I've been dying my hair pink on and off since 2011 and even though it is, hands down, my favorite hue for my hair I've always found it tricky to get the exact shade I want. Ideally I want a muted pink that isn't super neon. And in a perfect world it would be a light Crayola carnation pink, not orange-y or coral-ish.
This has always been tricky because my hair grows out of my scalp a medium-dark brown color and I need to bleach it yellow before I can even start thinking about pink. No matter how much I bleach it (and trust me, my hair has seen WAY TOO MUCH bleach) even at its lightest it is still a bright buttery yellow. That base has always worked really well for me, but my hair does tend to come out slightly neon (at least before it starts to fade) and often a tad bit orange.
Enter: Toner. Which always reminds me of this:
But in this case I'm talking about hair dye, not printer ink.
I discovered recently that you can tone your hair after you've bleached it to cancel out the brassy tones leaving you with a white-ish platinum blonde. Now this is probably old news to a lot of people but I had never tried it before last week. I needed to touch up my roots and color anyway so I decided to give this a try.
First I did a bleach bath, which is supposed to be a gentler way of bleaching your hair. If you're interested just look on youtube, there are a ton of tutorials for it and that helped me a lot. I bought one of those bleach kits from Sally's and just mixed it 1:1 with Redken All Soft shampoo. It lifted my roots and got rid of any remaining color on my hair but my scalp wasn't burning and my hair didn't seem fried when I was done. Woo hoo!
Next I applied Wella toner mixed with developer and watched the brassiness disappear from my head right before my eyes. It was like magic!! I used pink Overtone conditioner and it left my locks the most pretty pastel pink you've ever seen. I was honestly obsessed with how this looked when I was all done. I decided to add more pink the next day (this dye mixed with a TON of conditioner) and now it's the majestic muted pastel pink I've been dreaming about for years. I'm not sure what the upkeep will look like yet since this was the first time I used toner but honestly I love it so much that even if I had to do weekly maintenance I'd be okay with it.
It goes without saying, but this is just my own experience with hair dye and bleach and stuff and I'm not a professional so don't listen to me unless you're dangerous and like living life on the edge.