Having color-treated hair requires a solid regimen that includes leave-ins, deep conditioning, protein treatments like Olaplex or ApHogee, and most importantly, patience. If you want to add fantasy colors to the mix, this regimen becomes even more tedious. 

It should be noted that in order to have fantasy color you must start with a base of blonde or bleached hair. Unfortunately, we haven't quite reached a generation of hair technology that can turn brunettes into pinks without bleach. For my own hair, I start by bleaching it to the perfect banana yellow, and from there I have literally died my hair every color of the rainbow! Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years.

Toning is a fickle thing and takes practice with plenty of trial and error (hopefully not too much error). The first thing to study up on when dealing with toning is color theory. If you’re unfamiliar with the color wheel, the way you use it is by locating your current color on the color wheel (or the closest shade to it). The opposite of that at the same lightness level will lead to a neutral tone. All hair is naturally warm-toned and will progress upward from black to brown to caramel to blonde. Understanding color theory will explain why bleached hair that is looking too orange can be toned to a neutral tone by using blue or purple dye.


1. Overtone for toning

My favorite brand for toning my hair is Overtone. With a fresh minty scent their daily conditioners deposit pigment as you shower to prevent naturally fading in intensity every time you wash with hot water. Their pastel purple shade is my favorite for keeping my blonde hair from getting too brassy, they also have a grey toner as well, but it tends to lean too green for my taste. These are also particularly handy when I’m ready for a new color but still have a stain from the last one, I’ll tone it with the opposite pastel from this line.

2. Joico Intensity for Pastels

Joico has become my favorite dye for pastels, their pigments have a beautiful shimmer effect that give my curls a healthy shine. I find this necessary for something unsaturated like a pastel shade to avoid dullness or a faded bold color. I’ve tried their shades in peach, rose, lilac and sky.

Paler colors tend to wash out more quickly, especially if you shampoo often, but with Joico I've had persistent pastels for up to a month with no refresh.

3. Pravana for Vivid Color

For bold and bright fantasy hair, Pravana is the way to go! I’ve used their ChromaSilk Vivids line for all of my most intense and extreme dye concepts! In my experience, the colors are true to the box and stay in my curls with minimal touch-ups. This is also the line that we used when I dyed my hair rainbow for Pride month this past June.

Blue is a dye that often leans too green when applied to hair because of its yellow nature, but with Pravana I’ve generally been able to avoid this. It can also be avoided by adding purple to your dye. Pravana also offers a new neon blue in their ChromaSilk Neon line which I’m excited to try in the near future.