How to Get Pastel Hair for Summer

Can anyone believe it's the middle of May already? All my friends in Denver and Portland are still dealing with some cold and rainy weather (sorry, guys!), but over here in Southern California we're already celebrating the summer sun.

It seems like hair color trends lighten up in the summer. The deep purple you were rocking in the fall and winter may feel like it needs a bit of freshening up. Now, we love dark and bright colors for summer, too (we're equal opportunity color lovers over here), but if you're going pastel this summer, we've got the perfect tips to get you there.


1. Pastels are just a minimal amount of pigment over white or light blonde hair. That's really all they are. So, if you're starting with a dark color, the first thing you need to do is lighten up. 

2. Starting with a natural blonde, brown, or red? See a stylist and have your color bleached to a very pale platinum blonde. You're going for a level 10+ for those of you who speak hair levels but - beware - these levels can be a little arbitrary and aren't totally set in stone. When in doubt, if you aren't sure you're speaking the same language as your stylist, tell them you need to be blonde enough for a pastel color. The cooler the tone you're going for (anything in the purple, blue, teal range) the more you need to be aware of the amount of yellow left over in your hair. 

3. Starting from a dark or bright fantasy color? Minimize the damage of bleaching by letting your hair color fade first. Wash with a shampoo that includes sulfates as often as possible, and use a good colorless deep conditioner in the mean time to minimize the drying from all those sulfates. Once the fading has plateaued, see a stylist to pull out the rest of that pigment. If you're going with the same tone (like from dark purple to pastel purple), you won't have to pull out as much color. 

4. Keep in mind that very dark hair - dyed or natural - may not lift up to a light enough color to support a pastel in one go. This is where a trusted stylist is key. Find a killer colorist and take their advice. Better to get to the color of your dreams in stages than to try and force it too quickly and end up with super damaged hair. (Raise hands with me here if you've been there before.)

5. Going for an ombre effect? Same rules apply, but you'll just be lifting up your hair color in the places where you want the pastel to show.

6. The biggest drawback for pastels USED to be that they were a huge pain in the ass to maintain, but not anymore! Choose your favorite shade of oVertone Pastel to keep that color going all through the summer. Pro tip: If you're especially hard on your hair this time of year with extra sun, water, and washing, you may want to switch to using Go Deep in your favorite color as your regular conditioner. It has an extra oomph of hydration and can kick your hair back in to action after you've beaten it up with sun and sea.


Ready to choose? 

Shop Pastel Orange Shop Pastel Pink
Shop Pastel Red Shop Pastel Purple
Shop Pastel Blue Shop Pastel Teal
Shop Pastel Green


Got more pastel questions? Or just questions about summer color? Hit us up at, or find us on Instagram or Twitter @oVertoneColor.


XOXO Maegan