayyyy too blue – I also didn’t do my roots first in the back so they didn’t take. Just a lot of mistakes overall haha. I was planning on using the conditioner method but you’ve convinced me to take a trip to Sally’s and spend $5! Thanks 🙂

  2. I’m so glad I came across this. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us (you make this look so easy!😅lol)
    I too have a pixie cut that I’ve been growing out since the summer. Now it’s a wild mess, ends pointing out all directions. I was thinking about once I have my hair trimmed up, my next step was to dye my hair similar to yours. I naturally have dark brown hair (sometimes in a different lighting it looks black)
    I was wondering how to start about lighting my hair in order to follow through with pastel hair guide?

  3. Pingback: Aveda Clove Conditioner review: Going back to my natural hair color | Work Hard Stay Humble

  4. You are seriously my hero. I scoured the Internet for the formula for this exact color and you just made my life a million times easier. I swear you made this post for me. Thank you!

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