I've always wanted to dye my hair pastel. The moment I found out pink hair existed, I fell in loooove.

However, I never really had the guts to do it. Then, when I finally had the guts to do it, I couldn't commit due to financial reasons. Then, when I finally had the guts and the financial stability to do it, I couldn't do it because my current job didn't allow "outlandish" colors.

But now, it's a new era of my life. I am a full-time freelancer so I have more time on my hands and I don't have to worry about anyone's approval. My hair is finally pink and I couldn't be more happy about it!

1. Get it done professionally the first time. (Trust me!)
You might end up spending the big bucks, but it's worth it. I've watched so many DIY pastel hair tutorials on YouTube and while some are helpful, a huge chunk of them are doing everything wrong.  Unless your hair is naturally platinum blonde, you'll need to bleach your hair. Getting it done professionally will not only make it easier on your end, but the hairdresser will also be able to give you tips on what's best for your hair type. If you want to do it yourself the first time, be my guest, but you risk the chance of serious damage. After you get it down professionally, it becomes easy to do your roots and re-dye the pastel at home.

2. If you can't afford a professional, remember: you have options!
I realize I'm privileged when it comes to the world of cosmetology because I literally grew up in a hair salon, due to my mom being a cosmetologist. The concept of paying to get your hair done always seemed craycray to me. But now, considering we live on different sides of the country, I have to! I didn't want to spend $300+ on getting unicorn hair, so I looked for other options.

Here's what you can do:

A. Be a hair model. This is what I did when I first went pastel! To be a hair model, you don't need to be ridiculously good looking and you don't need to walk down a runway. All you need is hair! Sometimes you'll be used for demonstration for a class, but usually you're just a "guinea pig" for their portfolio. If a hair stylist wants to try a new technique they're not an expert at, they'll usually hire a hair model first. And because cosmetologists use Yelp and social media for business now, they need hair models now more than ever. Some cosmetologists will do your hair for free, some will ask you pay $$ for product, and some will actually PAY you. It's a case-by-case basis! Hair model listings can be found on Craigslist and Instagram, but you can also contact salons directly.

B. Get it done at a cosmetology school. Looking for a discount? Contact a cosmetology school! These students are trained well and monitored by professionals, so you're basically getting the pro treatment for half the price.

C. Ask a friend or family member that does hair. I feel like every family or friend group has a connection to a hair stylist. If you know someone who does hair, maybe you can try working out something with them. I actually know a lot of people that are trained in hair but don't pursue it full time, so they could give you a decent price or even just some tips if you decide to DIY it.

D. Barter. Ahhhh, yes, the good ol' barter. Because most hair artists are self-employed, bartering is quite common for them. If you're a mechanic, you can fix their car for them for a new 'do. If you're a photographer, you can do their daughter's senior photos for them for a fresh dye. If you work for a restaurant chain, maybe you can comp them a few meals for a cut. The possibilities are endless! 

3. Be prepared to say goodbye to frequent showers.
One shower will make your hair color go down half a shade, so if you shower everyday, your hair color will be washed out within a week. I'll admit, this one was hard for me. The bleach dries out your hair a bit, which makes you less vulnerable to grease. Dry shampoo, baths, and shower caps help!

4. And say goodbye to hot showers too. (kind of.)
Cold showers will lock in the color while hot showers will do the opposite. When I'm trying to keep my color vibrant, I lean towards lukewarm / colder showers, however, it's not like you have to say sayonara to hot showers forever. Personally, when my color is noticeably fading, I like to speed up the process and take warmer showers so I can re-dye my hair ASAP.

5. Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
While those fancy pastel shampoos exist, they cost an arm and a leg. As long as your shampoo and conditioner is sulfate-free, you'll be fine. Most mainstream brands use sulfate, so it's best to double check. At Walmart, I noticed that Loreal and Pantene offer a sulfate free, color-friendly set for $6 a piece! You don't have to spend hundreds just to shower.

A post shared by oVertone (@overtonecolor) on

I HIGHLY recommend using oVertone conditioner. It comes it all colors of the rainbow and will make your hair color last soooo much longer. Every time you shower, it deposits color into your hair which will enhance your 'do! I'm literally obsessed with mine and wouldn't be able to have the pink locks I have today without oVertone.

6. Make sure your job / school allows unnatural colors.
It's 2017, so you shouldn't run into this too often. However, it's best to double-check! A lot of companies and schools prefer a more "conservative" look to represent them and others believe pastel colors are a "distraction." It really depends on the profession and where you live. 


7. If you're super busy, reconsider.
When you have pastel hair, you can't just brush your hair and go anymore. The upkeep can be quite overwhelming at first, so you need to make sure it fits into your schedule. For example. if you're a full time student with 2 jobs, maybe wait until things calm down a bit.

8. It's best to start with virgin or semi-virgin hair.
When I went pastel, my hair was all natural with the exception of the tips being bleached. However, considering my tips were done professionally and have faded immensely, it wasn't a problem. But if your hair has been box-dyed 5 different colors and looks like it's about to break, you should probably wait to go pastel if you want the best result.

9. Look at your calendar before diving in.
Is your wedding in a couple months? Is prom next week? Are you graduating from college in a few days? Have a big audition or interview coming up? Before making a rash decision to go pastel, think, "Is this the right moment?" It also goes the other way too. There are certain days where I want my hair to be more vibrant (like my birthday), so I make sure to re-dye my hair a few days before so it's nice and fresh for my big day.

10. If you don't like the way it turns out, it's no big deal.
Fast-fading hair is a pain in the ass. However, it has it's perks! If you're not feeling your new 'do, all you have to do is wait a few weeks to change it up.

11. It's intimidating at first, but it's worth it.
Ever since I dyed my hair pink, I've felt so much more confident. All of my outfits look cuter, I look more interesting, and I feel more like myself. I receive more compliments and smiles now than I ever did before! It seems like a lot at first, but once you get it down, it's like second nature. 


  1. Great tips...I'd never even thought about being a hair model! I've been debating on dying the ends of my hair or cutting my hair short, but I'm always too scared to commit. Your hair looks great, Maria Elena! The pink suits you well :)

    1. thank you so much Paige <3 omg you totally should !!! after having the same hair for a long time, it feels so refreshing to change it up. your confidence will go up a million times! thanks again love xoxo