Purple/Lilac Hair – How To




Hair Dye: La Riche Directions – Lilac (top) // La Riche Directions – Violet (bottom)

Since I have gone purple/lilac I have had a few requests and comments on how I did it and if I could blog it, so here you go! I will try my best to explain exactly how I achieved my colour but please bear in mind I am no expert, I have used trial and error but also done lots of research to get to the colour I want. I have a brilliant hairdresser that does the best job and totally saved me when I had a huge hair nightmare in early 2014. My hair has changed quite a bit since then – it went from down past my belly button to above my shoulders and from dark (I had to do this unfortunately due to the hair disaster I had) to a dirty blonde and gradually back to bright ashy blonde. If you want to learn about how I did my hair and got it this fab purple/lilac shade then click read more below.

I have done the ends of my hair purple a few times but recently took the plunge and decided to go all over. I have highlights put in every 10 or so weeks and alternate appointments with a full head then a half head and so on. Colours such as these pastel shades only really take to hair that is very light to start with for example mine as it is bleached. Darker hair and dark blondes won’t work as well and definitely won’t be as bright. If you have highlighted hair then it’s best to use silver shampoos to make it really ashy and/or a white toner to get it as bright and light as possible before colouring. I use the Bleach London White Toner which is amazing and either the Bleach London Silver Shampoo & conditioner or the Fudge Violet Toning Shampoo & conditioner. The Bleach London Reincarnation Mask is also amazing and does my hair wonders when left on while soaking in the bath. I use this once a week or so to keep my hair soft and in good condition.

After much research into what products to use and what colour to go I settled on lilac. I was initially wanting to do it a soft baby pink but found that a lot of other people had trouble getting the colour out after and it faded to an unpleasant orangey colour. I didn’t want this at all so after reading a lot more on the subject I decided to go with purple. This always fades to a nice ashy silvery grey colour which I actually really like. I wanted to go grey which I have mentioned in previous posts but I thought to do this first and then maybe do the grey after.

I used La Riche Directions semi permanent colour in lilac which I ordered online, there are a ton of sellers on ebay and it’s pretty cheap for a tub. If you receive a tub that is opened and not with the seal intact then do not use it. There are probably some people selling dodgy products out there and you can really ruin your hair not to mention have some sort of nasty reaction if it is not a legitimate branded product. It is always worth doing a skin test to ensure all is ok and if any kind of reaction occurs then do not use it. The good thing about La Riche Directions colours is that they are all vegetable based and vegan friendly, meaning there are no harsh chemicals in them and in fact they are advertised as a conditioning mask.

The first time you do it when going from blonde it usually doesn’t come out a bright purple colour. You have to build it up a few times until the colour is more intense. Below is a picture of how my hair looked after one covering, in this image and the due to the indoor lighting it showed up quite pink but in natural daylight it was a lot more lilac (purple toned rather than pink). The magic of having this colour in your hair is that it looks different all the time. It looks various colours depending on where you are (inside or outside) and the lighting. Mine has looked a whole range of shades from baby pink here (below) to pastel lilac to a deep intense, almost Cadubury’s hue of purple (this was after applying the colour mixture on wet hair after shampooing for 3 hair washes on the go, washing my hair every other day).


All you need to use the product is a bowl to mix the colour up, a tinting brush as this is the best to spread the colour through the hair evenly, gloves if you don’t want stained hands for a day, any white conditioner (it can just be a cheap supermarket own brand one, as long as it is white), the purple dye (or whichever colour you wish to use).

You need to put a decent amount of white conditioner into the bowl, enough to cover all of your hair generously and add the dye in and mix it until it reaches your desired shade. If you want a more pastel lilac colour then I usually put about a teaspoon of the purple dye, if you want a more vivid shade you just add more gradually and mix it. If you make it too dark then simply lighten it by adding more white conditoner. The main thing is to make enough mixture to cover all of your hair evenly or the colour will end up patchy in areas, it needs to be really saturated in the mixture. I initially used lilac to mix in with the conditioner but I read online that a few people had switched to using violet as it is a darker shade and therefore less is needed so it lasts longer. I used the violet after a couple of times using the lilac and it definitely gave a more vibrant shade. It has more of a warm tone to it which I quite liked when on my hair. I started to use only violet but sometimes mix a little lilac in or just run some of the neat lilac over the ends to make it a deeper colour on the ends. I play around with the colours and make it warmer or cooler depending on what I fancy by changing the amounts of lilac (cooler colour) and violet (warmer colour).

