I’ve Changed My Hair Color 3 Times In Less Than A Year — And I’ve Never Felt More Like Myself

10/10 recommend.

Kelsey Stewart

Beauty has always been a creative outlet for me. In fact, my favorite part of the day is sitting at my desk applying all my various products. So, when I was isolating inside with absolutely no reason to swipe on my favorite sparkly Stila liquid eye shadow or Fenty lip gloss, I felt lost. I was desperately craving that giddy feeling I have from getting all dolled up. I knew by September 2020 that I needed to somehow dig myself out of the beauty rut I fell into which is exactly what drove me to make my first hair transformation. And as it turns out, changing my hair color has kept me sane during quarantine. Read: In just seven months, I’ve altered my hair three(!) times.

To backtrack a bit, this past year was the first time I’ve ever drastically switched up my hair. Sure, I played around a bit in high school and dyed the ends red, but that was the extent of it. Therefore, instead of immediately going full force, I decided to ease into a bright shade by testing out the money piece trend. Back in September, celebrity hair colorist Mark DeBolt of Mark Ryan Salon in Chelsea, Manhattan gave me coral front strands (shown below). Luckily, this ‘90s inspired hair transformation immediately had me back to feeling like myself once again. And just like how people say once you get your first tattoo you can’t stop getting more (which I can attest to), I felt the same way with changing my hair color. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop.

While I did my best to hold onto the coral for as long as possible, it began fading by November. And though I didn’t necessarily mind the hue it turned into, I was itching to test out another color on my front strands. So, while I was home in Pittsburgh for the holidays, I booked an appointment at Sergio’s Style and traded in my faded coral for a deep, vibrant blue as I knew it would make my baby blue eyes pop. Side note: If you ever dye your hair blue, expect a struggle to get it out.

Kelsey Stewart

As all colors eventually do, the blue started growing out and fading around that six-week mark. Though I was still loving the money piece trend — and, I’m not the only one, as it’s predicted to remain popular this summer — I was ready to experiment even further with my hair. Drumroll, please — my biggest, boldest hair transformation yet: Dying my whole head pastel pink. Initially, I intended on doing an ombré Kaia Gerber-like pink look. But the day before my appointment, I couldn’t stop thinking about going all in and dyeing my whole head. I arrived bright and early on Saturday morning at hairstylist Devin Rahal’s adorable Williamsburg space and allowed him to work his magic on my hair.

The expert started off by bleaching my locks but left my roots brown to give it a more grungy, grown-out look. Because the blue wouldn’t move (and I mean, would not move), he used a color eraser. “It’s a pre-lightening product that helps break up stubborn color,” he explains. And in my case, the stubborn blue direct dyes. From there, he dyed everything pink. Because of the stubborn blue, the two front strands were way pinker than the rest of my hair, and we were both in agreement that it needed to eventually match the color of the rest of my head.

To “pop it off” (meaning, perfect my color), as the hairstylist says, as well as fix the front strands, I went back for another visit a few days later. “You can only bleach hair so far in one visit without it getting pretty trashed integrity-wise,” he explains to me about the blue pieces. “I feel like even if we tried to lift that blue out the day of, it would have needed a break.” Rahal ordered the Matrix color eraser for my hair, which he used to wipe out the bright pink and the blue underneath it that was making it too intense. From there, he re-saturated everything, rinsed, shampooed, conditioned, dried it, and applied Pulp Riot Blush and Lava Tone all over. Rahal alternated between a blush and a blush lava mix to create the dreamy pastel pink shade below.

Kelsey Stewart

Now that I’ve achieved the color of my childhood dreams, I’m making it my mission to do whatever I can to hold on to it. To do this, Rahal recommends using Nume’s Tourmaline Hair Mask. “It’s moisturizing, helps nourish the hair, and has proteins and amino acids,” he says about the product. “I would also be shampooing with their Tourmaline Shampoo — it smells nice and will make your hair feel really soft.” Plus, he says the shampoo will help preserve the color because it’s not super stringent and won’t pull the shade out. In addition to the shampoo, he suggests the conditioner from the haircare brand.

Additionally, he recommends using Overtone. “It’s a pigmented shampoo and conditioner,” he explains about the products. The hairstylist also loves the shampoo and conditioners from Hello HiBAR, and for my hair, recommends the moisture duo. “I think it’s the best for your hair because when you color it, you want to keep the moisture in so it keeps the cuticle soft.”

And when it comes to styling, Rahal suggests AG Hair’s Dry Wax. “Any time you put your hair through the wringer like this, the last thing you want to do is style it every day, because then you'll notice the pink will fade faster as well,” he explains. His approach to the product: Spray it all over wet hair, comb into place, diffuse it with a dryer, let it air dry, and then curl and twist pieces with your hands. Once it’s dry, he says you can respray it on the hair for a bit more hold.

According to Rahal, I won’t be the only one doing a fun summer hair transformation. “I think because everyone has been locked up in their house for the most part, especially in New York City, people will be wanting some transformational stuff.” Let’s all start #vaxgirlsummer right this instant, shall we? If you’re on board with test driving an exciting new shade this season, you’ll want to make sure it lasts all summer long. That being said, below, shop the products Rahal suggests for color-treated hair.

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