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How to Fix Red Hair That Has Turned Purple

Many people desire a stunning auburn hair color or a fiery red mane. But if your red hair turned purple, you may be wondering where you went wrong.

To achieve the gorgeous red hair you dreamt of, you should know why red hair turns purple and how to prevent it. And if you’re stuck with purple hair right now, check out our tips to ix your red hair that has turned purple.

Why Does Red Hair Turn Purple?

red hair turned purple

There are a few reasons your dyed red hair looks purple, and they generally have to do with the color your hair was before dying it.

When dying your hair any color, you must take into account the current color, as this will impact the results substantially. You also need to select the hair dye carefully, as two people may use the same dye but wind up with completely different results.

Your red hair may look purple because your natural hair color has cool undertones, you chose the wrong color dye, you have residual dye from the previous coloring, or the red color is simply fading. Fixing your hair is easier when you identify why it’s purple in the first place. 

Reasons Your Red Hair Is Purple

First, let’s discuss the possible reasons your hair is purple.

Faded Burgundy

If you loved your red hair for a while, but now it looks purple, it is likely just fading. Some red dyes have blue and violet undertones that help achieve the beautiful red color. But when the dye begins to fade, these cool tones can become more apparent, resulting in a purple appearance.

Burgundy is the most common color that fades to purple because of the blue undertones, while fiery red dyes are less likely to turn purple.

Natural Ashy Color

Ashy is a term that refers to hair with cooler undertones. For example, the opposite of “ashy” blonde, would be a gold or honey blonde, which has warm undertones.

As mentioned, your natural hair color significantly impacts the final color. Before selecting a hair dye, ensure you define your natural color. If it is ashy you need to find a dye that will offset those cool tones.

Previous Hair Dye

Lastly, your red hair may come out purple because you previously had a dye job with blue undertones. For example, if you dyed your hair blue, dying it red over the old blue will very likely result in purple hair.

Even if your blue hair dye faded substantially to the point you can barely see it, it will still affect the red dye. When you re-dye your hair, it can lift those old dye colors to the surface, making them more visible and causing them to compromise the color of the new dye.

How to Prevent Red Hair from Turning Purple

Before dyeing your hair red, read these preventative tips.

Find the Right Dye

red hair dye
Red Hair Dye, anahisbeautynspa/Instagram

Follow the steps below when choosing a red hair dye:

  1. Identify your natural hair color (or current hair color).
  2. Choose a hair dye with complementary undertones to your natural tones.
  3. Dye a small piece of your hair, ideally at the base of your skull, so it’s inconspicuous.
  4. Assess the color of the strand and decide if you like it or if it needs altering.
  5. Find a new hair dye with either cooler or warmer tones, depending on what you want, and repeat the process, but dye a different strand of hair.

Lighten Natural Color

Lightening your natural hair before applying red dye can ensure you achieve the color you envision more closely. You can do this with bleaching agents, like lemon juice, chamomile tea, or apple cider vinegar, or try a clarifying shampoo or bleach mixture.

Lift Old Colors

bleaching hair to prevent red hair from turning purple

If you dyed your hair previously, you should lift the old color before dyeing it red. This process can be similar to lightening your natural color, but it depends on the previous hair dye.

Some options for lifting old hair dye include a bleach wash, a developer, a sulfur-based stripping product, or hydrogen peroxide.

Trust a Pro

When in doubt, go to a salon and ask them to help you. Dyeing hair is more complicated than it may seem. To avoid messing it up, trust a professional. Explain to them your concerns and vision so they can help you avoid purple hair.

How to Fix Red Hair Turned Purple

Below are some helpful solutions for fixing red hair dye that turned purple.

Fade and Re-Dye

re dyeing hair red

Time heals all wounds and purple hair. The healthiest way to fix your purple hair is to let the dye fade. Taking extra showers and shampooing more often can help it fade more quickly.

Most dyes take six to eight weeks to fade noticeably, so this option requires patience. Once it fades enough, re-dye it with a warm-toned red.

Remove Color and Re-Dye

If you can’t wait for it to fade, you can lift the previous dye and then re-dye it. The issue with this solution is it can be damaging to your hair.

Dyeing your hair twice in a short time and using lifting products can result in dry, brittle, and unhealthy hair. After lifting the color, re-dye your hair using a warm-toned red dye.

Go to a Salon

You can always go to a salon for help. Salon professionals and hairstyles should understand the color wheel and how it applies to hair dye.

They can help you choose the right strategy for fixing your hair with little damage and choose the perfect shade of red.

Red hair dye turned purple can usually be blamed on your original hair color, whether natural or previously dyed.

Remember, what you see on the box is not always what you get because everyone starts with a different base color. Select your red hair dye carefully the first time to avoid purple hair.


Does purple shampoo turn your hair purple?

Yes. If you have light or damaged hair, using purple shampoo daily can add a purple hue.

How soon after dyeing my hair can I dye it again?

Ideally, wait two months. But you can re-dye your hair four weeks after a dye job.

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