How To Give Yourself Cotton Candy Pink Hair

Bored with blonde? You're only a few hours away from pastel pink hair, all done in the comfort(?) of your own bathroom.
Publish date:
September 27, 2013
hair color, conditioners, pink hair, Manic Panic, hair dyes

Pink hair is the best. Seriously. It looks good on pretty much anyone from what I've seen, and it adapts strangely well as a neutral.

No matter how many other colours I dye my hair, I always come back to some shade of rosy candy magic. Pink hair has become so natural and normal for me that sometimes I can almost convince confused strangers that it's natural.

If you find yourself doubting me, here is some undeniable photographic evidence:

On board now? Good. Want to join the league of pink-hairs yourself? I'm here to help.

This tutorial involves a lot of sitting around and waiting, so grab a book, keep a comfy robe and some slippers handy, and use this time to contemplate the new pink-haired you. Or just watch four episodes of Orange is the New Black in a row.

The bad news: if you have super-dark hair, this kind of colour won't really show up, so you'll either have to take the plunge with some bleach or visit a salon to explore the possibility of a bleach-free look.


Mix your colour. I use Manic Panic because I like how fast it fades and gets all dreamy pastel, but I've also heard great reviews on Ion Colour Brilliance and Punky Colour if you want the colour to stay saturated a little longer.

To get my shade of sugary pink, I combine a big dollop of Manic Panic's Cotton Candy Pink (about 1/2 of the jar) and smaller dollop (about 1/8 of the jar) of Red Passion with about a half-cup of conditioner (white, always white conditioner--any brand will do).

To avoid getting a yellowy fade-out, I sometimes put a tiny tiny TINY dab (like a drop) of blue Manic Panic to neutralize, but lately I'm super into the peach party that happens on my head during my fade, so I'm skipping that step.


Test the colour! When I think the colour looks right, I put a bit in an inconspicuous area (usually ends from the back) and let it soak in for about 10 minutes to make sure I like the shade. Like I said, this stuff fades fast, but if you find the colour is just too saturated, add a bit more conditioner before your whole-head application. The higher the ratio of conditioner, the more muted and pastel the colour will be on your actual head (and the faster it will fade!)


Shampoo, condition, brush, and dry your hair. This step isn't mandatory, but since I usually don't wash my hair for at least four days after doing this to avoid too much fading, I like to start with a clean palette.

Personally, I never use heat on my very stressed hair when I don't have to, so I sort of lounge around the house until my hair is almost dry but not quite. The slight dampness makes the colour easier to paint on (especially when my dry hair usually has a bunch of knots and a whole canister of hairspray in it).


Now that your hair is sparkling clean and combed, it's time to glob on the pink. DO NOT wear cute clothing to do this just because you feel so cute and fun and love pink--you will emerge from the bathroom stained and tearful. Trust.

There are a whole bunch of ways you can apply, but my best advice would be to get messy.

Just like rainbow hair, you need to think of your head as a fun new art project that could react any number of ways. My newly bleached hair sucks in way more colour than my older bleached hair, and some strands just pick up the colour heavier than others for no apparent reason other than magic. Just roll with it.

The key is to get the pink all over your head as quickly and evenly as possible. If you have a friend around to lend a helping hand, enlist them! I usually paint on the dye close to my roots and then smush the rest of the colour all through my hair to the ends after. Again, as quickly as possible.


Wait around. Like, for an hour. Though I've ventured outside with my pink dripping hair and weird black dye-proof clothing, I'd probably recommend just chilling out. Read some cake recipes or something. Whatever distracts you from the cold goop feeling on your scalp.


Rinse, and prepare to have your body covered momentarily in a sea of pink foamy goodness. The head in the tap method always leaves me with big chunks of forgotten dye, so I recommend the whole body shower for this one.

If possible, peek from behind the shower curtain and check the shade (taking into consideration it will lighten a lot when it dries) and shampoo with hot water if you feel the colour is too bright.

If you're happy (excited, ecstatic, screaming with joy, etc.) simply rinse with the coldest temperature you can take, and towel off!


Your hair is now pink!

You should probably take some time to mentally prepare for the number of people per day who will comment on your new candy-hued hairdo. Seriously, everyone will have an opinion, from the moms who will call it "different" and "funky" (bless their souls) to the awesome stoner friend who will constantly repeat, "I just want to eat it. It looks so much like cotton candy, I could just eat it!"

Have you ever gone pink? Let me know if you try my method! (And post photos!)