Bright Pastel Hair Isn't Cool Anymore, but This Color Is

Woman with pastel colored hair


When we first caught wind of hair color trends like "opal" and "oil slick," as fun as they were, it was easy to dismiss them as passing fads. That was the summer of 2015, and almost exactly a year later, I sat in a salon chair as a stylist dyed my dark-brown hair pink. That truth alone might illustrate just how confounding the longevity of the pastel hair trend has been, not least to industry insiders. (You can keep telling us that it's "so over," French hairstylists, but our Instagram feeds—and the Versace catwalk—tell a different story.)

Still, all trends evolve, and we've charted the rise of a more muted take on the saturated brights that first dominated the scene. First came rose gold, which offered a sheer wash of pink to blond (and brunette!) locks, followed by blorange, a punchier but nonetheless translucent follow-up.

And now, we're seeing another ultra-pretty take on washed-out color: Violet ice, a crystalline version of lavender, is the next It hue to watch, says Kate Reid, director of color and resident pigment guru at Kevin Murphy.

"Metallic blond tones are in big demand, and when fused together with gray-violet reflects, they gain cool dimension," she explains. "Soft pastels have a feminine feel to them, and for a seasoned blonde looking for a change while staying fashion-forward, it makes sense to explore soft pastels."

Bright Pastel Hair Isn't Cool Anymore, But This Color Is - Violet Ice Hair
Anya Goncharenko/Instagram

And if it seems like there's a new It pastel every other week, it's actually representative of a larger trend that gives us more possibilities for blond than ever before. "With new advances in color and haircare, platinum hair with maintained structure and condition is finally possible," Reid says. "This opens up new avenues of what we can do with blond as well as a new realm of blond shades including ice, silver, lilac, and lavender."

Reid notes that violet ice looks best on skin tones with cooler or pink undertones—purple tends to make golden complexions look very yellow. "Ask your stylist for a soft, sheer pastel that will fade to a beautiful ice blond with wear," she advises.

Sachajuan Silver Shampoo
Sachajuan Silver Shampoo $31

As for maintenance, pastel tones tend to fade very quickly. Extend the longevity by investing in purple shampoo and conditioner, which will cut any brassiness and fortify the purple tones for as long as possible.

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