Monday, 23 January 2012

How to Dye Your Hair Pastel Blue - DIY Adventures in Bleaching and Hairdye

(Click here to find the DIY for pastel PINK hair.)
Hello, everyone! I wanted to share with you all my DIY pastel hair experience. While I am not a hairdresser, and have never bleached anyone's hair but my own, I am well experienced in home hair dying and bleaching (I'm pretty sure I haven't seen my natural hair colour since I was 12 years old) and have had black, brown, purple, red, very bright red, bright blonde, orange (and a particularly intriguing combination of red, black and blonde when i was experimenting with terrible hair in my 15 year old scene kid days) hair. I never go to the hairdresser. I have never had pastel hair before, so I am also by no means an expert, or even really very experienced on this either. So don't use this DIY as absolute gospel, and you think if I've got things wrong or it sounds silly, you can ignore it or go to your hairdresser for advice instead, but by all means use this as a guide to help or inspire you if you're trying to achieve pastel (particularly blue or turquoise) hair.


OKAY, disclaimer over, this is how it's done.

Phase 1: The bleaching phase. This is the scary part. Bleach has to potential to melt and fry and burn off your lovely locks. If you're hesitant, get it done at the hairdressers. Or if you're silly like me, do it at home! But do it carefully. You need to do this right so that you don't kill your hair, and if you have hair that is any darker than medium blonde, expect it to take a few weeks and at least 2 bleaches. Hide yourself away from everyone you know, like I did, by conducting the first phase of bleaching on holidays, where I wasn't going to see anyone important (or anyone who would laugh at me) for a week.
Hello, canary yellow!

For this first step, I used a bleaching kit, Schwarzkopf Nordic Blonde "Ultimate Lightener L1++".
This is some pretty serious bleach, designed to lift your hair colour from 6 - 8 shades. It also has a blonde toner in it, so you don't go as yellow as you would otherwise if you were just using developer and powder bleach. I highly recommend it, it did a fantastic job! I went way blonder than I had expected, as I was starting on a pretty dark dyed brown. Before bleaching, make sure you DON'T shampoo your hair for at least a day, and let it get nice and greasy, or your scalp is going to HURT a LOT. The chemicals in your greasy hair will protect the skin on your scalp :)

START BLEACHING on the ends of your hair, working your way up. DO NOT apply any to the roots until the last 10 - 15 minutes of the bleaching process (I did this, and look how blonde the roots still went!) The bleach will work on your roots really quickly because of the heat raditating from your scalp at this level. The bleach should not be on your hair for any longer than 45 minutes. Really. Your hair will melt off.

Wait a week or two, and bleach again!
**NOT BLONDE ENOUGH**

(If you still have dark yellow bits, or it looks like this, you'll need to wait a week or two, then bleach AGAIN. You probably won't get a nice pastel blue if you dye over this.)


**BLONDE ENOUGH, BUT COULD GO EVEN BLONDER**

You need to wait for at least a week before redoing the whole bleaching process. In this time, you need to be looking after your hair (no straightening or blowdrying) and doing some serious deep conditioning treatments. You can deep condition your hair using regular conditioner, by applying it to dry and hair and whacking it up in a shower cap for 20 or so minutes, then washing it out. Do this a few times between bleaches. And don't bleach again until your hair feels soft and healthy.

I figured that I didn't want to go a whole another 8 shades lighter (and less damage to my hair, hopefully), so this bleach kit, while still extremely strong, is only designed to lighten your hair 5 - 7 shades. It's also got a blonde toner, so you avoid the yellowness just a little (but be warned, it WILL still go yellow).

Same again for the bleaching process: start at the ends and work up, leave it for 30 minutes, THEN apply the rest to your roots, leave it on for ten more minutes, and then wash off.


 Use a silver/blue toner to get rid of the yellowness. I used Schwarzkopf's LIVE Colour Silver Toner. I did this so that my hair would be less yellow when I put the blue in, because blue + yellow = green, and I didn't want entirely green hair.

When can you do this? Immediately after bleaching! Or you can wait however long you would like. This step will not hurt your hair.

Now.. to go turquoise...?

or pastel blue?

After bleaching, you can then begin dying immediately!

