DIY Pink Ombre Highlights on Dark Hair

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Adding Pink Ombre Highlights to My Daughter’s Hair

I did my daughter’s DIY pink ombre highlights and adorable pixie cut at home and they came out so good! Here’s more on how we did it + how you can get the same look!

​​​​​​​Mija has been wanting to dye her hair for so long.  A few months back, we dyed her hair with a gorgeous magenta hair color.  It didn’t show up a lot because her hair is naturally very dark. In the sunlight though, the color was more vibrant. After her first experience with color, she was ready for more.

The only problem was, I hadn’t added bleach to anyone’s hair in decades. I was a little nervous to make a mistake, but excited to create the vibrant hair color that she wanted.

Giving Mija Her New Pixie Cut

To start, I gave her an adorable pixie cut to go with her new hair color. The cut was slightly longer on one side and super short on the other side. Unique, but nothing to extreme that she couldn’t style it one way or another.

I cut it in sections so that there would be some pieces longer than others, giving it a chunky look.

After deciding on a color (she picked mermaid blue), and purchasing a hair bleaching kit, we were ready to go.

Getting Started with DIY Ombre Color at Home

This is a picture of Lily right before her coloring. This is her natural hair color before we started the whole process. A gorgeous dark brown (with remnants of semi-permanent magenta hair dye from previously coloring her hair a couple of months ago).

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The first thing I did once we were ready to get started was separate her hair into small sections. I used mini hair clips to section everything out before getting started. It’s the best way to move through the bleaching process quickly. It also helps to keep hair in one section from touching the others.

If you have long hair, you may need to use bigger clips or rubber bands. You can put sections in knots or loops to keep the hair out of the way. With short hair, it wasn’t really an issue, since it doesn’t get in the way as much.

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Creating Pink Ombre Highlights on Dark Hair

Before getting started, I pre-cut a bunch of foils in approximately 3 inch wide strips. It’s important that they’re at least 4-6 inches long so that you can wrap the hair in them while it sets. You will probably need longer strips of foil if you have long hair.

Getting these little foils onto my daughter’s hair was trickier than it looks. Sometimes they can move around and fall off while applying bleach. I ended up using a dye brush to apply a generous portion of bleach cream to the foils. That way, when I rest her hair on the foils, they stay put.

TIP: Wear gloves for the entire process. The bleaching mixture can cause intense irritation to your skin. If you do get bleach on your skin, make sure to wipe away with a damp cloth.

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How to Use Foils When Dying Your Hair

In the next photo, you can see how I placed the foils 1-2 inches from her scalp (as recommended). I then began using the dye brush to apply the bleach mixture to her strands.

One thing I learned is that it’s very important to use a generous amount of bleach on the hair. The image below shows the beginning of the process, but you’ll need more bleach than this if you want the hair to look it’s best.

TIP: Don’t skimp on the bleaching mixture. If you do, you’ll get dry patches of dark hair that look more like tiger stripes or spots. Trust me, that’s probably not the look you’re going for. Make sure you fully saturate the hair so you get consistent lightening across the entire section of hair. Please keep in mind, one hair bleaching kit was just the right amount for my daughter’s short hair. You may need two or more kits to have enough bleach for longer hair.

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Keeping the Foils in Place

After applying a generous amount of bleach to the strands, you can wrap up the foil. Apply bleach to one section of hair and fold up the foil from the bottom. Then crimp or fold over the foil on one side to be sure it stays in place.

Keep going on each section until you’ve finished the whole head of hair. I started with the back and underneath sections of her hair, since they’re less visible. They’ll be fine with a little extra bleaching time while you work on applying the mixture to the other sections.

For any small bits of hair too short for foils or at the base of the neck where it’s hard to place a foil, simply apply bleach generously. You don’t need to include foils on these sections since they’ll mostly be hidden and are smaller.

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Getting Your Bleaching Time Just Right

Read the box to see how long you should wait for your particular hair color and texture. For us, we waited about 35 minutes and applied low heat for about 5 minutes at the end of the process (before removing the foils).

After removing the foils (being careful not to separate or mix the hair too much), I did a few small touch-ups with the remaining bleach mixture. I also noticed that the bleaching wasn’t as evenly blended between the dark hair and highlighted section as I wanted.

I decided to swipe a light layer of bleach on each section, just above the area where I previously applied bleach. Then I let it sit about 10 more minutes, until the darker hair just above the bleaching area had lightened enough for it to look more evenly blended. In total, we let her hair sit with the bleaching solution for about 45-50 minutes.

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Getting Her to that Final Pink Ombre Color

This is what her hair looked like after removing the foils and applying more bleach at the top of each section to blend the dark and highlighted areas.

The pink you see coming through (in this pink ombre look) is from the previous magenta hair color. It was a pleasant surprise and as a result, we decided to keep this color for a while instead of jumping straight to our originally planned mermaid blue color.

After rinsing out the bleach and gently shampooing her hair, we applied a toner for color correction. Dark hair can often look orange or brassy after the bleaching process. The box recommended applying the toner like a conditioner. We applied it as instructed, to towel dried hair and then letting it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out.

We did exactly that and it softened up her color just a little bit. If you like gold or brassy tones, you can skip the toner. Just keep in mind that it will affect your final color once you apply dye. Blues may look more green and reds may look more orange.

Getting your hair closer to white or neutral will give you the truest color possible. For us, it wasn’t a big deal though. It was our first time with this process and we were totally open to whatever new look would appear.

Choosing Your Inspiration + Managing Your Expectations

Our goal was simple. We wanted to achieve a rich, vibrant color with darker roots. Basically, something like one of my daughter’s favorite YouTubers, CupQuake. See below.

I think we did a pretty good job of achieving the same effect . And I know it’s going to look amazing once we add in the mermaid blue hair dye later on. We’re still deciding on whether to strip out the pink ombre color or just leave it for a gorgeous blue and purple ombre affect. More than likely we’ll leave it.

After seeing the color on her current cut, we both loved the bold color. But we decided to trim up her hairstyle a bit to let more of her natural, dark color shine through. This is totally optional, but it was the right choice for us in the moment.

This is the final result. 😍

I just love the way it came out. And Lily loves this pixie look for Summer + the fact that her hair is a unique style all her own.

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Our Thoughts on Doing DIY Pink Ombre Color at Home

Overall, the process was not as scary as I thought it would be and the color turned out great with minor adjustments. Obviously, using a bold colored dye at home is going to be messy. We picked an old towel ahead of time for wiping hands and cleaning up messes. That way if it was destroyed by bleach or dye, it was no big deal.

I dressed Lily in play clothes and we did the whole process in the bathroom with a trash can on hand to minimize clean up.

After the whole process was said and done, I was glad we decided to DIY her new look! It was so much fun to create this hairstyle for her and awesome that I could do it at home.

Doing it ourselves gave us an opportunity for a fun mommy-daughter moment, and allowed us to make adjustments to the cut and color last minute. Making the whole process super tailored to her own style.

It’s also something we’re super proud of because Lily and I created her new look all on our own. 💖

Are you thinking about recreating this look at home? We would love to see your pictures! If you’re on Instagram, tag us @biculturalfamilia to share your new look with us!

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South Texas Foodie, Traveler, Photographer, and Designer.