Gorgeous violet tresses are one trendy beauty look we can't seem to get enough of online, but achieving this look IRL isn’t as easy as it looks on Instagram. I hate to break it to you, but dyeing your hair purple (especially if you're brunette) often come with lots of time and effort spent achieving and maintaining such a look. Yes, this means countless hours spent in the salon, plus using color saving products at home to refresh your overall look.
Like all bright and bold color choices, giving naturally darker hair tones the purple treatment can be a challenge within itself. As any brown haired babe who tried to jump on the hair chalking trend knows, brunette strands just don't soak up crazy colors like our blonde and redheaded comrades. Plus, since purple is not a hue naturally found on the hair color spectrum, it takes some extra special care once you do achieve your dream shade.
“Being that purple is not a color naturally found in hair, you will need to refresh and tone your color frequently to maintain such a look,” Rick Wellman, expert colorist and Schwarzkopf Professional Representative, tells me over email.
To get that delicious purple hue, you’re going to want to understand this tricky process carefully, especially since the whole thing takes up a good chunk of time. To successfully dye brown hair purple though, here’s some important things to consider first.
1. Finding Your Shade Of Purple Really Depends On Your Skin Tone
When selecting any hair color of choice, you'll likely get the best results if you match your desired color to your overall tone. And while purple is a bit of an off kilter weather choice, you’ll still want to keep your tone and color on the same page, according to Jessica Gonzalez, expert colorist at Sally Hershberger Los Angeles.
“Brunettes can pull off the same colors as blondes, but your color always needs to flatter your skintone,” Gonzalez tells me. “If your hair is on the darker side and doesn’t lift to a pale blonde shade, you probably would want to try a darker purple, as opposed to a pastel shade.”
2. You'll Definitely Have To Prepare For The Big Day
Even if a more subtle, dark plum color is what you’re eyeing, preparing your hair prior to the big event can definitely make a major difference for your hair health. Bleaching is pretty inevitable when it comes to achieving fun and vibrant colors, so treating your hair to moisturizing products before your salon visit is highly recommended.
“Before your appointment make sure you do some prep work,” Cassondra Kaeding, expert colorist of Sally Hershberger Los Angeles, suggests over email. “Bleaching will strip out the moisture and natural proteins in your hair, so a week or two before your appointment, use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner to help hydrate the hair and make it stronger.”
3. You're Going To Need Bleach
To bring brown hair to a bright and eccentric purple, bleaching pretty much a guaranteed part of the process. To start this look, the most important step is to pre-lighten your base or natural hair color. After this process this completed, you can easily formulate and apply your color, according to Carlina Ortega, Celebrity Colorist at Rita Hazan Salon.
“The best base color for this type of color can be anything from a lighter yellow to a pure white, depending on the color you trying to achieve," Ortega tells me in an interview. “Once you have your base lifted, you can simply formulate and apply your color.”
But just keep in mind that bleaching the hair is a damaging and time consuming process, and color jobs like this one can really cause the hair to dry out or break off. That’s why colorist Carlina Ortega recommends using Olaplex, a special hair treatment that works to safeguard hair against intense bleaching sessions.
“The treatment actually works to repair and strengthen hair bonds that have been broken or become damaged during chemical services, says colorist Carlina Ortega. “Additionally, it allows clients to have fun experimenting with their hair color, without having to worry about compromising the health of their hair.”
4. Warm Purple Is Easier For Brunettes
No matter what shade of purple you choose, it's important to know that that bleaching and lifting is a total part of the process, says colorist Rick Wellman.
"Keep in mind there are warm purples and cool purples, but both would require lifting or pre-bleaching for purple to show up on a brunette,” Wellman explains to me over email. “Warm purples are easier to achieve, where lighter and cooler purple tones would require more aggressive lifting to eliminate any warm red undertones.”
Matrix SOCOLOR Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas agrees that dark purple is easiest to achieve for brunettes, as bleaching will not as be as intense.
“You can create a deep lustrous shine with a near-black purple with a permanent hair color like Matrix LightInsider Lightening System 4RV,” Papanikolas tells me. “In dim light this shade looks almost black, but practically glows in sunlight. It’s extremely long lasting, and is great for darker base colors.”
Matrix Light Insider Lightening System, $14, Amazon
5. Colors Like These Aren't Permanent
While purple hair makes for one stunning look, know that high maintenance colors like these usually don’t last long. Non-permanent colors like these tend to fade fast, so maintaining the look can definitely be a challenge.
“Fun colors like purple contain less pigment, which unfortunately means they wash out more quickly,” says Papanikolas. “Just keep in mind that the upkeep is very high maintenance, as regrowth needs to be touched up every four weeks.”
Color fade is pretty unavoidable, but colorist Cassondra Kaeding recommends taking protective measures to ensure longer lasting color. These notions often include washing your hair less, staying out of the sun and avoiding swimming in chlorinated water.
“Washing too often will cause the color to rinse out a lot sooner,” Kaeding suggests to me over email. “For longer color, also be sure to stay out of the sun, and avoid going in the ocean and chlorinated pools, as these actions often contribute to rapid color fade.”
6. But It's Worth All The Trouble
If gorgeous purple hair is something you’ve always dreamed of, then there should be nothing standing in your way of trying this look out. Sure bleaching and constant upkeep can be time consuming and costly, but it’s an unavoidable part of getting this irresistible color. Yes, darker purples usually look best on darker tones, but if a bright vivid lilac is something you’ve been eyeing for a while, I encourage you to just go for it.
Images: Khánh Hmoong/Flickr, Giphy (6)