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How to nail the pastel hair trend

Pastel pink hair by Headmasters Stretham Hill

The pastel hair trend may not be for everyone, but if you’re flirting with the idea, read our guide to achieving a bold new look with a little help from Headmasters…

The trend for pastel hair is showing no sign of slowing down. What was once merely a hashtag on Instagram that left us dreaming of candy floss locks, has now become an attainable reality thanks to super-skilled colourists armed with the latest hair-friendly products.

Even if you adore the pastel hair trend, it can be daunting to turn your tresses the colour of a My Little Pony and for some it can mean they never end up taking the plunge. I used to have average blonde hair with occasional highlights and thought pink hair was one step too far for a thirty-something professional. But last year I decided to throw caution to the wind and channel my inner unicorn and – from one gal to another – once you’ve gone pink, you’ll never look back!

Pastel hair trend: colour inspiration
Soapy suds: the perfect colour inspo for my hair makeover

Be brave and remember: YOLO

When I’m not side-hustling on Brunch n Grind, checking out the latest studios and brunch spots, I work for a very corporate news brand. The Telegraph is not the most liberal place and as you can probably imagine, there are lots of ‘suits’ and a general vibe of grey, navy and black, so when I first strolled in to the office with bright pink hair, there were more than a few raised eyebrows. But after a few hours of mild paranoia and LOADS of compliments from my co-workers, I knew I’d made the right decision. After all, there’s nothing in my contract against colourful hair, right?

Pastel hair inspiration
Pastel dreams: my hair inspiration mood board

Do your research

So you’ve made the decision to go bold, now it’s time to find your #hairinspo. Traul Instagram for ideas and looks you want to emulate. Remember your vision of ‘blush’, ‘lilac’ or ‘peach’ might be totally different to someone else’s, so make sure you’re armed with plenty of visual references before even thinking about booking an appointment. Search hashtags such as #unicornhair, #pinkhair, or my particular favourite, #pastelhairdontcare and the Headmasters Instagram page is also full of amazing imagery that will get you in the mood for a hair-makeover.

Salon sessions: a row of colour-coded hair products is a beautiful thing

Find your colourist

Not all hairdressers were created equal, and it’s important you find a colourist you can trust and rely on to do an amazing job and a salon you feel comfortable in for an afternoon of pampering. Cue the latest salon launched by Headmasters in Streatham Hill. Manager and self-proclaimed ‘King of Balyage’ Aaron specialises in colour and is full of ideas and knowledge when it comes to creating the perfect look for each of his clients.

In my first consultation, we decided that as my complexion is quite warm, a cool pastel shade would compliment my skin tone and my blue eyes best. I felt in safe hands and was super-excited for Aaron to get started on my new lilac-toned do!

My hair before the pastel hair makeover
The before shot: brassy tones and terrible roots before Aaron got to work on my new look

Whiter than white

To get the cleanest, creamiest pastel shade, you need to lift the hair as much as possible before applying any colour. Aaron applied a L’Oréal platinum bleach to my roots – the product contains beeswax meaning it’s kinder to hair than other salon bleaches and safer on the scalp. After around 20 minutes he pulled the bleach through the rest of my hair to clean up any residual colour and ensure a nice even base.

Top tip: when you’re going for all-over bleach, try to avoid washing your hair a day or two before. Your scalp builds up natural oils which act as a protective barrier for the bleach so if your scalp is squeaky clean and fresh that day, the bleach could itch a little.

Headmasters Streatham Hill sink selfie
Sink selfie: I couldn’t resist a sneak peek at the colour

Tone up

When my hair had lifted we headed over to the sink where Aaron mixed up some lovely lilac tones for my locks. He used a base of semi-permanent toner followed by a secondary toner to enrich the colour even further. The shiny new salon has the most comfortable sink-chairs I’ve ever experienced and they’re also massage chairs, so you can truly relax and unwind while the toner takes hold.

Top tip:  Semi-permanent toner should last for around a month, so stock up on tinted conditioners to refresh your pastel shade and make it last even longer.

Man of many hats: Aaron in the creative zone mid-cut

Cut above

The key to a good colour is a fresh cut. There’s not point investing all that time and effort into your colour if your hair is dry, frazzled and splitting at the ends. So Aaron got to work on a fresh bob shape, taking a few inches off so it sat above my shoulders and getting rid of my ends which have been ravaged by GHDs. My thick, wavy hair has a life of its own so he worked on reducing the weight and volume from the underside of the bob, creating a bevelled edge with plenty of movement and texture.

Kerestase serum and Paul Mitchel spray wax
Finishing touches: my hair prescription

Styling is everything

After an impressively sleek blow dry, Aaron used Kérastase Therapiste Serum to lock in shine followed by Paul Mitchell Spray Wax for added texture. The wax is applied in a super-fine mist so it doesn’t clog up the hair or leave swathes of product behind like hand-applied wax can.

The verdict

I’m over the moon with my new do: both the cut and colour were spot on and Aaron totally delivered all I’d asked for and more. My appointment was wrapped up in just a few hours, which for a bleach, double-tone, cut and blow dry is extremley good.

Aaron is cool, calm and collected which is great when you’re undergoing a dramatic new look. He’s totally professional and talked me through every step of the process, while also leaving me to chill with cups of tea and a pile of magazines. I’ll definitely be back in 6-8 weeks to do it all over again!

Pastel pink hair by Headmasters Stretham Hill
Sleek and chic: I’m totally in love with my new pastel hair-do

Special offer

And because we love looking after our lovely readers, we’ve managed to secure a special offer for you. Receive 50% off cut and style services with any stylist at Headmasters Streatham Hill by quoting ‘Brunch n Grind

Tell us what you think of the pastel hair trend in the comments below and check out Kat’s new balyage look here »


  1. Sez
    30th May 2017 / 1:44 pm

    Amazing colour, suite you perfectly! 🙂

    • 23rd June 2017 / 12:05 am

      Thank you Sarah! Let us know if you use the 50% off code!

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