From Katy Perry to Kylie Jenner, it seems like almost everyone goes through a purple hair stage. If it’s something temporary you want to try out or a new permanent change you’re braving, we’re all for it and want to help you get the violet locks of your dreams.
Finding the right purple is essential, with endless shades and tones on offer, it’s easy to get lost in it all. Whether you’re after a light purple dye for a silver-tone lilac or a dark purple dye for a bright and fiery shade, there really is a box dye for it all.
Related: Best silver hair dye
Colour newbie? Here’s what you should look out for with purple hair dye:
Permanent vs semi-permanent
Semi-permanent hair colours are usually more vibrant artificial colours that wash out with time, typically 2-8 weeks depending on the brand/product. Permanent colours, however, do not wash out - they alter your hair's pigment permanently, but they may fade over time.
Semi-permanent colours are great if you know you want to try a few colours and want to change up and dye your hair frequently. This makes semi-permanent colours great for people scared of commitment.
Permanent purple hair dye colours offer 100% grey coverage and longer-lasting vibrant colour. They also provide rich colours that don’t fade as quickly as semi-permanent, so make sure you’re ready to commit before you take the plunge.
Tone of colour to complement skin tone
There’s a perfect purple hair colour out there for everyone, you’ve just got to find the right one to compliment your skin tone and undertone.
Fairer skin tends to suit a pastel lilac, almost silver-purple as it’s light and has cool blue undertones that complement the skin. Whereas a deeper medium skin tone would suit a plum purple with red undertones beautifully, as it compliments the warmth of the skin.
Read more on finding your perfect purple with Loreal Paris.
Home dyeing kits
Dying your own hair at home can be daunting, therefore finding the right box dye that guarantees great results is a must. Here’s what you should look for in a box dye:
• Easy to use applicator bottles
• High-quality gloves are a must – box dye gloves can be thin and prone to breaking so make sure you have some spare disposable gloves at hand
• An after-care treatment/conditioner – after-care is crucial to maintain soft, silky and healthy hair
• Easy to follow instructions - this is pretty self-explanatory, but every brand’s dyes are slightly different so following clear instructions is crucial
Salon-less and craving change? We’ve found the best purple hair dyes, semi-permanent or permanent, from lilacs to ultraviolets, to help you find your perfect purple that guarantees luscious and healthy locks.
Related: Best hair growth vitamins
Remember: Always do a patch test before using a hair dye.
Best purple hair dye UK:
1. Schwarzkopf Live Colour + Lift Ultra Violet, Permanent Colour
Best purple hair dye for dark hair: Specially developed for dark hair, this purple hair dye from Schwarzkopf gives you the purple you want without any harsh bleaching. With one-step lightening and colour, vibrant and permanent purple hair has never been easier.
Pros: After-care treatment provided for softer hair with a glossy shine. Lifts and colours for vibrant colour even on naturally darker hair and red undertones so you're not left with faded hair that looks blue or green.
Cons: Thicker and longer locks will require at least two boxes for even coverage, Not for those looking for a soft and pastel purple, you're guaranteed vibrant and intense with this Live purple hair dye
Review: "I have been using this colour for a couple of years and it never lets me down. I have natural dark auburn/brown hair, and this covers wonderfully. I redo it every 6-8 weeks to cover my couple of 'glitter' strands and to do the roots. Overall lasts really well and really shines in the sun."
2. Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Colour Permanent Purple Hair Dye - 5.21 Intense Lilac
Best permanent purple hair dye: Bold colour for eight weeks? Yes, please. Long-lasting hair colour has never been easier thanks to Garnier's colour boost technology and intense dyes.
Pros: Comes with gloves and applicator bottle for a clean and effortless colour, Five oils conditioner after-care treatment provided for silkier and shinier hair, Intense colour for up to eight weeks
Cons: Higher red undertone - will fade to a red shade that not everyone may like, Strong colour, make sure to moisturise forehead and ears to avoid staining the skin
Review: "I bought this in the week to have a drastic change from medium brown and I'm amazed. The vibrant purples that have come out is fantastic it has left my hair feeling in great condition silky smooth and shiny. I have never died my own hair before the instructions were super clear and easy to follow."
3. Shrine Purple Hair Dye – Drop It Kit, semi-permanent
Best for getting creative: Create any shade of purple with these colour hair drops from Shrine. Simply add your desired amount of drops into any conditioner and apply to your hair, the more drops you add, the darker the results. The drop kit allows you to experiment with colours to find your favourite shades, so you can unleash your inner artist at home.
Pros: Up to thirty full head colours in one bottle, Multi-use and perfect for achieving any shade of purple, Vegan, cruelty-free and plastic-reducing, Includes silicone mixing bowl and mixing tool
Cons: Washes out quickly, so great for a temporary colour change
Review:"I bought these drops being very sceptical as to whether they would work and oh my gosh my hair went from being blonde to a gorgeous vibrant purple, that I have been trying to achieve for years. Thank you Shrine I love my purchase and can't wait to get more."
4. L'Oreal Paris Colorista Dark Purple Permanent Hair Dye Gel
Best dark purple hair dye: Formulated for all hair types, this dark purple dye offers high intensity and long-lasting colour for any hair type and colour.
