It’s never been easier to embrace your inner unicorn princess, thanks to the help of one magical beauty product — purple hair dye. The best purple hair dyes give you the violet hair of your dreams on a temporary or permanent basis (there are even wash-out formulas), and they come in a wide spectrum of hues, from electric violet to pastel lilac to deep eggplant.
When choosing a purple hair dye, start by asking yourself how long you want the color to last. Temporary hair dye is designed to wash out after just one day — which is great for experimenting — and application is as easy as a simple spray or pomade. A semi-permanent dye, on the other hand, uses a traditional application process and washes out over several weeks, but if you’re really ready to take the plunge, a permanent dye will lock in the color until your hair grows out or you dye it again. (Tip: When dyeing your hair at home, start with a strand test to make sure you’re happy with the color before committing to your whole head.)
It’s also important to note that your current hair color will greatly impact how intense your purple shade will be. Those with light-colored hair will see the most vibrant results, while those with darker hair will get a more subtle violet sheen that’s most noticeable in the sunlight. If it’s a more intense result you’re after (and you’re not light blonde), you might want to consider bleaching your hair before adding the purple dye. However, this can be a tricky process, so you’ll want to read up on how to safely bleach your hair at home before you decide to take that step. One more note: Warm purple tones are easier for dark hair colors to achieve, whereas cool tones like lavender will require more aggressive bleaching in order to prevent red tones from developing.
Of course, you’ll want to keep your strands in good condition after treating, so be sure to pick up a color-safe shampoo and conditioner set. So whether you’re jonesing for a jewel-tone amethyst or a pastel lilac, these are the best purple hair dyes for achieving violet tresses without having to make a salon appointment.
1. The Best Temporary Purple Hair Dye
- Available purple shades: 3
This is a great semi-permanent dye line with an impressive 4.5-star rating on Amazon after more than 57,000 reviews. There are three options, ranging from a light purple hair dye to a warm violet to a true purple, the latter of which even works well on shades as deep as unbleached light brown hair. (Check out the helpful shade guide on the product page.) The color lasts for four to eight weeks, depending on how often you shampoo and how much time you spend in the sun. The conditioning dye is vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without ammonia, so it’ll be less drying and damaging than permanent options.
According to a reviewer: “I love this product so much! As someone who has been dyeing my hair every color imaginable for over a decade, this is by far one of the best brands I've tried. It smells really good but it is also conditioning which my super dry hair really needs. [...] I bought the color Girls Night which came out beautifully. For clarity, my hair was bleached to a light blonde prior to using.”
2. The Runner-Up — & One That Smells So Good
- Available purple shades: 4
Lime Crime is a cult-favorite beauty brand, and their Unicorn Hair semi-permanent dye is one of their iconic products. Available in electric violet, deep purple, rich mauve, and dark eggplant colors, this dye offers several different options for expressing yourself. The best part? Unlike most formulas, this natural purple hair dye smells amazing. The gentle, ammonia-free formula conditions hair while it colors, and each application lasts about four to six weeks. It’s vegan, cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny-certified.
According to a reviewer: “I used Pony and it's so pretty and vibrant! I was only able to lift my previously black hair to an Irish red color but Pony covered it so good! Will definitely repurchase. Also the hair color smells nice and conditions my hair while it processes, so that's a plus.”
3. The Best Permanent Purple Hair Dye
- Available purple shades: 2
If you’re ready to commit to purple hair for the foreseeable future, then this permanent dye from Garnier Nutrisse is a great option. It’s available in two shades — a deep lilac and a deep violet — and the nourishing color cream is blended with avocado, olive, and shea oils to condition hair and leave it feeling silky and soft. It’s one of the best purple hair dyes for dark hair, as the deep shades show up subtly on dark bases, with more vibrant results if you bleach first. The long-lasting purple hair dye includes a small amount of ammonia in order to lock the shade in permanently, so be sure to apply it in a well-ventilated area and use a deep conditioner frequently. Note that at time of writing, the dye is only available in a two-pack (not necessarily a bad thing, since you may want to touch up your roots as they grow out).
