Purple Balayage is the Hair Trend We Didn't Know We Needed

person with purple balayaged hair

Fresh off the back of the silvery grey hair takeover, and following on from seemingly every summer’s obsession with pastel strands, may we present to you the ultimate fusion of all that’s cool in hair right now: balayage in all shades of lilac, lavender, and indigo. At one point it was racking up some 8000 fresh pins daily on Pinterest, and it's easy to see why. The trend combines the soft technique of hand-placed highlights, with fashion’s hottest hue. Indeed, it’s the answer to a bold hair shakeup that all of those who normally “play it safe” have been waiting for.

Intrigued? To get the full lowdown on what’s involved and how much maintenance it all takes, we touched base with Hershesons colorist Katie Denn. 

When it comes to drastically changing your hair color, perhaps try a wig first to see if it works with your skin tone. If you try it on and feel like you need to add makeup to make it work, chances are it will be a lot of work to maintain.

Keep scrolling for the ultimate guide to the purple balayage trend.

The Process

“These kinds of colors require the hair to be lightened first to an almost blonde shade so that there’s no undertone coming through from your natural hair,” explains Denn. “For that, your stylist will most likely need to bleach sections where the purple is going to fall, unless you already have very fair [or platinum] hair.”

Given that lightening your locks can be extremely drying, Denn advises that it’s a good idea to prep your hair beforehand so that it’s nice and strong ahead of the color appointment: “Hair masks and treatments are great for this, especially the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Pre Shampoo Treatment ($42).”

Finding the Right Shade

In terms of what shade is right you for, it depends a lot on your own personal tastes, of course, but the natural or current color of your hair can be a factor, too, Denn says. “Ash purples and lilacs are perhaps the most trend-led shades, as they’ve followed on from the tones of grey we’ve been seeing, although with darker hair you could go for something deeper. Personally, I’d steer away from the reddish and pinker tones, and stick more closely to shades of true purple and ash lilacs.”

Taking Care of Your New Color

Philip Kingsley Elasticizier
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment $42

Though most bright colors need a lot of upkeep and regular salon visits, this trend has the balayage approach working for it, so you won’t need as many top-up appointments as you would if it were your whole head. Still, it’s important to know a style like this takes both time and money to maintain.

“It’s a good idea to use a glossing treatment every few weeks to maintain the color, and also a silvery shampoo like Pro:Voke Touch of Silver ($5), which is great for maintaining the ash tones,” Denn says. “Washing your hair with a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner will definitely help in terms having your color last that bit longer. Again, masks are great for replenishing hair, and I’d recommend using the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer following your color, too.

“Using a Crazy Color Conditioning Shampoo ($12) will also help to boost your shade as it begins to fade, although be careful of using these all over if you’re blonde, as it’ll alter the color of your hair overall. Keep it to the sections where you want to brighten the purple to be on the safe side.”

Ouai Hair Oil $28
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Davines Your Hair Assistant $35
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DpHue Gloss+ Sheer $35

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