For celebrity ladies like Pink and Kelly Osbourne (who first debuted her lavender hair around 2009), silvery, pale pastel haircolor is nothing new. But since then, more recent celebrity follow-ups have cropped up with increasing frequency: Lady Gaga’s silver hair, Nikki Minaj’s infamously bubble-gum pink locks, Katy Perry’s jade-green strands and Hilary Duff’s silvery-blue tresses.
As the trend trickles down onto drugstore shelves, it would appear that Easter has come early in the form of colors for our heads rather than for a basketful of eggs.
“I think the pastel trend is so popular because people want to try fashion colors but are a little timid about it, or they don't want to fully commit,” says Kayla B., who owns her own salon in southern Missouri. “The pastels don't have as much pigment, so they fade fairly quickly.”
And therein lies a problem, she points out.
“They require a lot of upkeep,” admits Kayla.
Big brands like L’Oreal are shilling out off-the-shelf products that claim to create that iridescent, ethereal look right in your own home for a much cheaper cost. But can it really be that easy?
Stylists from around the country say no.
“People don't realize is how many hours and steps of processing that those colors take to achieve,” points out Kayla. ““The hair also has to be lifted to a very, very pale blonde first. For a lot of people, the pastel or silver/gray color might not be achievable in one session in order to maintain the integrity of the hair.
The service is also usually considered a color-correction,” she adds. “So there's an hourly rate charged on top of the usual hair-coloring fees.”
BuzzFeed, Instagram and other aggregate sites are full of images of shiny hair cascading down from the heads of young women in fantasy palettes like sunset and rainbow. Images of more glam-grunge, street-inspired looks like Oil Slick highlights and Denim balayage are also picking up huge traction.
“Most non-standard hair colors are tough to maintain, as every wash fades the color.,” says Mandy, a cosmetologist and theatrical stylist from California. “This can be mitigated by using conditioners and shampoos that deposit a bit of color via vegetable dyes. But if you're not fussy or motivated to maintain such things, the really bold trends like oilslick or rainbow or sunset hair are definitely not for you. If you like to wash your hair every day or every other day, and rinse in anything other than cold water, these looks are also going to be difficult for you to maintain.”
“Your hair will never be the same after doing these sorts of drastic things to them,” Mandy concludes. “Your hair will need lots of keratin and moisturizing to bring it back to something near-manageable.”