In Beauty on
January 13, 2017

How to Get Pastel Pink Hair Using Ion Color Brilliance Dyes

Are you looking to finally get pastel pink hair using Ion Color Brilliance dye? In this tutorial I'll explain how. Check it out!

My Pinterest board was filled with pink hair inspiration, and I couldn’t shake the burning desire within to finally achieve that cotton candy hair. I had been platinum blonde for 1 year and was way overdue for a change.

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure for more info.

Another $200 salon visit was out of the question and it was time to take matters into my own (very unprofessional) hands. With suggestions from stylists, I felt confident I could achieve my pastel pink hair with Ion Color Brilliance Brights and Neon Brights.

So, undeterred by horror stories of botched hair dye sessions with patchy results due to lack of experience, I decided on a whim to finally take the plunge. I put my hair through the wringer, made mistakes and braved the unknown so you don’t have to. Here are the steps I took, what I learned and how to get the dusty rose locks of your dreams.

My First Attempt

Let me start by saying that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to achieve pastel pink with any dye unless you have bleached your hair to the point of death. It should be, at the very least, a pale yellow–like the inside of a banana–before attempting what I am about to show you. Also, I’m not a professional stylist, but I’ve been researching techniques and dying my hair for 10 years–so I know a thing or two. Now, with all the boring stuff out of the way, let’s begin!

First stop: Sally Beauty. I heard good things about Ion Color Brilliance from some stylist friends of mine, so I ordered Ion Color Brilliance in Magenta, the most “pink” looking color I could find. The best part? Aside from being super affordable and accessible, this line of dye comes as a pre mixed cream and is ready to use straight from the tube (No need for developer!).

If you want bright pink hair, this will do the trick. But if you want to use Ion Color Brilliance for pastel pink hair, it is absolutely essential to mix this dye with some white conditioner in order to dilute it. Think of the dye as paint. To turn hot pink into a pastel color, you’ll need to add white until your desired level of lightness.

Knowing this, I picked up a bottle of the cheapest white conditioner I could find at the store, which ended up being some 99-cent coconut-scented Suave.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Ion Color Brilliance in Magenta

Mixing Pastel Pink Color

As soon as my package arrived, I ran over to my sister’s house for the moral support I needed to actually begin the process. I grabbed my mixing bowl and brush and whipped up a batch of dye using about 5 parts of conditioner to every 1 part of dye.

The conditioner not only dilutes the color, but it also makes the dye go a lot further (I only used about ¼ tube this time around). You want the color in the bowl to be pretty close to the color you want your hair to be.

Make more than you think you’ll need because you don’t want to have a half-covered pink head when you realize you’re out of dye.

Applying Hair Dye

I know you are supposed to paint the dye on your hair in sections, but like I said, I’m super unprofessional and so I just globbed it on by the handful (without gloves…don’t recommend) and worked it in like I was shampooing my hair. *Cue gasping stylists*. Sorry not sorry!

Pastels take longer to process because they are so diluted, so I planned to leave the color on my hair for two hours.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

My hair after application…and a pink forehead

My Hair Color Fail and How to Avoid It

Planned is the key word there. Immediately after putting the dye in my hair I washed my hands. The color had stained my skin and it looked hot pink.

Pastel dye should rinse right off your hands since it is a majority conditioner, but I ignored the warning signs that something was wrong. Some bleach, dish soap, olive oil and SOS pads later and my hands were no better off. I marched on.

45 minutes in, I looked in the mirror. My hair also looked hot pink. Panicked, I hopped in the shower and immediately tried scrubbing my head in shampoo under water as hot as I could stand. To my dismay, the hot pink didn’t wash out. In fact it didn’t budge at all.

So where did I go wrong? Long story short, I realized I accidentally bought white shampoo instead of conditioner. Please learn from my mistake and don’t use shampoo to dilute your dye because you will end up with hot pink hair.

I thought a little makeup and hair styling might salvage my disaster, but to no avail. Here is a picture with my sister documenting the moment I realized I seriously effed up:

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

NOT the color I was going for…

Please learn from my mistake and don’t use shampoo to dilute your dye because you will end up with hot pink hair.

How I Finally Got Pastel Pink Hair Using Ion Color Brilliance in Rose and Magenta

You’d think that would’ve dissuaded me from my quest for pink. But after a week of DIY hair color removal techniques, I was back to platinum blonde and ready to try again. Check out my tutorial on how to remove hair color at home to find out how you can do the same!

