Note from the KeraGirls: Keratin Complex® editor Tracy Allerton shares her experience going pastel.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to grow out my hair and to stop coloring it.

For quite a while, I had been wearing a shoulder-length, layered bob with bangs, and was generally happy with this low-maintenance, wash-and-wear style. I also had been using color for gray coverage for a couple of decades—starting with light brown to match my natural color, and then, as the whites became more prominent, transitioning to light blonde to better blend with the new growth.

But I was finally ready for a change and wanted to embrace my natural gray, so I started letting it grow out early last year. I liked the new color as it grew in, and even managed to endure that pesky bangs-in-my-eyes period (thank goodness for hair clips!).

However, in the past month or so, I’ve known that it was time to do something with my hair—but I didn’t know exactly what. Then we published a KC blog about pastel hair, and something clicked: I wanted to try this fun trend for myself!

Before Keratin Complex serviceTracy before the color service by Len.

When I mentioned my idea to co-workers, someone suggested I get the tips colored, and that seemed like the perfect solution—the grays from root to mid-length would remain, while the colored portion would not be “permanent,” as it will eventually fade out and/or be cut off.

One big perk of my job is access to the onsite salon and talented stylists here at Keratin Complex corporate headquarters. So, I tapped Elite Inspiration Team Artist Len Leon to help me with my makeover. Here’s how it went:

Inspiration for pastel hair

Len advised me to look for photos on the web of pastel hair that I liked. A quick search gave me five such looks, which I printed out. I was originally thinking pink or purple, but started leaning toward purples in the lilac/lavender family. While out walking, I found some flowers that had these colors, so I plucked samples and put them in zip-lock bags. Armed with these inspirational items, I showed up at the appointed time.

During my consultation with Len, we decided that he would apply tones of rose quartz and lilac gray. (These colors are both Keratin Complex Color Therapy™ signature formulations in our latest fashion shades collection.) Len also told me that, because my ends had a lot of gold, it would be best to apply a violet-blonde glaze to counteract the yellow pigments and make a nice blend of colors throughout my head.

“I wanted to do something that was subtle and age-appropriate,” Len says. “I thought that these shades would work perfectly in her hair to complement her natural gray hair and still give the impact that she was looking for.”

Getting pastel shades of lilac and rose

Len first used a weave-and-foil technique to alternate the KeraHold® formulas of rose quartz and lilac gray throughout my hair from mid-length to end, as well as a few placements to frame my face. Then, he painted the remainder of the hair with Demi-Glaze in ultra-light violet and natural blonde—with a Vitalshot™ added for extra shine.

After processing, my hair was rinsed and shampooed with Timeless Color™ Fade-Defy Shampoo, then conditioned with Intense Rx® before being blow-dried.

Color Therapy afterTracy immediately after the color service.

I was thrilled with the results, and loved the compliments that came from my co-workers. And even my mom, who had initially been horrified when I told her that I was planning on putting pastel colors in my hair, liked the subtle shades of purple and pink that I ended up with.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to get a fresh new look that is youthful in spirit but still makes me look like the baby-boomer that I am (and darn proud of it!).

Pro tip: Len advised me that these soft pastel colors tend to leach out of the hair more quickly than other hair colors. He told me to avoid getting my hair wet as much as possible – shampooing only two to three times a week with lukewarm or cool water (never hot), and always using products formulated for color-treated hair, such as the Keratin Complex Timeless Color collection.

For more hair-maintenance tips, see our post on how to care for color-treated hair.