In the previous article in this series, I talked about how unnatural colours are translucent. This means that if your hair is dark and you put a pale purple dye on it, the results won’t be noticeable. Conversely, if you apply dye to very light hair (platinum blonde) the results will be much brighter and more vibrant. It’s like applying watercolour paint to a dark sheet of paper; nothing really shows up. If you paint onto white paper the paint comes out as you expected. So, for hair dyeing a pale creamy blonde is best.
When it comes to purple there is a huge range of dyes, shades and tones to choose from and the great news is that brands such as Directions, Special Effects, Manic Panic, Stargazer, Crazy Color, Punky Color, Fudge and Adore don’t contain any peroxide so won’t damage your hair. They are also semi-permanent so once your Violet has washed out, you can mix it up a bit with Lavender or Plum without worrying about damaging your hair or having to use a colour remover first.
There is a shade of purple hair colour to suit any skin-tone or hair colouring. Dark skin-tones can wear any shade of purple but rich plum reds such as Pimpin’ Purple and Violet Gem look especially good. Olive skin-tones are complimented perfectly by blue-toned shades like Violet or Deep Purple. Pale skin-tones can go for both warm and cool purples. If you’re a natural blonde you’re guaranteed to rock pastel shades like Lilac or Lavender.
Create a deep lustrous shine with a near-black purple like Special Effects Deep Purple. In dim light this shade looks almost black but practically glows in sunlight. It’s extremely long lasting – almost permanent – and covers darker base colours such as reddish or golden blonde. Deep Purple can even add a tint to hair without bleaching at all as demonstrated in our Dyeing Unbleached Hair article.
Directions Plum and Stargazer’s Plume are other great examples of long-lasting dark purples. They’re not quite as dark as Deep Purple but they are still excellent at covering darker blonde shades and will add shine even to the most damaged hair!
The only downside to these deeper shades is that they have a tendency to bleed and can rub off on light coloured clothing for the first week or two. Check out these articles: Oh No! I’ve Dyed my Fingers and Cleaning Up Dye.
For rich, deep shades of purple, try these hair colours:
Photo by Jude
Lavender, Lilac and Pastel Shades
An edgy look popular with celebs, pale purples take more effort but the results are striking. When aiming for a pastel shade of any colour, but especially purple, it’s essential that you lighten your hair to an even and pale light blonde. Your hair should be a creamy colour with no dark spots, which would only be darkened further by dyeing with a pastel shade.
The most effective method for checking if your hair is evenly bleached is to take a look at it under UV light (black light). The light areas will glow, highlighting the dark areas that you’ll need to spot bleach to achieve an even tone. If you don’t have access to a UV light, examine your hair in good light when it’s wet to find any missed or under-bleached areas.
With a pale blonde base you can choose any colour you want! Lilac and Lavender are extremely popular. The terms are often used interchangeably but there’s a subtle difference in shade. Lilac is a warmer, pale pinkish-purple, whereas Lavender has more blue tones and is a lighter version of Violet.
Pastel hair colours contain less pigment, which unfortunately means they wash out more quickly but you can use this to your advantage and take the opportunity to try out white or silver! As these pastels fade they act as a toner on your hair leaving it with a white or silver appearance. Lavender tends to fade out to a silvery shade, whereas Lilac ends up whiter. For more info on dyeing your hair white, see our Going White/Silver article.
Here are a few gorgeous pastel purple dyes:
Shades of purple with a hint of pink tend to suit everyone but look particularly nice with dark and Asian skin-tones. If, like me you’re paler than a milk bottle, pink-toned purple will still look great on you even if you don’t usually suit warm colours like red or orange.
Some fantastic shades bridge the gap between purple and pink and these include Adore’s Violet Gem, Crazy Color’s Burgundy and Special Effects’ Burgundy Wine. These colours will compliment violet purples perfectly and the two can be combined with streaks or slices of colour to give you a multi-tonal effect.
