As someone who was born a brunette and has experimented with every shade of red, purple, pink, black, and now ashy-blonde, I understand the need to play with your hair colour. However, I have also learned the hard way that dying and bleaching your hair can lead to disaster.
With purple being one of the trending hair colours of 2019 and 2020, I want you to learn from my mistakes. In this 2020 guide to easy-to-maintain purple hair, you’ll find everything from tips for choosing your hue to how to keep purple dye from staining your skin. I’m even going to show you how to pick the right hairdresser to dye your hair!
5 Steps for Easy-to-Maintain Purple Hair
1. Choose your shade of purple based on your current hair colour.
The hair colour you have now will dictate how easy it is for you to get the shade of purple you ideally want. Lucky for those with blonde hair, you can pretty much achieve the look you want in one go. For those of us with dark hair, we either get to opt for a deeper, darker violet, or bleach our hair to start with a lighter base.
If you do need to bleach your hair, it could take up to 6 sessions or more to get down to the right shade of blonde. This will have to be done by a professional so you cause as little damage as possible and be done properly. Any existing dye in your hair or damage can lengthen this process even further.
You’ll also need to take into consideration your skin tone and what will suit your style. It’s also worth checking with your workplace before you start dying your hair purple that it won’t conflict with any policies.
2. Research dying versus toning for purple hair.
Have you been putting off purple hair because you’re not completely sure if you’ll like it? The good news is, if you have blonde hair, you can use a purple toner in your hair that is designed to give you a purple tint, and will wash out in 1 to 3 washes. Even better, you can buy it in a bottle and use it at home.
You’ll need to speak to someone who knows their stuff about toners, as purple toners and shampoos are often used to reduce brassy tones in hair. So, for it to turn your hair purple, you’ll need to use the right product correctly. The way you use the product will also alter how the colour turns out.
However, toner is not dye. While it will alter the tone of your hair, it will be washed out within a few shampoos; especially if you use a cleansing shampoo.
Again, for brunettes, you do have limited options as you won’t be able to have a more vivid or paste purple without bleaching your hair first. So, a toner may not be right for you in this case.
3. Select a style of dying based on how lazy you are.
If you love the look of root-to-tip purple hair, be aware if your hair grows faster than the colour fades, you will be left with regrowth to keep on top of. Unfortunately, this will mean regularly dying your hair with this same purple colour.
One way around this is to opt for a balayage purple, using your natural hair colour as the roots and mid-lengths, with the purple starting in the mid-lengths also and spreading to the ends. Or, you could opt for highlights and/or lowlights of the shade throughout your natural hair.
Again, brunettes have one more thing to consider. A brunette who bleaches their hair to have the vivid purples tones will also need to tone out the brassiness regularly so it doesn’t impact their colour. If this additional step to your hair care routine is a bit much, maybe consider a darker violet that doesn’t require you to lighten your hair.
4. Talk to a hairdresser, even if you’re dying your own hair.
Hairdressers undergo years of training, and continue to throughout their whole career, for a reason. The thickness, colour, condition and type of hair, the products you use and your care history can all impact how bleaching or dying turns out.
For example, when I began the lightening process of my hair, my hairdresser (a talented balayage specialist) believed it would take 6 sessions to lighten. However, my hair lifted very easily and it only took 3 sessions, but I did throw back some insane brassy tones. While another girl who has lighter hair than me took 7 sessions, and they still weren’t at the level of blonde as my hair. She, on the other hand, did not have as much brass as I did.
So, with this being said, talking to a hairdresser, even to purchase your products, will help you get the results you want. I do have to recommend you do go to a hairdresser as I find my hair always feels much better, the colour lasts longer and I don’t have to try and avoid getting dye on any walls or surfaces.
Please, do not buy store-bought (box) hair dyes. They can not be customised, are more drying than salon colours and tend to be a lot easier to mess up.
Tip: If you do get dye on a bathroom basin, hairspray works a treat for getting it off.
5. Stock up on quality hair care products, new towels and pillowcases.
The more you wash your hair, the quicker your colour will fade. You’re going to see even faster fading or loss of shine if you’re not using a salon-quality, colour-prolonging shampoo, condition and treatment. That $30+ set of shampoo and conditioner is going to save you spending $80+ every couple of weeks having to re-dye your hair! Plus, they’re a lot better for you too.
For those who have had to bleach their hair, I also recommend looking into a high-end bond repair product or booking in for salon treatments. Bleaching your hair is extremely damaging, but with the right care, you can keep your length, minimise breakages and still have luscious locks.
