We Tried It: Pink Ombré Hair
PEOPLE.com's Moms & Babies style and features editor, Shanelle Rein-Olowokere, takes the color plunge
What is it: Hot pink highlights
Who tried it: Shanelle Rein-Olowokere, Style/Features Editor, Moms & Babies
Why I did it: Because I’ve been talking about it for two years and it was time to get off the fence
Level of difficulty: None, I was in very good hands
All my life, I’ve been pretty adventurous when it comes to my hair, but that mostly included fun cuts (I shaved off one side in 7th grade way before it was cool in Hollywood), the occasional highlights and a one-time texturizer that did nothing to alter my curly locks despite all the stylist’s promises. The only thing I never attempted was color.
And every few years, I experience what I like to call “mane malaise.” My last round started around 2012 when I had my third child (a boy). That’s when it first occurred to me that I’ve always been slightly obsessed with pink hair. It didn’t help that just about everyone from Emma Watson to Katy Perry were experimenting with cool hues, making it more and more mainstream. But my desire for fuchsia tips hit fever pitch levels when Nicole Richie dyed her whole head the prettiest shade of purple.
Once my mind was made up to do it, I knew I needed to find someone I could trust to make it happen. (Note: Not every hairdresser is adept at hair color, as many of my friends have found out firsthand.) And I was certainly not going to try it at home. So I asked my good pal, Holly Carter, who also happens to be the Beauty Director at PEOPLE StyleWatch, if she had any recommendations and she immediately suggested Eva Scrivo. Known for using the Balayage technique (I’ll explain later), she seemed like a good choice. So I booked an appointment for the upcoming Saturday.
The Process: I nervously showed up to Eva’s beautiful Bond Street salon with lots of inspiration photos. Instead of full-on bright pink, I really wanted more of a chic ombré effect and I hoped the pics would give her a good visual reference. The last thing I wanted was to look like a clown when it was all over. Eva took a quick look at my printouts and then sat me down to explain the process. Because I have dark hair, it had to be “lifted” (essentially bleached blonde) before they added color.
Like regular highlights, she pulled out pieces here and there to lighten and then added a saran wrap-like covering to each layer following the balayage technique to create a more natural look. Once she was done, I sat under a heat lamp for a fair amount of time (about an hour or so to be exact) because she really wanted my hair to be as close to white blonde (easier to saturate) as possible. After my hair finally “lifted,” it was washed with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
I have to admit, seeing my hair that light was a shocker. And despite all the compliments on how I could really pull it off, I was ready for the pink to be applied asap. My excitement especially grew when I saw the bowl of magenta dye all ready to go. To get the new color to bond, Eva followed the same process (though this time it went a little quicker).
The Verdict: I love it! It turned out exactly the way I envisioned it, which is hard for a perfectionist like me. The pink felt more grownup than girlie: an important distinction for a mom of three whose oldest kid is 20. I also thought it complemented my medium-brown complexion very well. After letting my new look sink in for a day, I treated myself to a new cut to make sure my locks were at their healthiest, because let’s be honest, this isn’t the kindest thing to do to your hair. But now I’m hooked. Next up: pastel blue.