I just dyed my hair pink. It’s the perfect moment in fashion to do such a silly thing–we noticed the pink hair trend a few weeks ago and the Telegraph just did a piece on Charlotte Free, the pink-haired model who’s walked everywhere this season. So I decided to take the Pepto-Bismol plunge.
When people look at me quizzically, I’ve been telling them, “Oh, I did it for a story.” Just like Holly Millea, who is my beauty editor idol. (She’s the one who writes about her “Beauty Adventures” for Elle–she’s been practically maimed in the pursuit of beauty. I love her.) I’m lucky to have a job where such experimentation is allowed, nay, encouraged. But the truth is, I’ve always wanted to try pink hair. When Gwen Stefani had that pink 70s feathered ‘do, I was smitten. Now I finally had an excuse.
My long-time hair stylist, Misty, was up to the task. She has 20 years of experience at Aveda salons, and is a frequent dabbler in non-natural hair color herself. I trust her implicitly. When I saw a spread featuring a model with the softest cotton candy pink hair in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, I emailed her: “Can you do this to my hair?” Her response: “Hell, yes! Make an appointment.” So I did.
I told Misty I wanted a soft baby pink, not shocking neon. And not on my whole head. Misty used Manic Panic in Cotton Candy Pink. In order for the color to take, you usually need to bleach or have very light hair to start with. My hair has a ton of blonde highlights and it’s very light, so no bleaching was necessary. Her one tip? “Don’t try to bleach your hair at home!”
She sectioned my hair, back combed the sections, painted the dye just on the ends, then wrapped each section in a foil. This would provide an ombre effect (and make it easy to chop off the pink ends in case I despised it). After she finished, I sat under a dryer for about 30 minutes. The dye was rinsed off in cold water–a must to make it last longer–and then Misty applied a custom-mixed gloss to seal it all and make it shiny.
I was warned that the color doesn’t last long–it’s the good news and bad news, I guess. The Manic Panic website tells you to rinse with a 1:1 vinegar/water solution, but I didn’t do that. Misty just told me not to wash my hair a lot and use color protecting shampoo. I’ve also heard that you can mix Manic Panic into conditioner to help the color last longer. I didn’t do that since only sections of my hair were colored.
On the first two days, the pink was brighter than I had expected and I was nervous. By day three it was perfect. It’s been a week, and it’s really faded a lot, now looking like pastel highlights. I’ve ignored the “don’t shampoo” edict, so maybe that’s why.
Here’s what I learned while having pink hair:
-Even if you think all you wear is black, you’ll realize that you have a lot of color in your wardrobe. And it all looks tacky with pink hair.
-Forget about fuchsia or coral lipstick. I’ve been sticking to dramatic mascara and that’s about it.
-Be prepared for a lot of fake smiles.
-People who work at Starbucks will love your pink hair. I’ve received more compliments from random baristas than anyone else.
-Having pink hair at a semi-formal non-fashion event will cause the event’s photographers to want to take a lot of pictures of you. Because you’re the only one in the room with pink hair.
If you’re not a natural attention-seeker, it’s probably not a great idea to do this. Even in New York City, the land of freaks, I’ve been stared at a lot. So be ready to own it. But I loved this. One thing to check off the bucket list.