With spring taking its sweet time to bring us warmer, sunnier weather, the season’s rainbow hair-color trends are veering toward more muted tones. Trends like “Southwest Sundance” and “black pearl” hair are proof. Florida-based hairstylist Neal Malek recently dyed one of his clients’ hair a range of ashy pastels, naming the gorgeous look “black pearl” hair. If you ask me, black pearls are the superior variety of the oyster-grown stones because they have more of a holographic quality to them. And it is what sparked Malek to create black pearl hair himself. “The inspiration was the look of iridescence but on darker objects, like a black pearl or a black opal,” he tells Allure.
One major element to keep in mind regarding the latest muted hair-color trends is the amount of bleach involved. Just because the overall tones are darker than the rainbow hair-color trends we’ve seen lately, doesn’t mean that her hair didn’t have to be completely lightened before the smoky pastel shades were added. Instead, the process is about the same as that of neon dye jobs. Malek’s first step to creating black pearl hair was bleaching his client’s entire head. Having a light base was essential to giving the pastels added that iridescent effect of a black pearl.
After lightening, Malek toned his client’s hair with pearl and silver to neutralize the warmth that naturally occurs after lightening dark, coarse hair. Then, he mixed together four custom hair dyes: a sooty purple for the roots and three different metallic pastels in an icy blue, violet, and lavender-toned pink. First, he brushed the smoky purple all over his client’s hair. Then, he gathered one-inch horizontal sections of her hair at a time, starting at the nape of her neck and moving upward. As he colored each section, he created three to six vertical subsections. Reason being? “I had three different color formulas, and I wanted them to lay next to a different color every time I applied them,” he says. This application technique helped create the dimensional look for the iridescent effect. The total process took about five hours because his client’s hair was on the thicker side, Malek added.
Typically, stylists recommend rainbow hair-color trends to those with lighter hair. However, Malek says, “I would say black pearl hair works best with darker hair types.”
Why? The cool, deep hues of the look help cover and neutralize the aforementioned warmth that occurs when lifting natural color from darker, coarse hair. Be sure to ask your stylist if your hair is strong enough for lightening and coloring to this extent, Malek adds. Ask “how many sessions this type of color would take to achieve with your hair because it’s not always achievable in one session,” he says. “In my case, my client already had pre-lightened ends, so I just had to lighten the top portion to match the ends.”
Read more about Instagram hair-color trends:
- The “Baby White” Hair-Color Trend Is So Blonde, It’s Practically Translucent
- Taro Is the Tastiest Purple Hair Color for Spring
- This Woman Dyed Her Hair to Look Like Urban Decay’s Backtalk Palette
Now, learn about the surprising history of hair dye:
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