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Pink Hair Is Here to Stay

Rose, magenta, bubblegum, or pastel, pink hair is unavoidable.

On June 20th, Bella Hadid Instagrammed herself with platinum blonde hair with ombre pastel pink ends. It was undoubtedly a wig, but it looked amazing.


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The next day, the lookbook for Bally’s resort 2017 collection was out, featuring model Fernanda Ly wearing a hot pink fedora, her faded pink hair silhouetted against a green jacket.

A couple weeks later, pink hair struck again: Elle Fanning dyed her hair rose gold. I’m used to hair trends coming and going: mermaid hair, galaxy hair, opal hair, glitter roots. But this summer made me feel like pink hair will never die. It’s like 2012 never left us, the year when Lauren Conrad dip-dyed her ponytail in vibrant hot pink.

Color by Roxie Darling at Hairstory Studio. Photo: Hairstory

Renowned colorist Aura Friedman noticed an uptick in pink these past few months too. "It just so happens, I don't know if it's the universe is all talking at once or connecting or whatever it is, but I had one week where I did three pinks in one week," says Friedman, who works with celebrity clientele Sally Hershberger Downtown and is known for working with every color under the rainbow. "Pink is definitely this summer's big color trend, for sure," she says. (It’s coincidentally also this summer’s big advertising trend too).

Friedman’s been dying hair pink for quite some time. She gave musician MIA a rose gold shade in 2005 and streaked Lady Gaga’s curls with pink for the VMA’s in 2009. When she first started using pink, she had to conjure up her own demi-color dye colors, but now the demand is so huge that major companies like Wella are producing their own pastels.

Color by Roxie Darling at Hairstory Studio. Photo: Hairstory

"I kind of realized it was a pretty big trend when the following Christmas a year later, I saw Barbie dolls with pink streaks in their hair. The same pink that I put in Lady Gaga's," she says. "Oh yeah, this is a trend that's happening and now it's really happening to the next level. Even Barbie has pink hair!"

If Barbie has pink hair, than everyone can have pink hair, right? Sassoon North American Color Director Richie Rivera is based in Boston and he finds that even in a conservative city, pink hair has no boundaries.

"The age group is amazing," he tells Racked. "With my clientele, you've got the college age students that want their hair lightened and all over with sort of ombre tones of pink, then I have a 55-year-old demographic and above, and they're actually incorporating it into their highlights," Rivera says. "If you do it soft, the eye accepts it with different tones of blonde."

Everyone from gallery owners to lawyers have requested pink hair from Roxie Darling, colorist at too cool NYC salon Hairstory. Darling first started working with pink hair in 2010, helping out a friend who had a hair dye incident. "She had had a very spotty bleach job with a little pink in it. I ended up fixing it using a soft pink so that I didn’t damage the hair further. It was a perfect shade of baby pink that almost looked blonde," she says.

Color by Roxie Darling at Hairstory Studio. Photo: Hairstory

The next time she worked with pink, it was for a Turkish socialite living in NYC. "She wasn’t the type you’d expect to ask for pink hair, but it was a perfect pink champagne and her photo ended up being featured in Vogue Turkey."

Darling says demand for pink hair has remained steady if not increased in the past six years. "I’d say that it became more of a trend in late 2011, early 2012," she says. "It’s one of those things where there’s so much variety in the color that it’s taken this much time to explore all of the possible shades. I like to call it the gate-way hair color because there’s a perfect shade for everyone that will flatter their skin tone."

Darling calls pink the "new neutral" of hair color, because it can go so many different ways. "You can have a version on the cooler side with more lavender undertones or on the warmer side with coral undertones," she says.

Maybe that’s why pink hair will always be with us. "I think [pink] will always be around because it's so flattering. If you put a color on someone and it just makes them glow, of course they are going to want to wear," Friedman says.

Pink hair might be here to stay, but if you go for it, just know that pink dye fades quickly. "Because it's pure tone you're adding to the hair, it can only fade from there," Rivera says. Friedman whips up a custom conditioner for her clients so they can refresh their pink locks on their own — but some people embrace the faded look. "The thing with pastel colors is that sometimes the fading can evolve the hair color and it turns into a different type of color and it's still really pretty," Friedman says. "You can also embrace some of the fading and decide when you're not loving the fade anymore you can use the conditioner."

Color by Roxie Darling at Hairstory Studio Photo: Hairstory

If there’s a pink for every skin tone, maybe there’s a pink for every style. After all, model Fernanda Ly described her personal style as "a bit goth" to W magazine, but she has cotton candy colored hair and somehow it all works.

"They say blondes have more fun, but I really think pink hair is more fun. I think it has this really soft attractive quality," says Darling. "It’s traditionally perceived as feminine, but when you move into the more saturated tones of pink it gives it a more rock n roll IDGAF attitude. Pink is the original bad girl."

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