Adventures in Pastel Hair Dying

I have seen pastel hair now and again, and every time I look at it I sigh wistfully and wish that my hair would just get light enough.

Then I would get it light enough, and chicken out, and I would either keep it bleached blonde, or dye it a bright colour. (Blue is a favourite of mine).

Well, a week ago I finally decided to take the plunge and try it.

It’s been an adventure, fraught with frustration and wrong colours… But today, today I finally succeeded in my quest to have pastel purple hair.

Would you like to know how? Good.

First thing’s first, I had to bleach the everliving shit out of my hair. It has to be extremely light to successfully attain a pastel colouring, otherwise it just won’t show the actual pastel aspect.

My preferred way of bleaching is by using the 4$ packets of bleach powder mixed with the 30 strength activation cream (around 5-6$). Alternatively, if you can’t find the activation cream, you can use hydrogen peroxide, which is cheaper, but usually results in brassier colouring.

(my bleached hair, before I cut it and bleached it one more time for good measure)

Second, I already had my colours for the dyeing, but if you don’t you’ll need to find some nice bright colours. I strongly recommend Special Effects (the link goes to a colour swatch page). Personally, I buy it in person at Trivium (which is a goth clothing store in downtown Ottawa) but if you aren’t able to, then eBay or directly from the manufacturer are both good options.

You will notice that there are no pastel colours in there. That’s because they don’t manufacture them, you have to make them yourself! This involves a little bit of colour theory knowledge, but not a lot (depending on the colour you’re aiming for).

To make the dye a pastel one, dump an assload of conditioner (any type, even the cheap crap) into a bowl. Enough to slather your hair an inch thick in conditioner. Then add a little bit of dye to the conditioner and mix it until it’s all blended. You’ll want your colour in the bowl to be a few shades darker than your end goal colour, to account for fading and the fact that you do have to wash it out.

Since the colours I had at my disposal were “Electric Blue” and “Pimpin Purple”, and I knew from previous experience that my “Pimpin Purple” turns VERY PINK, I opted to add a little bit of blue into the concoction.

Apparently, not nearly enough, as I ended up with bright pink hair:


So I’ve been washing it and trying to boost the purple aspect of it for the past few days my coating it in a new colour mixture I made that is actually PURPLE. But… to no avail, the pink kept winning that battle.

But finally, at long last, I gave up and decided to just coat it in a blue pastel dye. And… lo and behold…


So there. I win the battle.

And now, to maintain the colour, I’ve got in under reasonable information that if you add a bit of the dye to your conditioner, it will help keep the colour looking fresh. I don’t have experience with this yet, so I will check in a few weeks down the road and we shall see. Until then, happy purple success day!

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