Dyeing my hair semi-permanently pink, from light brown, without bleach

Hello and Welcome!

I hope you’re having an amazing bank holiday so far and are looking forward to Easter!

As you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram during the last two days, I have been dyeing my hair pink. This was definitely a spur of the moment thing, so the initial products I used were not cruelty free (they also didn’t work, and I don’t recommend them, but we’ll get into that later).

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory, so I don’t need to say much more before we get into this! Unlike my usual posts, this isn’t going to be a review (but I will discuss the products I used), instead I’ll be taking you through what I did to achieve my pink hair.

Expectations & Previous Dyeing Experience


I’d describe my hair as a light brown colour (see above). In hair level terms I’d say it’s somewhere between a 6 and a 7, but leaning more towards the 6. Aka, definitely not the type of base colour that you’d want to get vibrant coloured hair.

I recently(ish) had my hair cut from chest length to just above my shoulders, so all my hair at this point was virgin hair. Completely free from any dyes. Whilst I have coloured my hair in the past, for example I had blonde at the bottom of my hair that was cut off recently, this hair has never been coloured.

Personally, I’d say that I keep pretty good care of my hair. I don’t straighten it very much, and I rarely hair dryer it. When I use any heat I always use a heat protection spray. I always use conditioner on the mid-ends of my hair. I prefer to buy moisturising, or strengthening, shampoos and conditioners. Finally, I use hair masks occasionally.

Therefore, the hair that I was working with was virgin, and in the best possible condition. Both of these factors made dyeing harder. The dye really didn’t want to take to my hair to begin with, at all.

What I Used & The Process

Day One

I was out with my mum yesterday and told her that I was bored with my hair and really fancied dyeing it, but only temporarily. She asked what colour, I said pink, and to my surprise she was really up for it. This is why I began my process with a brand that isn’t cruelty free – I was already out, and it was such a last minute decision that there weren’t any cruelty free dye options in the shade I wanted (because I was purchasing from Boots).

Because I wanted the colour to only be temporary, I opted for semi-permanent dye. Which is, in part, why I was able to do what I did.

At Boots I purchased, for £5.49, the Schwarzkopf ‘Ultra Brights or Pastel Citrus Neons’ in the shade ‘100 Grapefruit Burst’. I took my box of dye home, thinking ‘that’s a pretty bright colour’, ready to make my first mistake.

As this dye was a semi-permanent one, it doesn’t need mixing, and it requires you to have wet hair. So I washed my hair with shampoo only and started the process.

Being the hair stylist/guru that I am (this is sarcasm, I know nothing about hair), I thought ‘I’ll mix some conditioner into the dye to make it more of a pastel tone’. Yes, that does work, and it would have worked, if my hair was starting out bleached, or naturally blonde. However, on my brown hair, this was a mistake. You need the dye colour to be darker than your natural hair colour in order for it to show up. If you’re wanting pink then you need a bright pink, that’s pretty dark, or it absolutely won’t work. However, thinking I was an absolute genius, I mixed in my conditioner, and got my mum to apply the dye. I washed it off, used one of the conditioner sachets that come with the box dye, washed that out, and there was basically no change. Whilst there may have been a slight pink hue, it looked like I’d had pink hair about 4 weeks ago and it had washed out to next to nothing (not a good look).

As I’m an absolute trooper (as is my mum, shout out to her for dealing with all of this), I walked half an hour back to boots and picked up three, yes THREE, more of the same Schwarzkopf dye. The dyes were on a 3 for 2 offer, so I should have bought three the first time but that’s hindsight and at the time I thought I’d only need one box.

After getting back home I washed my hair again (because it needs to be wet for the dye) and told my mum to apply not one, but two boxes of the dye onto my hair. This time I didn’t mix in conditioner. Once again I waited patiently for half an hour, washed it out, used conditioner, washed that out, and again pretty much nothing. The front was quite pink, but the rest wasn’t, and the dye was hardly taking to the ends. I believe that this is because the front parts of my hair I straighten more than any other part, therefore it was more damaged and took the dye better. Whereas my ends get all the treatments and therefore are in better condition, and weren’t absorbing the dye.

Seeing that my hair was kind of uneven I broke out box four of the Schwarzkopf dye. At this point I’d pretty much lost the will. I’d been in and out of the shower multiple times washing dye out, getting my hair wet to dye again, and I was done with it all. So, I applied box four to just the parts that hadn’t taken the dye as well (mostly the mid and end sections) and I applied it to my hair dry. Once I washed this out, my hair did look slightly more even, but again the front was much more pink, and even then it wasn’t all that pink.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy that it was at least slightly pink, and posted these Instagram pictures:

Day Two

When I posted these pictures to Instagram by one of my lovely followers, mrs_ds_lifestyle, to check out some of the colours that Superdrug sell and see if those will give my colour the extra pinkness that I was looking for.

