How to Dye Your Hair Purple
Bright hair colors are more popular than ever, and a purple hair color is the star of this trend. When you dye hair purple, you have a lot of different shades to explore, ranging from dark indigo to a pastel lilac. You also have the option of using either a temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent purple dye to get the color you want, meaning the color can last for as long as you want it to.
This article will cover everything you need to know to dye your hair all kinds of different shades of purple and provide tips and tricks for making your vibrant hair color last as long as possible.
How to Dye Your Hair Purple
Dyeing your hair purple might seem like a difficult task, but it's actually not all that hard if you follow certain steps and guidelines. Here's a quick overview of what will be covered in this article:
- Choosing Purple Dye
- Base Shades
- Bleaching Hair
- How Temporary Hair Dye Works
- Mixing Semi-Permanent Dyes
- How Permanent Hair Dye Works
- Caring for Dyed Hair
How to Choose a Purple Hair Dye
Before you can dye hair purple, you need to decide which shade you want to use, because this will determine exactly how you proceed towards the color. Dark colors like indigo, deep purples, and burgundy are easier to achieve and take less work when you have dark hair. Lighter shades of purple like lilac, magenta, and pastel tones require you to lighten your hair significantly if it's dark.
In general, for a pastel purple hair color, you need to lighten your hair to a pale yellow color before you apply the dye, or else it won't take. Other purple colors like lilac require light blonde hair, whereas darker purple colors can be applied to brown or dark blonde hair, depending on how light you want the color to be.
Types of Dye
The shade of dye you choose is only one factor in choosing a product. You also have the choice of a temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent purple dye:
- Temporary: Lasts for one to three washes, depending on how well your hair soaks it up. If your hair has been bleached or dyed a lot previously this kind of dye will last a lot longer than expected because of higher hair porosity.
- Semi-permanent: Lasts up to six washes in natural hair. In porous or previously dyed/damaged hair, this dye will fade more slowly and a faint trace can continue to linger near-permanently on lighter hair.
- Permanent: Contrary to what the name suggests, whilst the bulk of the color deposited from this kind of dye is permanent, fading will still occur over time, leading to the need to refresh to maintain the same brightness and vibrancy over the long-term.
Temporary and semi-permanent dyes offer the widest range of shades, but they will need to be retouched fairly often to keep your color vibrant. However, these kinds of dyes don't cause any damage to your hair and typically contain a conditioning base so if anything, they usually make the hair feel nicer after use and you can reapply often.
If you want to wear purple hair for longer though, a permanent hair dye is suggested. Be aware that this will still require touch-ups with other products from time to time if you want to maintain a bright purple hair color. Subtler shades can be left for several weeks before a retouch. Many salon brands like Igora and Fudge Headpaint have fashion shades of purple varying from more natural burgundy shades to intense an magenta color. These dyes will last a few weeks before they need to be refreshed depending on personal preference.
To help you choose a shade of purple hair color, you can use the table below. By looking at the purple color you want to reach, you can see what color stage you need to lighten your hair to, or what natural hair color can be dyed over to reach the shade. For instance, if you wanted a bright indigo color and have dark hair, you would have to lighten it to the yellow stage before you can dye it that color. If you have light blonde hair though, you can apply it straight away without any lightening.
What Base Hair Colors Do You Need to Get Certain Shades of Purple?
Do You Have to Bleach Your Hair to Dye It Purple?
If you have dark hair and the purple hair color you want requires you to lighten your hair, you will need to bleach your hair in order to lighten it enough so that the color will actually take. By using the table above, you can ascertain the lightening stage you need to reach for your chosen shade. It will also help you choose an alternative shade if your hair is too dark to lighten to the degree needed or you'd rather avoid damaging it.
Supplies for Lightening Your Hair
To lighten your hair, you will need:
- Bleach powder
- Tinting bowl
- Sectioning clips
As with applying any chemical process, your hair should be sectioned out into four easy-to-work-with sections—and you need to work quickly so that your hair lightens evenly. To do this, part your hair from the middle of your forehead to the back of your neck, then part it again from ear to ear. You should have four quadrants to work with and this will simplify the application process greatly.
Tips for a Successful Bleaching
When using bleach, it is important to be realistic about the results. So here are a few tips to guide you through the process:
- Though bleach is a powerful product, it can't lighten black hair to pale yellow in one process. If you have very dark hair, you will either need to settle for a darker purple color or bleach it more than once.
