May 2, 2012 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me go pink - mostly out of spite.

Think, "breast cancer awareness" pink.

Long story short...

A coworker recently had a double mastectomy. Folks at the office want to welcome her back to work by wearing pink. There's some gender stereotyping going on (85% of the office is female) and us few men (3 total) are getting flak about - "You men better wear something pink too!" and all that kind of bullshit.

I want to throw it back in their face and go over the top - dye my hair pink. Not to mention show support for my coworker whom I adore.

Never colored my hair before. Short, brown hair, some S&P greying. Can I do it myself? Go to a salon?

There's one catch. I'm attending a memorial service for my grandmother on May 13th. My mother would consider it a personal insult if I arrived with pink hair.

Can one go pink temporarily? Other ideas for over-the-top boobie love involving pink?
posted by thatguyjeff to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Given the memorial service, I would advise you to wear a wig.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:04 PM on May 2, 2012 [12 favorites]

I don't know where you are, but if you're near a mall that has a Hot Topic store, you can go there and look for temporary hair dye. They sell jars of Manic Panic, which comes in a plethora of colors, and they also have a temporary comb-in powder or spray.

Then again, it might just be easier to buy a wig.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:06 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

This stuff isn't exactly wash out as advertised (it will take a few days) but it should be gone by 5/13.
posted by Duffington at 12:06 PM on May 2, 2012

I was also going to recommend the temporary spray color. Don't wear a shirt you really care about. Or wear a pink shirt.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:10 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

To get a good color, you're going to have to bleach first, and yes especially for a one-time thing I would absolutely go to a salon. Expect to pay $50-$60. Dyeing your own hair is pretty tough.

Once it's pink, the only thing you can do to un-pink it, really, is bleach again. Not sure how your mom would feel about super-platinum-blond at a funeral.

The timing for this may be exactly wrong. You can try the manic panic stuff, but I have never had good luck with it.

Pink looks good on dudes. Especially muscular dudes, if you happen to be ripped. If your office is formal, go to your favorite department store and get a pink dress shirt, it will look good and you can continue to use it just as a regular shirt.

If it's a cas workplace, pink polo or tee. If you want to do some fucking with gender roles - and I hope you do - get your nails done, yo. Walk into a nail salon, explain the situation, and say you want your nails bright, breast-cancer-awareness pink. Or don't explain! Whichever. That'll come off the next day.

Also consider maybe some pink lipstick, although it might be tough to learn how to apply it well on short notice.
posted by kavasa at 12:10 PM on May 2, 2012 [13 favorites]

If you have brown hair and want pink! hair, you'll need to bleach out to get it to be actually pink. You don't have to go to a salon -- just get a hair-dying kit -- but it does help to have a friend to make sure you get coverage with bleach and the dye.

You can dye black over pink quickly and easily. For other colors, you may need to bleach out first, which is really more trouble (and possibly pain) than it's worth.

I'd suggest using Special FX dye over Manic Panic if you're going that route; I don't know if any genuinely salon-quality companies have pink hair dye out yet. Although I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Special FX outside of "be careful when showering for the first few weeks." I have lots of bad things to say about Manic Panic.
posted by griphus at 12:10 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Based on what I've heard from at least one breast cancer survivor, forget the pink and take your coworker out for coffee or lunch instead.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:11 PM on May 2, 2012 [32 favorites]

Using white vinegar as a rinse will help get the spray-in color (I've used that B-Wild myself with decent results) out much faster. Shampoo, rinse with a 1/3 white vinegar to 2/3 water solution, then condition as usual.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:11 PM on May 2, 2012

Spray-on color for sure.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:11 PM on May 2, 2012

Er, the company is called "Special Effects" not "Special FX."
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on May 2, 2012

Go to Sally's Beauty Supply (or hot topic) and buy a packet of 40 volume bleach, a bottle of developer, and some pink manic panic or special effects or raw. Mix the bleach and developer in a non-metal bowl and apply with a tint brush (you can get both of these at sally's too). Leave in for 45 minutes to an hour, wash out. Apply pink dye for 2-3 hours (the bottle will say 15 minutes but it can't hurt to leave it in longer). Rinse. Your hair will be bright bright pink.

Then, after you surprise your coworkers, go to any supermarket and pick up a box of black dye. Any brand will do. Apply according to the directions.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:14 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Manic Panic will not wash out by the 13th. Pink is one of the longer-lasting temporary colors. You might be able to find spray-on hair color, but it's really messy and flakes off over the course of a day. I'd go with a wig.

