If you’re wanting to go ultra-light with your hair then consider lavender as one of the best hair colors to try. The lavender hair color is one of the best choices for fashion and pastel looks because it fades beautifully, although it does take a lot of work to achieve.
To help you figure out the best lavender hair color for you, I give a quick explanation of how this shade works with different skin tones. With that out of the way I can give the step-by-step instructions on how to get perfectly pastel lavender hairstyles at home for all you DIY aficionados.
We’ve also included maintenance tips so you can keep your lavender hair color looking fresh. If you get sick of it (doubtful) then read the section on lavender hair dye removal. My makeup and fashion tips will keep your look fly with your new lavender hair, so all that’s left is just taking the plunge and trying this awesome color!
In this article:
- Choosing the Best Lavender Hair Color Based on Your Skin Tone
- How to Dye Hair Lavender at Home
- Tips for Maintaining That Soft Lavender Hair Color
- How to Remove Lavender Hair Dye
- Your Makeup Guide for Lavender Hair
- Fashion Tips for Those with Lavender Hair
Choosing the Best Lavender Hair Color Based on Your Skin Tone
Lavender hair refers to a blue-based shade of blue that is as light as can be. There is not much variation or ambiguity about the undertones of this color, which is decidedly cool. Because of that, we gotta admit that pure lavender hair won’t work for everyone.
First let’s talk about the lightness or darkness of the skin. You want some variation between the darkness of your skin and the darkness of the hair.
If you have medium, tan or dark skin then the lavender hair color will register in a similar way to blonde, in the sense that it will not wash you out. If you have lighter skin, however, it is possible that the lavender hair color will wash you out because it’ll be too similar in shade to your skin tone. You can counter this by adding a few darker streaks to your lavender hair, or by making sure that your hair has been lightened down to a level where it is distinctly lighter than your skin.
Lavender Hair Color for Cool Skin Tones
Next, we gotta talk about undertones. Those who have cool skin with slightly pinkish undertones and veins that appear a little purple through the skin tend to look best in lavender hair. The hair ends up being cooler than the skin, and as a result it makes the skin look super smooth and creamy.
Definitely consider trying lavender hair if your skin leans towards cool! Those with more neutral, beige skin, also tend to look great with lavender hair.
Lavender Hair Color for Warm Skin Tones
Then we have those whose skin has warmer golden or yellow undertones. Lavender hairstyles are a little bit tougher to pull off, in this case, as the lavender hair color tends to bring out an orange tint in the skin, which isn’t always flattering. You can get around that by adjusting your makeup and avoiding orange-based bronzers.
Alternatively, you can include a few strands of a warmer, more red-based purple or any other natural hair color. Copper and lavender hair dye are being used together increasingly often, so a few strands of copper near the face could be very fetching.
Lavender Hair Color for Olive Skin Tones
Those with olive undertones to their skin should probably stay away from solid lavender hairstyles. Olive skin refers to a yellow-green undertone, with veins that appear extra greenish. Cool purple sits exactly opposite of green on the color wheel, so it brings out those greenish tones in the skin in a way that doesn’t flatter.
If you really love lavender but you have true olive undertones, then consider just adding the color near the ends of your hair or towards the back, and keep the strands around your face to a more flattering color like indigo or any natural hair color.
How to Dye Hair Lavender at Home
As with all pastels, lavender hair dye will only take hold if the hair has already been bleached to a very light blonde. Bleaching hair is no easy feat, especially if you’re starting out with very dark or already dyed hair.
We’ll give you instructions on how to bleach your hair at home, although do note that going to a hair salon is probably the safer choice for your hair. Bleach can take a serious toll on your hair, and only an experienced hair colorist can get you down to the near-platinum shade of blonde necessary for lavender hair without risking significant damage to the hair.
Step 1: Prepping Your Hair
Before you start this whole process try to skip washing your hair for a day or two. Specifically, when it comes to bleaching, you must start with dry hair. You can prepare your hair for the lightening process the day before by doing a hair nourishing treatment mask loaded with proteins, in order to somewhat fortify the hair.
Keep in mind that bleaching will still deplete your hair of proteins and will make it much more susceptible to damage. By dyeing your hair immediately after bleaching it, however, you will actually be bringing some pigment back, which will help mitigate some of the damage of bleaching.
If you are bleaching your hair at home for the first time you will want to perform a strand test. Mix up a small batch of the bleach first, and use it to dye a small piece of hair that is towards the back of your head. Check on the strand every ten minutes, and once you’re happy with its lightness level you can remove the bleach – just don’t wait longer than 50 minutes!
