How to get perfect pastel hair (even if you're a brunette)

Hanna Flint
Contributor
How to transform your dark locks to the hottest pastel shade for the summer

Chances are, you’ve come across this summer’s biggest hair style: pastel locks.

From lavender to rose, to baby blue to mauve, these washed out, slightly milky shades have taken over Instagram feeds as people worldwide have mixed up their look and tried the trend. 

But what do you do if you’re a dark brunette, like me, and fancy a sartorial shock of hair?

The experts at Blue Tit Salons showed us exactly how to go pastel – and stay pastel – all summer long. 

Before

I went in for my appointment with deeply conditioned hair that had no colour on. The perfect condition for a pastel transformation

Book a consultation, if your salon offers it, so you can really discuss what you want and work out if that’s a viable option for your hair.

It also gives your hairdresser a chance to look at the state of your locks and do a bleach test. 

My hair had no colour on it at all so I was going in a bleach virgin but, what I did do was apply a deep conditioner on my hair a few days beforehand. This was to ensure that my hair was as hydrated as possible when I came in for the full colour. 

When you bleach your hair the chemical agent causes each strand’s outer cuticles to raise which means moisture can be lost. So you want to make sure your hair has retained as much moisture as possible before starting.  

Don’t worry if you already have colour on your hair, though. My colleague Ciara has dyed blonde hair and tried out the semi-permanent pastel colour.

During

Declan separates my hair and begins applying the bleach to provide a blonde base for the pastel hair colour.

Make sure you have a good chat with your hairdresser before going ahead.

I had intended to get my hair bleached down to the root but as it was my first time, my stylist recommended saving my roots so when my hair grows out the transition isn’t as blunt.

One of the benefits of going to a salon to get the treatment done is that they can choose the exact bleach that works for your hair.

Everybody’s hair is unique so it responds to bleach in different ways. Some people’s hair goes the right light blonde, others go orange or some people’s hair doesn’t lighten at all.

Your hairdresser will be able to correct the bleaching formula to respond to how your hair is taking it.

The bleach goes in.

Thankfully my hair responded well to the bleaching formula so I was able to go full steam ahead with my colour. I had wanted to go full-on lavender, but Declan suggested I throw in some mauve shades to add some dynamic texture to the final look. It took a while as my hair is rather thick, which is another thing to remember: if you’re doing an at-home colour you need to make sure you buy enough or you’ll run out halfway through. 

We also used an oxidised toner rather than a direct dye in order to attain a more evenly spread application. Sometimes with dyes like CrazyColour the hair ends up looking irregularly coloured.

Declan uses a mix of pastel shades in order to create texture and depth in the final look. Oxidised toners were used in order to get a more even colour too.

After washing the colour out, Declan used Olaplex No. 3 to maintain the integrity of the hair and prolong the colour.

As these pastel shades are fashion colours they’re not going to stay on as long as say a brunette or blonde dye so the right products can work wonders for its longevity.

After

The final look

I absolutely loved my colour look but knowing how to maintain it is a whole different story. Colours will fade depending on how often you cleanse your hair, what shampoo you use plus other factors like blow drying and the use of heat tools, swimming and sun/UV exposure.

Keeping the use of heated styling products down is essential to protecting the hair as it has already taken a bit of a beating from the bleaching process.

And of course the more you wash it the more likely to hair colour will fade so try and keep that down to a minimum too, as well as using lukewarm to cold water to stop the hair cuticles opening up and allowing for more colour to come out.

So how does it work for blonde hair?

The pastel effect on blonde hair

Achieving pastel colour on blonde hair works using near enough the same methods, aside for a few differences.

Firstly, for dyed blonde hair, it’s worth getting those roots topped up in advance to make your colour really pop from the crown on your head downwards. Otherwise, rocking a grown-out roots look in an edgy substitute.

For blondes wanting pink hair, Declan recommends opting for pink with lilac undertones (you can ask for this in your salon): he says this way, the fading will produce a far nicer colour, and get rid of any orange tones. But of course if orange tones are your thing – go pink all the way!

In terms of care, the same stands for brunettes and blondes…

Here’s Declan’s top tips for maintaining the colour:

  • Use a high quality (sulphate free) shampoo and conditioner like our Davines Minu range
  • Continued use of Olaplex No3 on a weekly basis as well as a conditioning treatment (like the Davines renaissance mask)
  • So, like all toners, the fashion shades in particular can fade so a toning service is available and recommended. This is a great way to keep your colour topped up and can be done every 4-8 weeks

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