Here's how to pull off pink hair (or any colour of your dreams)
Born to dye
Pink hair, don't care. But the truth is a lot of us do care, about everything from whether we will look professional enough with rainbow hues, if we're (way) too old to carry off this decidedly youthful trend, and of course, whether it will be easy to maintain your colour or if it will simply swirl down the bathroom plug in a few washes. I had all these concerns and more when I signed up for an exclusive hair dyeing session with the experts at TIGI.
Based on its semi-permanent, but long-lasting Colour Trip dye collection, almost any hue can be birthed from the existing line-up of 12 shades. Think greens, purples, pinks and even blue-grey shades. The range is fully intermixable, so your stylist can literally dream up the exact colour they envisage, whether that's an intense, vibrant colour (like hot pink) or a more mellow, pastel (like baby pink). The dyes are also formulated with hydrolysed keratin and coconut oil to strengthen and condition hair, and is formulated in a gentle acidic formula that closes the hair cuticle.
As to how crazy it will look — well it all depends on how daring you are and the skill and imagination of your stylists. TIGI, is a street-inspired styling and colour brand from East London, so it is all about creativity without limits. So if you're looking for a good place to get your eye-catching hair colour done, the brand's new salon in Orchard Gateway is a good place to start. Headed by Japanese creative director Hidero Nakagami, the minimalist-edgy style salon aims to be a hive of creativity when it comes to colour expression. As to the important, practical things to note, here they are.
PICK THE RIGHT HUE
Start off by picking the right colour. If acid brights are not your thing, you can try more muted shades like grey, dark blue or deep green. If you're not keen on bleaching (commonly called pre-lightening) your hair first, these semi-permanent colours from Colour Trip can be used on top of your existing hair colour. If you hair is virgin, jet black hair, don't expect to see much colour, but if is slightly lightened what you will attain is a wash of colour, like a more pared-down version of the shade. Do note that having a certain hair colour also affects the kind of clothes and makeup you wear and even has sometimes unwanted connotations. You might need to change the tone of lipstick and blusher you wear to better complement a vibrant shade. And you might find that having bright orange hair looks kind of silly with a corporate power suit or that your new pure platinum doesn't go with certain shades of clothes. Be prepared for snide comments — think "You look like an ah lian" from conservative folk, worse halves and other naysayers.
BUT GO BRIGHTER IF YOU WANT YOUR COLOUR TO LAST
The dyes from Colour Trip are meant to last 20 washes according the TIGI experts, but it also depends on the shampoo and conditioners you use and your hair condition. In general avoid all clarifying and purifying shampoos as they tend to strip your hair colour prematurely. I started with a bright pink hue, and it faded to a kind of sunset orange-pink pastel shade. Embrace your changing hair colour — it's kind of getting various looks in one colouring session and the process will be fun. Invest in colour shampoos if you want your colour to last and avoid overwashing the hair — dry shampoos can be your new best friend. Purple shampoos work best for keeping the coolness in blonde and platinum shades, while colour shampoos designed for red shades help to keep the vibrancy in hues like hot pink.
FULL HEAD COLOUR OR JUST A PEEK? YOU DECIDE
As someone who is no more a millennial than Vivienne Westwood is, it can be daunting taking on a youthful hair colour without the fear of looking painfully unhip. Well, it's totally up to you how vibrant and daring you want to go. If you have a short crop, a full head of colour will instantly update your look. Rocking a lob? How about variations of the same shade? Want just a bit of colour? Get them on your hair tips or, like me, try getting them in the inner layer of your hair so they can be hidden or revealed according to your chosen part and your hairstyle. Can't commit to the time and expense needed to constantly touch up your roots or punch up your colour? Stay away from full-head colour and opt for an ombré style that is much more forgiving as your hair grows out.
YOUR HAIR QUALITY IS CRUCIAL TO PULLING THIS LOOK OFF
We cannot emphasise this enough. When your hair is a candy, pastel or neon shade or anything off the beaten track, it is oh-so-easy for it to look like a wig. And no matter how hip the colour, if your strands are fried, crunchy and porous, the hue and the resulting 'do will look awful. Get a stylist who is willing to take their time with the dyeing process. Mine was done with 6 per cent bleach in several stages for a gentler effect — and yes it took several hours, a time commitment you must be willing to take if you're chasing rainbow shades. Also TIGI's bleach is reportedly so good that it is one of the most popular professional-use products that is provided to other salons. Although my hair was lightened considerably there was no breakage and little hair fall — which is pretty amazing by my books. Take the time to care for and style your new hair as a messy, unkempt and unpolished 'do doesn't look always look good with bright, noticeable colours.
KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT
After you've had something like pink hair, it can be hard returning to a regular shade. Like nicotine and tattoos, the thrill of a bold hue gets pretty addictive. If you want to maintain your colour, be prepared for a refresh as often as once a month. Even if your hair doesn't grow out beyond an inch or two, fading is pretty much a given with semi-permanent shades. Nothing looks sloppier than overgrown hair dye or super faded shades that have seen brighter days. If you can't keep up the maintenance, dye your hair back to its original shade and invest in some good haircare — like masks and treatments — to help restore it to its original glory. If your hair can't be super cool, at least make sure it's healthy. But if you're unearthed the colour monster within... well then, go nuts.
From $100 for a hair colouring service. TIGI is at #B1-02 Orchard Gateway