For maximum ridiculousness, can you wear clothes similar to what the women in your office will be wearing? I imagine a pink skirt, blouse, and scarf wouldn't be hard to find in a size you can wear, especially if you don't mind them clashing, but some offices have issues with crossdressing (although if they're fine with "over-the-top boobie love involving pink" I think this applies.) It would certainly make the statement that you're *just* as enthusiastic about welcoming back your coworker as your female office mates.
posted by Mizu at 12:16 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing the pink wig. It'll be easier, more effective, and cheaper than a salon job.

The Jerome Russell spray stuff is cheap and will wash out, but it will also look a little like spray paint. Anything that's temporary will look a little gunky since it sits on top of your hair rather than truly dyeing it, but that's probably okay since you're not trying to pass for a natural pinkette.

While you're at it, get some matching fake eyelashes. Party supply or craft stores will have pink feather boas and other exciting accessories.

(On preview: make 100% sure your returning coworker is on board with this pinkness. Maybe she's sick of pink ribbons or doesn't want to call attention to her illness.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:16 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Use this! My daughter and I have tested it for you in purple. It makes your hair sort of stiff and dirty looking, but washes out very easily. It flakes off a bit. I spilled a lot of it on a sheet and forgot to wash it and that stained, but her clothes were fine.
posted by artychoke at 12:17 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't do any dye or other product, it will mess up your hair. (I just had a hair disaster yesterday and my hair is kinda purple...) Just get a wig. And wear a pink shirt, something like this if you dress very conservatively, or like this for a more casual office.
posted by mareli at 12:24 PM on May 2, 2012

Pink looks good on dudes. Especially muscular dudes

Ah, yes it does! I'd get a shirt and a wig. A pink tie would be good.

But I agree with Currer Belfry, based on my cousin-in-law's experience and that of her daughter. Of course, if it's An Office Thing, then you could do both pink and coffee or lunch.
posted by jgirl at 12:33 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm probably stating the obvious here, but if you'd rather throw some money at the project rather than dick around doing it yourself, a salon can bleach your hair and dye it pink, then you can go back and have them dye it brown again before the memorial. My salon charges around $80 for bleach and toner (for the pink) and probably around $50 to color it back again. Call around for pricing and availability of pink.

It would probably be cheaper to have the salon give you a pink streak than a whole head, or a pink forelock, if money is an object.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:34 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you've got enough hair to flat iron, consider hair chalking.
posted by ferociouskitty at 12:35 PM on May 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

Pink shirt, wig, and YES I hope someone in your office is sure your returning worker is in favor of all the pink hype. I have two breast cancer survivor friends who hate it all, and would walk right out of the office if greeted by a sea of pink. Not all cancer survivors are into pink ribbons and etc. Better a beautiful multi-colored bouquet on her desk, and take her out to a great lunch.
posted by mermayd at 12:37 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'd advise against bleaching your hair, dying it pink, and then shortly after dying it back to brown. That's a whole lotta' hair dye in a short period of time.

In addition to spray-on temporary hair color, there's colored pomade. It's a little less messy for your clothes, but it does go on slightly less opaque than spray-on color (in my experience). Found at Sally's Beauty or any similar store.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:39 PM on May 2, 2012

Depending on HOW short your hair is, you could buy some cheap colored extensions. Trim them to your hair length- or better yet, don't.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I did brown to purple and teal recently, and it will be a LOT more than $50-60 dollars most places, and, yes, you will have to bleach your hair out. However, there isn't any bleach involved in putting the brown back over it. That part was fairly easy (though still pricey). There was no bleach, no time period where I had platinum blonde, nothing. I went in with bright purpley blue and came out with my normal mid-brown color. I also only kept the purple for a few weeks - 3 or 4, I think, and my hair is extremely dry now. I don't mind, because I expected it, and my hair is likely longer than yours. If you have a typical "guy" haircut, the damaged bit will be gone in 2-4 months altogether.

I just wanted to point out this can be done, and there is no stage where you will have to have platinum blonde or black or extra bleach like other folks are saying. But it will be expensive, no joke. Hundreds of dollars to bleach it, dye it, and dye it back, unless you have cheaper salons than I've ever heard of.

On preview: Serene Empress Dork's salon has awesome prices. Maybe DC and Phoenix have just skewed my perceptions.
posted by wending my way at 12:53 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd advise against bleaching your hair, dying it pink, and then shortly after dying it back to brown. That's a whole lotta' hair dye in a short period of time.

Well, it's not great for your hair, but a salon can minimize the damage. Particularly on short, virgin hair it could wind up being a little dry, but assuming he isn't trying to grow his hair long and will be getting regular trims, the damage will be mostly trimmed off in a couple of months.

