How to Get Light Pink Hair, According to an Expert

Color Ideas

How To Get The Perfect Light Pink Hair Color

28 August 2017
curling pink hair
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

There’s a famous saying about life seen through rose-colored glasses, one that implies all things tinted pink are just a little bit better. We’re inclined to agree with this point. Whether it’s on phone cases, t-shirts, or hair, light pink has a way of making every situation cheerier.

With that in mind, let’s talk about light pink hair. The pastel trend began several years ago but is still going strong, driven (in part) by social media posts from influencers. As lovely as the shade looks in photographs, that’s nothing compared to how stunning it is in real life.

Although it initially seemed like a fad, we’ve only seen the thirst for pink hair increase. Instead of sticking to the original icy pink, the color palette has evolved into rose gold (rich blonde notes underneath the pink), cool raspberry, and tangerine-tinged pink shades.

Because our social media feeds have a way of making even six-pack abs and aerial yoga look easy, we’ve been curious about how attainable pink hair can be. So, we tapped Nick Stenson, Matrix Artistic Director, to give us the lowdown on what it really takes to make hair candy pink.

Spoiler alert: This shade is way more attainable and flattering than we ever thought it could be. If seeing life through rose-colored strands is an idea you just can’t resist, keep reading

Who should try light pink hair?

Pink tones suit a range of skin tones, but Stenson prefers the lightest shades against pale skin. Because your natural hair color is already bright, pastel rose is less of a jarring transition.

However, Stenson doesn’t mean to imply that you should skip the color entirely if you’re not naturally fair. He’s quick to point out that the industry is already shifting away from one-note pastel shades.

I think [light pink hair is] sticking around and will continue to evolve...Multi-dimensional pastel shades are where we are moving instead of one solid tone.

Nick Stenson

Instead of asking your stylist for a single shade of light pink, try a nuanced look that starts with darker pink roots and lightens to a pale shade. If you’re hesitant to make a move that’s too dramatic, start with light pink ombre. The options are nearly endless if you have a colorist who understands the finished product you’re seeking.

In any case, Stenson is clear about one point: Light pink is more than a color trend. It’s a change in how we see the role of hair color.

“I think this color trend has created another level of fashion,” Stenson says, arguing that your mane is really just another accessory to add to your look. Don’t be afraid to try a shade that’s new and just a little bit out of your comfort zone. Even if you don’t stick with it, you’ll never forget giving it a shot.

What’s the key to getting the perfect pink shade?

Like all the best things in life, a successful hair color appointment depends on communication. Before scheduling an appointment, do your research online. Search for colorists that have experience with pastel shades, then do a cursory check of their social media pages. Most professionals treat social media like a portfolio, uploading photos of the hair colors they’re most proud of creating. Once you’ve verified that the pro you have in mind has experience with light pink hair and excellent reviews, it’s time to click “book appointment.”

In the days leading up to your appointment, Stenson recommends hunting down at least a few images that show off the precise color you’d like.

“Be specific,” he says.

In the interest of managing your expectations, know you probably won’t leave the salon with the exact shade that’s in your photograph. Based on your starting hair color and complexion, your colorist will do his or her best to land on a light pink shade that’s flattering for your complexion.

And, just like that, we’ve reached another major worry women have when deciding on a pastel hair color: damage. According to Stenson, light pink hair shouldn’t leave you with crispy, untouchable strands.

If you’re starting with a bright hair color, then minimal damage should be expected in the hands of a veteran colorist. Still, it’s important to note that bleaching will be required for anyone starting with a dark base color. With bleach comes its unfortunate best friend, damage.

“[Pink] is easiest to achieve on people who are already blonde,” he says, adding a cautionary note. “Anyone with very dark hair should be cautious because it only works if you’re pre-lightened to light blonde first. That may cause damage.”

What kind of maintenance comes with light pink hair?

To begin with, you’ll want to lock in your professional-grade hue with a hair care system that’s of equal caliber. Stenson recommends trying out Matrix’s Bond Ultim8 system, a three-step salon treatment that helps protect bonds.

As any hair color aficionado will tell you, only a fraction of the process happens at the salon. Maintaining your brand-new light pink shade means establishing a routine at home, purchasing products specially designed to keep your color intact as long as possible. We’d also recommend investing in a quality hair mask for a little extra TLC.

When it comes to daily care, Stenson has a set of ground rules you’ll want to jot down. First up: your beloved blow dryer.

“Keep away from overusing heat styling tools,” he advises. “[They] can cause extra strain on the hair.”

Luckily, there are ways to cut down on heat use without quitting it cold turkey. Use your blow dryer on its lowest heat setting, waiting until hair is mostly air dried to finish it off with a round brush. Instead of tackling your mane with a curling wand, study a tutorial for no-heat waves. Light pink hair aside, you’ll be learning an approach to styling that leads to silkier-feeling, healthy-looking lengths.

While we’re talking about cutting back, it’s also a good idea to shampoo your newly dyed hair less frequently. Less washing can mean color that lasts longer.

Still, pastel hair demands regular touch-ups as your roots begin to grow in and your bright pigment fades. Follow-up appointments are as much a part of the hair coloring process as choosing your shade, so be sure to budget for their additional cost.

“Depending on how much you wash your hair, you will want to get it touched up about every three weeks,” Stenson advises.

Light pink hair may be beautiful, but it takes regular care to maintain. Before you ever sit down in the salon chair, be sure you’re ready for the commitment.

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