03/30/2012 11:36 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Light Pink Hair: How-To Tips From Gaga's Colorist (PHOTOS)

When Lady Gaga stepped onto the red carpet for the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 with a blonde and pink coiffe, we were shocked by the surprisingly subtle, elegant effect of the two-toned style. Her light blonde hair faded into the most delicate pale pink curls at the ends, creating an effect that was less easter egg and more Marilyn Monroe. Cue the woman behind her VMA hair, colorist and Wella Professionals Color Ambassador Aura Friedman, to give us tips on how to get the look.

Friedman suggests starting off with a base of light blonde hair to achieve the perfect fade-out. "A pale pastel pink will only be pale enough on light blonde hair," Friedman says.

The term "fade-out" is beauty jargon for the look someone gets when they wait an extra month or two to get their color touched up, and the dye begins to fade into the the roots (check out Ciara's untouched roots). Pink fade-outs and faded pink hair became popular recently after Rachel McAdams, Katy Perry and Dakota Fanning all added touches of the soft shade to their blonde locks. Faded rose-tinged strands even graced Mulberry's spring 2012 runway, and have become the signature style of "It" girls Charlotte Free and Claire Boucher aka Grimes.

To achieve the look, Friedman first lightens the hair to make it a pale blonde. Don't attempt to do this at home, since it can result in incredibly-damaged orange hair (I speak from experience). She then glosses the hair to give it a subtle pink tone. This step does double-duty, since it not only adds color but also locks in the brighter pink tones to make them last longer. The more saturated pink is achieved by applying a mixture of pink direct dye (a vegetable-based formula) and conditioner. "It's almost like adding white paint," she says.

Friedman sends her clients home with a bottle of the pink dye-conditioner concoction. This is also an effective (and cheap) way to ease into the look if you're not sure you want to go all the way. "Just combine pink dye with conditioner and place the pink where it would work with your cut," Friedman says. She also advises using a mask once a week to keep up the color.

Here, some additional tips for making your pink hair color last:

• Try not to wash your hair too often, since shampoo can strip the color.
• Since most pink coloring for hair is a deposit only (meaning it simply stains the hair and will fade quickly), visit the salon for a gloss in between color appointments.
• Shorter haircuts tend to work better for this look, but adding pink pieces to long layers is a fun addition to long hair, too.
• Always shampoo and condition with color-safe products.

What do you think of the pink fade-out? Would you give it a try?


Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.