The whole bleach-dye-fix-it process is far from uncommon and most people end up with their hair not too bad off.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:54 PM on May 2, 2012

I'm in suburban Chicago, and I've never had my hair colored professionally so I can't vouch for if my salon is typical in its pricing. Their menu does show cheaper pricing for shorter hair, though, and that's what I was going off of.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:57 PM on May 2, 2012

For over the top you can also go with some pink nail polish.
posted by like_neon at 1:02 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

1. Getting your nails done is a brilliant suggestion.

2. The service is for your isn't about your mom. Tell your mom about the hair and the reasoning behind it beforehand. Or ya know, shave your head before the service if pink hair for cancer is going to cause an aneurysm.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:13 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh also - depending on the level of salt and pepper in your hair you may not need to bleach your hair to get some pink highlights going.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:15 PM on May 2, 2012

Although spray-on color does flake off when disturbed, if you're the kind of guy who doesn't touch his hair, it will easily last the day without making a mess.

For fashionable impact I'd go with pink nails, an off-center front-to-back pink streak through the hair, black shirt, pink tie.
posted by aimedwander at 1:19 PM on May 2, 2012

I want to throw it back in their face and go over the top - dye my hair pink. Not to mention show support for my coworker whom I adore.

If you want to show support, don't be ridiculous. Your interest in spite will dilute your support and you'll look quite petty if you think about it that way. Double for anything even more ridiculous. Out of respect for your coworker and only if she approves of the color theme, stick with something tasteful such as a pink dress shirt or a pink tie. Don't make her return about you and your spite.

If this is burning you up enough to go out of your way in anger, your coworkers are causing a hostile work environment. That's something you take to HR, not the hairdresser.
posted by Saydur at 1:20 PM on May 2, 2012 [9 favorites]

My salon sells Kevin Murphy Color Bug, which is a temporary hair powder that comes in pink, purple, and orange. I do not know if it works on dark hair, or how many washes it takes to get out ("temporary" can mean anything from 'falls out almost instantly' to 'you really just wanted to cut it off, didn't you?' in my experience). Although the ad copy claims it's one-night temporary.
posted by telophase at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2012

Because of the memorial service, I'm with those recommending the wig. Just make sure it's super ostentatious.

The fingernail suggestion is awesome, too.

And definitely rock pink clothes - shirt, tie, even socks!
posted by batmonkey at 1:22 PM on May 2, 2012

Thanks for all the awesome responses.

I'm going to check with local hair joints about "permanent" pink, only to be recolored a few days later - explain the situation and maybe get a deal on a double color type thing.

I'm not anywhere close to muscular. Very average looking, beer gut sporting, 40-something here. Pink just makes me look yellow - but I'm okay with that for a good reason.

And my hair is really very short - like 1/4 inch long on the sides and about 1 inch long on top. Any coloring would grow out and be cut off in a month anyway.

And if I do the color thing, then I'll know what I would look like if I colored my grey, which I've been kind of curious about anyway.

And, And, a quick survey shows that my formerly afflicted coworker is totally into the whole pink cancer awareness thing too.
posted by thatguyjeff at 1:31 PM on May 2, 2012

Pink feather boa.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:34 PM on May 2, 2012

And in your pink perfection, if anyone expresses admiration of your effort, you must reply "Huh? When I put this stuff on, it was red (GO RED TEAM!) but I took a nap in the sun and when I woke up, I looked like this!"
posted by -harlequin- at 1:56 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would recommend against the whole thing. It sounds to me like it veers a little too closely to making fun of it. If you want to throw it back at them, donate $100 to a cancer research group, and then ask the pink wearers if they have done the same.
posted by gjc at 3:22 PM on May 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

If your hair is that short, you do not need to worry about bleaching it, dying it pink, the re-dying it dark. I've bleached and dyed my hair many times, and it takes about three bleaches and several dyes to damage it. Plus, short hair is very healthy to start with. It's just a nonissue.

It would be very easy to buy a bleach kit at the drugstore, pink dye, and do this yourself. I usually recommend Special Effects dye because it lasts longer than Manic Panic (which is more readily available), but Manic Panic is fine for you. Follow the instructions on the bleach kit; it's easy. Leave the pink dye in your hair for an hour if you want a very vivid color; 10 minutes is fine if you want a soft pink color.

You can re-dye your hair brown at home using a box dye. I don't know what will happen over pink, but if it doesn't turn out, just go to the salon then and get it fixed. There's really no reason to reason to spend a lot of money on this up front.

