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Have you ever wanted candy-colored hair? Hot hair hues are pastels previously seen in boxes of saltwater taffy. Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have walked red carpets and danced in music videos with nearly every pastel hair color there is. E! personality and daughter of rock royalty Kelly Osbourne went from silver hair to the pale purple that she sports now. Red carpets and videos are one thing; can you wear this look in real life?
All-over pale hair color is a big commitment. It’s probably best to see a professional at a hair salon for this, but the effect can be reproduced at home (proceed with caution – remember the kids who dyed their own hair bright colors in high school?). Unless you already have light, almost white-blonde hair, you will have to bleach your hair to ensure the dye will show up. After bleaching, a toner should be applied to remove yellow and copper shades so that the dye will show up better. These light dyes will show up best on hair that is lighter than its color, so you’ll have to remove as much color as possible.
Once your hair is light enough, find a dye in the color you want. They may be hard to find as the trend is still fairly new, but you can dilute a brighter color (that bright teal you wanted to dye your hair in high school can be diluted to a sweet, pale aqua). To dilute hair color, mix the dye with conditioner before applying. Do a strand test (dye just a strand or two of hair to see how long you should leave the dye on to achieve the color you want). Because the dye is not starting out the exact pale color you want to end up with, this takes a bit of experimentation, so just make sure your entire head isn’t the guinea pig. Once you have the right combination of dye and conditioner and know how long to leave it in, go ahead and dye all of your hair.
This look will require maintenance as the colored dye will fade and dark hair roots will grow in. With all of those steps, how do Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj change hair colors so often?
Every one of Minaj’s wigs are handcrafted and dyed by her hairstylist, Terrence Davis, who has dedicated a room of his home to wig storage. Wigs are a great way to try the look out for a weekend without a big commitment, and they will leave your regular hair color intact for when you have to get back to business on Monday morning. Candy-colored wigs are available online from Amazon or even Etsy.
There are other ways to get more subtle temporary color. For wash-out streaks, you can use soft pastels found in any art store, a process called hair chalking. While “chalk” is in the name, sidewalk or blackboard chalk will not stick to your hair; you need to get artists’ soft pastels. Make sure it’s not oil-based or it will stain your hair. Run the pastel down a dry section of hair you want to streak. If you have dark hair, you may need to dampen your hair for the color to show up (do not apply to damp light hair or it may actually dye the hair). Using a heated styling tool like a flat iron or a curling iron can help seal in the color, but the chalk can still rub off, so be sure to avoid wearing light colors.
When it comes time to wash the color out, brush or shake the chalk from your hair before wetting it (remember, wetting it will make it into a dye). Once almost all of the chalk is out of your hair, got ahead and wash it. If you have light hair, you may need to wash it a few times.
There’s an even more temporary solution bringing wigs and streaks together. Many companies offer clip-in hair extensions with human or synthetic hair in bright colors. You can clip just a hint of color into your hair to avoid the shocked looks from loved ones you would get when wearing a full-on wig.
While this is a fun trend, candy-colored hair may not be the best choice for the real world if you work in a traditional business environment. Even without dying your tresses, there are plenty of options to jump on the pastel bandwagon in your free time, so try out this sugary sweet trend with a couple of clip-in or chalked streaks.