What Does Purple Hair Look Like When It Fades Over Time?

White girl with type 1 dark hair wearing clear glasses, a yellow shirt, and a blue skirt.

Purple hair dye is notorious for fading quickly. So, when you choose to color your hair purple, it’s not only important that you like the initial shade of purple but that you are also okay with the color it will fade to over time.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into purple hair dye, what it looks like when it fades, how to reduce fading, and more. Let’s get right into it! 

Key Takeaways

  • Purple Hair Fade Characteristics. Purple hair dye, similar to red tones, fades quickly due to its inability to penetrate the hair shaft deeply. Fading can result in a lighter purple or shades with blue or red undertones, depending on the original color. For example, deep purple may fade to a lighter shade with bluish tints, while magenta fades to lighter purple with a red or pinkish color.
  • Impact of Natural Hair Color and Skin Tone. The fade appearance varies based on your natural hair color and skin tone. Lighter hair colors, like blonde, may turn gray, silver, or green post-fading. The color of faded dark purple hair might look different as it lightens. This could be because of darker hair or skin tones.
  • Hair Care Practices for Color Longevity. To prolong the vivid colors of purple hair, use sulfate-free shampoo. You’ll also want to avoid heat-styling tools like hair dryers and curling irons. Then, wash your hair less frequently, preferably with cold water. A heat protectant spray is advised if using hot tools. Dry shampoo can be an excellent option for maintaining the color purple between washes.
  • Color Maintenance and Touch-Ups. To maintain a bold purple hair color, do regular touch-ups. Use color-depositing shampoo or a hair mask. These products help manage the transition and sustain the original color for longer. They are especially useful for color-treated hair or when trying a new color.
  • Styling and Adapting to Faded Color. Embrace the new look of faded purple hair by adapting your style. Curly hair can mask patchiness, and styling in braids or buns can also disguise uneven color. Consider adding purple highlights or a pastel shade for a refreshed style that works with the faded tone.

Purple Hair Dye Fades Quickly

Just like red hair dye, purple hair dye fades in a flash. The reason for this is that purple hair dye molecules aren’t able to penetrate the hair shaft deeply, leaving them vulnerable to external influences.

This is why it’s so important to know how purple hair will look when it fades – you could be dealing with faded hair much earlier than you expect. 

How Long Does It Take for Purple Hair to Fade?

Female wearing a pink sweater and skirt with a dark purple faded hair color with a blue undertone.

The length of time that it takes for purple hair to fade will depend on how often you wash it. If you wash your hair often, it may not stay vibrant for more than a week or two.

On average, purple hair dye will last for about 4 to 5 washes. However, you may notice it starting to fade after the first wash.

If you take some specific color preservation steps, you can get it to last for up to a month or two (more on that later). 

What Does Purple Hair Look Like When It Fades?


What color does purple hair dye fade to? Purple hair dye typically fades to a lighter version of purple initially, but you may also notice a red or blue tint, depending on the specific purple shade you use.

Referencing color mixology, red and blue make purple, so you can bet that purple hair dyes have both red and blue pigments in them.

Purple shades like magenta, plum, sangria, etc., have a red base and very little blue, while royal purple, deep lilac, violet, and other darker purple dyes have a blue base with just a bit of red.

Therefore, if your hair is dyed a red-based purple when it fades, it may look like a light purple with a red or pink tint.

On the other hand, if you opt for a blue-based purple, the faded-out version could have a bluish tint. 

Caucasian women with faded Fuschia hair strands wearing a shirt with a bleach yellow tone and a pink ribbed skirt.

Another thing to consider is the color of your natural hair before you add the purple color to it.

If your natural hair is very light (colored hair or virgin hair), the purple dye will eventually fade to gray or silver. Purple dye can also cause super blonde hair to turn a green shade – yikes! 

Lastly, if you color your hair purple over another semi-permanent color, that other color may come through as the purple fades. 

Purple Hair Problems

Note: You won’t have to walk around with neon red or shockingly blue hair when your purple hair color fades. As the purple fades, so will the intensity of the undertones. 

Watch this video to see how purple fades to pink or this video that shows it fading to gray

Purple Hair Dye on Blonde Hair

A particular concern that many people have is that their purple dye will stain their blonde hair. The not-so-great news is that it could.

There are times when the purple dye will fade completely, but sometimes, the purple dye can leave some unsightly streaks or blotches on your hair. If this happens, you can try a color remover to get rid of the purple remnants, which is an easy process.

All you need to do is purchase an at-home color remover system and follow the instructions on the packaging.

It could take a couple of sessions to get rid of the color. If the color remover doesn’t work, you may need to bleach your hair to remove the purple dye. 

White lady with naturally brown hair that's been dyed a dark rose color with red tones.

What Should I Do with My Faded Purple Hair?

