“I’m not gonna do it girl. I was just thinking about it. I’m not gonna do it — I did it.”

After staying at home for months, uplifting social media shares and day-long streaming service sprees have been necessities to bring us the entertainment (and let’s be honest, the distraction) needed in a world of unprecedented uncertainty. 

Well, one of the most popular trends that’s floating around is giving yourself a wild hair transformation at home — a sure-fire way to replace months worth of restlessness with feeling like a brand new version of yourself (because nothing says “I needed a change” quite like a neon dye job; possibly accompanied by a “Give Yourself Bangs!” YouTube tutorial or spontaneous 4-inch chop if you’re feeling up to it).

I’d never actually do it though. Well, at least I wouldn’t have in March. Yet, fast-forward to July, there I was looking in the mirror with horror and excitement as I lathered pink hair dye onto my roots. 

Spoiler alert: I LOVED the outcome — so much so I’m sharing my experience in hopes that you may just try it yourself. 

Weighing Your Options

I wasn’t convinced at first. Especially because my hair is chemically-treated, I knew any dye placed on top of my blonde highlights wouldn’t be coming out easy. If I was going to do this, I needed to be confident. 

The first step for me was finding a virtual color try-on tool that would give me an idea of what I was getting myself into. After an extensive search, I found I liked Redken the best. Giving you the option to either upload a photo or just turn your camera on to try on a multitude of hair colors for free, I was able to explore every color of the rainbow before landing on the pastel pink I knew I could pull off (Some of us can’t rock the Katy Perry circa 2012 blue; RedKen let me down easy).

Thus, the Pinterest board was created. It may sound cliche, but making an inspiration board is super helpful when figuring out the exact color you want and what products people trust. After my flurry of pinning, I had to make the most important decision: are we going permanent, semi-permanent or wash out? 

The best option for me ended up being the semi-permanent. I didn’t want a color-infusing shampoo that would wash out in a matter of days (a great option for people who only want to try it for a week or so) and a permanent dye that required bleaching my hair was a little too scary for me as a newbie. Finding the semi-permanent dye that gave me the results I loved took a bit of a journey — let’s talk about it.

The Painting Process

I tried a total of three products to achieve the perfect pink, here’s what happened:

Keracolor Color + Clenditioner: For those who have super light locks or light chemically-treated hair, this is a great option. 

After using the shade “rose gold” for two weeks, I found that my blonde highlights had a slight rose tint and my hair was incredibly soft (perks of a cleansing conditioner). 

Though I ended up moving on to find something that would give a more prominent color, Keracolor gave me the confidence that pink was indeed the way to go.  

Kera Color + Clenditioner. Photo via Kaitlyn Miller

L’Oreal Colorista: This one was the winner for me. The kit, retailing for only $10 at Walgreens, scratched the itch for a new color without damaging my hair. 

After applying the dye in shade “HOTPINK350” with the gloves and brush included in the kit, letting it sit for 45 minutes, then washing it out, I was met with instant gratification. The bright pink color stayed vibrant for about four days before fading into a cute pastel pink that lasted about five days. It was super fun, it didn’t stain or dry out my hair and it faded nicely. It’s easy and affordable enough to do repeatedly (about two to four weeks worth in one bottle), and will wash out if you end up not being a fan.

L’Oreal Colorista. Photo via Kaitlyn Miller

Punky Colour: Cue my “what have you done” face. When Walgreens was out of my beloved Colorista, I decided to try Punky Colour’s semi-permanent dye in the shade “Flamingo.” 

Retailing for about $10, I knew I was taking things up a notch with a dye that lasts 35-45 washes, but I was up for the adventure. Little did I know a serious pop of color was coming. 

The shade was much darker than I expected (I’ve never seen a bright fuchsia flamingo before). Cut to now, about three weeks later, it’s barely faded. 

Though it may have initially shocked me and dried out my ends a bit, after some conditioner and a week of getting used to it, the vibrance definitely grew on me. So, if you’re looking for the closest thing to permanent dye that doesn’t require bleach but will last for well over a month, give Punky Colour a shot. 

Punky Colour. Photo via Kaitlyn Miller

In the end, was it worth it? Absolutely. I felt empowered, confident and was doing something I never imagined I could do myself. 

If you do your research and find what’s best for you, the worst that can happen is an unexpected color (and it’s not like you’re going to be showing it off at too many places anyway, right?). So, for those I’ve convinced to embark on a hair-journey, I wish you the best of luck. Cover your countertops, color thoroughly and prepare to come out feeling like a whole new you.