Rather than risk another conditioner/shampoo mishap, I ordered Aussie Moist Conditioner, one of my all time favorite conditioners (complete with pump!). I also ordered Ion Color Brilliance in Rose, which is a premade pastel pink dye.

When creating my dye concoction I once again mixed 1 part pink to 5 parts conditioner. But this time I reached the 1 part of pink by using ½ a part of Rose and ½ a part of Magenta.

I followed all of the same techniques as my previous attempt, successfully washed the color from my hands, and left the dye in my hair for 2 full hours. After a quick rinse and blowdry, I was ecstatic with the results.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Aussie Moist Conditioner

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Ion Color Brilliance in Rose





How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Pastel perfection

Alternate Color Option for Pastel Pink Hair Using Ion Color Brilliance in Flamingo

I couldn’t stop there. I’m lazy and don’t feel like mixing (or spending money on) 2 dyes every time I want to touch up my hair. So I set out on a mission to find a one stop shop dye that needed nothing more than diluting. I found just that in Ion Color Brilliance in Flamingo.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Ion Color Brilliance in Flamingo

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Mixing bowl, Ion Color Brilliance in Flamingo, mixing brush, Suave coconut conditioner

Once again, I followed the same mixing proportions as my earlier attempts, but used Flamingo and my cheap Suave conditioner.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Begin squeezing dye from the tube

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Squeeze out approximately 1/4 of the tube

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Add white conditioner (the ratio should be about 1 part dye to 5 parts conditioner)

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Mix thoroughly. The resulting color should be more or less the color you want your hair to be after application

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

The dye once it has been fully applied

The results were fantastic! I really love the metallic color this dye has straight from the tube. It gives your hair a lot of dimension. Here is the dye and a couple shots of the finished look.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Are you looking to finally get pastel pink hair using Ion Color Brilliance dye? In this tutorial I'll explain how. Check it out!

How Long Does Your Pink Hair Last?

After about 6 washes my hair starts to look like the image below, which I’m still okay with! I try to go as long as possible between washes so the color lasts longer. With pastel pink hair, dry shampoo will become your best friend.

How I Got Pastel Pink Hair using Ion Color Brilliance

Still a pale pink!

Hair Maintenance

I only wash my hair about every 3 days and I touch up color every 3-4 weeks or so. I love the way both (successful) pastel pink methods turned out and I might even go back and forth between methods depending on what I’m in the mood for at the time.

To get the full instructions and learn about my secret weapon product, head over to my post on how to keep pastel pink hair from fading for good.

I’m thrilled to have finally achieved the pink I’ve had my heart set on for so long. If I lived through it then so can you. So reach for those unicorn hair goals!

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  • Carole

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing in your feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

    January 17, 2017 at 4:19 am Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Carole,
      Thanks so much for the kind words! I’ll definitely be back at it and adding new content shortly. (:

      January 17, 2017 at 12:15 pm Reply
  • Jona

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

    January 26, 2017 at 1:48 am Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Jona,

      Thanks! Glad you liked it!

      January 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm Reply
  • Becki

    Hey do you have any advice for getting orange hair? I tried the same brand you did for pink, only for orange and it did absolutely nothing.

    January 26, 2017 at 7:11 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Becki,

      Sorry you didn’t have luck with Ion Color Brilliance! What color was your hair before you dyed it? As I mentioned in the post, if you start with another color already in your hair or have anything darker than a very pale blonde (platinum is best), then unfortunately the more “funky” colors Ion Color Brilliance has to offer won’t take to your hair at all. Hopefully that helps a little bit! Let me know if you try again and if it works any better!

      January 27, 2017 at 12:18 pm Reply
      • Becki

        Yeah, I didn’t bleach my hair first. I wish I could have my cake and eat it too. I don’t want to bleach it. Today I saw a girl with bright orange hair at the art gallery where I work and I almost pounced on her I was so excited about it.

        January 28, 2017 at 4:52 am Reply
      • Hallie McGonagle

        Hey love, your hair turned out GORGEOUS!!! i’m obsessed. I’m currently in the process of trying to go pastel pink. I have naturally medium blonde hair, so i did a heavy highlight with bleach and i used a toner after but it wasn’t the right one, so i ended up with a brassy look! however, i am using a pale ash blonde (Wella T18, lightest ash blonde) toner tonight to cancel out all of that yellow and brass! I also picked up the Ion brand permanent dye (1 box bc they only had 1 left) in “Rose petal” and “Rose gold” (2 boxes) The lady at sally’s told me that maybe i could achieve the color i want by mixing them. However i have a new perspective after reading your experience!! I have super thick hair, so do you think if i just use the Rose petal and conditioner i could get close to the color i want?? Also, on your final attempt were your platinum blonde before doing the flamingo dye?? or did you have that purplish-pink pastel color initially?

