Although in the last couple of weeks I've gone lilac (and now blue again), I've been dying/maintaining a pastel pink colour in my hair for about 3 months. This post is a kind of sister post to this one I did a while back about dying your hair pastel blue. It seems to have helped a lot of people, so I want to do the same kind of thing but this time with pink!
DISCLAIMER DISCLAIMER DISCLAIMER
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, pink, purple, red, very bright red, blue, green, bright blonde, orange hair. I never go to the hairdresser. That said, don't use this DIY as absolute gospel, and if you think if I've got things wrong or it sounds silly, you can ignore it or go to your hairdresser for advice instead. However, by all means use this as a guide to help or inspire you if you're trying to achieve pastel (particularly pink) hair.
Okay, disclaimer over!
I have to say, pastel pink hair is a lot of fun. You will definitely be noticed with a head full of pretty pink locks, and it's so much fun to brush, curl, straighten and style especially when you pretend it's cotton candy! Pink hair is awesome because you can wear all black for an interesting-yet-sophisticated look, look ridiculously sweet by pairing it with more pastel pink, or you can go all out and wear a bunch of different colours, because it basically goes with everything.
How to dye your hair pastel pink
Step 1: The bleaching.
This is the step that probably claims the most victims. While bleaching, you need to be patient, and expect it to take upwards of a month to get your hair light enough to become pastel if you're starting off with darker hair. You also need to be very careful to not burn all your hair off. If you are scared of this happening, then go to your hairdresser. However, if you're stupid like me and still want to do it all yourself, then read on!
My hair started off a dark brown (hair dyed), but naturally my hair is quite dark anyway.
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 your hair doesn'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 for the first bleach!
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.
Now, don't expect your hair to suddenly be ready to dye after the first bleach. If you have started off with very light hair, then you're probably alright to dye it now. However, this is the process my hair went through:
You should NOT consider trying to dye your hair pink until your hair is at least as light as my hair in bleach no. 3 there. If you still have dark yellow bits, even if its just on the ends, your hair will not look good if you try to dye it.
Between each bleach
Do not bleach hair twice within a time frame of about 2 weeks (unless you want to ruin your hair). Between each bleach, you will need to do a lot of deep-conditioning treatments, which can be done by covering dry hair with conditioner, whacking it up in a shower cap, leaving it for a few hours then rinsing it out. Do this a few times between each bleach.
If you bleach it in excess of five times and it's still not getting to the level of blonde that is needed, then here might unfortunately be a good place to give up :( you can, however, try to get rid of the yellow bits using a Silver toner (I used Schwarzkopf's LIVE Colour Silver Toner) and then see how it looks. If you can't get it light/yellow-less enough, then you can always go a darker colour, like a pretty midnight blue!
Step 2: Dying your hair pink
Okay! So your hair is now finally light enough to go pastel. If it's still a little bit yellow-toned, that's okay for pink. It would only not be okay if you were trying to go blue or lilac.
So which dye should you use?
Don't buy an already-pastel hair dye. These wash out far too quickly. Instead, buy a really vibrant colour and then dilute it with conditioner. This way, the colour will last a lot longer.
For my hair, Directions Carnation Pink has been really good. I use a diluted Carnation Pink. This consists of a mix of 1 part Carnation Pink to every 6 parts conditioner. To dye, I wet my hair, towel dry it (so it is still damp), and spread the mixture through my hair, starting at the roots. I then throw my hair up into a shower cap, and leave it for about 6 hours (the dye doesn't hurt your hair, so you can leave it in as long as you want). Then rinse it out thoroughly (I've been told that if you do this part with cold water it'll last longer, but I refuse to suffer that much for my hair so doing it with warm water is okay too). Hooray! You should have pretty pastel hair!
If it's a bit too bright at first for your liking, don't worry - it should fade to a nice pastel colour with a couple of shampoos.
If it's too pastel for your liking, then you'll just have to dye it again - just use a little bit less conditioner this time.
Step 3: Maintaining the pink
You will have to dye your hair once every 3-4 weeks. If you don't want to do this, then don't go pastel pink. Tips which can help (which I totally ignore out of laziness/wanting to stay warm, but you should follow) are to wash your hair with cold water only, and also to put a tiny amount of your hair colour into your conditioner bottle. Also, it will obviously help if you don't shampoo your hair every time you have a shower - I have pretty naturally greasy hair so I use shampoo once every second day, and on the days I don't shampoo I use dry shampoo (you can probably just find this at your grocery store or chemist), which I spray on just before styling my hair - that stuff is magical.
You will also have to re-bleach your roots often (I do this once every 2 months but I have very slow-growing hair, and am not that bothered by my roots showing, either). Once your hair is very light, you don't need to leave the bleach on for long. I usually put it straight onto my dark roots (not on the ends, which are already super light), put it in a hair cap, and leave for about 20 minutes before washing it out. I use powder bleach mixed with 30 vol developer for re-bleaching my roots. But times and the strength will vary depending on if you have dark or light roots (you may need a stronger developer if you have dark roots, and weaker if you have relatively lighter roots).
I hope this helps somebody out there. If you have any questions, please comment below! Also, if you'd rather go a pastel blue, read this post here.