If your purple hair is already faded, you may feel discouraged. Luckily, there are several things that you can do with your purple hair to make it look great, and we’ll tell you all about a few of them in this section: 

  • Color your roots a darker color – A bold ombre with faded purple hair at the ends and vibrant purple at the roots draws a ton of attention, as it’s super unique. 
  • Go gray – If your hair was originally platinum blonde and your purple hair has faded to a gray color, why not rock it as is? The gray hair trend is here to stay! 
  • Refresh with a color-depositing conditioner – If you’re not feeling the faded version of your purple hair dye, you can breathe life back into it with a color-depositing conditioner
  • Wear it curly – After your hair color has faded, it could look patchy and unattractive, but wearing your hair curly can help to conceal that. It’s as easy as doing a twist out or braid out. 

How to Prevent Purple Hair Dye from Fading

Young girl with multiple hair colors wearing a lavender jacket, yellow shirt, and faded blue pants.

It’s good to know that you have some options to make your faded purple hair look better, but what if you could slow down your hair’s fade rate?

We’ll be clear: nothing can completely stop purple hair dye from fading, but if you try one or more of the following tips, you can slow it down and enjoy your purple hair longer: 

  • Avoid heat tools – Using heat tools regularly can lead to super-fast fading. So, to preserve your purple hue, we recommend putting those down and trying out some heat-free styles. If you must use heat, do so sparingly and set the heat as low as possible. Also, don’t forget your heat protectant
  • Stretch out the time between wash sessions. Washing your hair every day is one of the quickest ways to fade your hair color. Since purple hair dye does not penetrate deeply into your hair shaft, it binds to the outer layers of the hair and is easily washed away with shampoo. Try not to wash your hair more than once per week if you want to preserve your color. On days when your hair could use a wash, try protective styles like ponytails, high puffs, low buns, etc. 
  • Wash your hair with cold water. Washing your hair with hot water blasts open your hair cuticles, allowing the hair dye molecules to be rinsed away. So, we don’t recommend using hot water during shampoo sessions. Instead, try washing your hair with cool water, which won’t open your hair cuticles as much as hot water would. It may be uncomfortable to wash your hair with cold water, but you may get used to doing it over time. 
  • Stay far away from harsh shampoos. Clarifying shampoos and sulfate shampoos are not only harsh to the hair, but they speed up color fade. So, if you usually use these types of shampoos, consider making the switch to gentler sulfate-free shampoos. You could also take it a step further and choose a sulfate-free color-safe shampoo

Even if you take all of the steps above, your purple hair color will fade within months – that’s just the nature of purple hair dye. But many have reaped the benefits of these tips. 

Key Takeaways

Welcome to our FAQ section. Here, we will answer common questions about the fading process of purple hair. You will learn helpful insights and tips to understand how your vibrant purple tones might change over time.

Is Purple Hair Hard to Maintain?

Maintaining purple hair can be challenging due to its tendency to fade quickly. This is especially true for color-treated hair that has been dyed a vibrant purple. Regular use of purple color-depositing products can help sustain the hue.

To mitigate fading, using sulfate-free shampoos and avoiding frequent washing is advisable. You’ll also want to limit exposure to heat styling tools. Additionally, the porosity of the hair cuticle affects how well the dye holds. This makes the maintenance of purple tones more demanding compared to less vivid colors.

What Color Does Purple Cancel Out in Hair?

In hair coloring, purple neutralizes or cancels out yellow tones. This is due to the color theory, where opposite colors on the color wheel counteract each other. Purple shampoos are often used by those with light blonde hair or highlights. Purple shampoos deposit a small amount of purple pigment to counteract brassy, yellow hues. They restore the hair to a cooler, more neutral tone.

Can I Pull off Purple Hair?

Whether you can pull off purple hair depends largely on your hair type, skin tone, and personal style. Purple hair can be a bold and expressive choice, suitable for a wide range of skin tones. It’s versatile, with different shades like lilac or deep violet complementing various complexions. Remember, vibrant purple hair can be high-maintenance and might require regular touch-ups. You’ll also want to use specific hair care routines to maintain its vividness.

What Color Does Purple Fade to in Brown Hair?

When purple dye fades in brown hair, it typically transitions to a lighter purple or lilac shade. The specific fading pattern can vary depending on the original dark brown hair color and the type of purple dye used. Over time, the fading can reveal underlying tones, including red or blue pigments. This results in a blend of different shades in the fading process.

Does Dark Purple Hair Dye Fade Fast?

Dark purple hair dye does fade relatively fast. This is because the purple pigment does not penetrate deeply into the hair cuticle, making it more susceptible to washing out. Factors like the frequency of washing, use of heat styling tools, and exposure to sunlight can accelerate the fading process. Using color-depositing shampoos and avoiding harsh chemicals can help slow down the fade of dark purple hair.

Which Hair Color Fades the Fastest?

Red hair color is generally known to fade the fastest among all hair dye colors. This is due to the large size of red dye molecules, which don’t penetrate deeply into the hair cuticle and are easily washed out. Similarly, vibrant and unconventional colors like vivid purple, bright blue, and hot pink also tend to fade quickly compared to more natural hair colors. Regular maintenance and proper hair care are essential for preserving these bold colors.

Related Articles

Purple hair dye is one of those colors that you love at first and hate when it starts to fade. But with the information in the article, you’ve got all you need to keep your hair vibrantly purple longer, rock it while it’s fading, and determine how it might fade.

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