According to a reviewer: “Love this color. I wanted to cover brassy red from a vibrant cranberry that had washed out. I have a passion for shades of purple, but was a bit nervous about violet over brassy red. It turned out amazing! A hint of violet through my hair and no more red. I've bought 2 more boxes…”
4. The Best Shimmery Permanent Dye
- Available purple shades: 6
Get shimmering purple locks with this permanent dye from L’Oréal. Available in six different purple hues like cool sapphire and medium violet, this high-intensity formula works with any base color — although, if you have darker hair, you may want to lighten beforehand for more dramatic results. The fun part: This line adds multifaceted color to hair, creating deep tones, highlights, and a shimmery appearance. The long-lasting purple hair dye conditions as it colors, but it does contain ammonia, so you’ll want to apply it in a ventilated area (and commit to regular use of a deep conditioner). With this pick, you can be confident your hair color won’t be dull or flat — this dye is specifically designed to give you the shiny purple shade of your dreams.
According to a reviewer: “I love this dye so so much. It's a permanent dye, but still gives me the edgy, chic, colorful look I love! It's purple with red hues, and looks stunning. I receive lots of compliments on the color.”
5. The Best Wash-Out Wax
- Available purple colors: 1
If you’re looking for some temporary purple highlights or colored tips, you can easily achieve them with this pigmented hair wax. Made with all-natural ingredients like beeswax and tea extract, the medium-purple dye instantly colors your hair when applied to slightly damp strands and washes out with warm water. It also acts as a medium-hold pomade, which is helpful for styling, but note that the wax can become brittle once it dries, so it’s best for a few hours of wear at a festival, party, or anywhere else you want to sport it. This is a good pick for anyone who wants a temporarily vibrant shade with no commitment whatsoever.
According to a reviewer: “I love this product. It goes on very easy. The color is bright and vibrant. I have a low buzz cut and its velvet red but wanted to try new colors. My first was purple but I'm definitely gonna order red, blue, and gold. Even put on my eyebrows which matched my hair perfectly. Love it!”
6. The Best Wash-Out Spray
- Available purple colors: 1
This wash-out color spray from L’Oréal is the quickest and easiest way to temporarily add purple pigment to your hair. Just a couple of sprays is all you need to instantly add highlights or streaks — you don’t even need to wear gloves. It washes out with shampoo, but remember to wear a towel around your shoulders to keep the dye from coming into contact with your clothes, and be advised that the formula will leave hair with a stiffer texture. Great for Halloween costumes, festivals, and experimenting with a new shade, this spray is a hassle-free way to give your hair a purple hue.
According to a reviewer: “Turned my daughter's light-colored hair a very nice deep shade of purple (with a couple swipes). Easy to apply and no glops. Washed out completely that same day with one shampoo. EXACTLY what we wanted!”
7. The Best Color-Depositing Conditioner
- Available purple colors: 1
Formulated with coconut, jojoba, and shea oils, this color-depositing conditioner deeply moisturizes your strands while adding pigment to them. The results will be more subtle than a concentrated dye (and will show up better on light hair), but you can use the conditioner each time you wash until you reach your desired shade. It lasts longer than other semi-permanent dyes, since you can reapply it every time you wash your hair, but after you reach your desired shade, it’ll maintain color for 10 to 15 washes with regular shampoo and conditioner. If your hair is already permanently dyed purple, this product is also an excellent way to keep the color vibrant in between dye jobs.
According to a reviewer: “Love it! I already had a bleached ombre style in my hair but wanted to add some color to make quarantine less dreary. I went for the purple. [...] It came out perfect! Even, vibrant color (not a deep plum color, more of a medium purple), very soft, didn’t stain my face, neck, or hands. So far I'm very happy with it.”