9 things that happened when I changed my hair colour to a bright pink
I can safely say that my 20s have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. From backpacking solo across Europe, giving my salutations to the sun on the edge of the Himalayas, falling madly in and out of love, getting an organ removed (the appendix) to landing a writing job in a company that no one thought I could get into without the ‘requisite experience or degree’—it’s been a memorable decade that came mixed with a little bit of living on and off the edge. But I had to enter my 30s with one final, lasting memory to sum up all the “back in the day, when I was your age” stories that I plan to recite to my great grandchildren (in perfect Eminem rap rhythm, of course). And so, I decided to dye my hair in a bold, bright blend of my version of happy, which falls somewhere between violet and pink.
My theory was simple: it’s one of those things that you have penned down in your bucket list, which, if you don’t start to tick off during your younger years, starts to fade as you grow up. Basically, it had to be done; my very long dark brown locks had to undergo a metamorphosis. I got in touch with Jean-Claude Biguine India’s creative director, Michel Baltazar, to make my whimsical wish come true.
Would you dare to go pink?
While I’ve coloured my hair several times in the course of my life, it has never been this transformative. And yes, of course I was nervous. It all started to sink in when the hair maestro, Baltazar, revealed his little lab kit to me—comprising hair swatches in all the possible wild colours you can imagine, deep dyes and brushes in all sizes. It was really happening; I was going to be that pink haired girl, in the span of just a few hours. Except, I had no idea what I would look like, and honestly, I couldn’t wait.
If you, like me, have always wondered about what it would be like to have wild-hued curls, or need a break from your monotonous life, or even if you’re simply looking to mark a milestone moment in your life with a drastic step, this is the answer—dye your hair, now! It’s not as scary as it seems, your hair won’t be as damaged as they say, and you’ll get to make your rainbow-tinted dreams come true.
But how do you know if a particular shade will suit you? Baltazar explains that a successful colour is a natural hair colour + skin tone + eye colour—“one of the three elements must be in opposition to the other two (warm + warm + cold or cold + cold + warm),” he says. “To put it simply, if your skin tone is warm, go for cooler colours, and if your skin tone is on the cool side, pick warmer tones,” he says.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that life is different on the brighter side. If you’re on the fence about colouring your hair, let me tell you a few things that I experienced during my transformation, and give you some tips to keep in mind before you take the plunge.
#1: Anticipate unpredictability
Here’s the thing—if you are planning to dye your hair in unconventional shades like purple, blue, green, lilac, yellow or pink, expect the unexpected. Because chances are, the colour isn’t going to be exactly how you imagined it in your head. Every head of hair takes dye on differently, so while it’s always good to have your Pinterest mood board ready, be prepared to have hair like no one else’s—and that’s the appeal anyway, right?
#2: You get to experience the blonde life for a few moments
The hair colouring process is a little more complicated than just applying simple swipes of colour on your strands. Because we’re not born blonde, our original hair needs to be rid of all its natural pigment, and turned into a sort of blank canvas that can be painted on. My pro stylist Baltazar, along with his assistant, painstakingly hand-painted every strand on my head that needed to turn pink, to a bleached blonde first. And since my hair’s melanin strength is strong (which Baltazar mentioned was a sign of healthy hair), it would require three more layers of lightening to get my desired dusty lilac-pink strands. We decided to stick with a darker shade of violet instead, and let the gradual fading process turn it to a shade that would be closest to the one on my moodboard.
#3: You start getting way more attention than before
Get ready for stares—lots of them, from every corner—that will be accompanied by amused smiles nine out of ten times. People will want to touch your hair, smell it, decode it… My suggestion? Let them. Practice that smirk-smile hybrid expression to be polite in return.
#4: You will experience your hair’s first period
Your first few washes are going to be a bleeding mess, but that’s normal; every coloured hair girl goes through it. It’s the price you pay for waking up to shiny, happy hair. Wash your hair twice or thrice a week, and as Baltazar suggests, use cold water; hot water will open up the cuticle and let the colour out more quickly. He also warned, “all high temperatures with irons and tongs should be avoided.”
#5: You will need to stock up on all those sulphate-free conditioners and masks
You’re going to need lots of them. I have to use almost double the amount of product to smoothen my knots now, than what I did before my dye. At least my shampoo-conditioner ratio will become equal now. Baltazar suggests looking for anti-UV, sulphate- and paraben-free products that will allow the colour to be preserved longer. He also recommends replacing conditioners with masks, as they often contain antioxidants and keratin—they will recompose the integrity of the hair fibre, and really nourish the hair.
#6: Follow all the shampoo-conditioner rules you’ve managed to ignore till today
I used to simply slather on a creamy conditioner and rinse it off before its due time. Not anymore; now I spend a good fifteen minutes finger-combing through strands to ensure the product reaches every single strand, smoothen out knots (because there will be lots of it after your wash), and reduce hair fall. Leave your conditioner on for at least ten minutes, and use a shine serum before combing out towel-dried hair.
#7: Your makeup routine is going to change
Glowing clear skin, super sleek liner, nude lipsticks and mascara are an everyday routine now. Replacing my reds with browns is turning out pretty well for me
#8: Your wardrobe will need a little tweaking too
I’m not saying you will need a complete revamp, but you might find yourself spending ten extra minutes every morning to match your hair to your tee.
#9: You’re bound to find a new best friend…
…in your hairstylist. Colours like pink and grey require more attention, and though they have a cool rendering when they fade, they will need to increase your salon visits. Most colours are often semi-permanent—so get it refreshed every four to five weeks.
It’s only been a couple of weeks since I went pink, but every day has been more fun than usual since. There are still days when I wonder if I went too far, but then I look down and see the ends of my pink mane peeping at me—and I can’t help but smile. Besides, once I dyed my hair, I felt like I had walked straight out of a superhero movie. As I pass by, I’ve noticed that not a single person can keep a straight face, so my hair does seem to have some sort of superpower—it is able to strike a smile on the sullenest of faces, which makes it quite special. And the best part is, my hair quality hasn’t visibly deteriorated, in case you were using that as an excuse.
So go on, put on your brave face and fix that salon appointment. A different life awaits you on the other side.
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