Final product #1 - PASTEL TURQUOISE - To achieve this turquoise pastel colour, I used 1/4 Manic Panic Atomic Turqouise with 3/4 conditioner (I think I ended up using 150ml of Conditioner mixed with 50ml of Hairdye) and then left it on my hair for 6 hours in a shower cap after making sure it was throughly worked through. Manic Panic dye will not hurt your hair, and with all the conditioner you're probably doing more good than bad to your hair in this step. You can leave it on as long as you like. Leave it on for AT LEAST an hour if you're in a rush, but if you only leave it for this long, it won't end up as vibrant.

**UPDATE** So, Manic Panic's Atomic Turquoise will eventually (like, after 2 washes) go more like pastel green. At least it did on my hair. If you don't want this, try a less greeny-blue colour, like Directions Atlantic Blue or Lagoon Blue.

Final Product #2 - PASTEL BLUE - To achieve this blue pastel colour, I used 2% (a small spoonful) Manic Panic's Atomic Turquoise mixed with 8% La Riche Directions Atlantic Blue, and 90% conditioner. I can't even comprehend how ridiculously vibrantly blue your hair would be if you used Atlantic blue undiluted, because my hair ended up pretty vibrant, even though the mixture I used was so diluted! Make sure you make at least 200mls of mixture, perhaps more if you have long/thick hair. Work the colour throughly through your hair, and put in a shower cap. Leave it on for a few hours, at least 2 or 3, or for up to 6 like I did. Then rinse and enjoy!

More on maintaining your pastel colour to come...
And to see my new pastel pink hair colour, check out my more recent blog posts. I will try and post a DIY on obtaining pastel pink hair real soon, but it does basically follow these steps, concluding with using a pink rather than a blue dye (obviously).

I hope this post has helped someone out there :)

Have a super lovely day, everyone!

Annika xxxx

53 comments:

  1. O!M!G! Pretty goreous colour choice. Cannot wait to see you in all your outfits with your pretty blue hair.

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    1. awww gee, thanks Tallulah :) I'm having issues with matching my outfits with blue hair now, but I'm trying!

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  2. I wish I had've read this before I bleached my hair all those months ago! Stupid time travel, why are you not invented yet!

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    1. I know, right! But it's okay, I enrolled in Science at uni today, so I'll get right onto inventing time travel ;)

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  3. Wow! I love love love that colour. I never thought a light greeney blue wfatter rally truly fatter anyone, but it looks awfully good on you... I love that you documented every step haha.

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  4. I love your hair <3
    http://xtheperfectmess.blogspot.com

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  5. Your hair is fantastic. I always love your outfits so I awarded you the versatile blogger award. Stop by my blog for more details.

    -Mandy
    http://graceandviola.blogspot.com

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  6. great result that beautiful color really suits you!
    thank you for sharing this tutorial, I had no idea that it takes so long and so much courage to do it,
    but you look fantastic!! :)!

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  7. I love love love your hair, the color is so wonderful! I wish I could be brave enough to try this.
    Loving your blog too, new follower :)

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  8. I love the pastel hair, it's amazing! I really want to do this but it would have to be temporary, beautiful though. I absolutely adore your blog too :)

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  9. Thank you! Thank you so much for this. I'm on way to dye my hair pastel and now I'm stuck in this awkward yellow-orange tone. Hope it'll come out as cool as your hair.

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    1. it was a really long process to get it decent, (it kept going green) so be patient and persistent!! but goooooood luck :)

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  10. Wow! Thanks this helped a bunch!:) I'm doing this over summer but when school starts up again I'd like to go back to my medium blonde hair. Help?

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    1. that should be no problem. The coloured dyes come out pretty easily with enough shampooing, or by using bleach for a reaaaally short time on it (this is what I do when I want to change colours). Be careful not to overbleach though, especially if you've got a time limit! You should still expect it to take 3 - 4 weeks to get a a colour you're really happy with, otherwise your hair might fall out!!

