How to Dye Your Hair Dark Blue or Purple
I went blue-haired for the first time in 2004 using the Fudge Paintbox line of temporary hair colors. Unfortunately, although I was aiming for a deep navy blue/purple, I ended up with more of an aquamarine color, which washed out within a month.
I wasn't happy, but I also wasn't ready to give up.
I switched colors, combined tubes, tested various shampoos and conditioners, and refined the coloring process until I had a long-lasting dark purple/blue, which faded gradually over three months into interesting stripes of color.
With this guide, I'll use my significant experience dying my hair various colors to help you dye your own hair the shade you want and help you keep it looking great for as long as possible.
How Much Dye Will I Need?
I needed to use two full tubes of Fudge Paintbox color for my hair when it was a little past shoulder length. Now that my hair is quickly approaching my waist, I would need at least three, if not four tubes. For short hair, I used just under one total tube of color.
Buy a little more than you think you will need—it's better than running out without completely dyeing your hair!
How to Get the Color You Want
Fudge Paintbox Color
Materials You'll Need
- powder bleach for hair
- creme peroxide for hair (creme developer)
- Fudge Paintbox color tubes (enough for your hair length)
- plastic bowl (large enough to mix and apply an appropriate amount of bleach)
- applicator brush
- old plastic hair comb
- petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
- plastic gloves (at least 2 sets)
- plastic wrap (Saran Wrap, Cling Wrap)
- plastic disposable shower cap
- old clothes (they will be splattered with bleach and color)
- old towels to put on the floor (you will drip bleach and color)
- old face cloth
- old towels to use when sleeping
Preparing Your Hair-Dyeing Setup
- Make sure your hair is clean and dry before starting.
- Clear away anything unnecessary—avoid unintended splatter stains of bleach and hair dye!
- Block access to the bathroom—don't let pets or children inside during this process!
Conduct a Skin Test Beforehand
Before following these instructions, make sure you test your skin for bad reactions to both the bleach solution and the dye. It's also advisable to do a skin test for at least 24 hours for each color that you want to use—both individually and mixed together.
Step 1: Bleaching Your Hair
Bleaching allows the hair color to deeply penetrate the hair shaft. Without bleaching, the hair shaft will only allow in a small amount of color, which is easily washed away.
I recommend that you bleach your hair, even when you are re-coloring. It allows for an even and deep color penetration.
I used a 6% creme peroxide developer (20 Volume) with powder bleach, mixed to the instructions on the back of the tubs. I have light brown/dark blonde hair, and with this solution, my hair did not go white (a golden yellow blonde—not the nicest of colors). But it did allow for an even dark blue color to cover my hair.
How to Bleach Your Hair
- Put the old towels on the floor of the bathroom, and wear your old clothes.
- Open a window and turn the exhaust fan on, if you have one. Bleaching produces a lot of fumes.
- Protect your hands with plastic gloves.
- Carefully mix the recommended amount of powder bleach for hair and creme peroxide for hair together in the bowl with the applicator brush. Mix until it becomes a smooth, thick paste.
- Apply the paste gradually and evenly with the applicator brush, starting from the roots of your hair, at your scalp. (Note: If you apply the paste to the ends first, they will knot together, and you will be unable to reach the hair roots!)
- When finished, pile long hair on the top of your scalp. Don't let it sit on your neck/shoulders!
- Leave the bleach paste on for the recommended time—specified in the instructions for the bleach powder/creme peroxide. You may experience some burning and itching at the scalp. If it becomes painful, wash the bleach out immediately.
- While waiting for the bleach to lighten, clean everything thoroughly.
- Keep wearing the plastic gloves, and follow the instructions for rinsing the bleach out. I find it easier to thoroughly rinse my hair in the shower, rather than bending over a laundry sink.
Results: Now your hair should be a lighter, even color. Mine was quite yellow-blonde—very strange!
Step 2: Applying the Hair Dye
This is where I depart from the recommended instructions on the Fudge Paintbox tubes.
Important: You should test to make sure you won't react to the dye over a long time (leave it on your skin for at least a day before washing it off).