“Why new towels and pillowcases,” you ask? Purple, red and more vivid colours do tend to stain white surfaces. Even the back of my dark grey leather couch seat got a bit of a pink hue when it was freshly washed. So, for the sake of your pocket, just buy a couple of dark towels and pillowcases. You should also keep your wet head away from any surfaces.
Purple Hair Frequently Asked Questions
How long will purple hair dye last?
Generally speaking, purple hair dye will start to dramatically fade around 6 to 10 washes.
However, the life of your new colour will depend on the type of dye used, your pre-dye hair, how often you wash your hair, what you wash your hair with and so many other factors. To prolong the life of your purple hair, only wash your hair when needed (1 to 3 times a week, normally), use salon-quality products and ask your hairdresser for a custom toner.
Some hair salons will also offer custom toners to help maintain your colour in between visits. I highly recommend these as they also double as a treatment, so you get a two-in-one.
What colour does purple hair dye fade into?
The colour the purple fades away to will depend on the current colour of your hair. A natural blonde or brunette with purple dye over the top will fade back to their natural colour, although you may notice a bit of a greyish tinge for some time.
Bleached hair with purple dye over the top may experience some strange results over time. Any tone changes of the chair (brassy show-throughs, for example) will affect the colour. Every now and then, you do get the odd person who gets an odd colour from going in the pool with bleached hair, so this is also something to be aware of.
Can you dye over purple hair?
Uh oh! Sounds like someone had a purple hair-dying mishap. Do not simply go out and get dark hair dye and use it over the purple as to be honest, even a hairdresser can’t tell you what will happen. You will still be dealing with the purple undertones, even once you’ve chucked a darker colour over the top.
What you need to do is go to a hairdresser. They will help you either choose the right dye to go over the top OR start the colour correcting process.
How do you take care of purple hair?
- Minimise how often you wash your hair.
- When washing your hair, only use salon-quality products made for coloured hair.
- Use a purple-toning treatment to extend your colour.
- Opt for luke-warm water when washing.
- For purple dye put over bleached hair, wear a swimming cap when you go in the pool.
5 Purple Hair Photos to Inspire You Before You Dye
Anime or Manga-Inspired Violet Hair for the Adventurous
Los Angeles hairdresser Rion An shows with the right hairdresser, any shade of purple can be achieved! This vibrant violet gives us major kawaii vibes and wouldn’t go amiss on the streets of Harajuku or Shibuya.
Subtle Purple Highlights for the Cautious
Jumping into the purple-haired waters can be daunting if it’s your first time experimenting with a bolder colour. If you are wary, a more subtle introduction to the colour with some purple highlights may be your perfect introduction.
A Full Head of Pastel Purple for the Whimsical
To achieve pastel purple hair, you will need to have very light blonde hair to work with. Unfortunately, for those of us born with darker hair, it means bleaching our locks to get that starting base. Although, when you see this stunning pastel purple, how can you not want to at least try?
Dark Roots & Purple Ends for Easy Maintenance
Like mentioned above, if you do need to lighten your hair, opting to keep your dark roots will require less maintenance. These curls with the black roots and purple ends gives an almost sophisticated look to what is considered an alternative style.
Mixed Purples for a Non-Wig Look
Bold colours from root to end can often make you look like you’re wearing a wig. By playing with lowlights and highlights or different variations of purple from top to tip, you can make it look much more ‘natural’, Brittney Winter did here.
Tips for Finding a Hairdresser to Dye Your Hair Purple
1. Check out their photos on localsearch.com.au and social media.
When hairdressers are asked to help someone transform their hair, they are almost always likely to document it with photos. These photos make for great social media and marketing content, so use this to your advantage.
Ideally, you want to find a hairdresser who has already achieved the exact look you want on someone else, or who displays amazing skill at dramatic transformation. This way, you can be a little more confident when sitting down in the chair.
2. Read online reviews for each hair salon.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices of salons and hairstyles, go online and read reviews. We recommend checking out their business profile on localsearch.com.au, as well as seeing what reviews they have on Google too.
A negative review will also help you in your decision more than 100 positive ones. Everyone’s hair reacts differently, and sometimes things don’t go to plan. If this were to happen, you want to know your hairdresser is going to help you to the best of their ability, and a negative review will show you if they’ll support you or not acknowledge an issue.
3. Get an in-person quote before you book your hair appointment.
Most good hair salons will insist on an in-person consultation before you’re able to book for the first time. Not only will this allow you to know how much it will cost you to go purple, you’ll also know if it’s achievable in one session, how much you need to save for maintenance products and how they’d like you to prepare your hair first.