photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

In 2012, I was an impressionable college freshman home for winter break. I was watching television when a life-changing (I'm not being dramatic, I swear) episode of What Not to Wear came on. In the episode, a young graphic designer, Beryl Chung, gets a massive makeover. The most iconic part of her new look? Her hot-pink hair. I was obsessed. 

As someone with mousy brown hair who had never used anything more than Sun In to alter my hair color, I never thought I'd be confident enough to rock magenta hair... but I couldn't stop thinking about Beryl's incredible transformation.

photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

Fast-forward to the very end of 2019. I was thinking about who I wanted to be in the New Year (and new decade), and only one thing came to mind: PINK. I've been a redhead for about eight years now, and although I absolutely love having red hair, the New Year felt like the perfect time to debut a new look. And I just so happened to get some samples of Extreme Magenta Overtone products in the mail, so it felt like destiny.

photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

I did try going pink once before, but I didn't go all out. Senior year of college, I used bleach to ombré my hair, then dyed the ends pink. The red-to-pink ombré was OK, but it didn't last very long (and it washed out pretty quickly). With all the great reviews of Overtone, I hoped that it would last longer and stay vibrant.

photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

Although I could have used the Overtone conditioners directly over my red hair, I decided that if I was going pink, I was going really pink. After looking at the Overtone website and seeing how the dye looked on different hair tones, I decided to bleach my whole head. I had some bleach powder at home, so I combined it with my go-to Sally Beauty developer and got to work bleaching my hair. (Pro tip: If you're dyeing your hair at home and don't have a salon cape — because who does? — cut holes in a garbage bag and wear it while bleaching/dyeing to keep your clothes safe.)

photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

When I was done bleaching, washing, deep-conditioning, and drying my hair, I was left with this horrible yellow blond look. Luckily, I knew I was only going to have it for a day — and it seemed light enough to give me the vibrant pink look I was going for. After letting my hair recover from the bleaching process, I donned my garbage bag cape and opened the jar of Overtone Coloring Conditioner.

photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

I started dyeing my hair on my own, but I quickly realized I wouldn't be able to do a good-enough job. My fiancé usually helps me dye my hair, so I called him in from the other room and asked him for his assistance. After a grueling half hour that truly tested the limits of our relationship (I'm kidding, but WHO BRUSHES ON HAIR DYE AGAINST THE DIRECTION OF THE HAIR), my hair was hot pink and ready to be washed.

photo: Ileana Paules-Bronet

I washed, dried, and straightened my hair using my Amika Straightening Brush. As soon as I saw the finished look, I loved it. The color was extremely vibrant, my hair felt hydrated from the Overtone conditioner, and everything turned out just as I'd hoped. I couldn't wait to debut my new hair at my friends' New Year's Eve party. I completed my look with a sparkly black Scoop dress from Walmart and a Hot Pink NYX Electro Brights Matte Lip Cream.

Overall, I'm obsessed with the way my hair looks. It may not be *exactly* like Beryl's hair, but it's my version of her hair. I probably won't stay pink for a long time, but I'm loving every second of it for now (and I got new passport pictures taken with this hair, so the pink will live on for the next 10 years).