Shades of Lilac: How to Get the Best Lilac Locks

Cara Delevigne, Kelly Osbourne, Nicole Richie… all the celebs are doing it. Lilac is a big fashion hits in the hairdressing world. Here’s how to get the most out of your lilac locks.

To get the desired look, you need bleached platinum or white blonde hair. If this isn’t your current color, the first step is to bleach your hair to achieve this base–ginger, strawberry blond and darker colors just won’t cut it. Here's how to get the stunning lilac locks!

You can do this by going to a salon or doing it yourself at home, but remember that bleach can be harsh on your hair and dry it out; you’ll need it in tip-top condition before you commence! If you are not confident about bleaching your hair at home, it is wise to get advice or visit a salon first. A bad bleach job can leave your locks scraggly, dry and damaged!

When bleaching your hair, it’s best to work on hair that is unwashed rather than freshly shampooed; this also helps avoid skin/scalp irritation. If your hair is already blonde, a toner might be sufficient to lighten it and is much kinder on your hair.

When picking the right bleach/peroxide kit, take a look at the number of the developer. If you have blonde hair, a 10-volume developer will be sufficient, but if your hair is darker, you’ll need a 30. Always perform a strand test before you start.

Many people ignore this advice, but it’s the most important stage of any dye job if you want to avoid potential disasters such as having an allergic reaction or the wrong tone/shade for your hair.

Choosing the Shade


There are lots of hair colors available on the market these days, but picking the right one for you can be tricky. Ask the shop assistant any questions you have, and ask to view a hair color chart if they have one.

Some colors are known to last longer than others, but most of the pastel colors are semi-permanent and wash out after a few weeks or last up to a couple of months. How long the color lasts will also depend on your hair condition, original color, how often you wash your hair and what products and heat you use on it, but some products are longer lasting.

Another point to consider is the shade. A hair color chart will help to explain this better. Some colors start off the shade you desire but fade to a color you may not be so keen on. It may be worth starting with a brighter or darker shade that will wash and fade into your desired result instead.

‘Crazy’ hair colors tend to be relatively cheap, but it may take more than one bottle to cover your hair. If you want a hint of lilac, you can mix it in with conditioner, which will make a single bottle go a lot further. Lilac colors tend to start purple, fade to lilac and end as a silvery tone. It is one of the better shades for fading colors (some blues can fade to seaweed green, for example). Take time to consider which dye is best for you and experiment.



Before you start the color job, decide how you want the end result to look. Have a look at celebs for inspiration! Do you want your whole head covered in one tone? Do you want a lighter hue, and need it mixed with a conditioner to tone it down? Do you want streaks? Do you want the underneath layers of your hair lilac and the top section blonde? Or perhaps you want the ends dip dyed? There’s a lot to think about.

The thing with a crazier hair color like lilac—compared to your standard blonde, brunette or black—is that you need to consider how others see you.

Does lilac suit your personality? Will you employer be OK with you having this hair color? These are things you might not have had to consider too carefully with more standard hair colors. Once you’ve decided how you want to proceed, you’ll need some equipment to you get going:

  • old towels
  • Vaseline (to use around the scalp to avid staining the skin)
  • hair clips/grips
  • tint brush
  • foils (If necessary)
  • mixing bowl
  • white conditioner
  • mirror
  • shower cap

Get Started


One of the most popular ways to dye hair lilac is to mix it with a white conditioner and add the color in slowly leaving a lovely pastel color. Generally, the color in the bowl will be the color of your hair, especially if your hair is white blonde.

If you want to avoid it fading quickly, make your hair one shade darker than you’d ultimately like it to be.

The process of how to dye your hair depends on what end result you are after. If you want streaks, you’ll need to get practising with some foils so that the dye does not touch undyed hair strands (and be careful when rinsing it out so that it doesn’t stain the surrounding hairs). You might need a friend or relative to help out with this as it can be a bit tricky.

If you want the under layers dyed, simply bunch your top hair in a grip and use the tint brush to cover the underneath. If you want it all one color, use the gloves to smooth the dye all over the hair and try to avoid the skin. Make sure the dye covers the full length of the hair, and ask a friend to check that you haven’t missed any spots at the back.

While the dye develops, bunch it on top of your head and under a shower cap to avoid the dye dripping onto clothes or the floor. The shower cap also keeps heat and moisture in your hair and on your scalp, ensuring that the dye doesn’t dry out and turn patchy.

Most dye products will tell you how long to develop the dye for, but it is usually 20-40 minutes. It also depends how dark or developed you want the color to be. Keep an eye on the shade during the developing stage to make sure it looks the way you want it to.

After about 20 minutes, try washing a strand of hair to check the result. Keep checking every 5 minutes. It is better to be over cautious than to leave the dye on too long and end up with hair a few shades darker than you wanted.

Wash the dye out thoroughly with cool water. You won’t need shampoo or conditioner when washing it out, but make sure that the color runs out to almost clear. Dry your hair and check for missed spots. It’s a good idea to leave a small amount of dye to top up the color or correct any mistakes.


Lilac Locks

A couple of weeks back, I took the plunge and decided to opt for lilac locks (Directions) on the under layers of my hair. The top blonde color strands lay on top of it and the lilac showed through. I was super pleased with the result and although it didn’t last as long as I’d like (a fortnight at most), it has now faded to a lovely lilac-silvery tone and left my hair feeling great.

Lilac is a ‘mild’ color and one that doesn’t shock too many people, but gives you a great new look. The blonder your hair is to start, the better the end result is. I recommend having some fun and experimenting with hair colours like lilac, especially during the summer months, to freshen up your look.

The fashion craze is catching on and lots of ladies are braving the lilac locks. Have you tried this color? Do you have any advice for fellow YouQueen readers?

About the author

Rachel A.

Welsh Journalism graduate and full-time writer Rachel has a love of words! A workaholic with champagne desire on a lemonade budget, Rachel is most at home with her laptop on her knee and a cup of tea close by.

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