        August 31, 2020 at 6:21 pm Reply
    • Moriah

      I also realized after going through a very similar journey and going to the ion brand like she did that I got the permanent ion flamingo instead of the semi-permanent…. still only stays on 4-6 weeks but takes using a developer also. Just may want to check the box!

      May 9, 2020 at 1:56 pm Reply
  • Nickey ann

    This article helped me a lot you actually were honest I was in the same boat with the hot pink and also not what I wanted thank you for showing me that we all mess up and it can be fixed.

    March 28, 2017 at 1:37 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Nickey Ann,

      I’m glad this post helped you out! I know how tough it can be to get the perfect pastel color. I hope you’ve since been able to get the hair color of your dreams! (:

      March 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm Reply
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  • Michelle

    You literally just solved all my problems and answered all my burning questions about how to go pastel pink using Ion. There are so many directions you can go with going pastel pink and I knew something was a little fishy about the Rose color. Lots of folks say it’s too red. FLAMINGO IT IS!

    May 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hey Michelle,

      I’m so happy to hear that! Flamingo is definitely my favorite pink in the Ion line. Good luck with your pastel hair! (:

      May 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply
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    July 12, 2017 at 9:20 am Reply
  • Aria Lynell Adcock

    Hey you look stunning how long did you leave it in for?

    October 1, 2017 at 1:26 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Aria,

      Thanks so much! I left it on for 2 hours. (:

      October 2, 2017 at 11:37 am Reply
  • Gwyneth Loughran

    I love Flamingo, it is one of my all-time favorite colors. My only issue is that every time I dye it, it comes out streaky, despite being bleached evenly, do you have any advice on that?

    December 14, 2017 at 12:01 am Reply
    • Maya

      Hey Gwyneth,

      Hmm….It’s hard to say without being there to see your hair/process. How are you dyeing it? I usually wet my hair and then work globs of hair dye in with my hands like I’m shampooing. This method has a higher chance of coming out streaky. Because if you aren’t careful, you could accidentally deposit more dye in one spot than another. If you’ve been doing it this way, my suggestion would be to try starting with dry hair, section it off, and then paint the dye on piece by piece with a brush instead. That’s your best bet for getting even coverage and hopefully a better result! (:

      December 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm Reply
  • Katie

    Hey love the hair quick question- what brand/color is the lipstick your wearing in the last 3 photos? It looks amazing with the light pink hair(I currently have the same shade) 🙂 thank you!

    December 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm Reply
  • Micheala

    I loved reading about your journey to pastel pink hair! I tried to ombre the bottom of my loght brown hair to blonde and then pastel pink, but realized that my hair wasn’t nearly ablight wnough blonde for the pastel pink I wanted. How domid you get your hair platinum blonde without it looking patchy?

    February 1, 2018 at 3:20 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Micheala,

      I got my initial bleach sessions out of the way at a salon. They bleached my entire head about 3 times (spread out over a few months) before I achieved a light enough color. Now that my hair is evenly bleached, it’s easy for me to just keep up with the roots on my own. (:

      March 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm Reply
  • Tessa

    I loved the pink the frist picture I don’t think it was hair fail I really liked the colour was lush

    March 17, 2018 at 1:41 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Tessa,

      Thank you for the kind words! It was only a hair fail because it wasn’t the color I was going for. But it definitely turned out great if that were the color I was after. (:

      March 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    What process did you use to remove the mistake color? Ion doesn’t seem to offer any recommendations to remove the semi- permanent Brights line.

    June 5, 2018 at 7:20 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Rachel!

      You can check out my tutorial on how to remove hair color to find out the method I used. (: I really like it because I do it without any bleach or harsh chemicals, which most store bought color removers have.

      June 7, 2018 at 10:11 am Reply
  • Lissy

    Thanks for your Post. I’m trying for the “fail” color. mixing with conditioner is too light. I’m going to take your “advice” and try with shampoo!

    July 18, 2018 at 1:47 am Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Lissy!

      If you are going for bright pink, I don’t think you even need to bother with shampoo. Just use the Magenta straight from the tube. Mentioning that I had used shampoo on accident was just to point out that I had not actually diluted the color at all. Shampoo probably won’t do much to change the actual color, though. (:

      July 18, 2018 at 9:53 am Reply
  • AnitaTaco

    Both colors look great on you! However, I completely understand that we want what we want, damnit, and we want it yesterday! lol I add the dye, every color that I do that’s not permanent, to my conditioner bottle and every time I condition, it tops up my color. I put it on when I first step in the shower, before wetting my hair, then washing it out is the very last thing I do. I get amazing results and it allows me to use so much less dye in the long run.

