Color Alert: Pastel Hair

Pastel hair is having a moment right now. Everywhere you look, someone is sporting a candy-coated shade. Blonde celebs like Gigi Hadid, Ellie Goulding and January Jones have sweetened up their hues. And brunette celebs like Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner and Zayn Malik have jumped on the trend too. While blondes may have an easier time experimenting with the rainbow, it’s a little more complicated for brunettes. Getting darker-haired clients to a soft pastel shade is more involved, but can be safely done with these expert tips from Aura Friedman, colorist at Sally Hershberger Downtown, and George Papanikolas, Matrix StyleLink celebrity stylist at Andy Lecompte Salon.

Before You Color “Make sure you know your client’s hair history. It’s essential to evaluate hair density, porosity and elasticity. After evaluating and establishing that it’s safe, proceed with the bleaching process,” says Friedman. “I like to be brutally honest with my clients about what they can and can’t do so there’s no room for surprises.”

Lightening “The lightening process involves removing pigment. All hair, and each process, is a case-by-case scenario. First, I evaluate what strength developer and bleach is needed to preserve hair integrity. I also add a bond-building product. Whether it’s a single or double process, I use bond builders on every client that sits in my chair. On virgin hair, use a virgin application. I recommend leaving bleach on the mid-ends until it’s a banana-yellow. Add to the roots after, leaving everything on until the desired pale yellow tone is achieved. Then, tone accordingly,” says Friedman. “Avoid using heat when you use a lightener. Heat speeds up the process and increases the likelihood of damage. Instead, opt for a higher volume peroxide, and give it time to do it’s thing,” adds Papanikolas.

Applying Color “Ombré is a great option when you want pastel tones. It creates accents in the hair. If the client is ready for a change, the technique makes it easy to change back, or cut it off,” says Papanikolas.

Product Lines “I use everything from Redken Shades EQ, Wella Koleston Perfect, Wella Blondor and Solaris for painting. Pravana and Manic Panic are great for lightening. For double process lightening, I use Miss Clairol 7th Stage Crème Hair Lightener,” says Friedman.

Keep in Mind “Be sure the client knows the upkeep involved with pastel tones, and how quickly it fades into blonde. Regular refresh of the toner is necessary to maintain the color,” says Papanikolas.

Hair: Ruth Roche, Photographer: Nico ILIEV,  Fashion Stylist: Colleen McCann, Makeup: James Vincent