Lilac hair adventures: L'Oreal Feria Pastel Toning Conditioner tried and tested

Ever since I took the plunge and bleached my hair white blond (read about it here), I’ve been toying with the idea of going lilac. I think Kelly Osbourne really pulls this look off well, she manages to look cool and elegant. The big cheeses over at E! must agree with me because they’ve written the hair colour into her contract as host of The Fashion Police.

Kelly is contractually obligated to rock her purple locks for 2 years! (Two weeks might be too much for me, but then I fear commitment!)

Kelly Osbourne - Bit of a mouth almighty but I like her! Kelly Osbourne - Bit of a mouth almighty but I like her!

So I was really looking forward to trying L’Oreal’s Preference Pastel Toning Conditioner in Lilac Lavender. The beauty of this product is that you can achieve the purple rinse look, plus condition and tone your hair at the same time. Magic.

Anyone who’s gone platinum knows that violet shampoo (like this one from John Frieda or this one from Wella) is absolutely crucial to keep brassiness at bay, so at the very least this conditioner should neutralize any yellow tones in blond hair. Plus the box promises ‘stylish’ ‘translucent’ tones, and those are two of my absolute favorite adjectives.

I hadn’t dyed my own hair in YEARS so I was mildly apprehensive about using this stuff. I dutifully donned my plastic gloves and wet my hair first. Now, the instructions say to allow the product to develop for 5 minutes if you’ve bleached in the last 2 weeks, or 15 minutes if it’s been longer. It had been exactly 15 days since my last trip to the hairdressers, so I was torn. (As it happened I got distracted and accidentally left it on for 20 minutes – woops!) You apply the product to the lengths first, before applying to the roots, which is a tricky maneuver with short hair involving many, many mirrors and double jointedness.


The product is a nice purple conditioner with no off-putting smell. And it’s just the right consistency, not so drippy that it gets on everything, but not so thick that it’s tricky to apply. It’s dead easy to use, and my hair definitely feels conditioned and soft.

I only had one issue with it really: After all my hard work applying everything evenly, the colour came out uneven! I THOUGHT I was pretty thorough with the application, but I now have several different shades of purple going on, as opposed to the lovely uniform lilac on the box.  Nerds.

First application, a bit Patch Adams!               After one wash. First application, a bit Patch Adams!                                                         Quite faded after one wash.

Lilac is a notoriously difficult colour to achieve and I SUSPECT the fact that I’ve been using a violet toning shampoo on a daily basis to counteract brassiness contributed to my patchiness problem. Also maybe this is just one of those dyes you have to get someone to apply for you! There's quite  a significant fade after only one wash, so those seeking a long-term relationship with pastel hair are going to find the habit a bit expensive.

At around €5.99, for a multiple use toning conditioner and hair colour, I’d definitely use it again. The colour only lasts three or four washes, so it’s perfect for a weekend of violet debauchery. Plus you could build it up over a few washes, which might give a more even result than I managed.


So what do you think of lavender locks? Will you be giving Pastel Toning Conditioner a go?

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