    I currently have ion flamingo, rose and manic panic hot hot pink and cotton candy sitting in front of me. My hair is white, but my roots are being stubborn in that they just don’t want to lighten past golden blonde and another round of lightening is NOT in my future, well if I want to still have hair that is, but it’s still too dark blonde so they won’t tone. On top of that, despite protein and porosity treatments, my porosity is all over the place so even if I only put toner on my roots for 2 minutes, it’s purple and overtoned. A hairdresser said with toner developing time, one minute equals one wash you’ll get out of it, so ideally I need it on the the full 20 mins for it to be worth doing another process with peroxide. 2 mins? Not even close! So I’m deciding, do I want it bright pink? Bubblegum? Only my roots faded into white? Just dip the tips cotton candy and bright at the roots? Oh the decisions, to an indecisive like myself, it’s torture with no one around to solicit an opinion from!

    August 13, 2018 at 12:57 am Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Anita!

      You pretty much hit the nail on the head with the struggle that anyone with bleached hair goes through haha! Some sections more porous than others…roots not getting light enough…etc.

      The good thing is that you can always change your hair. So just try one of those things. If you love it, rock it for a while. And when you get bored, just change it up! Try everything and figure out what you love best. Pastel hair is a blessing and a curse haha. But it’s a ride I think we’re overall happy to be on! (:

      August 13, 2018 at 10:12 am Reply
  • kayla

    will this work if I go straight from light/ white blonde to pink?

    August 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Kayla!

      Yes, it will. Even though I messed up and got bright pink, I still removed the color completely before starting over and getting the light pastel pink I wanted. I’ve done it many times since (starting with a platinum base) and it works beautifully every time! (: Happy coloring!

      August 22, 2018 at 10:12 am Reply
  • Talia

    Thank you so much for posting this! Been wanting pastel pink hair for YEARS! Just purchased the ion rose at Sally’s before reading this; have you tried using just that color? Similar results?

    October 14, 2018 at 6:04 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Talia!

      So happy you found this helpful. (: I haven’t tried ion rose on its own, but I’m sure it would have a similar result as long as you dilute the color with conditioner. Good luck! (:

      October 15, 2018 at 8:32 am Reply
  • Kelly

    My daughter tried last night to obtain a rose color. She pre lightened her hair and dried it then used ion rose and it did nothing. A few steaks. Would using developers or heat help it stay. Or leaving in for 2 hours??? Any help would be great

    August 2, 2019 at 9:45 am Reply
    • Maya

      Hi Kelly,

      It may be the base color she is starting with. If her hair is anything darker than the pale inside of a banana yellow, the pastel pink will have a hard time sticking. The few streaks that turned pink might be naturally lighter strands. Using developers would not be a good idea, as these dyes are made to be used without developer. Heat wouldn’t do much either. Leaving the dye in longer might help, but like I said, the base color is the most important key. If you think she might need to go lighter first, I’d suggest heading to a salon for the initial bleach session to make sure her hair stays healthy!

      August 13, 2019 at 11:28 am Reply
  • Julie Melillo

    This is GORGEOUS. Wow super inspiring blog, thanks.

    October 9, 2019 at 6:48 pm Reply
    • Maya

      Hey Julie,

      Thanks so much. (: I’m glad you’ve been inspired!

      October 12, 2019 at 1:00 pm Reply
  • Esmee Rodrigo

    Such a cute color! I am going to try it out tonight :))

    March 18, 2020 at 1:10 pm Reply
  • Caitlin

    Hi I was just wondering whether it does completely wash out or not

    June 9, 2020 at 9:27 am Reply
  • Carrie

    I’m about to use ion flamingo on my bleached hair now! I’ve had platinum hair for so long I’m dyeing (pun intended lol) for a change! So I’m wanting pastel pink and came across your blog. Thanks for the advice n info!!

    August 9, 2020 at 7:36 pm Reply
  • Danielle

    I think that both colors turned out nice. (Liking the pastel more tho 😁). Just an FYI in case you or anyone else didn’t know this but Ion a deluter for achieving lighter/pastel-y colors. It serves the purpose, like in your situation, conditioner.
    But all in all…. GREAT JOB!!!!!

    August 20, 2020 at 12:18 am Reply
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