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  11. How often do you have to dye your hair that pastel colour? Because I want to do mine;3

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    1. well now i'm a lilac/pink pastel colour which I alternate between. But I want to go back to blue and will soon! :)

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  12. Love your hair colour, I was thinking of doing this to my hair in a purple/blue. xx

    http://ilovesixpence.blogspot.co.uk/

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  13. Ahh thankyou so much for this post! :>
    I just started the process of bleaching a few days ago but it's nowhere near as light as it's supposed to be, so it's reassuring to see all the steps I need to go through to get it light enough <3

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  14. That green color is what i like most.

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  15. I love both the final colors on you. I've been thinking about buying some of that hair color and trying it. Maybe after the holidays.

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  16. Hi there! I was wondering what would happen if you dye blue (not pastel blue, necessarily, just regular) over orangeish hair that hasn't been bleached blonde enough. Would it turn out green initially or would it be blue at first then fade to green with a few washes?

    Thanks in advance :)

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    1. I think it would probably go a really awful green actually :/ probably try and go a little bit blonder! Because I did go bright blue once, over hair that was not properly blonde, and it just went green! I think it would likely go blue for a few washes but fade to green really fast. That said, i'm not a hairdresser so speaking entirely from my own anecdotal evidence here.

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    2. Thank you for the quick reply. Your blog is wonderful <3

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  17. "The bleach should not be on your hair for any longer than 45 minutes. Really. Your hair will melt off." ... is it good or bad but it stayed on my hair for an hour or so but that thing you said did not happen :o

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    1. FIGURE OF SPEECH, haha. I often left it on for an hour - now I have bad bad split-ended, frizzy hair :( so be careful!

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    2. I mean, yeah I got the figure of speech :D My hair just didn't come out frizzy or dead dry.

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  18. Can you please tell me how to get pastel orange hair? I was thinking of following those same steps, but I don't know. I've never bleached my hair or anything. :3. What would you recommend me?

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    1. Manic panic and La Riche directions both do an orange. You'd dilute it just the same as the blue here. Although I have no idea if it'd turn out pastel orange :| Google "pastel peach" hairdye because I remember seeing that kind of hairdye a while ago, though I can't remember who it was by..

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    2. I've read somewhere that Manic Panic's Pretty Flamingo with a touch of Electric Lava diluted with Virgin Snow gives that "pastel peach" effect. I'd still have to bleach it, right? 3 or more times? And sorry for my English ;_;

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    3. Yes, you'll need to bleach it.
      It depends on how dark your hair is to start with.

      If it's naturally quite dark, you will have to bleach at least 3 times.

      I recommend you go to the hairdresser if you've never bleached or dyed your own hair before, though! I am quite experienced with doing it at home, but if you haven't ever done it before it could be quite disastrous (and I don't want to be responsible for that, haha)

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  19. Thank you very much, you're so sweet :3

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  20. If I don't want pastel pink, and I want like, a hot pink neon shade, will I still have to bleach it three times or is it a different process? I don't want to kill my hair, and it's dark brown/blackish. I'm dying for pink hair though!
    Please and thanks!!!!

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    1. I'm not so sure, as I've never done neon pink before. You definitely need light hair for any bright colour to work - but I don't know how light you would have to go for neon pink. This question is best for a hairdresser, I'm sorry I can't help you!

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  21. Hi Annika,
    Wow you are a gorgeous person and I just love your tutorial, thank you SO MUCH for posting it! It's what given me the final push to finally do this and I am ecstatic :) I have one question, is there any specific kind of conditioner that you'd recomment to dilute the dye? Did you use the kind that needs to be rinsed out, or the kind that you leave in your hair? Any specific brand, or do you think there is no conditioner that could screw this up? Thank you so much! By the way, I'm going to be using Directions Alpine. Can't wait. :)

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    1. Hey! Naw, thanks so much & I'm so happy for you :D I literally just used the cheapest conditioner that I could find. Just make sure that the conditioner is white (I used a cheap green one once, and my hair went green). I'm pretty sure you can use any kind. Good luck!