Pros: Includes a post-Bold Colour Mask – up to six applications, Works for all hair types, Perfect for achieving a dark purple on light brown to dark brown/black natural hair
Cons: Comes with small gloves that risk breaking while in use, so have an extra pair handy just in case
Review:"I loved this colour and hair dye!! One of the best I have used. I have very dark hair brown/black hair and this colour came out beautifully. Usually, other hair dyes don't come out this bright. Also, it made my hair so shiny and soft."
5. Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Full Coverage Tint 200ml – Pony, semi-permanent colour
Best cruelty-free purple hair dye: Vegan and cruelty-free, this semi-permanent dye is perfect for adding a whimsical personality to your hair without the commitment. This Pony colour will give you a vibrant and bold purple most similar to Kylie Jenner's purple bob.
Pros: No commitment, fun colour, Vegan and cruelty-free, Nourishing, fast-absorbing and glossy colour
Cons: Any hair longer than shoulder-length or thicker hair requires two or more bottles, Will not dye over medium-brown to darker hair colours
Review: "Lime crime hair colour is the best by far. I love changing my hair colour and these are so vibrant. They leave my hair feeling soft and shiny. They smell amazing."
6. Schwarzkopf Live Lightener + Twist Hair Dye, Permanent Colour - 104 Cool Lilac
Best light purple hair dye: Looking for a purple with a cool undertone that's almost silver? This subtle lilac gives your blonde a pastel twist whilst lightening at the same time. In just one step you can lighten your hair by up to four levels and create the cool lilac you've been dreaming of.
Pros: Two-in-one formula that lightens and colours, Leaves hair moisturised, soft and shiny
Cons: Thicker and longer hair will require at least two bottles or more, Fades quickly as it is a light pastel tone
Review: "Love this range, have used the cool lilac a few times, tried the cool rose really nice pink result, please be aware though to use these shades your hair must be pre-lightened or bleached. The whiter the better and these shades will fade with washes, that's the point of pastel hair."
7. Garnier Olia Violet Hair Dye Permanent
Best ammonia-free purple hair dye: A hair dye that visibly improves the quality of your hair, while leaving you with beautiful, cool-toned violet locks. Thanks to the lack of ammonia, you also don't have to worry about eye-stinging or unpleasant smells - thank us later.
Pros: Ammonia-free, Rich colour that lasts, Leaves hair feeling soft and shiny
Cons: Thick consistency, application might be tricky
Review: "I was worried sick about colouring my own hair but this product is fabulous. Easy to use, easy to rinse off your hair and skin. No mess and it lasts longer than the one my hairdressers use. "
8. Renbow Crazy Color Semi Permanent Hair Color
Best for a vibrant outcome If you're looking for intense results, this hair dye will deliver. Purple-based with a hearty blue, the formula will saturate each hair strand to provide a high-definition tone and silky soft finish.
Pros: Intense, vibrant results, Easy to apply
Cons: Turns blue when fading
Review: "I don't usually write reviews but I just had to give crazy colour some credit here! I tried every purple you can think of that would show up bright on my bleached dip dye. This is the only colour that has showed up and with a bang! I absolutely love it!!!! I also tried arctic fox purple rain but it just made my hair so dark where this colour is so pigmented it shows up noticeably."
9. Adore Shining Semi Permanent Hair Colour, 114 Violet Gem
Best semi-permanent purple hair dye: This semi-permanent dye by Adore will give you the most gorgeous berry tone, and leave your hair feeling smooth and silky thanks to the magical ingredient aloe vera.
Pros: Provides a vivid colour with a few simple steps, Lasts up to six weeks, Free from ammonia and peroxide
Cons: Product is quite runny and may stain hands
Review:"This colour is absolutely gorgeous! I love it! I bought it thinking it would be more purple than pink, but it turned out a rich berry pink (think crushed blackberries/blackcurrants) in my pre-bleached hair! I totally recommend it!"
What is the longest lasting purple hair dye?
With vibrant and bold colours such as purple, it’s common to see colour fade after washes, even if it's permanent. The longest-lasting purple dye we've found is Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Colour Permanent Purple Hair Dye, as it guarantees up to eight weeks of bold and vibrant colour – more than any other brand.
Is purple hair dye damaging?
Putting any harsh chemicals on your hair can be damaging. When searching for the least damaging purple hair dye, look for dyes that don't contain any peroxide or ammonia; these are typically the most common damaging ingredients.
However, with dyes that still contain these chemicals, brands will include a specially formulated after-care treatment designed to lessen any damage and keep the hair protected.
Will purple hair dye go over brown?
This all depends on the tone of purple, as well as the type of brown you’re colouring on top of. There are brands and colours that are specifically designed to dye naturally darker colours, like the Schwarzkopf Live Colour + Lift Ultra Violet.
The type of purple you desire is also important. If you’re after a lilac or pastel purple, the likelihood is that you would have to bleach or strip your hair of any previous colour dyes to see results. If a darker purple is what you’re after, then it's most likely you will be able to find a dye that works for you and your hair.
Who wears purple hair dye?
Whether it was for Coachella or a red carpet look, most of our favourite celebrities have given purple hair time in the spotlight. From Nicki Minaj to Kylie Jenner, Demi Lovato and Jessie J, purple hair dye has been a staple in creating some of their most iconic looks ever.