This will help you ensure that your scalp won’t have a bad reaction to the bleach, and it will also allow you to determine how long it’ll take your hair to reach the lightness level you desire. Remember that for lavender hair dye to look right, your hair needs to be nearly platinum blonde.
Before you go to dye your hair lavender, make sure you also have an action plan. We give directions here to achieve a solid, all-over lavender hair color with natural roots, although you might prefer to only do a lavender balayage, lavender ends, or streaks of lavender, in which case you can bleach and dye your hair accordingly.
If you want something very complex with multiple colors or shades of lavender, then it is probably better to go to a professional hair stylist than to try it at home.
You Will Need:
- Bleach kit – we suggest keeping it gentle with the Good Dye Young Lightening Kit from Sephora, which has a 25-volume developer. You might need multiple kits in order to fully cover long hair, and you might need to do multiple sessions but it is much better for the hair than doing a 30- or 40-volume kit.
- Lavender hair dye – there are a few ways to achieve lavender tones in the hair. You can mix a bit of a more saturated purple hair dye like Punky Plum from Ulta with hair conditioner to sheer it out or buy a dedicated pastel lavender hair dye like Lime Crime Oyster from Nordstrom.
- Plastic gloves
- Shower cap
- Hair dye brush
- Non-metallic mixing bowl
- Old button-up or zip-up shirt
- Petroleum jelly
Step 2: Bleaching
- Get started by putting on your gloves, an old shirt, and lining the perimeter of your hair with petroleum jelly to prevent bleach from getting on your skin.
- Section your hair into as many parts as you like (I usually recommend four sections), and clip each section up with plastic hair clips.
- In your mixing bowl combine the bleaching powder with the developer. Use your hair dye brush to mix the two together thoroughly. The mixture should be fully incorporated, and it will have a slightly gritty texture.
- Release the first section of hair, and pull from it a very small section of hair. Begin applying the hair lightening mixture to the hair section a bit away from the roots. In general, we recommend keeping the roots a little bit darker, as it is overall healthier, but if you do want to bleach the roots as well, save them for last. The heat from the scalp will speed up the bleaching process at the roots, so they will not require as much time as the rest of the hair.
- With your brush, pull the bleach down to the ends of the hair, and then lightly massage it in to ensure the entirety of each strand is coated. You might have to go back and get more product on your brush if you have very long hair.
- Continue dyeing the entire section by separating out smaller subsections. Once the entirety of the section is dyed (aside from the roots), clip it back up and move on to the next section.
- Continue applying bleach to your hair in the same manner until the entire head is covered. Once the bulk of your hair has been covered in bleach, you can go back and apply it to the roots, if you like.
- Cover your head with a shower cap, and wait for the bleach to take hold.
- Check on your hair every ten minutes or so to see how much it has lightened. Once you’re happy with the lightness level, you can hop in the shower to rinse out the bleach. Do not let the bleach sit in your hair for longer than 50 minutes!
- In the shower rinse out the bleach with cool or lukewarm water, as hot water may damage your already porous and delicate hair.
- Once you’re out of the shower let your hair air-dry, and then look it over to ensure that the bleach took hold evenly. If you have missed any patches, you can very carefully go back in with bleach to correct them, but be careful not to leave it on for too long!
- If your hair has not been lightened enough from a single bleaching section, you should probably baby your hair for a day or two, do some conditioning treatments or Olaplex, and then bleach it again with the same gentle developer.
Step 3: Dyeing Hair Lavender
- Once your hair has been adequately lightened to a very pale yellow, you can finally apply your lavender hair dye! Section your hair off much like you did for the bleaching and apply the lavender dye with your hair dyeing brush this time starting at the roots and working your way down.
- It’s okay if your hair is damp – you will find that after applying the bleach applying the semi-permanent lavender hair color is actually much easier, since it is more emollient so it spreads and covers the hair easily.
- Once your whole head is covered in lavender hair dye cover it with a shower cap and wait 45 minutes.
- Once enough time has elapsed, hop in the shower and rinse out the dye with cool or lukewarm water. You don’t have to shampoo or condition your hair, since the dye itself is made to nourish and fortify the hair.
- Either let your hair air-dry, very gently towel-dry it, or blow-dry it on the lowest setting, and then examine it. If it’s perfect you can now enjoy having gorgeous lavender hair. If you need to, you can do any corrections with the dye, wait, and rinse it out again.
Tips for Maintaining That Soft Lavender Hair Color
- Don’t wash your lavender hair too often! Definitely skip washing it for the first couple of days after you’ve dyed it, and in general, try to limit washing your hair to maximum 3 times a week.