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  22. I've been going pastel for a long time now & I think it's very important for everyone to know that to get the TRUE pastel color ur looking for, ur hair should be as "white" as possible. Any twinge of yellow will make ur pastel color look "dingy" or like a dirty variation of that color. Same goes for uniformity. If a strand is white except for a small area, that small area will appear dingy.... & as far as ur hair "melting" off? It absolutely can happen. When I first started, I bleached my hair too often too fast & my butt-length hair, melted to a bob. Needless to say, in order to save the hair I had, I had to damn near shave the back, to have a hairstyle! But, it was WHITE!!! Hahahaaaa!... Enjoy. As I know, NOW, it's only hair! & it's tons of fun once u get to playing!.... Oh & btw ION makes variations of colors ranging from pure hue to pastels, that are beautiful & even seem glossy. And even tho they sell a "mixer" that comes in a dye-like package, to make ANY of their colors pastel, I still prefer the control of using conditioner. Also keep in mind, ur mixture in the bowl AND after a little time on ur head will be a little darker than the actual color u end up with. Have fun! & GREAT blog!

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    1. Thanks for all the awesome helpful info! :) x

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  23. uuggghh... So for days I have been trying to figure out how to do a light pale blue. I had a pretty good idea. But not until I came across your site. When you said yellow + Blue = Green. I freaked! As I was just about to skip the bleaching step... since I already am blonde... So OMG! I am so glad I saw that. Also thanks for not leaving out little details, like HOW LONG to leave whatever on. I can find a million how to videos on YouTube, but everyone seems to forget little instructions like that. Anyway, thanks! & wish me luck that I don't get too impatient! ERG! But I think I will force myself to do the steps you did!

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  24. If you already have like pretty blonde hair, do you then need to bleach it? :D Btw your hair is amazing

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    1. If it's not WHITE or very close to white blonde, yes :)
      If it's a little bit of a yellow blonde, it'll most likely go green (or fade to a green pretty quickly).

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    2. Okay thanks, i'm unfortunately that my mom will never let me bleach my hair :'(

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  25. What do you do to cover up your phase 1 and 2 hair over the few weeks of the process? Or do you leave it out? I would be too worried to go out in public if my hair was in the middle of a bleaching process :/

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    1. Nothing... I actually just went on holidays for 2 weeks at a really deserted beach when I did this, so nobody I knew saw me haha :P

      Depends on how confident you are. Rock the yellow canary hair!

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  26. I Really want to dye my hair pastel but i am afraid it will kill my hair and im not sure what to do what do you suggest?

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    1. If you're especially worried I think you should get it done at a hairdresser.
      Also, don't do it if your hair is particularly thin or dry or frizzy naturally :)

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  27. My hair started from black. Can I use two L++ bleach or L+ would be enough?

    One L++ left my hair a light brown though

    Also I dyed a dark purple from shcwarzkopf over my hair will the bleach just get rid of the dye or itll bleach as if from light brown

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    1. I reckon try a L+ if it's light brown, a super strong bleach might wreck your hair!

      I really don't know about the dark purple though, having never done that colour myself :(

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  28. I havr been using the soap cap method to gradually lighten my hair. I am In dian and have very dark hair. I have donestrand tests with blue and green(there aren't many companes available here). But it turns too dark, almost black/mucky brownish. I don't think toners are available here. should I continue lightening my hair for the colors to actually show?

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    1. Hmmm... I'm not sure what the soap cap method is, I'm really sorry :( (I'm really not a hairdresser or anything, haha).
      But to go properly blue and green, your hair needs to be almost white before putting the colours on.
      So you will have to continue lightening to get this result, though I wouldn't recommend trying to lighten it more than 3 times. If it isn't working, and isn't getting light enough after 3 bleaches, you should probably not do it, because your hair will get too weak and snap and become all horrible! :(

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  29. hey there , i came upon your blog when i was searching on how to dye your hair and stuffs . your blog post is great and helped me alot . however i have one question to ask , can i use bleach on my hair than i use a white toner dye on my hair and than later on turquoise dye on my hair . will it be more simpler ? or the result that comes out will be different from your method . because i know bleaching is bad for hairs , HAHA :x

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    1. Yes you can do that, I mentioned in the post that (I think) you can use a white toner dye first. In fact you definitely *should* use a white toner first if you want to go blue, otherwise it will end up green.

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  30. Hi , i just came across your blog post and i am happy to see such an elaborated step by step for me to follow . however can i ask you a question ? can i use bleach on my hair than later on use a white toner dye on my hair before having the turquoise dyed . will it have the same effects ? because im trying to minimise my hair damage . Since it's the first time im dying them :)

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