The Exquisite Life and Death of a Neon Pink Dye Job

And why every woman should try it once.

The Exquisite Life and Death of a Neon Pink Dye Job
(Image credit: Design by Betsy Farrell)

I can't put my finger on exactly what inspired me to dye my hair neon pink this past summer. I imagine the reason lands somewhere between my I'll-try-anything-once approach to beauty and the desire for an impromptu shakeup. Either way, it was the best decision I could have made at that very moment and it's my firm belief that every woman should dye their hair a batshit crazy color at least once in their life. From full-on Manic Panic to just a whisper of flamingo, here's what happens to a neon pink dye job over the course of four glorious months.

Stage 1) Full-On Neon

When you dye your hair neon pink, the journey begins with your fresh-out-of-the-salon color in all its vivid splendor. This is when you'll really shock people. As far as what those around you will think, in my experience most will love it. (Though family members will definitely give you their two sense.) And if the don't? They'll be 100% impressed you had the balls to do it in the first place. I promise it's not as big a deal as you think it's going to be.

I will say that as a new, eye-popping version of yourself, you should know this: You're going to turn heads whether you're in sweatpants, hair tied, chill in' with no makeup on, or dressed to the nines. People are always going to stare and depending on how comfortable you are with that, you're either going to love it, learn to become oblivious to it, *or* be counting down the seconds till you can jump in the shower and let a shampoo diffuse the color a bit. And there's nothing wrong with any of these.

Stage 2) Strawberry Lemonade

After a wash or two, it'll still be a megawatt pink with hints of peach. Like strawberry lemonade. And while it's not quite as bold as it was before, you're still participating in the party-of-one social experiment that is traipsing around with pink hair. There's the good (sweet compliments from old ladies who actually really dig it), the bad (basic naysayers who just don't get it), and the ugly (repulsive catcallers who think this is just another excuse for their unwanted commentary). Despite the latter, it is still so much fun—especially when you're traveling. (Expect a lot of double takes during security clearance.)

Stage 3) Cotton Candy

Now I loved each and every stage of pink, but if I had to choose my favorite, it would probably be when it was a soft cotton candy shade. It packed just the right amount of punch while being a little more neutral as I began transitioning my wardrobe for fall. If you're color shy, but still want to go pink, I suggest beginning with this shade. It's also pretty easy to maintain, as my friend/fellow pink lady Renée Rouleau does so year-round by using Overtone's Color Conditioners, which deposit a little bit of color every time you wash it.

Stage 4) Pastel Pink

During the final weeks of my pink color, it was only detectable up close or in certain kinds of light. I still loved it, but as it was on its way out I'll admit, I was ready to go back to my normal blonde hue. This isn't to say that I didn't love every second of having pink hair. It's that now having done something so drastic with my color, I'm addicted to switching things up. I now get why women who start playing with their hair color never really stop. I officially have dye job ADD, and whether it's a polished blonde balayage (my current situation) or diving head first into Manic Panic land again—can't stop, won't stop.

Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.