(Also: ask around if any of your friends used to dye their hair bright colors. I would LOVE to help a friend with a project like this!)
posted by insectosaurus at 4:41 PM on May 2, 2012

Although I am dubious about any project that involves the word "spite," especially in a work environment....

I think these Docs would look pretty swell with a black shirt and pants. Not so expensive when compared to professionally bleaching and dying or lay-person bleaching and dying with a professional called in to repair the damage in a time-sensitive manner.
posted by Morrigan at 6:39 PM on May 2, 2012

My fiance and I have both bleached and dyed our hair many times (currently my beard is a nice shade of indigo, see my profile) and have never even considered going to a salon to get it done. It is actually not that difficult to bleach/dye your hair. You can find tons of how-tos all over YouTube about this sort of thing, they'll show you what to do. Tip: have a friend around to laugh at you and help you reach the spots on the back of your head that are otherwise hard to get an even coat on.

The main thing to keep in mind is that the bleach takes a while to work (my hair is darkish brown and it takes me about an hour and a half to get it satisfactorily bleached) and it burns like crazy while it's working (for me, anyway). Keep it out of your eyes. You do need to bleach your hair if you are going to dye it any fun color, unless you are naturally platinum blonde. Skipping the bleach will give you unsatisfactory results, guaranteed.

The coloring process is pretty easy and painless. I recommend doing it on a Friday night or at any rate sometime when you can get a couple of showers in before having to look presentable, because I've never been able to keep it off my skin and it does stain skin a bit. Usually if you rub the stained skin with a soapy rag then that works pretty well to get it off but YMMV. In any case it'll go away in about a day or so but you might look a bit ridiculous at first. Unintentionally ridiculous, I mean.

The best brand of fun hair dye has traditionally been Special Effects. It's fairly expensive though and recently they've had a mysterious manufacturing shortage that's made it really hard to find. Also their Atomic Pink is totally out of stock everywhere as far as I can tell. The Cupcake Pink is still available but in my opinion it's a much more boring pink than Atomic.

Manic Panic is traditionally the second-best brand. You can still find this and it's probably good enough if you just want color for a couple of days.

Lately though I've really been loving Adore, which is what my local wig-and-dye place has been stocking since they've run out of Special Effects. Very bright colors, washes out of skin easily, holds onto hair pretty well, is cheap, and is easy to apply. I like it a lot.

When you tire of it (or for the memorial) dye it black. Dyeing it brown is likely to look sort of odd (the color will show through in weird ways) but you can cover it with black until it grows out a bit and then cut it off. Be prepared to fall in love with your bright pink hair, though.

Anyway, doing this at a salon is crazy expensive and you really don't have to. This isn't rocket science, drunken punk kids mastered this shit decades ago. Just be ready to like it so much that you will never be happy with normal hair again!
posted by Scientist at 9:46 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

ask around if any of your friends used to dye their hair bright colors. I would LOVE to help a friend with a project like this!)

oh yes. If you are a fortysomething guy, you would be AMAZED how many of your fortysomething, drab-looking office working peers are secret former GenX goth products of a checkered past that included dying their hair many vivid unnatural shades of every-color-under-the-rainbow starting in their late teens thru possibly their early 30s and maybe even beyond. My own hair was not anything approaching the color nature intended it to be between ages 16 thru 37 or 38.

I work in a bog standard office and am on the surface about the most bland, unassuming drab sparrow of a middle-aged clerical co-irker you can possibly imagine, however were you to come and ask me to do this, not only would I have the skills, I even know exactly where the closest Sally Beauty Supply in town is, and could have your hair done the exact shade of pink desired by 8PM tonight (MDT). And with short, virgin hair, dying it back would be just as simple.

I mean yes, if you want best results go to a salon, but there is no need to spend that much if you want a good, simple, non-flaking dye job that can easily be brought back to (more) normal. Just ask around. I bet you some, or even many, of your friends/colleagues will be able to do this.

I will warn you tho, when going back to your original color -- even a good salon dye job will likely not look 100% "natural"; it will still look somewhat like a dye job (because dye makes it all one flat opaque color and natural hair has many different shades and variations and a lot more "depth") until it grows out, especially if you're already grey-flecked.
posted by lonefrontranger at 4:51 PM on May 3, 2012

oh on preview -- the trick to keeping pink (or maroon, or dark purple, or cherry red...) dye off of skin is to first apply Vaseline as a barrier to anywhere you don't want the dye. And USE GLOVES for god's sake or you'll never get it out from under your nails/cuticles.

ask me how I know this
posted by lonefrontranger at 4:59 PM on May 3, 2012

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