- Should you decide to bleach it a second time, do so only if your hair is in good condition and only after it has rested for a period of at least a week.
- Never apply bleach twice in the same day or to hair that is dry, brittle, or breaking.
For more in-depth information about the bleaching process, check out my Bellatory article devoted to How to Bleach Hair.
The bleach you use is very important. Cheaper bleach powder causes more damage and won't lighten your hair as well as salon products. Wella Blondor is an excellent bleach powder to use, with the potential to lift up to seven levels (from dark brown to light blonde) in one process.
How Temporary Purple Hair Dyes Work
If you don't want a permanent purple color, you can use a temporary or semi-permanent purple dye to color your hair. Temporary colors last for one to three washes, depending on how porous your hair is. Hair that loves to soak up color will hold on to a temporary hair dye for much longer than hair that is resistant to coloring.
Semi-permanent hair dyes last slightly longer, and may remain to some extent for several weeks in hair that has been colored previously, especially if applied right after bleaching. Fading will still occur no matter what though and you'll probably need to retouch the color again every 6 washes if your shade is particularly bright.
Fudge Paintbox Hair Dye
Fudge Paintbox is one of the different semi-permanent dyes available to you when you want to dye hair purple. These dyes are a conditioning cream that can be applied after shampooing your hair or even directly after lightening, and left to soak in for half an hour to dye your hair a bright or vibrant color.
Purple Haze can be used to dye your hair a bright purple color, whilst their Raspberry Beret color is a deeper burgundy shade. The Purple Haze can be applied to blonde or yellow bleached hair, whereas Raspberry Beret is a darker color and will take on darker blonde or light brown hair. You could even mix different shades to create your own color. For example, mixing Pink Moon and Purple Haze creates a bright magenta shade.
To apply one of these colors, simply squirt the required amount of product into a tinting bowl and apply it by brush to your hair. You can even use your hands to apply the dye if you want by squirting it into your hands and massaging it through your hair thoroughly to ensure evenness.
Once applied, the product is left for about 30 minutes. Leaving it in longer won't have any negative effects on your hair, however, and may make the color last longer.
Manic Panic Hair Dye
Manic Panic is another popular dye brand that manufactures bright colors and offers a range of semi-permanent purple hair dyes. Their Mystic Heather dye is a lilac shade, Purple Haze will give you a bright purple color, and Electric Amethyst is a darker purple.
As with Fudge Paintbox, you can mix any Manic Panic dye together to create new colors and get the exact shade you want, and these dyes are applied in exactly the same way as Fudge colors.
Can You Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes?
If you can't find your exact color, it is completely fine to mix any Fudge Paintbox or Manic Panic hair dye to get the color you want, or you can design a color that nobody else has. Mixing darker shades with lighter shades will create a medium shade. You can add varying amounts of blue or red color to change the tone of your purple dye.
You can experiment with this yourself, or you can visit either of the companies' websites for detailed mixing instructions and examples of the colors that are produced through mixing. The table below is designed to give you a base idea of what dyes you might need to add into a purple color to get your desired shade.
How to Get Certain Shades of Hair Color
Add blue dye
Add red dye
Add red dye
Add red dye
Add blue dye
How Permanent Purple Hair Dyes Work
If you want to wear a purple color for a longer period of time, then permanent hair dye is the best option. These days, salon brands cater to the style of 'fashion shades' which are bright, vibrant, unnatural colors designed for anyone who wants a more unique hair color.
How to Choose a Shade
Before you get to work on dyeing, you will need to choose a shade first. Trendier color brands like Igora and Fudge Headpaint produce a wide range of fashion shades, including vibrant purple colors, pastel violets, lilac, and even violet black hair.
As well as bright, fun colors like this, these brands also have intense color additives that can be mixed into any of their other permanent dyes to enhance a certain tone or even mix a new color entirely.
How to Mix and Prepare Your Perfect Shade of Permanent Purple Dye
If you're feeling lost, Fudge Headpaint 6.22 is a bright purple shade, and the color will get progressively deeper as you move up to 5.22 and then to 4.22. You could easily mix blue intensifier (088), or red intensifier (066) to alter any of these shades, or do the same by adding violet intensifier (022) and/or the blue to a bright red shade to turn it magenta or bright purple.
Igora has not only fashion shades and similar additives to Fudge's intensifiers, but also a range of metallic shades that could be used to create dazzling pastels with a touch of purple for something truly special and out-of-the-ordinary.
