How To Make Pastel Hair Color

how to make pastel hair dye

This post has been a long time coming! I have had so many people (especially on my tumblr: Fuck Yeah, Fantasy Hair!) ask me how to achieve pastel colored hair. There may very well be pastel colors available for purchase now, though if there are, I have never seen them. All of the fantasy/rainbow hair colors I’ve seen and worked with are very saturated. So how do we get pastel hair color? We make it! (Note this only works with semi-permanent hair colors like Special Effects, Manic Panic, RAW, etc. which do not use a developer to process)

Before Coloring

Before coloring, you’ll want to make sure that your hair is lightened to very pale yellow, as close to white as possible. If you’d like to tone it with a platinum/purple toner so that you are working on a white “canvas”, you can. As always, I recommend that you leave the bleaching to a professional. Now that you’re hair is gloriously light and ready to receive color, we’ll mix up a nice pastel shade.

What You’ll Need

- A bowl

- An applicator brush

- Your starting color of choice (I’m using Paul Mitchell Hot Pink, but the color and brand are up to you!)

- A white conditioner (I’m using Paul Mitchell Super Strong Conditioner, which is my favorite to use for this because you’re adding protein back in to your hair along with the color, but what you use is up to
you)
- And optionally a whisk for mixing and maybe a towel or some paper towels.

Mixing The Color

I’m starting off with just a tiny amount of hot pink color in my bowl. Depending on how light you want the color to be and how much of your hair you are coloring, this will probably end up being enough to color your whole head! This is what it looks like straight out of the bottle.

diy pastel hair dye

Now add a blob of white conditioner to the bowl and mix it up with the hair color. It may help you visually to spread a small amount of the color on a towel, paper towel, or piece of foil as I am doing here.

how to mix pastel hair color
pastel hair color tutorial

Keep adding conditioner until you’re satisfied with the shade. See how that tiny amount of color ended up being an entire bowl full? And it’s not even pastel yet. So you can see, if there are pastel colors available for sale, this method is MUCH more economical – a bottle of color will last for TONS of applications if you’re diluting it with conditioner. Plus, letting the mix with the conditioner in it sit on your hair for 20 mins will leave your hair feeling much better than it did before.

pastel hair dye

how to make pastel hair color

Apply and Rinse

Once you’ve got the color you want, apply evenly and make sure hair is well saturated. Let it process for 15-20 minutes or whatever the hair color manufacturer recommends. As I mentioned before, I like using the Paul Mitchell Super Strong Conditioner, because it’s adding protein goodness back into your hair for the whole time that it sits there with the color. This always leaves hair feeling softer and smoother. After it’s done processing, rinse well with COOL water, and don’t shampoo.

Closing Thoughts

If you truly want a light, pastel shade, you may want to do the opposite of what I did and start with a bowl full of conditioner, slowly adding a drop or two of color instead. But as you can see, you don’t have to mix it down all the way to a pastel, you can stop anywhere along the way. When I had bright pink hair, I used to use either Paul Mitchell Hot Pink or Special Effects Atomic Pink with a decent amount of conditioner added to it, as I found it to be too dark and magenta looking when it came straight out of the bottle.The lighter the color is, the faster it’s going to fade, so it’s important to take good care of it to make it last as long as possible Want some pastel hair inspiration before you start? Check out this collection of images from Pinterest.


relatedpostspastelhair
1. How To Trim Your Own Bangs
2. How To Suicide Roll Bangs (great for growing them out!)
3. The Color Wheel And How It Applies To Hair Color
4. Review: Paul Mitchell Super Strong Shampoo





By Kelsi Eldredge

42 Responses to “How To Make Pastel Hair Color”

  1. This is so helpful! I’m dying my hair next week so I will make sure to use the advice here!

    Becky
    xx

    http://www.beckybedbug.com

    • kelsismellsi says:

      Yay! I’m glad you found it useful!

      • Lindsey C says:

        I saw your youtube on how to cut bangs (very useful) and I am def going to give this a try! Thank you :)

      • Lindsey C says:

        I tried it and my only issue is the color is not sticking to my hair. What could be the problem?

        • kelsismellsi says:

          It could be any number of things, but most likely either your hair is not bleached light enough for the color to show up, or you diluted the color so much that there isn’t enough pigment in it to color your hair. Try mixing the color a few shades darker and trying again. It’s better for it to start off a little bit on the darker side because it will fade quickly. Or if your hair is not a very light blonde, you may need to have it re-bleached. Mae sure before coloring that your hair is clean and completely dry.

          • Lindsey C says:

            I tried again with just straight out of the bottle color, and the only thing that stuck was the pink by my ends. Everything else is normal. My hair is pretty blonde (not really pale though). I’m thinking I need to either get better color (using color jamz) or lighten it more to open the pores in my hair.

  2. stephanie says:

    So what would I get if I applied this to darker hair? Would it just slightly tint or hue it?

    • kelsismellsi says:

      Yep. For it to really show up, your hair needs to be very light. Depending on how dark your hair is and how dark the color you put on it is, it might tint it or you might not see anything at all.

  3. jennyholiday says:

    Hey Kelsi! :) This is what I do too. When I first went pink I used Fudge..and they have toner to mix in… A Whiter Shade of Pale… I liked it…but the place I was ordering from stopped carrying it, and I had to try something else …ended up just mixing my own concoctions with conditioner. I haven’t used the Paul Mitchell Super Strong…totally going to try it! Thanks bunches for the tip.

    • kelsismellsi says:

      I’ve seen a few brands that sell mixers, but they always seem to be more expensive than conditioner is, so I think this ends up being more cost effective. I’ve never used to brand mixers, but I can’t imagine the results being any different. Let me know if you like the Super Stong :)

  4. katherine says:

    oh cool! i think i would look silly with this with my pixie cut, but it looks SO pretty.

