The Pink Hair and Pastel Color Trend Done Right: An Expert’s Guide From Celebrity Hairstylists

Can you match your hair to your makeup and clothes? Definitely—but there’s a right way and a wrong way.

Photograph by Lena C. Emery; Styled by Katie Burnett; Makeup by Ciara O’Shea & Hair by Mark Hampton. Manicure by Jenny Longworth for CND at CLM Hair and Make-up. Casting by Edward Kim at The Talent Group; Model: Nienke Kuipers at Future Faces; Photography Assistant: Guy Isherwood; Local Production: Jake Collins; Fashion Assistants: Hali Christou, Conaill O’Dwyer.

Beauty trends can be fleeting, but the pink hair and Technicolor craze has longer legs than Kendall Jenner. Seriously, it’s easier to name the models, celebrities, and influencers who haven’t had a try at dye. Candy-floss pink, pale peach, and rose-gold are the current It colors, but lavender, pale silver, mint, and apricot are popular, too, as evidenced by the carefully colored coifs spotted on members of K-pop boy band BTS at the recent Grammy Awards.

Says London-based colorist Nicola Clarke, “I think it’s the thing of the moment because it’s a fun statement, and people of all ages can wear it.” It also can be appealingly temporary, depending on the depth of shade. Clarke, whose clients include Kate Moss, Cate Blanchett, and Margot Robbie, cautions against going too bright. “For me, the softer pinks and apricots are more modern; fluorescent and overly vivid shades seem tacky and uncool.”

A good foundation is key, according to Joe Martino, of New York City’s Orlo Salon. Since the best pastels are achieved by first bleaching hair as light as possible, don’t try this trend if your hair isn’t up to snuff. “The hardest part of the whole process is to lighten hair as evenly as possible,” says Martino, “so that what you put on top will be even, and less prone to blotchiness.” Fading is inevitable, but that can work in your favor.

He recently turned the former stylist (and QVC star) Lori Goldstein a peachy rose-gold. “The great thing, for me, is that it starts out pinkish and fades to these beautiful peaches, so it’s good until my next color appointment,” says Goldstein. “It also blends perfectly with my grays,” she adds wryly.

Perfectly polished pinkiness is difficult to achieve, and really difficult (i.e. expensive) to maintain, says Martino. So a lot of his clients (including actress Sienna Miller) opt for casual color washes and glosses they can use at home for a fun pop of temporary color, or to top up their salon job. Miller, who’s had an on-again, off-again relationship with pastel hair for the past few years, uses Bleach London Awkward Peach Shampoo and Conditioner to layer pale peach onto her buttery highlights. The company’s other hues—Rosé, Lavender Vida Loca, Cloudbursting (a smoky pink) and Violet Skies—make changing your color as easy as changing your clothes.

Another commitment-phobe-friendly fix: L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray, which comes in 10 colors, including pastels like pink, mint, lavender and blue. R&CO’s new Gemstone Color Shampoo and Conditioner doesn’t add color, but it can help protect and extend the life of pastels with a blend of naturally derived extracts that shields hair and scalp from UV rays and free radicals.

Celebrity colorist Reyad Fritas, who recently opened the über-chic Suite Reyad in New York City’s Pierre Hotel, has started adding a vial of new Virtue Colorkick to his bleach and color concoctions. Infused with Alpha Keratin 60ku Reactive, a proprietary, all-natural protein molecule extracted from human hair, the breakthrough powder acts as a protein “filler” that strengthens hair during what typically can be a damaging process. “It’s an exciting product, as it leaves hair looking healthier than it did before we bleached it,” says Fritas.

As we spoke, he watched his colleague Jax tint Brooklyn-based influencer Cheralee Lyle’s dirty-blonde locks a dusty rose for New York Fashion Week. Because even the most meticulous salon-executed pastel creation can—indeed, will—be slightly uneven, Fritas says, a good haircut is key. “I like a cool, layered bob for this look,” he says. And forget regular blowouts: “Making it too perfect, too polished, will only highlight any inconsistencies.”