Photo by chaosxkitten
Violet is a beautiful shade and with multi-tonal reflexes can appear to almost change between blue and purple depending on the light. It’s a less forgiving shade than warmer-toned purples, so be sure to start with pale blonde hair to avoid it looking dull and muddy. Violet tones are great with paler complexions and look fantastic as a chunk of colour in natural brown hair.
Photo by alcoholicrattlesnake
If you still need some inspiration for dyeing your hair purple, have a look at our Purple Hair Gallery.
Are you looking for a really vibrant, dark purple shade? Try African Violet. It's the perfect deep violet colour - not too blue and not too pink. - More details
If you like purple but don't want Violet then Purple Rage is for you. It has rich berry tones and is sure to liven up your hair! - More details
A unique hair colour, somewhere between purple and magenta. - More details
This is a really striking deep pink-plum hair colour. This semi-permanent dye works best on hair that has been lightened to pale blond but can also give an attractive subtle ... - More details
Crazy Color's Burgundy is a beautiful deep fuchsia shade. This hair dye is best suited to pale blond hair but may give a tint to darker hair. * 100ml * ... - More details
An amazingly luminous purple! Hot Purple is a bright, jewel-toned colour that looks flattering on with any skin tone. * 100ml * For pre-lightened hair * Semi-permanent * Not tested ... - More details
Lavender is a stunning pastel warm purple semi-permanent hair colour, ideal for very light hair. This is a fantastic colour for any skin tone and gradually fades out to white ... - More details
A lovely icy violet, Lilac a wonderful cool pastel pastel for bleached hair. This pale violet has some blue tones and gradually fades out to silvery blonde when applied to ... - More details
A fresh pastel pink-lavender shade from Crazy Color! For best results apply to pale blonde hair, using a tint brush to ensure even coverage. Work the colour into your hair ... - More details
Are you looking for the perfect shade of pastel purple hair colour? Lavender is a beautiful pale purple for very light blonde hair. It's slightly warmer toned than the similar ... - More details
A soft powdery pale violet, Lilac works wonderfully with all skin tones. This pastel, cool-toned shade should be applied to pale blonde hair and will fade out to a light ... - More details
One of our most popular Directions hair colours, Plum is a wonderful deep purple shade! Since it's so highly pigmented, this dye sticks around for a long time when applied ... - More details
A stunning shade of purple. It gives your hair a bright violet colour with a glint of blue. Violet is really vibrant shade! - More details
Egg Plant is a deep plum semi-permanent colour from Stargazer. This looks really rich on bleached hair but can also be used to add fantastic shine to faded permanent purple ... - More details
Plume is a deep rich violet purple from Stargazer. This is a semi-permanent hair dye ideal for bleached hair. - More details
This is bright and pastel semi-permanent purple shade from Stargazer. A pale violet shade ideal for hair that has been lightened to pale blonde. - More details
Another great hair dye from Special Effects! Burgundy Wine is a deep jewel-toned magenta semi-permanent hair colour. * 118ml * Conditioning colour * Long-lasting semi-permanent * Apply directly to bleached ... - More details
An exceptionally rich, deep purple hair dye by Special Effects. This is a semi-permanent colour but often lasts several months on bleached hair. * 118ml * Long lasting, semi-permanent * ... - More details
Joyride is a pastel pink-purple hair colour from Special Effects. It shows up best on hair that's been lightened to a really pale blonde. This is a semi-permanent dye which ... - More details
Pimpin' Purple is a rich velvety purple hair dye from Special Effects. This is a long lasting semi-permanent when applied to bleached hair. Usually fades out to magenta colour. * ... - More details
A delicate cornflower purple-blue colour. Purple Smoke has both lilac and blue tones. Gives a matte, pastel effect on pale blonde hair. * 118ml * Conditioning colour * Semi-permanent * ... - More details
A bright fuchsia shade, more pink than purple. Virgin Rose is a mesmerising, lustrous shade that lasts several weeks on bleached hair. * 118ml * Long lasting, semi-permanent * Not ... - More details
Violet is a beautiful vibrant purple hair colour from Stargazer. This semi-permanent dye looks fantastic when applied to pre-lightened hair. - More details