How To Look After Lilac Hair, Because You Need A Plan Of Action


With searches for lilac hair up 1077 percent on Pinterest, the pretty pastel look is set to be 2019's standout hairstyle. Going lilac can seem daunting, especially when you consider the aftercare. With this in mind, I've broken down everything you need to know, including how to care for lilac hair.

First things first, start blonde. Pastel hair dyes such as lilac will only really take to super blonde (usually bleached) hair, so in order to get a great colour payoff, you need to start light. Darker hair shades will struggle to reach any kind of solid shade. Alternatively, blonde hair would benefit from using a purple-hued toner to begin with, as recommended by Bleach London's co-founder Alex Brownsell:

"Maintaining lilac hair can be difficult as fading happens quickly and it can become very blue. The key to keeping it fresh is making sure you have a good tone in the first place that you can top up easily. At BLEACH, we have a new Toner Box Kit called Lavender Grey – which is a great base of smoky lilac."

Secondly, use cold water. Justin Anderson, Pravana guest artist at the Chris McMillan Salon, told Refinery29 that washing hair with cold water is preferable. "Hot water opens up the hair cuticle and releases the color pigment from the hair. I know it doesn't sound very relaxing, but I recommend using cool water when rinsing your shampoo and conditioner," he told the publication.

Thirdly, use a violet based shampoo. Violet shampoos are great for keeping blonde tones cool and icy — they keep warm undertones under control, according to Redken — and they also do well at maintaining lilac shades. Fourthly, and this is super important: nourish the hair. Chances are if you've bleached your hair prior to pastel dyes, things will be looking and feeling pretty dry. Maintain a glossy colour by keeping the hair and scalp nourished.

Marion Curtis/Starpix/Shutterstock

The next tip is also an important one: don't wash too often. Most pastel shades are temporary or semi-permanent, therefore the more you wash your hair, the more colour you lose. For this reason, extend the amount of time between washes and let dry shampoo become your new best friend.

And last but by no means least: re-apply, re-apply, re-apply. Most temporary dyes (such as those by Bleach London) have little or no peroxide in, meaning they are fairly safe and gentle on hair. Because of this, you don't have to be worried about topping colour up regularly to maintain the shade.

Three of the best lilac at-home dyes:

Lavender Vida Loca Super Cool Colour


Bleach London

At just £6, you can't go wrong with a bottle of Bleach London's Super Cool Colour. These dyes are some of the best you can buy in your local Boots, and this lavender shade is beaut.

Paint Box Lilac Frost Creative Semi Permanent Colour


Beauty Bay

I can attest to this being pretty amazing and actually giving real colour pay off. And it's still under a tenner!

Manic Panic Velvet Violet Hair Colour


Beyond Retro

There are two extra great things about these Manic Panic dyes: they're 100 percent vegan and they also glow in the dark!

Five aftercare products to have in your kit:

Pearl Silver Colour Refresh


Maria Nila

Scandi brand Maria Nila offers a great Treatment Mask which both nourishes and replenishes colour in one. Try the Pearl Silver or Vivid Violet shades, or even mix them together.

Daddy-O Purple Shampoo



Using lemon and lime juice to brighten and reflect the light, the Lush purple shampoo is super budget-friendly and smells like parma violets.

Schwarzkopf Color Expert Colour Sealer Conditioner



Follow your purple shampoo with this colour sealing conditioner, which uses Omegaplex Professional Anti-Breakage Technology to keep things strong and shiny.

Ouai Hair Oil


Cult Beauty

Invest in a nourishing hair oil to run through dry bleach ends; my fave is this Ouai one, which smells amazing and doesn't feel greasy.

IGK Hair Direct Flight Multitasking Dry Shampoo


Space NK

Invest in a really good dry shampoo to reduce the amount of hair washing you do and to top things up on the go. This IGK Hair formula is one of the best I've found.

Thinking about going lilac for the new year? Now you can.