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