Less toxic path to purple?
May 11, 2012 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Light purple hair, from light brown hair. Bleach/toxicity inevitable?

The color I love is a light, gentle purple, either more solid or more varied. Here's my natural color, light brown (with a little blond if seen, like this, in the sun).

I have no experience with hair dyeing, but it's clear I'd need bleach or its equivalent.

Are there any less caustic, less strong-smelling alternatives for the bleach and/or for the dye?

And how often would I need to go through the process in order to maintain the color?
posted by kalapierson to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
There is no good substitute for bleach or dye, especially if you've got dark hair to begin with. Double-especially if you want a light color. The two examples you showed feature hair that's been bleached out, toned (to make it look white instead of the natural yellow of bleached hair) and then dyed. However, purple is generally the color used to tone, so it's not as big of an issue as if you wanted, say, really light pink hair.

Maintaining the color is a product of how often you wash your hair and what you wash it with. I had bright green hair stay bright green because I only shampooed it like once every two weeks. I don't suggest you go this route. Use a treated/dyed hair-safe shampoo and conditioner maybe half as often as you do now, assuming your hair doesn't immediately get gross if you don't wash it daily. Your roots will grow in and you'll eventually need to do something about that as well. I seriously suggest you get someone who knows what they're doing to help you dye your hair and especially help you maintain the roots. Dye generally only fades lighter -- so it's a bigger problem for people who want an intense color as opposed to what you seem to want -- so if it's properly toned, you shouldn't have to worry about re-dying it unless it gets too light.
posted by griphus at 7:34 AM on May 11, 2012

There is no way to do this without bleach. In fact, to get your hair a pale lavender color, you're going to have to bleach it quite a bit. To a very pale yellow.

Special Effects has some colors that are close to what you want. Joyride or wildflower would fit the bill. On the upside, the dye itself won't damage your hair at all--only the bleach will, and you'll only have to bleach your whole head the first time, and then your roots subsequently. The dye is vegetable based.

Because you seem a bit nervous about this, I'd recommend going to a salon.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:35 AM on May 11, 2012

The dye is vegetable based.

I think that it actually contains petroleum-based dyes. There is no way you can achieve some of the available colors in that brand by mixing only those dye that are derived from plants.

Not that this matters to the OP, since coal tar dyes are not generally damaging to the hair; it's just misleading of the dye manufacturers to allow people to think that their dyes are vegetable-based.
posted by Ery at 8:10 AM on May 11, 2012

Thank you! I don't care about damage to my hair, but I am concerned about intense fumes (I'm sensitive to smells) and scalp irritation.

100% agreement that if I do this I should get professional help at least the first time.
posted by kalapierson at 8:19 AM on May 11, 2012

I'm a professional colorist, and I suggest going to the salon also. I cant tell by the picture what condition your hair is in. Another concern is if you intend to cut it. I like the two pictures and know from personal experience that you may need to lighten your hair several times with bleach in order to obtain the results. There are bleaches (all over the head) which have a minimal smell so that shouldnt be an issue, to me it looks like after obtaining the result of pale yellow, there are 5 stages of lightness you need to be aware of. The colorist will know this, and after you get to pale yellow, an all over color or toner is applied, then they can foil in the silver. Go to a COLORIST, not a regular hair stylist, and by all means, take these pictures with you. It's not difficult for a person who knows what they're doing, but for an amature or a person with no experience, it will be a nigtmare. I'd love to see the after pictures. keep us updated ! Realy exciting ! :)
posted by brittaincrowe at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2012

Nthing that you'll need to bleach your hair much lighter first. Adding a packet or two of Sweet N Low to the bleach mixture will help with itching/sensitivity of your scalp. I also recommend Special Effects color. Get a couple bottles and re-dye all over as you see fit, but probably once every 10-14 days. The nice thing about having bleached out hair is it will be dry, and you won't need nor want to wash your hair very frequently. I washed mine 2x/week max when my hair was bleached. Washing as little as possible and re-dyeing regularly will keep your color nice and bright. Great choice, by the way!
posted by curtains at 3:14 AM on May 12, 2012

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