How to Give Yourself a K-Pop Hair Makeover at Home | Sunday Observer

How to Give Yourself a K-Pop Hair Makeover at Home

When it comes to experimenting with hair colour, K-Pop idols are perhaps the most fearless. When it comes to ‘K-Pop hair’, the biggest stars have sampled all the colours of the rainbow, switching up their looks more frequently than most of us post to our Instagram feed. As renowned hair designer Soonsiki of Soonsiki Hair in Seoul puts it, “natural-looking hair colours such as brown and light brown were certainly the hair trend in South Korea a few years ago, but now it’s all about bleaching and adding fun colours as a way of expressing yourself. People aren’t afraid of colours anymore.”

We’re all aware of the love affair between K-Pop and fashion, but an idol’s hair is often an even bigger statement than their clothes. A drastic hair transformation is frequently used as a signal to fans that there is something exciting on the horizon: a tour, a new single, or a music video or album release. At times, a color represents a group’s aesthetic related to their latest project, or an individual member’s personality. Take BLACKPINK’s Rosé for example, who mixed strands of pink with her naturally dark hair when she debuted and has since sported countless other shades of pink (as well as other colours), or BTS, who rocked bold, bright ’dos during their ‘Love Yourself’ era, seen most notably in their equally vibrant music videos for the tracks Idol and DNA.

However, it’s not always about jumping from one bold colour to another. Idols go back to basics with natural-looking shades from time to time but if you’ve been thinking about trying a bold ‘K-pop hair’ colour, being at home is the perfect opportunity to do it. For inspiration, we’ve compiled some of our favourite looks sported by idols in recent years, along with tips from professional hairstylists on how to approach and maintain your new look.

Things to Consider Beforehand?

“Before dyeing your hair, have a think about whether it will suit your face shape, your skin tone and how that will affect your usual look, including your make-up and clothes,” Soonsiki says. “Perhaps dyeing your hair will encourage you to try an entirely different look – and what better time to try than now?”

Brownsell, who also works as a session stylist on campaigns for the likes of Gucci, says: “Hair dye reacts differently to everyone’s hair, so it may not look like the picture on the box or a reference image you have. For example, vivid, deeper colors like fiery red are easier to achieve with naturally dark hair, as your hair will go a warmer, golden blond after bleaching, which is the perfect base to make the red look really intense. Your final look will depend on your current color and condition, hair porosity, length, and thickness, as well as any previous color treatments you’ve had. If you colour your hair often and are worried about over-processing, I’d definitely recommend doing a strand test at home first. If the hair condition is brittle or gummy after, take this time to give your hair a break and focus on treatment.”

The Process?

“At the salon, first, we would bleach your hair to the lightest possible shade, then use a toner to neutralize any brassy undertones before applying your colour of choice,” says Brownsell. “Hair in good condition before bleaching is preferable, virgin hair that has never been dyed] is ideal. Dyeing your hair at home is a similar process, however, the toning and dyeing happen at the same time. [But] all our instructions are detailed and doing your hair at home is easier than you think.”

Soonsiki says: “First, do a test patch on a strand of hair to make sure you’re not allergic to the products. It’s also best not to wash your hair before dyeing, as the oil on your scalp can be a protection later against the chemicals in the products. Apply Vaseline or lotion on the hairline and also your ears to protect your skin. After reading the instructions in the hair kit carefully, check that the ingredients are well mixed. Dye reacts faster to warmer temperatures, so remember to apply the dye to the tips of your hair first, and the roots [closer to the heat from your scalp] last.”

Hair designer Jongsu, from Seoul salon Jennyhouse, a favorite of K-Pop idols, says: “Check in on the color of your hair after 15 to 20 minutes, and after leaving the dye in for the recommended time, wash out the dye with shampoo. When washing out the dye, make sure to emulsify evenly, otherwise, the hair color can be mottled.”

How to Achieve Pastel Colours?

Pastel colours might seem like they only could only work for those with naturally fair hair, but Brownsell insists this isn’t always the case. “If your hair is naturally dark, it will be more difficult to go a very pale blonde, but not impossible! Use [something like] our Plex Bleach Kit to lift the hair while maintaining strong, healthy hair. After bleaching, you will need to tone to colou r correct any brassy or yellow hues, otherwise, the dye won’t show true to colour.”

How to Maintain Your New Colour?

“Try not to wash your hair too often, as it will encourage the colour in your hair to fade,” says Soonsiki. “Since your hair turns more alkaline after dyeing your hair, it’s best if you use shampoos exclusively for coloured and damaged hair. Wash your hair and particularly the scalp with warm or even cool water, as hot water opens hair cuticles that will release the colours. Letting your hair dry naturally is always best.”