Also remember to keep the towels on the floor, keep wearing your old clothes, keep the window open, and keep pets/kids locked out of the bathroom. The last thing I'd want is blue/purple paw-prints throughout the house!
How to Dye Your Hair
- Prepare the plastic wrap—you'll need it when you finish applying the dye.
- Smear Vaseline (petroleum jelly) around the edges of your hairline and all over your ears, taking care not to get any in your hair. Otherwise, your skin will be dyed along with your hair!
- Wear plastic gloves to protect your hands.
- Mix the colors together thoroughly in the plastic bowl with the application brush.
- You may find it useful to section your hair with small butterfly clips, so you can apply the dye evenly.
- Evenly "paint" the dye onto sections of the hair with the applicator brush, starting from the roots at the nape of the neck, moving slowly to cover the whole hair. (Tip: I found that an application pattern starting at the nape of the neck and roots of the hair, moving to the top of the head/face, and then to the ends of the hair strands minimizes mess and has the best chance of even application.)
- When your hair is thoroughly coated, massage the "paint" thoroughly through the hair. It ensures that there is an even coat, from the scalp to the ends.
- Pile your hair on top of your head, trying to make it as solid and non-slipping as possible.
- Remove your gloves and wrap long pieces of the plastic wrap around your hair, until it is solid and covered.
- Clean the dye from your skin (especially around your ears) using soap, water, and the old face cloth. Don't forget your neck and shoulders and your hands/arms above the gloves. (Note: Also be sure to clean any dye splatters that have touched porcelain immediately—they can stain very quickly!)
- Put the plastic shower cap on. It helps keep the plastic wrap in place.
- Clean everything thoroughly. Dispose of paint tubes and plastic gloves securely.
Step 3: Setting the Dye
The recommended time to leave the dye on is under an hour. I found that the resulting color was washed out within a month.
The best result for me was when I left the dye in overnight. The heat from my plastic-wrapped head while I slept allowed the dye to penetrate very deeply, resulting in long-lasting color.
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any adverse reactions. You must test the safety of this on yourself before choosing not to follow the directions for Fudge Paintbox dyes.
Here are a few additional notes to consider:
- Use old sheets and blankets.
- Use old towels and cover your pillow with multiple layers.
- Protect your doona cover and blankets by wrapping a large old towel over the edge closest to your pillow.
Finishing Up the Hair-Dyeing Process
- The next morning, remove the shower cap and plastic wrap from your hair.
- Wash the color out in the shower with a lot of of water, while wearing plastic gloves.
- Shampoo once or twice. Take an old face cloth, soap it up, and scrub at any dye patches on the skin to lighten them.
- Use a large amount of color-care conditioner—his helps to "set" the color and close the hair shaft.
- Dispose of the plastic wrap, shower cap, and plastic gloves so that kids and pets can't get to them.
- Wash all towels and clothing that you have used during this bleach/dye process.
Tips for Newly Dyed Hair
For the first week, it is a good idea to sleep on pillow covers or a towel that you don't mind dying blue/purple. Color will leak from your scalp and hair while you sleep.
Paint your nails a dark color—scratching your head will result in dark blue/purple nails!
Use old towels when drying your hair after washing for the first few weeks, or until the color stops noticeably dying the towels.
Making Your Hair Color Last
Use a top-quality color-care shampoo and conditioner, and only wash your hair every few days, not every day.
I trialled at least five brands before settling on L'Oreal's Elvive Color Protect line. It kept the color dark for the longest time of all the brands I tried.
With twice-weekly washes, the color gradually faded over three months, before I re-colored.
Tips for Re-Coloring Your Hair
Your hair's condition will deteriorate with each subsequent bleach.
To keep your hair in better condition for a longer time, follow these tips:
- Use a top-quality conditioner.
- Use a good color-protecting hair masque treatment.
- Avoid using hot oil treatments—some can strip color.
- Avoid blow-drying your hair.
- Use little if any hair styling product like hair spray, gel, or wax.
Let Us Know About Your Experiences
- Is there any color you would not try?
- What is your favorite non-natural hair color?
- How many different colors have you tried?
Let us know in the comments below!
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.
© 2012 Kymberly Fergusson