    <3 katherineof corgis and cocktails

    • kelsismellsi says:

      You could always do a block of some contrasting color, depending on the placement. Short hair is fun to play with in that way ;)

  5. Meg says:

    Loving your blog!! Xo
    megthecoolgirl.blogspot.com

  6. Awesome! I am currently on the journey from brown hair to pale purple (at the akward yellow stage at the moment) and this is so helpful

    • kelsismellsi says:

      Ah yes, it can take a little time and patience to get from dark to light. I’m glad you found this post helpful! Feel free to share it with anyone else you think might get some use out of it! ;)

  7. Gabbie says:

    BRILLIANT!

    I haven’t put any funky colors in my hair in years, but even back then I wanted pastels so bad and couldn’t figure out. I can’t believe its that simple, and I really like the idea of adding protein back in because my hair always looked like fried garbage after coloring it. i’m totally going to try this soon! thanks! <3

    • kelsismellsi says:

      Great, let me know how it turns out! I know, it’s so simple, but it totally works and putting the protein back in is great. Leaving any professional quality conditioner on for that long is good, but using one that is made for lightened/damaged hair is all the better!

  8. may says:

    Ugh I love this! So unique. I have just one quick question. Can this work just as well with a temporary hair dye? Sih

    • kelsismellsi says:

      By “temporary hair dye” do you mean like the cans of stuff you get at the Halloween store? If so, no. Those are colored sprays or powders that coat JUST the outside of your hair until you wash it. This technique only works with “semi-permanent” hair color, like Special Effects, Manic Panic, Punky Colors, Inkworks, RAW, etc.

  9. heather says:

    Will pastel colors work for medium to dark blonde hair? I really love the color, but don’t want to risk the damage of going platinum white, but i wouldn’t want a weird muddy brown color either :(

    • kelsismellsi says:

      For pastel hair, you really need a starting color of platinum/white. If you go over dark hair with it, it will either not show up at all, or it won’t be the right color, unfortunately. You could always opt for some clip in extensions if you just want peekaboos.

  10. Denise says:

    Wow, Thanks for the helpful hint on Pastels. I’m doing a clients hair soon. She wants pastel pink.
    I’ll be sure to use this technique! Also, that PM super conditioner too.
    Merci

  11. Nez says:

    So I have faded purple hair will I be able to get pastel purple/blue hair without rebleaching

  12. alissa raine says:

    how do you get it to.come out of extensions?

    • kelsismellsi says:

      Check out this post I wrote about fading hair color, you might find the info there helpful: http://www.brightersides.com/brightersidesblog/2010/11/how-to-fade-your-hair-color-and-why-you-might-want-to-do-that/

      It depends on what you’re trying to do though. For example, if you bought extensions that are a dark color and you’re trying to bleach them blonde, it’s probably not going to work. Extensions tend to be very processed to begin with, and the dye that they use to color them is very temperamental and often can’t be lightened too much. If, however, you started with blonde extensions, and colored over them with a semi-permanent color, the tips I linked to should be just what you’re looking for. I’d need more information about what you’re trying to do, in order to really help.

  13. Syahaamah says:

    Hi , where can I get the red thing can I use the ordinary poster color ??? Thanks <3

    • kelsismellsi says:

      You want to get “semi-permanent hair color”. That is the only thing that will work with this technique. You can get it at any beauty supply store, or at some online retailers – check Amazon.

  14. robo says:

    Do you have any idea if this works well with Splat brand hair dye? I’m in the process of bleaching my hair white, so I have a couple weeks before I need to worry about it, but I’ve wanted pastel blue hair for a long time!

    • kelsismellsi says:

      It should work – as far as I know Splat is semi-permanent.

    • Lindsey C says:

      I had a hard time getting the pigment in the Splatt to work with this method, and even after leaving it in my hair for an hour none of the color had stuck. Ion has a brand of temp colorful dyes that worked great for me, but the Splatt may work for you.

      • kelsismellsi says:

        Thanks for the recommendation! Actually I haven’t heard very good things about Splatt. I’ve never tried Ion. It’s usually a lot of trial and error with brands until you find something that works well for you. Paul Mitchell, Special Effects and RAW are my favorites.

  15. tiff says:

    Is yhis for semi permanentt color, permanent …or does it matter?

  16. nicole says:

    okay i’m definitely bleaching with a 30 or 40 volume because my hair is dark, but one question.. you dont add developer to the color/conditioner mix at all? are you strictly using only the color and conditioner in the mix?

    • kelsismellsi says:

      If you’re bleaching your hair yourself be very careful using 30 or 40 volume. You don’t want to get it on your scalp at all.
      To answer your question: No. You don’t add any developer to the mix. It’s just semi-permanent hair color and conditioner. This technique will ONLY work with semi-permanent color. Don’t try to dilute permanent or demi-permanent color with conditioner.

  17. Chantel says:

    Hey I’ve had very light blonde hair for a while. Recently I had the bright idea ohh heyy lets do a pastel color in my hair. WELL I had it bleach and then I used purple shampoo to get the brassiness and yellow our of my hair but I do have some spots ( like my ends) that wont lighten up… what would happen if I went through with trying the Pastel over it?

    • kelsismellsi says:

      It probably won’t turn out the same color consistently. If you’re okay with that, go for it. If not, you might want to try a darker color.

  18. Katy Nance says:

    how long would this stay in my hair? my hair is very blonde.

    • kelsismellsi says:

      It depends on a lot of factors including how damaged your hair is, how dark the color is to start, what brand of color you use, how often you wash it, what kind of shampoo/conditioner you use, and wanter temperature. There is really no way of telling – it could wash out after one shampoo or it could hang in there for weeks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge