Pink Hair – It’s a Love Affair

Published: 1:18 PM, Thursday 10th April 2014 | Updated: 5:10 PM, Wednesday 8th April 2020

Ever wanted to dye your hair pink?

As a professional hair stylist I would say the most popular alternative hair colour request is for pink hair, so you’re not alone. Pink hair is like the blonde of the unnatural hair colours. Why? Because they are both sexy, fun, feminine and both are popular colours with celebrities. Lets look at the whys and wherefores of pink hair, who’s doing pink, how it can affect people around you and what pink hair colour says about you…

Pink Hair – History

Though fashion’s current embrace of pink hair may seem daringly nouveau, a quick look at newspapers from the past century reveals that, long before the birth of punk , the industry was fascinated by blush-coloured hair — not because pink was rock ‘n roll, but because it was pretty.

1914 – A writer named Margaret Mason was an early advocate of the pink hair trend. In florid, punny prose, she wrote about the joys of pink hair in a January 2, 1914 piece for the United Press titled “Mad Rush of Color Extends to the Hair.” “If you are simply dyeing to be fashionable,” wrote Mason, “then choose a bright shade of cerise, for pink hair is the pink of fashionable perfection.” A year later, in the Milwaukee Sentinel , Mason extolled the virtues of henna dye. “Haste then and hie you to the henna if you are a wise woman,” she declared. “Begin to red up immediately. If you would be the pink of perfection, you certainly must have pink hair.”1937 – Some twenty years later, the A.P. reported that hair “tinted ‘a tender, tender rose’ is the great new thing in women’s styles.” This was according to a European hair stylist named Leo of Vienna, who was in New York to present at the Austria booth of the world fair.

1937 – Some twenty years later, the A.P. reported that hair “tinted ‘a tender, tender rose’ is the great new thing in women’s styles.” This was according to a European hair stylist named Leo of Vienna, who was in New York to present at the Austria booth of the world fair.

“Pink hair,” claimed Leo, “is perfect for evening, ‘because women, at evening, should always look flower-like.'” Leo, whose clients included the Duchess of Windsor (who, incidentally, did not dye her hair pink), also maintained that women should change their hairstyles at least 10 to 12 times per year, “because many men are completely sick of the way their wives do their hair.”

“If you are simply dyeing to be fashionable,then choose a bright shade of cerise, for pink hair is the pink of fashionable perfection.” – Margaret Mason, January, 1914

1940 – In World War II-era London, the U.P. reported, blondes who found that their hair clashed with their khaki uniforms began clamouring for a pink tint. “Blondes are going to turn pink because they have found out that their soldier boy friends prefer brunettes or chestnuts-or pinks,” wrote the U.P.

pink hair

1960 – Though pink hair trends are generally geared toward the fairer sex (John Cale and Dennis Rodman notwithstanding), a November 1960 bit from the A.P. declared that in at least one Cambridgeshire town, “A boy without pink hair is a boy without a girl friend.” An eighteen-year-old named David Grange told the newspaper, “At first the girls laughed but now they won’t go out with any boy who hasn’t got pink hair…It makes you stand out in a crowd.” The trend unfairly favoured blond boys, though, as “on chaps with dark hair the solution tends to turn their hair scarlet.”

Pink Hair – Music Industry Celebrities

In the past the music industry  has had it’s share of pink haired divas, Cyndi Lauper and Toyah Willcox are some of the earliest. In 1984 Madonna paid her pink dues on the British television show Top of the Pops. The material girl sported an ultra pink wig while preforming “Like A Virgin”.


Madonna pink hair 1984 Like A Virgin 1984 Madonna in pink wig on ‘Top of the Pops‘ (perhaps Lady Gaga’s inspiration?)
Cyndi Lauper Pink Hair 80's 1980’s Cyndi Lauper, known for bright hair colours, also had pink (P!nk’s inspiration?)
Toyah-Willcox-pink-hair 80's 1980’s Toyah Willcox trend-setter with her paintbox pink locks.

Then in early 2000 pink hair made a come back. Gwen Stefani put her spin on the trend à la braids in No Doubt‘s music video for “Ex-Girlfriend”. Sales in fluorescent pink hair dye increased exponentially. 2001 Christina Aguilera first had subtle pink streaks, but Aguilera’s still rocking the pink in her 2012 video, “Your Body”. Of course I have to mention the original rocker, whose very name comes from her iconic pink hair she first had when going solo in 2000… P!nk. Even today P!nk still puts subtle pink tones in her hair from time to time.


Gwen-Stefani-pink-hair-20002000 Gwen Stefani with pink hair in No Doubt‘s music video for “Ex-Girlfriend”.
P!nk (Alecia Beth Moore) with pink hair 1998 2000 P!nk goes solo with her iconic pink hair to match her name.
christina aguilera pink hair2001 Christina Aguilera first had subtle pink streaks. Today it’s all pink.
Since 2000 pink hair has gained in popularity. Kelly Osbourne not only likes pink hair on herself but has also dyed her puppy; Piglet‘s fur bright pink. Avril Lavigne first had her blonde and pink streak at the 2007 American Music Awards, and this hair colour is famous in her music video “Girlfriend”. Joss Stone dyed her hair pink to annoy her record label bosses after they begged her to become a blonde.

“I love lots of colour. I used to have bright-pink hair… It was wonderful. I’d wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and laugh a bit. It makes other people laugh, too. That’s just great.”
– Joss Stone, 2009

Lily Allen made an entrance with flamingo pink hair back in 2008 at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards. However Lily Allen still has a soft spot for this colour as she also wore a pink hairpiece when arriving at the 2014 British Academy Film Awards in February. Hayley Williams dyed her hair hot pink at the end of October 2010. This colour was seen at the MTV EMAs in November, on Paramore’s UK tour, and in Paramore’s music video for “Playing God”. Britney Spears even had her pink wig moment, and her video, ‘I Wanna Go’ in 2011 featured her with pink streaks.  Demi Lovato first added bright pink to her blond hair for her performance live in Central Park as part of Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series in 2012. Today Demi still has her pink locks.

Avril-Lavigne---pink-hair-Avril Lavigne’s pink hair at the 2007 American Music Awards
Lily Allen pink hairLily Allen went pink back in 2008 for Glamour Women Awards
Hayley Williams pink hairHayley Williams goes pink for the MTV EMAs in 2010
Demi Lovato pink hairDemi Lovato with pink hair performing in Central Park 2012.

Toady pink hair is front page news. More celebrities than ever are daring to try bold statement hair colours, with pink as the most accepted by the media, its a safe choice. But for some celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, pink is just one of the many bright hair colours in their arsenal. Yet when it comes to doing a cover shoot it would seem pink  hair is the popular choice.

lady_gaga_pink_hair_born_this_way_US_VogueLady GaGa with pink hair on the cover of Vogue
nicki-minaj-pink-hair-by-matt-irwin-for-wonderland-magazinePink Nicki Minaj on the cover of Wonderland
katy-perry-pink-hair-instyle-october-2011-coverKaty Perry with pink hair on the cover of InStyle

Pink Hair – Hollywood

Pink in Film:

1964 – Pioneering the pink hair movement, a young Shirley MacLaine hit the silver screen in head-to-toe rose for the Academy Award nominated flick What A Way To GoHer iconic look earned the film a nod for ‘Best Costumes’ spurring an onset of early adopters and magenta mane wannabes.
1978 – American musical Grease featured pink lady Frenchy, a beauty school dropout with bubble gum pink hair that ‘looks like an easter egg’ . This hair colour became such an iconic feature for the character that there is even a Frenchy Grease doll with bubble gum pink hair.

Natalie Portman pink hair

2004: Natalie Portman plays the role of plays high-end stripper, Alice with a marshmallow glossy wig in the film “Closer“.


2006: Historical comedy-drama ‘Marie Antoinette‘ starring Kirsten Dunst. Known for her outrageous style, I’m sure the real Marie Antoinette would approve.


2010: Action Fantasy ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World‘ stared Mary Winstead as character, Ramona Flowers. Her character constantly changes her hair colour.


2013: Character Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks, has various colourful wigs, including pink in the film “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire“.

Pink hair on actresses:


2011: Samaire Armstrong with pink locks

Pink hair hasn’t just been on screen, but hollywood starlets have been spotted do the pink trend on the red carpet. Star of ‘It’s a Boy Girl Thing’ Samaire Armstrong showed off messy, wavy pink locks at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style honoring Iman and Missoni in 2011. The O.C. actress went for thick pink streaks in her blonde tousled hairstyle for a fun look.

Lana Wachowski pink hair
Lana Wachowski

Star of ‘Kick-Ass’ actress Chloe Moretz  debuted subtle pink streaks in the bottom layers of her blond ‘do at the Costume Designers Guild Awards in 2012. Glee actress Dianna Agron dyed her hair bright pink for the show before letting it wash out to sport a simple pale pink hue in 2011. Actress, fashion designer, and singer-songwriter Taryn Manning sported a fishtail braided with pink streaks for a pretty, barely-noticeable result at the premiere of “The Perfect Age Of Rock ‘N ‘Roll” in 2011. It’s not just actresses doing pink hair, director of the Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas, Lana Wachowski even has bright pink dreadlocks.


In 2007 Rachel McAdams sparked the question “Is pink the new blonde?” when she had bright pink-streaked curls for the 12th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles. Rachel talks about her colour; “I always wanted pink hair. I wanted to do my whole head, but my hairstylist, Robert, was like, “How about we start small?” I absolutely loved it. I still think about doing blue at some point, but I don’t like to change my hair before I’m about to do a film — you never know what that character’s going to be.”

Helen Mirren pInk hair

67-year-old actress Dame Helen Mirren stunned on the red carpet of the BAFTAs on 10th Feb 2013 with a funky new pink dye job. She’s the first-ever Dame Commander of the British Empire to sport a pastel pink pixie! On the red carpet, Helen explained to reporters where she got the idea. “I just thought it would be fun to dye my hair pink,” Helen said. “I mean, honestly, I was watching America’s Next Top Model and the British girl who won (Sophie Sumner), she had pink hair, and I thought, ‘That looks really pretty.’ So I’m copying her basically.”

Pink Hair – Fashion

On the Catwalk:

Anna-Sui-Spring-Summer-2008Lead hairstylist Garren loves working with bright hair colours on the catwalk. He used pink clip-in hair streaks and wigs in the Anna Sui Spring/Summer 2008 show.

In 2013 Garren once again used bright hair for Anna Sui Spring/Summer catwalk. He took a cue from photos snapped by Anna Sui herself of women who rocked during the 1970s and pinned bright hair pieces that matched the colours in the collection on top of the models’ heads.

“The inspiration is Anna, of course,” explained Garren. “The colours this season are dusty rose, pale pinks and lavenders. We decided to add that to the hair. There’s a colour in the outfit that matches the colour in the hair.”

“When Garren added Manic Panic bright extensions to the models’ hair at Anna Sui, he started a trend that would turn up again at Rodarte and Marc by Marc Jacobs.”

These pink pastel hair pieces did also appear on models in Marc by Marc Jacobs Resort show that year and also in Coco Chanel’s 2013 Cruise collection. Think pastel wigs atop ponytails or “bob tops” as hairstylist Sam McKnight called them,

Kate Moss pink hair

1998: A pink-haired Kate Moss models on the catwalk for the Gianni Versace Spring/Summer 1999 collection at Milan Fashion Week. (Copyright: PA Images)

Thakoon pastel pink hair

2011: At New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 powdery, pastel pink paint was slathered on hair for Thakoon catwalk. Stylist Odile Gilbert was inspired by India’s Holi festival, where revellers throw colourful powder in the air and all over each other.

Jean Paul Amy Winehouse pink hair

2012: Paris Fashion Week saw Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture fashion collection paying tribute to music icon Amy Winehouse; featuring heavy eyeliner and signature beehives, in a range of bright colours including pink.

On the Red-carpet:

2012 – At the Costume Institute Gala in New York the carpet may have been red, but the colour of the night was pink. Fuchsia pink hair, in homage to Elsa Schiaparelli. Model Coco Rocha stole the limelight with pink hair extensions that gave her the ombre look. However the pink locks didn’t stop there. American fashion designer Chris Benz and fashion business investor Julie Macklowe both also dyed their hair pink for the event.


Chris Benz and Julie Macklowe with pink hair

Model Coco Rocha with pink hair extensions

On Models:


Australian beauty queen, model and television presenter Jennifer Hawkins coloured her hair pastel pink ombre for the Bendon Lingerie show 2012. Currently the face of Australian department store Myer and the host of Australia’s Next Top Model, Hawkins said she “felt extremely cheeky” with pink hair.


Charlotte Free‘s pink hair has been turning heads ever since her first catwalk shows during the autumn/winter 2011-12. It seems Free’s bright candy hair has made her something of a must-have model rather than limiting her commercial appeal. “I’ve always wanted coloured hair,” said Charlotte, “I want to do all the colours, maybe someday.”


Fashion designer, blogger and model Audrey Kitching is famous for her pinks locks. In the past her hair has been a more vibrant hot pink, however these days she sports more pastel peach and nude tones. Kitching says, “I have had pink for almost 7 years now… It feels so natural now!” (You can read the full interview with Audrey here.)

On Designers:
With her bright pink hair, theatrical make-up and art jewellery, British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes has stamped her identity on the international world of fashion. 73 year old Zandra Rhodes pre-empted the pink hair trend by several years, her neon-bright hair is not the product of regular salon trips, but rather whatever products she can get her hands on.

“I didn’t start colouring my hair until the very early Seventies. I was working as a textile designer so I would use bright clothing dyes on my hair. I now use a product called Pinkissimo, in Crazy Colour” she revealed to The Sunday Telegraph.

Tarina Tarantino the jewellery designer is also famous for her pink hair, and even teamed up with Barbie to produce the limited edition Tarina Tarantino Barbie doll – with, of course, bright pink hair.


Lastly, let’s not forget My Little Pony with its original bright pink mane. Having so many celebrities – usually alternative celebrities to some degree – adopt pink hair at one time or another only increases the popularity of having pink hair.

Pink Hair – Psychology

Pink has in incredible effect on us, it can affect our taste buds, calm our temper and zap our strength…

Model Ryo Love with pink hair. Photographer John Farrar.
cake pink hair Ryo Love (Ryo-Says-Meow)

Pink is the ‘sweet’ colour that makes things taste ‘better’

Pink is actually known to makes us crave sugar. This is partially why pink dye is added to cotton candy (or “fairy floss”) since processed sugar is white.

Psychological studies have also shown that sweet pastries are thought to taste better when they come out of pink boxes or are served on pink plates.

Model: Lindsay Woods pink hair and eating pink cake

Model Lindsay Woods with pink hair, eating pink cake

Calming pink could sap Samson’s strength better than a haircut

Pink has also been found to have a tranquillising effect. It encourages friendliness while discouraging aggression and ill-will. Some studies of the colour pink suggest that male weightlifters seem to lose strength in pink rooms. Prison holding cells have been painted pink as an experiment and have effectively reduced erratic behaviour. The tranquillising effect of the colour pink was made use of at Iowa State University in the 1970s: Football coach Hayden Fry had the visiting team’s locker room painted pink as a much-debated attempt to, erm, relax the players more than they would have liked!

Pink hair – Meaning and Symbolism

Photo: Innis McAllister

Pink for a Girl:
Pink is well known as the colour for girls. As a result pink is associated with gentleness, youthfulness, love and femininity. It’s strong association with femininity means it’s often used as a symbolic colour for women. It’s used in girls baby clothes, pink ribbons for breast cancer, on the door to identify public women’s bathrooms. Pink is even used in logo’s to identify as being a girls brand. (For example; Hello Kitty, Barbie, Victoria Secret, Diva and Supre). So having pink hair for a girl enforces her femininity.

Pink for playful and sexy:
Pink is a softer, less violent red. Both colours denote love, but while red is direct, hot and passionate, pink is playful, flirtatious and romantic. “Dressed in Pink Makes The Boys Wink” is an old expression suggesting that men find pink attractive. In Japan, the sex appeal of pink is well known. Japanese erotic cinema and adult movies are known as ‘pink films’ due to pink’s sexual connotations. In feng shui, the colour pink is connected to love and marriage and is believed to soothe the heart. Having pink hair may suggest you are 
flirtatious, playful and sexy. 

