Friday, May 4, 2012

Candy-Colored, Pastel Sweets for the Hair

A reverse lavender ombre
Bright, funky haircolors have trended in and out of style over the last three decades. It probably started in earnest during the punk years with the introduction of “Manic Panic” do-it-yourself haircolor, which is just as popular today as it was when musicians as diverse as Nina Hagen, Poly Styrene, Poison Ivy, Siouxie Sioux, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Cherry Vanilla, and Beth Ditto were bleaching and dyeing their hair outrageous, never-before-seen colors.

Pastel green
Today, haircolor is a true art form practiced by highly trained Master Colorists like myself, and the chemistry and technology has evolved beyond anything imagined even just a decade or two ago. Hair colorists paint with dyes, and hair is their chosen canvas.

Charlotte Free on the couture runway
The latest trend is not as in-your-face; in fact, it is sweet, adorable, beautiful, and terrifically high-maintenance: pastel-colored hair. 

Pastel hair in fashion editorial
We’ve seen it from the couture runways to the glossy, high-fashion magazine editorials, from celebrities and musicians, to the girl in the next cubicle at the office.

A candy-colored Olsen twin
But as beautiful as these candy-colored, marshmallow-Peep haircolors may be, keep in mind that in order to achieve these looks, the hair has to go through a process to make it even possible to look this way, and it has to be done without damaging the colorist’s canvas – that is the fabric of your hair. 

Katy Perry, celeb color chameleon
The hair has to be lightened to a very pale lemon-yellow blonde before we can apply those pinks, purples, blues, aquas, pale peaches, and greens. 

Baby blues
Otherwise, if there is any color left in the hair it will act as a catalyst to counteract the pastel color we apply, and it will not be as vivid or true.

Coral ombre
When we’re working with deeper colors in the red family, lightening your hair does not have to go all the way to that pale lemon stage, but that’s about the only difference. 

Peach pixie
And all of these colors are going to fade and wash away much more quickly than conventional permanent and even semi-permanent haircolor. You will see bleeding of these colors on your towels, pillowcases, clothing, and even your skin when you perspire.

Aqua up-do
Also keep in mind that once you commit to these cotton candy colors, you will need to use the proper shampoo and conditioner to take care of your hair, both to preserve the color and nourish hair that has been through a lot of chemical processing. 

Aqua dip-dye
Plan to spend more time in the salon than you ever have before refreshing these colors, even if you have colored your hair in the past. 

Lavender bob
Many colorists will create a custom batch of shampoo and conditioner for you in your shade to help you extend your color a while longer, but the fading is inevitable and the maintenance ongoing. And, bottom line, you have to be willing to bleach your hair to that almost-platinum color as a base to get your pretty pastel.

Pink ombre

There are alternatives – you can buy a wig, or get clip-in extensions in any of these beautiful colors (and many others, including brights for dark hair), and avoid damaging your hair. Then you can also take them out when you want, and never worry about fading or ruining your clothes or your linens. 

Peach and pewter 
 And you may not want to show up at work with permanently lavender hair if it turns out it’s against company policy, because going back to your natural color also takes money and multiple visits to the salon, unless you're willing to  go to a darker shade.

Icy blue and pale purple
Finally, the most important consideration when contemplating avante garde haircolors like these is that you really must have the personality for it. You have to OWN it, feel good about it, look in the mirror and feel like you’ve expressed your true identity. 

Very verdant
If you have doubts about it, you won’t look good in it. You absolutely have to have an excess of attitude to go with hair like this.

Shades of pink and smoke
Purple pixie
Most of these images come from the Pinterest board "Not Your Ordinary Haircolor" maintained by The rest are from

Until next week, ciao...

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