With Pinterest searches for ‘lilac hair’ sky-high, pastel purple is the hottest colour right now. Our handy guide has all the inspiration, products and expert tips you need.
Our hair has become a playground for experimentation recently. People are cutting their own hair at home more than ever and looking for a change in shade. Even celebrities such as Dua Lipa and Elle Fanning are dyeing their hair – from strawberry red to fuschia pink.
Looking for another shade that’s just as drastic? Enter, lilac hair. Pinterest searches for ‘lilac hair’ are up a staggering 1077% and there’s over 200,000 posts tagged with the phrase on Instagram. But don’t worry, the change doesn’t have to be permanent.
It’s still possible to nail the lilac trend with a home dye kit although your locks will already need to be bleached, softly highlighted or naturally light blonde for the full effect minus any damage.
Choose a semi-permanent purple dye then dial down the vibrancy by mixing it with conditioner.
To maintain the colour, a purple or ‘silver’ shampoo is a non-negotiable. These boast violet pigment that counteracts orange brassiness in blonde hair although if you leave them in a little longer, they’re adept at depositing a purple veil.
Brunettes: you can give a nod to the trend, too. In fact, there’s a product to suit everyone. Scroll down for our pick of the best…
Lilac hair: the best at-home products to dye your hair with
Best pre-colour toner kit for platinum blonde hair
Bleach London White Toner Kit
Straight-up bleaching at home can be seriously damaging but if you’re already blonde, this game-changing kit will transform your hair into the perfect platinum canvas.
Containing a tube of colourant, a bottle of peroxide developing lotion, a repairing mask and plastic gloves, it dramatically neutralises any hint of yellow so the purple dye you follow with looks as cool-toned and colour-true as possible.
Sapphire Driver, Bleach London brand manager and expert colourist, recommends using it before Bleach London Super Cool Colour in Violet Skies, £6.50 – a semi-permanent colour cream that lasts between two and 30 washes depending on hair porosity.
Best semi-permanent purple hair dye for blondes
Lime Crime Semi-Permanent Fantasy Hair Color Unicorn Hair in Pony
Lime Crime’s hair dyes are just as you’d expect from the brand reknowned for its zingy colour pop make-up. With a whopping 29 rainbow shades, there are two varying formulas. The tints offer a gentle wash effect while the full-coverage semi-permanent hues are super-saturated with pigment and last up to ten washes.
Opt for the latter, in the shade Pony, for a vivid electric violet or mix with plenty of conditioner for a paler lilac cloud of colour. It works best on hair that’s pre-bleached platinum, light or medium blonde, just leave on for 30 minutes and rinse.
Each formula also comes in a 15ml sachet, for only £1.93, so you can experiment on a smaller area before you take the plunge.
Best temporary purple hair dye for brunettes
L’Oreal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup 1 Day Colour Highlights Plum Hair for Brunettes
If your hair’s anything darker than a mousy light brown, you’ll struggle to find a DIY lilac product that shows up. Instead, opt for a beautiful violet hue that’ll look striking and multi-dimensional against your chocolate strands.
This tinted gel is specifically formulated to do just that. The bottle’s only 30ml so it lend itself to creating targeted highlights rather than an all-over colour job.
Billed as ‘make-up for your hair,’ it lasts for one night only, until you shampoo it out. Just comb through wet hair then air-dry or blow dry. There’s also a slightly more blue-toned ‘Violet’ shade as well as variants for blondes.
Best violet shampoo for dry, damaged hair
Charles Worthington ColourPlex Toning Ultra Violet Shampoo
As purple shampoos go, this is pretty intense – you’ll even need gloves to prevent it tinting your fingernails.
It gets top marks on the damage-repair front. The clever Plex technology reduces breakage by more than 90%, breathing life into over-processed hair. It’s also free from sulphates (SLS), unlike many other silver shampoos, so won’t strip dry hair further.
Wash it straight out to neutralise brassy orange tones or leave it on for five minutes to impart an ashy lilac tint that’ll catch the light beautifully.
Best budget purple shampoo
Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Brightening Shampoo
If you’re in the market for a violet shampoo that won’t break the bank, look no further. The epitome of an ‘oldie but a goodie,’ this really does the job.
Targeting blonde, platinum or white hair, it’s designed to be used twice a week, keeping yellow brassiness at bay.
Again, it’ll work in minutes or can be left on for longer, leaving a hint of purple in its wake.
It has sulphates (SLS) in making it a better choice if you want a good clean. Just be sure to follow up with the matching conditioner or your favourite nourishing formula to keep things silky.
Best purple shampoo for boosting shine
Redken Color Extend Blondage Color-Depositing Shampoo
At first glance, silver shampoos can seem like ‘much of a muchness’ but you’ll notice a big difference after one go with this professional-grade formula. Hair’s left unbelievably glossy as though you’ve just had a salon treatment.
It does a winning job of transforming brassy strands. They don’t just look corrected but much brighter and more luminous, too.
Consider it a fool-proof emergency fix for those times when your colour’s feeling dull, lacklustre and in need of a tweak.
Best permanent purple hair dye for brunettes
Schwarzkopf Live Colour and Lift Permanent in Ultra Violet
Designed for dark blonde, light brown or dark brown ‘dos, this delivers a dazzling grape hue with magenta undertones. It manages to pop even on deeper hair colours, thanks to the two-pronged approach that lifts and colours.
It’s intensely vibrant and glossy and the warmer tones will work a treat if you find classic lavender too draining on your complexion.
If you’re an avid Stylist fan, you’ll know it’s not always possible to find an issue of our magazine. Often they’re gone before you head into work (they disappear fast!), or you live in a part of the UK where you can’t get your hands on a copy. Add to this the fact that millions of us are not commuting right now, and we wanted to ensure you don’t miss out on the magazine any longer.
Which is why we’re delighted to let you know that Stylist magazine is now available in a digital format, both for Apple and Android users, allowing you to download the full magazine directly to your smartphone or tablet, wherever you may be.
Pricing for our digital magazine starts at just 99p for a single issue, or £21.99 for a full year’s subscription –that’s less than 50p a week! Simply click on the link to activate your Stylist app download from either the Apple store or Google Play and enjoy!
Main image: Getty Images
Other images: Courtesy of brands