Photo: MCV Photo.
Let me guess: Dyeing your hair pastel probably sounded like a great idea until two to three weeks later, when your locks morphed from mermaid-esque perfection to 50 shades of washed-out gray. It's tragic but inevitable. Most Crayola-hued hair color just isn't designed to last all that long. And, considering you probably had to lift your natural shade to get that cotton-candy color in the first place, you now face an uphill battle of managing both the bleach-related damage and the quickly fading pastel.
Justin Anderson, Pravana guest artist at the Chris McMillan Salon (and the colorist behind the pastel hair of Kelly Osbourne and Ireland Baldwin), says, "In order to get the true pastel tones that you desire, you must have a near-white canvas to color over." But, while the bleach part is unavoidable, the potential damage is: Anderson recommends that you start prepping your hair two weeks before your color service to make sure it doesn't totally ruin your locks. During those two weeks, he says, "Don't over-style it, and put an oil through your ends as frequently as possible."
Once it's time to take the plunge, Ian Michael Black, Aveda global artistic director for hair color, says to make sure your colorist is using what he calls a mantra of "slow and low." He explains, "Lightening your hair can be one of the most damaging things you can do, so always use a low volume of peroxide with your lightening product, and lighten slowly to preserve the condition of your hair."
Creating that "near-white canvas" is permanent, whereas the pastel you're putting over it isn't. Luckily, when it comes to pastel hair color, Black says, "The dyes are usually mixed with very low or no peroxide, so they're safe to apply frequently." So, once you've got your bleached-out base, it's fine to go ahead and put that baby blue in as frequently as necessary. Anderson agrees: "If you are just refreshing the color that you already have, you should be able to do it every couple of weeks with no problem."
However, if frequently getting your hair re-dyed isn't something you're excited about/have time for, there are a few things you can do make it last longer. Anderson says to avoid over-washing your hair, and use a color-safe shampoo like Pravana's Vivids Color Protect Shampoo and Conditioner when you do. He adds, "Hot water opens up the hair cuticle and releases the color pigment from the hair. I know it doesn't sound very relaxing, but I recommend using cool water when rinsing your shampoo and conditioner."
The alternative to the cold-shower-or-nothing approach is to wash your hair with products that deposit color; that way, washing it actually puts color back in rather than fading it. Brands like Overtone have daily conditioners in a rainbow of colors and intensities that do just that.
So, while the effort that goes into pastel hair means you'll never have an honestly #WokeUpLikeThis style, it can definitely continue to look healthy and vibrant long after your salon appointment. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what counts?
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