- You can use dry shampoo to absorb oils from your hair and to help you go longer in between washes.
- When you do wash your hair, opt for gentle, sulfate-free shampoos, or even try out co-washing, which refers to keeping the hair clean with conditioner only.
- Heat opens up the hair cuticle and causes color to bleed out, so avoid washing your hair in hot water (opt for cool or lukewarm water instead). Additionally, avoid harsh heat-styling. If you really have to blow-dry your hair, do so on the lowest setting possible.
- Heat protectant spray can help mitigate some of the damage if you really can’t help yourself and need to use some sort of heat styling tool.
- Kerastase has recently released a phenomenal range of purple-based shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask all of which are available at Ulta. Meant to counter brassiness in bleached hair, purple shampoos have a light purple tint that will be deposited into your hair every time you use them and will help keep your ultra-light lavender hair looking fresh.
- Sun exposure can speed up the fading of hair colors, so if you’re outside in the sun make sure to wear a hat or use a hair spray or oil with UV protection.
- Swimming in a pool with chlorinated water can also have an impact on your lavender hair, so either stick to salt-water pools or wear a swimming cap when you go swimming.
- Face the facts – semi-permanent hair dyes fade out! They are quite easy to refresh though and have a great hair-conditioning formula. Make sure you have enough of your lavender hair dye on hand to refresh the color when the time comes two or three weeks after you’ve initially dyed it.
How to Remove Lavender Hair Dye
Of all of the fashion hair colors, the pastels, with lavender hair dye included, are easiest to remove! There are a few directions you can go in for getting rid of your lavender hair, and it all depends on what kind of final result you would like.
Method 1: Dye It Darker
Darkening your hair is the easiest way to erase all signs of the lavender hair dye. It’d be easiest to go over your hair with a darker shade of brown hair dye. Lighter hair dyes like a dark blonde or red might end up blending with the purple tones of your lavender hair, leading to a purple-tinged blonde or a burgundy hair color (which actually sounds kind of nice).
If you’re wanting to switch to a darker fashion hair color it is probably better if you try to strip at least a bit of lavender hair dye first, following one of the stronger methods I describe here.
Method 2: Use a Clarifying Shampoo
For some people, basically doing the opposite of the maintenance instructions and washing the hair a few times with hot water and a sulfate-based shampoo (some people even use dishwashing soap) is all it’ll take to get all the semi-permanent lavender hair dye to bleed out of the hair.
The nice thing about lavender hairstyles is that they fade down to look icy, so in most instances just repeated washing will allow your hair to fade to a really lovely platinum hair tone.
You can do that a few times, and make sure to follow it up with a good hair treatment mask or leave-in conditioner to counter its drying effect. This can help remove some of the lavender hair dye while still keeping your hair light enough for you to try a new fashion or pastel hair color.
Method 3: Try the Vitamin C Method
There are a lot of different ways of doing the vitamin C method to strip color out of the hair, but this is our preferred method.
- Buy vitamin C powder, or crush up a few pills with a mortar and pestle or in a blender and use whatever sulfate-based shampoo you have on hand. You want the vitamin C to be in as fine a powder as possible.
- Some sources recommend an anti-dandruff shampoo, but we don’t think it’s really necessary. There is no specific amount of vitamin C that will work best – you want about equal parts of vitamin C and clarifying shampoo, and make an amount that will totally cover your hair.
- Mix the vitamin C and shampoo in a mixing bowl, much like you would mix bleach or hair dye. Add some water if the mixture is too thick.
- Apply it to your hair when it is damp in sections from roots to ends, using the help of a hair dye brush.
- Cover it with a shower cap, and let the mixture sit in your hair for about 45 minutes.
- Hop in the shower to rinse it out with warm water and watch as the lavender hair dye comes out along with the mixture.
- Finish off with a hair conditioner or mask to moisturize your hair, as the vitamin C treatment is quite drying.
Method 4: Use a Color Remover or Bleach
Color removers are basically weak bleaches, and they will do a quick and thorough job of removing most lighter colors from the hair. You can choose a dedicate color-remover like Punky Colour Off from Ulta or make a weak bleach solution with a low-volume developer.
Apply it to your hair much like you would apply typical bleach or hair dye, but only let it sit in it for about ten or twenty minutes, and then rinse it away in cool water. In addition to removing the lavender hair dye, this will also further lighten your hair.
As with anything that might damage your hair, you want to follow it up with a nourishing treatment of some sort.
Your Makeup Guide for Lavender Hair
Embrace the new you by incorporating some new makeup rules and techniques to make your lavender hair color blend in with your overall look nicely.