Pink for a Boy: 
During the first half of the 20th century pink was considered a boys colour. It wasn’t established as a feminine colour until the 1940s. Most likely as a result of mass marketing by American retailers, however experts are still debating the origin of gender associated colours. By 1959 New York Times quoted a children’s clothing buyer, “A mother will allow her girl to wear blue, but daddy will never permit his son to wear pink.” Today’s strong gender association with pink means pink hair on a boys would be considered emasculating.

The most well known pink symbol for men is the pink triangle. It originated in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The downwards pointing pink triangle was used to identify male prisoners who were sent there because of their homosexuality. Today the pink triangle has become one of the symbols of the modern gay rights movement. The icon has been reclaimed as a symbol of empowerment, and, by some, a symbol of remembrance to the suffering of others during a tragic time in history.

The Boy With Pink Hair by Perez Hilton

Due to the pink’s association with gay rights, we now have an economic term “pink pound” or “pink dollar” which refers to the spending power of the LGBT community. Advertising agencies sometimes call the gay market the pink economy.

Pink hair or wigs are often used as a symbol of gay pride in Mardi Gras parades or worn by drag queens. Gay model, fashion designer, makeup artist Jeffree Star  is famous for his pink hair and gender-bending appearance. There is even a children’s book called, “The Boy With The Pink Hair,” which is a euphemism for “the boy with homosexual tendencies”. It’s the story of a boy who is not afraid to be who he is and how his difference makes a difference.

If you are a straight male and want to dye your hair pink, be aware that people may make assumptions about your sexual orientation based on your hair colour. However if you’re gay and proud, then dying your hair pink  is a great way to express yourself. 


Pink Hair – What Colours Work With Pink?

Pink fortunately works well with almost all the other bright colours. Pink’s opposite colour in the colour wheel is light green, so this combination will give a great contrast. Some other good combination’s are..

pink and yellow hair lexi lushPink and Yellow hair on Lexi Lush

pink-and-blue-hairBaby Pink and Blue
pink-purple-hairPink and Purple Hair on Olivia
pink-and-lime hair Hannah HospitalPink and Lime hair on Hannah

The only colour that it will clash with is red. Red heads with pink streaks usually don’t work unless you’re specifically looking for a colour clash.

If you just want pink streaks and an all-over natural colour, I would suggest using black if you like hot pink, and light blonde if you want candy pink streaks. Brown bases can look OK, but to really get those pink streaks standing out I’d suggest blonde or black for the natural all-over colour.  For any combinations, you’ll need to put the colour in foil packets to stop them mixing.

Thing to Watch Out for When You Dye Your Hair Pink

Dying your hair any bright colour is a messy business. So be sure to use gloves, old towels and old clothes you don’t mind getting colour on. Pink will take best to bleached or blonde hair. You can go to a salon to get your hair lightened, or if you wish to do this step at home I would strongly advise you read my guide first.

Adore Rose|Directions Pastel Pink|Manic Panic Cotton Candy|Crazy Colour Pinkissimo|SFX Atomic |Fudge Flamingo

If you have had a previous bright colour in your hair and it has washed out but you still have residue, you need to consider how this may affect the the result of the new shade of pink you wish to dye your hair…

1st Example: If you have recently had blue in your hair, your hair will still have a pale blue residue. If you then want to put pink over it the result will be more of a purplish-pink colour. (BLUE + PINK = PURPLE)

2nd Example: If you previously had yellow in your hair last time, you will have a pale yellow residue left. If you then want to put pink over it, the result will be more of a light orange colour.(YELLOW + PINK = LIGHT ORANGE)

Another thing to consider with dyeing your hair pink is which shade of pink you want to go for. How long do you want the colour to last? The darker the shade of pink dye, the longer it lasts, and the lighter the shade, the quicker it fades. For example, Special Effects Atomic Pink Dye can be extremely long lasting, even difficult to remove, but Fudge Paintbox Pink Moon may only last two weeks.

Finally… Is Pink Truly the New Blonde?

I’ll let you decide. But one thing’s for sure – pink hair is here to stay.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I feel a deep and unnatural urge to eat some candy floss…

Video: Celebs Go Crazy For Pink Hair Dye…

Pink hair history source: