The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Pastel hair dyes more popular than ever

Walk outside in any of Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods for a day and you’re bound to see a handful of individuals sporting hair colors that range from bright pink highlights, to dark blue streaks, or maybe even a combination of both. Pastel hair dyes have become an urban fashion staple among Chicago’s youth.

Dying one’s hair in bright colors is by no means something new. Bright hair styles have been common among American subcultures since the ’70s. But what had previously been a fringe fashion associated with the alternative has recently entered the mainstream in a big way.

In recent years, pop stars such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, andNicki Minaj have all made bright pastel hair colors a big part of their stage image. With their star power they have brought the trend to a much larger audience.

Liza Farler, a recent high school graduate from Chicago’s North side, is a self-proclaimed hair dye enthusiast. She has been dying her hair in bright colors since fifth grade.

“I started in fifth grade because that was around the same time I started to experiment with different styles of clothing and different music. I dyed my hair strawberry blonde and everyone used to call me ‘big red’ like Donna from ‘That 70s Show.'”

In high school, Farler began to dye her hair in shades of orange and green.

“My orange and green hair colors were Clementine-inspired shades, but I was using vibrant colors before I even saw that movie.”

Pastel colors aren’t just trending on the streets; they’re trending online as well. Today there are dozens of blogs on the social network blog site Tumblr solely dedicated to pastel hair dyes. Enthusiasts eagerly post their own pictures and share them with others.

One of the most popular products amonghair-dye enthusiasts are made by Manic Panic NYC, a cosmetics company based in New York. Manic Panic began its life as a punk store in 1977 that that catered to the local punk scene and other alternative subcultures.

The store’s young entrepreneurs, sisters Tish and Snooky, were members of the original Blondie lineup and opened the store with the help of a $500 loan from their mother. One of the products that the sisters introduced in their store were hair color-dyes, which they imported from the UK.

The colors of the dyes became big sellers around the ’80s. By the ’90s Manic Panic’s bright hair dyes began to be featured in mainstream magazines and movies. Films such as the 1997 futuristic sci-fi block buster “Fifth Element” featured a cast where the majority of women had bright hair colors. Milla Jovovich’s character, Leelo, had bright orange hair in the film. The 2004 cult film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” featured actress Kate Winslet, who played the role of Clementine, a girl that constantly dyed her hair in different bright colors.  What had previously been a niche fashion was becoming more and more mainstream.

Dying your hair a bright color is not a complicated process. Hair dye is relatively inexpensive and there are now dozens of products to choose from. The entire process can easily be done at home as well.

“In order to get vibrant or light colors you need to bleach your hair first to lighten it,” Farler said.

 “Bleaching always damages your hair but if you it’s done correctly damage is minimal. After bleaching you can apply any semi-permanent dye.  To achieve a lighter pastel color, you should mix the dye with some conditioner: this will dilute the dye and make the color lighter. Generally speaking most semi-permanent hair dyes actually condition your hair leaving it softer and smoother after bleaching. After you’re done, use sulfate-free shampoo and cold water to wash your hair. This will help your hair color last longer.” 

More to Discover