I had a quick look on the superdrug website and saw that Knight & Wilson have a brand called Colour Freedom (that IS cruelty free). I’ve used the Style Freedom range from Knight & Wilson before, so I know that the brand is great. I noticed they had two shades of pink in their ‘Ultra-Vibrant Non-Permanent Hair Colour’ range, ‘Magenta Dream’, and ‘Pink Pizazz’.

This morning I headed out to Superdrug and picked up two of the ‘Pink Pizazz’ shades, at £4.65 each (currently on sale as of 30/03/2018 down from £6.99). I chose this one as it seemed the pinker of the two, and pizazz was exactly what my pink hair needed.

Once again this requires you to have wet hair, so I wet my hair (I didn’t shampoo it because it had been washed so much in the last day). I gave my mum the bottle, which by the way it’s the nicest dye bottle I’ve ever seen, and let her go to work. She used approximately half the bottle, since they’re very big. I sat for 30 minutes before washing it out. Finally, when I dried my hair, it was getting towards the colour that I wanted! There was still a distinct colour difference between the front top parts and the ends, but my hair was definitely pink now.

I ate lunch and decided to use the other half of the bottle on the mids and ends of my hair. Once again, I did this with dry hair. I waited the 30 minutes, and washed it out, added a tonne of conditioner (even though this dye from Colour Freedom has She Butter and Argon Oil in it), washed that out, and dried my hair.

Results & Overall Thoughts


The above photo shows the before and after of using:

  • 4 x Schwarzkopf ‘Ultra Brights or Pastel Citrus Neons’ in ‘100 Grapefruit Burst’ at £5.49 (but on 3 for 2) = £16.47
  • 1 x Knight & Wilson ‘Ultra-Vibrant Non-Permanent Hair Colour’ in ‘Pink Pizazz’ at £4.65

Total cost: £21.12 plus 1 spare £4.65 Knight & Wilson dye

Honestly I am so happy with how it turned out. Although I didn’t expect to spend this much, use this much dye, or for it to take this long, I’m so pleased. Whilst it’s slightly more Ariel from The Little Mermaid, instead of the bubblegum princess look I was going for, I still adore it and I feel amazing.

My hair surprisingly still feels pretty much the same as it did before the 5 dyeing process. It’s possibly the slightest big more dry but really not that much. There was no breakage, no hair fell out, it’s honestly fine. I’m not going to wash my hair now until it absolutely NEEDS it, as it’s been washed a lot over the last couple of days I want it to have a chance to heal without me washing all the oils away. I think the fact my hair was in good condition to begin with, and every dye was semi-permanent, are the main reasons why my hair is still okay after all of this.

I have a few warnings and tips though:

  • Warning: Do not use this many box dyes in a row!

I only used this many because I knew my hair could take it, and because if all my hair fell out I’d honestly not care that much. Additionally, semi-permanent dye is not as damaging as permanent dye.

However, I would absolutely not recommend doing this. Stick to one dyeing session, or do so at your own risk. Although semi-permanent dye isn’t as damaging, it will still damage your hair. This is definitely a case for do as I say and not as I do!

  • Tip: Go straight for the Knight & Wilson, avoid Schwarzkopf and save your money.

As soon as I could see the Knight & Wilson dye on my hair I knew it was instantly doing a better job than the Schwarzkopf ones. Despite Schwarzkopf dyes being available everywhere, they aren’t actually that good. They’re only going to work if your hair is actually blonde or bleached. Generally I just think Schwarzkopf is overrated (and they aren’t cruelty free). Take yourself to Superdrug and get yourself some Colour Freedom (and Style Freedom whilst you’re at it)! If you did want to check out any of the Colour Freedom dyes then you can see them here.

  • Warning: If you have brown hair you aren’t getting pastel colours.

I can’t emphasise this enough! Whilst we all may want to look like a cotton candy dream, it just isn’t going to happen if you don’t have a really light base to begin with. If you have hair a similar colour to mine then you may be able to get a fun colour, but you’ll have to buy a vibrant dye and you may still struggle like I did. Pastels are off the table though I’m afraid!

Okay I think that’s all I have to say about this journey! I hope that you enjoyed reading, sorry if it’s not as helpful or interesting as my normal posts. Nevertheless, if you still enjoyed reading then please give this post a like and maybe I’ll write some similar posts in the future (not that I plan on using 5 dyes any time soon)! Also if you have any questions then please drop them in the comments or message me on Instagram. Finally, be sure to follow my blog if you aren’t already! If you don’t have a WordPress account there’s an option to follow via email.


Charlotte (Multibendystraw)

Follow me on Instagram

Check out my previous posts!

Makeup Revolution ‘Conceal and Define Concealer’ Review
The Cruelty Free Beauty Box March 2018 Review
Stila ‘Stay All Day MATTE’ificent Lipstick’ Review

3 Comments Add yours

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