Articles > Hair Color > So, Your Client Wants Pastel Haircolor? Hand Her This!
Last updated: April 01, 2024

So, Your Client Wants Pastel Haircolor? Hand Her This!

The Reality Behind Pastel Haircolor

It’s that time of year again when color-lovin’ clients are feeling inspired by soft shades of pink, purple and blue. But what their Pinterest boards and Instagram screenshots don’t tell them is that these stunning pastel shades don’t last and are hard to keep up with. So we’re here to set the record straight with help from members of The BTC Team whose Instagrams are filled with all the barely-there hues. See what they said below, then be sure to hand this to the next client who asks for pastel haircolor!


What To Know About Pastel Haircolor:


  • It could take multiple sessions to achieve. Before they apply any haircolor, Mike and Melody Lowenstein (@rossmichaelssalon) always start with a mandatory consultation to determine the client’s goals and a strand test to see how light they can get the hair. Depending on the results, they’ll then lighten and pre-tone the hair (unless the goal is red, orange or yellow) if her strands can handle it.


  • Yes, it will require a lightening session. In order to achieve a true pastel hue, the hair will need to be lightened to a clean Level 9/10. “When it comes to pastels, the better, cleaner canvas that we can create will create the most beautiful pastel,” shares Mike. So depending on the starting level, it may take two to three sessions to achieve softer hues like pink, purple, blue and green.


  • Pastel shades don’t like heat of any kind, namely hot water and hot tools (and even sun exposure!), so the key to making pastel hair last is little to no heat. If a client absolutely refuses to part ways with her heat styling tools, let her know to keep the temperature between 300° and 350°.



Lindsay Wolf @studio_wolf So Your Client Wants Pastel Haircolor Hand Her This BTC Article Pastels Barely There Hair Color
The 2018 #ONESHOT Hair Award winner for Pastel Shot of the Year // Instagram via @studio_wolf


What Pastel Haircolor Requires:

  • Minimal washing. Over-washing the hair will lead to even quicker color fading, which is why Lindsay Wolf (@studio_wolf), the 2018 #ONESHOT winner for Pastel Shot of the Year, recommends rinsing in cold water, working a nourishing conditioner through the hair and then rinsing again in cold water to skip shampoo. It refreshes the hair without opening up the cuticle!


  • Frequent touch-ups. Unlike balayage, platinum and vibrant fashion colors that can last from 4 to 8 weeks, pastel haircolor really only lasts for a week or two. So, to extend the life of her pastel hair, she can either plan on sitting in your chair multiple times a month OR she can invest in the right color-preserving products.


  • Proper at-home care. There are three categories of products she can use between appointments to protect her softly colored strands: sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, color-depositing products and color-preserving treatment masks. Scroll through the below slider for some of the products you can send her home with for proper pastel haircolor care!


Products Used


Michael Lowenstein @rossmichaelssalon So Your Client Wants Pastel Haircolor Hand Her This BTC Article Pastels Barely There Hair Color
Instagram via @rossmichaelssalon



Get The Formula: Pastel Pinks

There’s no question that one of the most requested (and most wearable) fashion colors is any and all shades of pink, so below, we’re sharing the deets for four pastel pink formulas from Mike, Melody, Sara Hinckley (@saripaints) and Julie Holbrook (@headrushdesigns). For even more pastel formulas, CLICK HERE! 


Michael Melody Lowenstein @rossmichaelssalon Pastel Pink Haircolor Formula How To PRAVANA Olaplex Pastels Barely There Shade Soft Bright Baby Pink
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  • Natural/Starting Level:

    7 with an inch of regrowth and demi-permanent haircolor on the midlengths and ends.

  • Formula A:

    PRAVANA Pure Light Crème Lightener + 20-volume developer + Olaplex No.1

  • Formula B:

    PRAVANA Pure Light Crème Lightener + PRAVANA Zero Lift Creme Developer + Olaplex No.1

  • Formula C:

    PRAVANA ChromaSilk EXPRESS TONES 15g Pearl + 5g Violet + A full tube of Clear + PRAVANA Zero Lift Creme Developer (1:1½)

  • Formula D:

    PRAVANA ChromaSilk PASTELS 70% Pretty in Pink + 15% Luscious Lavender + 15% Clear


Soft Pink Color Formula Using Matrix SoColor Cult
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  • Formula A:

    Matrix SoColor CULT Bubblegum Pink + Matrix SoColor CULT Sparkling Rose + Matrix SoColor CULT Clear

  • Formula B:

    Matrix SoColor CULT Disco Silver + Matrix SoColor CULT Lavender

Instagram via @saripaints


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  • Formula A:

    Eufora Aloe Lite Bleaching Pods + 30-volume developer + Olaplex No.1

  • Formula B:

    Joico Color Intensity Soft Pink + Joico Color Intensity Bronze (3:1) + Olaplex No.1

  • Formula C:

    Joico Color Intensity Rose


For clients who want to rock a bolder pastel color, tap here for the deets behind this chocolate chip mint formula!