You can do this on dry hair or damp (after shampooing as you would with normal conditioner), I find that on dry hair it makes the colour a lot more vibrant and takes a lot quicker. I will explain how I do each method as I do both.

Dry – When applying on dry hair I brush it all through first so it isn’t full of knots and use the tinting brush, starting at the roots, to brush downwards from root to tip. Once the top layer is covered I use the end of the tint brush (the pointed end) to section off my hair and work my way through it all. I have my hair in a centre parting so I do this top layer first then create another parting about an inch to the side of the centre and flip the hair over the opposite side and colour from root to tip, once this is covered I move to the side again and repeat. Once I have done all of one side I flip it back to the centre parting and do the same on the opposite side. If this isn’t very clear then there are a ton of videos on youtube that show the actual process. The most important thing is that all sections of hair are covered. Once the colour is all on I massage it in and then use a tangle teezer to comb it all through and to make sure it’s all even. I leave this mixture on for approximately 15-20 mins. I then rinse the colour off, shampoo once and just go over the ends in a conditioner this time (avoiding the roots or I find it makes my hair too soft and unmanagable if I condition all over again).

Wet – Alternatively you can shampoo your hair first and put the mixture on in place of a conditioner. Make sure you squeeze all excess water out and that the hair is damp rather than dripping wet. Again apply the mixture in the same way as above and comb through to evenly spread the mixture, leave on for 20-25 mins (I find it takes slightly longer to take on damp hair) and rinse off. Since the colour is mainly conditioner there is no need to condition again after rinsing the colour. The only thing I find doing it this way is your hair is not in the parting you would usually wear it and maybe harder to get an even coverage, you have to make sure you cover it all and really massage it in when applying on wet hair.

At my last appointment my hairdresser told me about a new strengthening treatment to use on coloured hair. I decided to have it done as I will try anything to keep my hair in tip top condition. It is called ColorPHlex (below) and is added to the colour mixture before applying to the hair. You can read a blog post all about the treatment here. It is £15 with my hairdresser but other hairdressers prices may vary. Considering I had just had a full head of bleach highlights and has a tendency to feel dehydrated and a tad wiry straight after it actually felt as if I had just had a deep conditioning hairmask on for 20 minutes. My hair was super soft and glossy so I was really impressed and the whole treatment only added 10 mins extra to my appointment time.


The colour fades fairly quickly so if you want to keep it up some people add the colour into a bottle of white conditioner and just use that everytime they wash their hair. Due to this product being made from natural ingredients this is ok to do. I wash my hair every other day because it is fine and becomes greasy a lot quicker than others, I sometimes get an extra day inbetween with the help of my Batiste Dry Shampoo (what a total life and time saver!). Obviously if you wash your hair less often it will fade more slowly and likewise if you was your hair everyday it will fade quicker. Adding the colour to the bottle of conditioner will save time if you want to keep the colour going for a while as you don’t have to mix it up each time but this means you can’t play around with the shades as much.

I hope this has helped you and that I explained it clearly enough! If you have any questions then leave them below and I will do my best to help you out. Alternitvely you can tweet me or comment on my Instagram. If you would like to see a YouTube video on this then let me know. I have done a few videos in the past but they were pretty dire and I hope to get the YouTube a lot more active this year, it’s just hard when I only have weekends to film & shoot outfits and write up the posts but I want to put everything into the blog this year to make it the best year on Gillian Lee Rose yet.


5 thoughts on “Purple/Lilac Hair – How To

  1. […] If I wear something fairly plain I always like to find ways to make it stand out somehow. In this instance I have paired the look with one of my favourite pairs of flats and a pink lipstick, I also had green nails (Barry M gelly collection) which stand out from the colour of the jacket too. The rest of the outfit is so simple; A boyfriend tee and skinny jeans is the comfiest combo when you are running here, there and everywhere with things to do. A really off duty look would be to wear this with Converse or Superga kicks. I kept it a little more on the smart side of casual by wearing these leopard print lovelies. My hair was still a touch purple hair but I really like the ashy hue. I wish it didn’t fade so fast when I did my hair lilac but it’s great for just a temporary look. You can read all about how I do my hair purple here. […]

    • Glad it may have helped you a bit. I originally wanted to go pink but after a lot of research I found it not only seems quite difficult to get out of your hair but read a lot of forums where people’s had turned green/blue when trying to bleach it out etc. Hope it’s helped! 🙂

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