Pastel hair color is nothing new, but this season we’re seeing a natural progression of the trend. And what better time to try an updated shade? Bright pastel hair is shaping up to be a favorite for 2019, with vivid shades of pink and bright white blonde cropping up all over Instagram. If you have any doubts, just look to some of the most influential stars right now, including Lady Gaga, Emily Ratajkowski, and Taylor Swift, who has been sporting a brand new pink hair hue in anticipation of her new music.
Though these shades may seem intimidating, Matrix celebrity colorist George Papanikolas assures us that they can work on anyone. Most pastels are also semi-permanent, which is perfect for those concerned about making such a drastic change. “Pastels are a great way to experiment with a playful color without the commitment of a full-on vivid shade, as they tend to fade quickly,” he says.
Feeling inspired? Below, Papanikolas breaks down everything you need to know about the latest pastel hair trend.
What are the pastel shades you’re seeing this season?
Pretty pops of pink, faded lilac, and bold blue are very popular colors right now, says Papanikolas, especially during festival season. “White blonde is super trendy right now, too,” he adds, “But it requires a regimented salon schedule and maintenance.”
What color technique gives the prettiest results?
You must first lighten the hair before toning it and layering in the desired pastel shade. But to make the pastel really pop, Papanikolas recommends also asking for highlights. “The most flattering way to do pastels is by adding color over balayage highlights,” he says. Adding some thin highlights gives the color more dimension and makes it look less harsh, he adds.
Depending on the shade you choose, quite a bit since the color tends to fade quickly. Most lighter colors require touch-ups every four weeks to avoid any yellowish undertones. Papanikolas also points out that pastel colors work best on those with blonde or light brown hair. “Very dark hair has a lot of pigment to break through and is usually not recommended,” he says. If your hair is darker and you choose to go pastel, expect to schedule more salon appointments and prepare for the damage that comes from lightening the hair.
“Absolutely,” Papanikolas says. “What was once reserved for the punk set, has really gone mainstream.” Pastel hair color is undeniably bold and exuberant, but the best thing about it: It doesn’t have to last forever, should you choose to try the trend.