Of course, these aren't the only brands that offer colors like this, look for brands with an emphasis on modern or trendy styles and you're bound to find more.
How to Maintain Purple Hair and Prevent Fading
Purple hair is vibrant and the color will fade regardless of whether you use a temporary or permanent dye. If you're using a Fudge Paintbox or Manic Panic dye, you will need to reapply the color every one to two weeks to maintain the vibrancy and prevent fading.
Permanent dyes won't fade as quickly, but you will still need to retouch them every few weeks. You can do this either by applying the same color again, or by using a semi-permanent dye to add vibrancy back in.
Preventing Fading With Shampoo
Color refresher shampoos are another great way to keep the color vibrant and prevent fading by adding tone back in whilst you shampoo your hair. is one such product that contains an intense violet pigment and can noticeably reduce fading in purple or burgundy hair. De Lorenzo violet shampoo
This shampoo is designed for intense purple hair but you can dilute it down with plain shampoo to even create new colors. Try washing light blonde hair with a little of it mixed into a silver shampoo to get a pastel fairy floss shade, or even use the product straight on light hair for violet-pink.
General Hair Color Maintenance
Whilst hair dyes will fade no matter what you do, there are things you can do to try and slow down this process. These are some of the factors that can affect how quickly purple hair fades:
- Washing your hair
- Chlorine and minerals in hard water
- Heated styling tools
- Hair products
Washing Your Hair
You needn't neglect having clean hair at the expense of color fading, but keep in mind that washing your hair is the primary cause of fading because of the way shampoo works.
Emulsification that helps remove dirt and oils also strips dye out of the hair. Unfortunately, you can't really avoid this process because doing so makes the shampoo clean less effectively. However, you can and should limit washing your hair to only as often as necessary to keep it feeling and looking good. As mentioned earlier, a colored shampoo can basically ameliorate much of this problem.
Humidity and Moisture
Just as washing your hair can cause dye to fade, other forms of humidity and moisture can increase fading to a lesser extent. This won't happen immediately but will be noticed after washing where a greater amount of fading will occur.
To prevent this, you can use a good hair serum applied after washing to protect from humidity and seal the hair until the next time you wash it. They also act to reduce frizz and dryness which tend to be other common problems in dyed hair.
Chlorine and Minerals
Chlorine has a bleaching effect and can also cause a subtle yellowing or greening to your hair color. Whilst this won't dramatically change your hair's appearance, it will lead to slightly increased fading and dullness if you spend a lot of time swimming in chlorinated water. Minerals like iron in hard water don't increase fading but they do change the look of your shade very slightly over time.
If you can't limit your exposure to chlorine, consider the use of a clarifying shampoo every few weeks. This will cause more fading than a regular wash but it will remove built-up chlorine stains and minerals to prevent dulling after a retouch. If you have hard water, consider a water softener or shower filter.
Heated Styling Tools
Heat from tools like straighteners, curling irons, and blow drying opens the cuticles of the hair and can cause more color to be released. You can limit this form of fading by using a heat protecting spray or a hair serum but keep in mind your hair will still fade more rapidly if you expose it to heat often.
The more porous your hair is, the quicker that permanent or demi-permanent dyes will fade. On the other hand, temporary and semi-permanent dyes won't fade as quickly. If you color your hair purple with one of these kinds of dyes it will cling much more readily to the increased surface area present from processes like damage and broken cuticles.
Even natural hair can be porous though, in which case heat, alkalinity, and shampooing all exacerbate it. Try to avoid these, as well as using a serum on dry hair, and a good sealing conditioner during washing, or even adding a little white vinegar to your conditioner—don't worry, it won't smell like vinegar after drying. This is a natural way to seal and smooth the hair for less porosity and frizz.
Sealing conditioners, hair serums, and oils all lock in colour and protect against fading. Products that wet the hair or contain alcohol like mousses and hairspray can all potentially increase fading. If a product works for your style, don't stop using it, but do be mindful of anything you can change.
For more extensive information on how you can best keep your hair color, check out my Bellatory article on How to Take Care of Dyed Hair.
Purple Hair Inspiration
Looking for some inspiration for your next hair color? Check out this fun video from Kristen Leanne on mixing and using semi-permanent dye for a pastel purple:
Share Your Questions and Insight
Do you have a question about dyeing your hair purple? Do you have an interesting experience with purple hair? Leave a comment below for tailored advice, and share your insight with other readers.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Maffew James