Complexion Makeup for Lavender Hair
You don’t need to worry too much about changing your foundation routine to work with your lavender hair. Pastel tones tend to flatter the complexion, so just make sure that your foundation matches your skin tone – you can go for whatever coverage level and finish you like.
Neutrals include berry, rose, and champagne shades, while pinks and magentas are going to lean more towards cool. If you have a really artsy look you can even try a purple or lilac blush or highlighter.
Make sure your bronzer or contour shade is neutral and taupey, without any orange or red undertones. Against lavender hair even subtle orange undertones tend to come out, which ruins the intended effect of a contour color.
Eye Makeup for Lavender Hair
There are not too many rules or changes you need to follow for your eye makeup after dyeing your hair lavender. You should definitely remember that lavender is going to be part of any color scheme you try, but lavender is actually a versatile color that pairs nicely with a lot of different shade combinations.
Don’t be afraid of playing around with bright colors like yellow or green eyeshadow, as you can end up with a fashion-forward color-blocked eye makeup look. When you do choose brighter colors just make sure that you coordinate them with your clothes as well as your hair, which will require a bit of thought.
While I did recommend staying away from orangey complexion colors, the same rule doesn’t apply to orange or copper eyeshadows. This is because strong orange eye makeup can be quite fetching – it just doesn’t work when it’s meant to be natural!
If you don’t like fussing around too much then just stick to neutral eye makeup colors, like beige, champagne, taupe, brown, gray, or black. Cool and berry tones will also be quite easy to pair with lavender hair, so you can give those a try when you’d like a change.
Oh, and of course you have to try a monochromatic look at least once! Think lavender eyeshadow in the lid, mauve in the crease, and maybe even a purplish lipstick.
Brow Makeup for Lavender Hair
Once you make the switch to lavender hair it is very possible that you’ll have to go out and buy some new eyebrow filling products. It’s up to you whether you prefer a pencil, pomade, powder, or a combination of the three. The important thing is that your eyebrow product won’t clash with your hair.
Unless you’d like to look like an anime character, don’t go searching for a lavender eyebrow cream. Instead, look for a taupe or a gray that is totally neutral or has a very subtle blue-base. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow in Taupe or Ash Brown would be a great choice, for example, as would any of the cool-toned Benefit Ultra Fine Brow Pencils.
Lipstick Colors for Lavender Hair
For a simple, flattering look, definitely stick to cool and neutral lipstick colors. These include magenta, berry, rose, pink, and blackberry. For a red lip, it’s definitely better to keep things cool as well, by choosing a blue-based red rather than an orange-based one.
It’s not that you can’t wear corals or brick reds with lavender hair – it’s just that the warm, orange tones in them will really stand out and they won’t look quite as natural as they do against warmer or more natural hair colors. If you really want to wear an orange-based lip, just remember that you might have to adjust the rest of your color story to make it work, and that the effect is going be more artistic than simply pretty.
As far as unusual lipstick colors go, lavender hair happens to look particularly fetching with blue, purple, and cool-taupe lipsticks. They work very harmoniously with lavender hair, creating an interesting color story. In fact, lavender hair is probably a better match to these colors than any natural hair color!
Fashion Tips for Those with Lavender Hair
If you’re ready to try lavender hair then you’ve probably already got a keen sense of fashion. However, this pastel shade might require that you reexamine your wardrobe. You might find that some items don’t work as well with your new color, but you might also find that lavender breathes a new life into other garments.
- Wearing black with lavender hair will make for a striking look, as the gleaming pastel will really stand out against an all-black wardrobe.
- An all-white outfit, on the other hand, will look very soft against your pastel lavender hair color. The overall effect is comforting, so if you have any outfits that usually look too stark, now is the time to wear them!
- Other shades that work easily with the lavender hair color include beige, tan, rose, light blue (especially denim), and dark blue.
- You can definitely wear purples and cool pinks with lavender hair! In fact, they are best to combine, as you end up with a very cool analog look.
- Light gray can look a little too similar to lavender hair but just duller, so it’s best used as an accent. All-gray outfits, on the other hand, might look a little too boring next to your hair.
- Colors like red, yellow, green, and orange are all going to have a color blocking effect when worn with lavender hair. It is better not to wear an outfit comprised of just one of these colors, but trying out different combinations of them in your separates can make for a very fashion-forward look.
- Pastel colors with lavender hair will make you look like a unicorn princess. It’ll lead to a girlish, graphic look that can be really cute or childish depending on your personal attitude and outlook.
Photos via @rossmichaelssalon, Instagram