I Got a Pastel Pink Hair Makeover—Here’s How It Went

by Michele Ross

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Hair has never been my thing. And to be frank, I’m a bit off-kilter when it comes to minding my mane. For starters, I haven’t used conditioner in probably four years, and haven’t owned a brush or dryer in a decade-plus. In essence, minimal, matte, and messy have long been my styling anchors. So what led a hair minimalist to commit to the supremely high mane-tenance endeavor of a pink hair makeover? Here’s the skinny on my decision and process, plus the big reveal. I entrusted Joey and Misha of Mane Duo Salon in Hollywood to lead the way.

Why I Wanted a Radical Hair Transformation

While I’ve dabbled with highlights over the years, they’ve never been consistent. And save for an unfortunate adolescent dalliance with blonde streaks to emulate Nicole Richie circa The Simple Life, they’ve never been major either. However, my interest in going bold has been marinating for a couple of years now.

So why did I finally decide to take the plunge? In sum, my latent desire to have statement hair, paired with the newfound “need” to color my grays away, galvanized me to finally make moves. Only one question remained: Should I go platinum à la Kim K, or pastel pink for a pop of fun and whimsy? Since I worried the former would wash out my deep-olive skin tone, I opted for pink.

What to Know Pre-Treatment

For starters, find a colorist you can trust based on technique and experience. Second, have realistic expectations, since it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to exactly replicate an inspo image.

Next, Joey mentions specific need-to-knows. “The best candidates for a pastel hair journey are those with virgin (untreated) hair,” he begins. “If somebody has pre-existing hair color or artificial pigments—especially from at-home products—we’ll put a firm halt on that kind of request.”

Other major considerations are the time and upkeep required. “Prospective clients should know that they’ll be here for at least eight hours. It’s a lengthy process,” Joey explains. As for maintenance? “They’ll have to come back every six to eight weeks for a root touch-up, and some pastel or platinum refreshment in between.”

Unsurprisingly, this type of hair makeover comes at a steep cost, which begins with about $200 per each bleach and tone. Extras include the likes of bond treatments, trims, color refreshments, color-safe hair products, etc. All said, if you’re going to commit fully, brace yourself for the inevitable financial hit.

Lastly, people who prize sleek, heated styling above all should probably forego this kind of treatment. “If a straight, shiny look is your thing, you may not want to get a pastel color since it’ll be textured and have a more grungy feel,” Joey explains. (While this last part rings as music to my ears, I know I’m in the minority.)

My Pink Hair Makeover Process

Here’s a look at the entirety of my hair makeover journey, from deep brown to platinum to pastel pink.

Test Strand

Before committing fully, Joey encouraged me to come in to bleach a test strand of hair. That way, he’d be able to gauge how it responded and if my desired transformation was even possible. About an hour or two in, he was pleased with how my dark pigment lifted. Thankfully, he gave me the green light to make an official appointment, also adding in pink so I could get a sneak preview.

A Long Day of Bleaching

From the fore, I was grateful to know that Joey would take a safe and slow approach. First, he added a bond treatment to the bleach to prevent my hair from losing too many cuticle and cortex cells. Next, since heat from the scalp can speed up the bleach’s activation, Joey started painting my hair an inch from the root downwards, then wrapped each section in foil. Only after rinsing this first full round did he go in for the roots. FTR, I never sat directly under heat so that I could avoid damage. However, I sometimes sat close to the heater to gently nudge things along.

Following nine hours of painstaking work on his end (and snoozy reveries on mine), I was sent home with a mop they warned would be “an undesirable shade of yellow.” I hid under my favorite fedora and called it a night.

Bleach + Tone

Clocking in at only six hours, day two felt like a breeze. Joey began by applying another round of bleach and foil, further lifting pigment and correcting uneven areas. Once my hair achieved its lightest level, Joey applied a violet ashy toner to neutralize color and mask any lingering yellow patches.

Let me tell you: I was *shook* by how much I loved the platinum. Kanye might feel like Pablo, but I totally felt like his Mrs. at the apex of her icy-haired game. Any initial concerns were put to rest, and I was beaming from ear to ear. While most of my friends post-progress-pic urged me to stick with platinum, I remained committed to follow through with the pink. I left in a deep conditioning mask to nourish my now brittle-yet-beautiful strands before embarking on the final stages.

Final Color

At long last, the time had come to apply the semi-permanent pink dye—but only after diluting it with conditioner to achieve a pale blush tone. I sat with it for 20 minutes before Misha trimmed my dead ends and styled my new ‘do for the big reveal.

Pink Hair Reveal

This pastel pink hair is killer! I don’t take selfies or look in the mirror often—but I can now see the post-reveal appeal. While I fawned over my temporarily platinum locks, I also really love the pink. I didn’t expect to get a lot of dimensionality, so I’m glad I get to experience the best of both worlds. As big of a transformation as it is, I already feel used to my new pink hair. I think it brings out my fun side, which is always a plus!

Pink Hair Makeover Maintenance

  • Accept that you should only wash your hair once a week. Tip: Intermittent shower rinses with conditioner are permitted, adequate trade-offs.
  • Invest in non-toxic, salon-quality shampoo and an arsenal of conditioners: one regular, one deep conditioning mask, and one to mix with at-home pink dye.
  • Get ready to become your own colorist in between salon visits. Mix semi-permanent pink dye with conditioner once a week to redeposit faded color.
  • Lay off heat styling as best you can.
  • Go back for root touch-ups, toning, and trims every six to eight weeks (or as needed) for long-lasting results.

Final Thoughts

I’m incredibly happy I finally went through with my pink hair makeover. It’s fun to rock a new, different look to complement my other style staples and creatively communicate my personality. And while the pink does fade pretty quickly, I’m cool with being surprised by the infinite variety of shades that come and go. I’m inspired to continue experimenting with my hair color, so long as its health can Keep Up

And speaking of, I’ll totally go back to that Kim K platinum next.

Big thanks to Joey and Misha! Show them some love on Instagram or visit Mane Duo Salon in Los Angeles.

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