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Thursday, 15 May 2014 12:41

The Truth About Going Pastel

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I have an unhealthy crush on Nicole Richie. It’s true, even when she had terrible, terrible blonde streaks in her dark brown hair, was besties with Paris Hilton and wore torn up clothes that were two sizes too small for her I loved her. But now? Now that she’s a bona fide style icon and takes ridiculous fashion and beauty risks that have me rethinking my entire wardrobe and beauty regime? Well, that's just taken it to a whole new level.

So, naturally now that’s she having a moment with lilac hair it gots me thinking. Could I have lilac hair? I’ve got similar colouring to Ms. Madden, surely I could? I threw these questions out into the ether and as if by magic, super-duper hairdresser, Master Colourist and the lovely lassie I trust my locks to, Cleaveland's Sasha Etherington appeared. Then brutally honestly answered my questions. 

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Hey Sash, where did you come from?

Oh I just sit around waiting for you to throw some hair questions my way.

Oh, that’s handy and a little creepy, but anywho. Nicole is lilac, I wanna be lilac! Tell me I can do it.

Hmmm, well because you have virgin hair (with very little colour in it) it is possible, although I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with hair your colour (medium brown) or darker, particularly for those who have pre-existing colour in their hair.

That wasn’t at all what I wanted to hear. Why, why, why can’t I be more like Nicole?

Using a person with pre-existing coloured hair as an example, to achieve a Richie lilac you would first need to do a scalp bleach, which is pretty much as scary as it sounds. For any shade of pastel you need the hair to have as little pigment as possible. The stages of colour removal take hair from red to orange to yellow, then white, so more often than not to achieve a white base that you need to ensure that the lilac will come out as clean a colour as possible, the initial bleaching will most likely take more than one session.

The term ‘Scalp Bleach’ has just made my virgin hair weep in terror. It doesn’t sound particularly good for your hair?

It’s not great for your overall hair condition. The role of bleach is to enter the hair shaft and remove all pigment; this leaves cuticles open and dries out your hair pretty dramatically.

Why does Nicole’s hair look so bloody good?

As the shaft is extremely porous thanks to extreme bleaching the colour fades extremely quickly, in some cases the colour only lasts one or two washes. Nicole would have to visit her colourist every two weeks to keep it looking the way it does now, so it’s super high-maintenance and initially very expensive to achieve.

What long-term effect does this have on your hair?

Well, the bleaching is super damaging to your hair. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nicole goes super short or resorts to hair extensions once she’s done with the lilac.

So who can go pastel?

If you have light hair you can definitely go pastel as you won’t need too much bleaching to get to the right stage to achieve an almost white canvas so the pastel comes out looking vibrant, not muddy.

If someone with hair similar to mine came in to see you with their heart set on going pastel what would you recommend?

I would of course do it if they really, really wanted it, but I’d be honest with what condition it will leave their hair in. I’d give them some alternative ideas like doing some pastel balayage that would be far less damaging but still let them play with some colour. A lot of hairdressers will jump at the chance to do a pastel colouring as it's a fun colour to create and you don't get a lot of clients requesting it, but fail to explain the condition it will eventually leave your hair in. 

Alex Thompson

Alex is theEDIT’s resident fashion guru. Need to know if you can wear spots with florals? Want to know what a gillet is? Alex has the answers. And then some.

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