With Spring approaching and our Instagram faves getting that soft, pastel hair color, resisting the temptation to follow the trend can be a major challenge. We have to admit – having pastel hair instantly scores you extra cool-girl points. Plus, it’s a great way to stand out and make a bold statement.
But what if we tell you it’s not as easy as many make it out to be? In fact, without the proper know-how and professional guidance from your trusted hair stylist, you could end up damaging your hair to the point that you need to chop it off.
Before booking that appointment, read these 5 important facts so you know what to expect.
Things to Know Before Going Pastel
Hair needs to be bleached to white or platinum.
Getting pastel hair is not as easy as picking out a color and slathering it all over your hair. In order to achieve the exact hue you’re aiming for, your hair needs to be bleached to a level 9-10. This is not going to be a problem if you got healthy blonde hair. But if you’re a brunette, chances are it’s going to take 3-4 trips to the salon to get the shade you desire.
Furthermore, bleaching the hair can be pretty damaging, so it’s highly recommend that you work your way to it. Try going for less dramatic options like pastel highlights or an ombre first. This way, you will know if you can commit to an all-over color.
PRO TIP: Go for lighteners and pastel toners that do not contain aggressive chemicals and lifting agents like ammonia. Lighteners with ammonia would blast open the cuticle, making the hair super porous and fragile. It’s important not to add any more stress on the hair, so we highly recommend O&M’s ammonia-free lighteners and Original & Mineral COR Pastel Toners. The toners are made WITHOUT ammonia, resorcinol, and PPD, making them safe and gentle on bleached hair. They are available in 9 shades: Platinum, Ice, Silver, Charcoal, Lilac, Sand, Dusty Pink, Pale Pink, and Apricot.
The color of your skin will dictate which pastel color suits you.
Just like regular hair color, you need to consider your skin undertone when choosing a pastel shade. You want to choose a color that flatters your complexion, not make you look washed out or overpowered by your own hair. Blue, green, and purple suit individuals with a warm complexion. But if you have a cool undertone, orange, pink or gold might work.
You may not get the exact the same color you see on the packaging.
When it comes to hair color, the more you use, the more the color intensifies as it requires a lot of hair color molecules to deposit pigment in the hair. Thus, it is essential to do a swatch test or consult the color bible or swatch book to make sure you chose the right shade. Be sure to explain to your stylist the actual color you want as well so you don’t end up getting a deeper or lighter hair color than you’re expecting.
You need to use specific hair care products to prolong color.
Pastel hair colors fade faster compared to darker shades. That is because fashion hair colors typically have larger molecules than natural hair colors, preventing them from fully penetrating the cortex of the hair. And if the hair care products you’re using at home contain color-stripping ingredients, such as SLS, your unicorn hair will only last after a few washes.
It’s high maintenance.
Many clients who want pastel hair do not realize the time, money, and commitment that go into maintaining this type of hair color. In order to keep it vibrant and consistent, you need to go to the salon every 2-3 weeks for a color touchup or toner refresh – and that is if you wash your hair once or twice a week. But if you’re the type who washes her hair frequently, a weekly visit to your trusted stylist is highly recommended.
But let’s be honest – who has the time for a weekly appointment? Using color-enhancing masks like Oway Hmelt Masks can help extend the life of pastel colors before your next appointment.
PRO TIP: Is your hair turning brassy? Use our O&M Conquer Blonde non-toxic purple shampoo to eliminate those yellow tones.
It takes special care and attention to keep pastel hues vibrant, but if you’re ready for the challenge and commitment, go for it!