alyssa martinez asian pastel hair
Milk Box Illustration by @nemupan

Pastel hairs are not going away anytime soon. Actually, it keeps evolving. There are now many varieties, from ombre to “melting” effects. Some just don’t stick to pastel, some go for silver “granny hair”, while some mix their pastel hair with other more vibrant color for a more crazy fun effect.

Indeed, they are fun… if you have the right hair for it. You see, if you’re Asian or from a race that doesn’t have natural blonde hairs then this trend will be a little more difficult for you to achive. I’m Filipina, which means I’m from the Philippines and have natural dark hair. But that didn’t stopped me from getting the pink hair I always wanted (I’m the girl on the photo above). Below are my struggles and lessons that I learned from getting a pastel hair as an Asian with raven hair:

1. You Need to Bleach Your Hair

This is the most obvious first step yet a lot of Asians, especially Filipinas, still ask if they really need to bleach their hair. The answer is always: YES. Going fake blonde hair or platinum white hair is your first step to going pastel. In some cases you need to bleach you hair twice like me since I have Raven hair, which is the darkest black. To achieve the right bleached hair, you better hit the salon to have professional help since bleaching can severely damage your hair. To make the shade last, you’ll also want to choose the right color for your blonde. “Yellow tones will interfere with a cool color, so if you want blue hair, you need your hair to be very pale blonde,” explains Seveteen Magazine expert. “On the other hand, if you want pink or mint hair, a more yellow blonde will work.”

2. Don’t Shampoo Before Bleaching

Before bleaching your hair, make sure there’s enough moisture in your hair. Bleaching will hurt your scalp so I was very surprise when my scalp didn’t hurt. So what did I do? First, I didn’t shampoo for a week, I only use conditioner. And on the day of the bleaching, I put argan oil on my scalp but that last part will kinda prevent your roots from totally bleaching. But at least it didn’t hurt.

pastel hair alyssa martinez
My Hair Evolution… and obsession with Snapchat dog filter via Instagram @itsmariaalyssa

3. It Fades Fast

Deeper pastel colors like purple last bit longe, but true pastels like pink fades so fast! The more “baby” the color, the quicker it will wash out. It’s better not to wash your hair everyday. To keep it clean and fresh, stick to dry shampoo. But that dries your hair, so it’s good if you have an extra hair dye to keep it vibrant. You probably have to re-apply it every 4-5 showers. And always use cold water, because warm water will make it fade faster.

4. It’s High Maintenance

As described above, having pastel hair is high maintenance. Besides fading every 4-5 showers, it will dry your hair and make it weak so use shampoo that are sulfate-free and strengthening conditioner. It’s better if they have keratin to keep it stronger. And moisture, moisture, moisture! I recommend using argan hair oil. And also beware of products containing the words “cleansing,” which will totally strip your color and dry out your hair.

5. Keep It Healthy

The reason why my hair is still strong despite all the chemical process it endured from bleaching, toning and dyeing is because I keep it healthy by drinking hair vitamins. Hair vitamins will keep your hair strong and grow healthy. And nope, they will not give you a mustache or longer armpit hair because it doesn’t contain testosterone. I take Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails Gummy Vitamins but vegans doesn’t like it because of the ingredient used to make the gummy vitamins. If you’re vegan you may like Sugar Bear Hair Care instead.

For pastel hair maintenance read my interview with Mimi, a purple-haired blogger, here.