Pink hair has been trending for awhile with no sign of slowing down. We usually recommend heading to the salon for major transformations—making dramatic changes to your hair is risky and often best left to the experts. But what if you want to try a temporary look or something low commitment that won't break the bank? Can you dye your hair pink at home?
So much can go wrong when dying your own hair, no matter the color. We consulted a few experts to find out exactly how to do so safely—it's never a bad idea to ask a pro for their recommendations no matter the situation! The first key step? "Be prepared. Have all the necessary tools and materials handy," says hair color expert Maritza Cabeza. "Make sure you read the directions carefully and understand them before you begin mixing or applying anything." Colorist Luke Davis agrees, sharing that it's essential to have a back-up plan if things go haywire. Scroll down to learn exactly how to dye your hair pink at home.
Choose the Right Shade
First up, you'll want to choose a shade that matches both your desired outcome and works with your natural hair color and complexion. "What I usually do when a client wants to make a change is to find out what they want to get out of the change," says Cabeza. "Sometimes it’s just about experimenting with color while others want to go all out." Splat offers a ton of options from pastel to magenta, so there's truly a boxed dye for any shade of pink your heart desires.
How dark or light you can go will likely depend on your natural shade, which is another reason to get some expert input before you hit the drugstore. Want a low-commitment look? Try the brand's 1 Wash Temporary Dye in Piercing Pink ($9).
Consult Your Stylist
We've already mentioned this a few times, but it really bears repeating—have a chat with your usual stylist before taking the plunge. Sure, they may try and and convince you not to go the DIY route, but they'll be able to provide invaluable information that will help you get the color you want and avoid unnecessary damage. A brief consult can save you a world of hurt (and possibly money).
"Depending on the level of change, I can recommend a color that would get them to where they want to be," says Cabeza. "Letting your stylist know the type of change you are looking for will determine color options and what process you can do at home to achieve the look."
Don’t Skip the Strand Test
If you've rolled your eyes at the instructions included in every box of home hair color ever made (the ones that suggest you take the time to strand test), we've got news for you—that attitude could be dangerous. Without a trial, not only do you run the risk of the color "not taking" in certain spots, it could just as easily take too well, leaving you more neon raver than pastel princess. If you don't follow this advice, your hair can end up patchy.
According to Davis, "Under no circumstances should you ever dump any color on your hair without first testing it on a few strands that are easily hidden—you could end up wearing a lot of hats until you can see a professional to correct your mistake."
Don't just haphazardly slap the dye on your head; take the time to read through and understand the instructions. "Its best to have someone to help you through the application, especially if it involves bleaching," says Cabeza. She strongly suggests performing an allergy test and making sure you have enough product on hand before you start. "You don’t want to run out halfway through your color application."
If you're at a loss for how to properly apply dye yourself, see if the hair color brand has videos online that can provide a visual aid. "The instructions in the box are great, but there is nothing like seeing the process to understand what you’re getting into," notes Cabeza.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Because, you beautiful fool, could there be anything more embarrassing than scouring the shelves of a drugstore at 9 pm for a box dye dark enough to mask a cartoonish hair accident? Probably. (But not by much.) Having another ace up your sleeve is crucial if you're a DIY pastel hair virgin. I suggest you ask your regular colorist for advice on which products to use and then only use those. Don't get sassy in Priceline thinking you can Fudge Paintbox your way to Pinterest perfection just because that girl you know with awesome hair swears by it, then write me for help when you end up looking like a Care Bear. Tried and tested here (by a pro) counts.
Get a Color-Boosting Shampoo
Davis says that keeping pastel pink hair pink requires more than just a little commitment. After all is said and done, you'll need an arsenal of color-depositing products on hand to refresh the hue with every wash. Brite's Organix Make Me Pastel Pink Shampoo and Conditioner, and custom-blended conditioner from Evo are both great, expert-approved options.
"I always recommend sulfate and paraben free shampoos and conditioners for regular maintenance as they help lock and preserve bold vibrant colors," says Cebeza. Don't know if your shampoo and conditioners are sulfate and paraben free? Cabeza suggests "a quick cold shot of water on your hair at the end of your wash routine" to neutralize the negative effects of those ingredients.
Shop the Best Pink Hair Dying Products
"Splat offers a variety of pinks for all hair types from dark to light. All our formulas are vegan, gluten and cruelty free," says Cabeza, adding that Splat formulas contain quinoa extracts and baobab seed oil for incredible conditioning benefits. "Best of all the colors are free of bleach, parabens, sulfates, PPD and ammonia."
If you're wary of commitment but still want a beautiful result, Lime Crime Unicorn Hair in Bunny is more of a pink tint than an overall solid shade. This will have the most impact on pre-lightened hair.
This semi-permanent dye from classic color brand Manic Panic is totally vegan and claims to last for four to six weeks.
"Any shade can be mixed with the Splat Pastel Mixer to achieve any level of pink you want," says Cabeza.
Up next, learn how to get hair dye off your skin.