Proof That Purple Is the Most Underrated Hair Color

Justine Skye


Jamie McCarthy /Getty Images

Purple hair might not seem like the most obvious of choices, but when you start to consider the full spectrum of shades that fit under the purple umbrella—lilac, amethyst, lavender—you may realize that the color is more versatile than you thought.

Purple hair is also surprisingly flattering, as it sits as a kind of midpoint between blue and red—both tones that you'll find naturally within your complexion, whatever the skin tone. On a style level, it's not going to be for everyone, but in case your interest has been piqued, we've gathered together some pretty wearable purple hair looks.

Choosing a Shade: There's a purple out there for everyone. "Purple is such fun, cool and hip color that anybody can pull off, because it’s not the color people want to look natural with, and it comes in many different shades," says Toyomi Ishikura, colorist for SHRD Hair Care at Kim Vo salon.

Maintenance Level: "High high high maintenance!" says Ishikura, who recommends visiting the salon for toner often and using color shampoo between visits. "You have to get prelighted hair, so you are gonna need to get deep conditioning treatment, as well."

Goes Great With: Everything. "Generally, deeper purple goes well with olive to darker skin, and lighter purple goes well with fair to neutral skin," adds Ishikura.

Similar Shades: Lilac, lavender, magenta

Price: The cost will vary widely depending on whether you tackle boxed dye in your bathroom or hit a high-end salon (keep in mind that Ishikura recommends you see a professional for best results).

Check out these purple hair color ideas to inspire your next salon visit.

01 of 14

Black Roots

Purple hair: Irene Kim with purple hair
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Here, Irene Kim proves that even if you opt for a neon shade of purple, you can easily tone down the look by keeping the roots dark and the ends light. As an added bonus, you don't have to worry as much about roots growing in and ruining your style.

02 of 14


Purple hair: Alicia Keys purple hair
C Flanigan/Getty Images

Alicia Keys added a special twist to her ultra-long braids by coloring them a punchy shade of purple, with a few blue strands threaded in here and there for an additional pop.

03 of 14

Blue and Purple

We love this vibrant mix of highlights—the purple strands add dimension and depth to dark blue base color.

04 of 14

Pastel Unicorn

Nicki Minaj

Neil Mockford / Getty Images

We've never been too sure about the whole unicorn trend, but there is something pretty ethereal about Nicki Minaj's pastel purple hair.

05 of 14


Purple hair: Justine Skye purple hair
Frazer Harrison/BFC/Getty Images

Justine Skye isn't a stranger to purple hair, but our favorite iteration is this short bob in a rich aubergine shade.

06 of 14

My Little Pony Purple

Purple hair: Nicole Richie purple hair
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Remember when Nicole Richie went full-on My Little Pony purple back in 2014? Yeah, well, we're still not over it.

07 of 14

Grape Juice Purple

This beautiful shade of purple has a reminds us of grape juice in the best way possible

08 of 14

Pale Purple Bob

Purple hair: Katy Perry


Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Katy Perry is no stranger to a fantastical hair color, but we're partial to this wavy pastel purple bob with dark roots from 2015. Winged liner and a glossy nude lip provide the perfect contrast to bold strands.

09 of 14

Wine Ombré

Wine-colored ombré on Justine Skye is almost subtle when compared with her nearly jet-black roots.

10 of 14

Purple Crop

Short hair offers ample opportunity to get playful with purple. We adore this pink-purple crop with pumped-up styling.

11 of 14

Periwinkle Curls

Purple curls are done right when paired with darker brows and minimal makeup—just let the hair do the talking.

12 of 14

Muted Plum

Lupita Nyong'o

Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images


The muted purple tones in this chic 'do are a unique take on a typically vibrant shade.

13 of 14


These gradient waves donned by Taraji P Henson move from black to purple to muted grey.

14 of 14

Violet Moon

Colorist Riawna Capri dubbed this dye-job she gave Ruby Rose "violet moon," and we think it's absolutely appropriate.

Related Stories