We'll be honest: Not every rainbow hair color is universally flattering. But lucky for us, purple is. Whether you're a born-blonde or brunette, with naturally coarse or ultra-fine hair, there's a violet hue for you.
Of course, if you're nervous about a full-on, allover dye job, taking the plunge with purple highlights is a great place to start. (Warning: Some of these shades are definitely more subtle than others.) Below, see 25 vibrant violet purple highlights styles that are totally wearable.
CHOOSING A SHADE: If you're not willing to get regular color touch-ups, choose a lighter lavender shade, which will fade more naturally than a deep violet.
MAINTENANCE LEVEL: Be prepared to touch up your highlights even 6-8 weeks, depending on your shade.
GOES GREAT WITH: Monochromatic purple eyeshadow, neutral makeup
PRICE: $50-150, depending on your natural hair color and the number of highlights you're looking for.
Cool-Blonde & Lavender
For a “lavender-vanilla latte” look like this one, your colorist will add in “slices” of a lavender dye. While this color looks soft and relatively subtle, professional colorists make sure to use formulas that are ultra-saturated and pigmented (and most importantly, don’t fade) like this one from Aloxxi Hair.
When you pick the perfect purple, you'll know it. These long, brown beach waves were upgraded with saturated-yet-subtle mulberry highlights—and you can keep your hair touchable and soft (post-dye job) with a good post-color regimen that includes things like weekly deep-hydrating masks and the right shampoo.
Thinking of ways to get creative? Try an unexpected ombré, like this violet-to-gray, layered shag. The colorist masterfully used jam-hued dye on the roots, then applied a smoky gray on the midshaft and ends.
If you’re looking for light purple, peek-a-boo highlights, it's a good idea to make sure your colorist picks a tone that's complementary. Cooler blonde tones (like this one) pair better with lavender than warmer, yellower ones—so make sure you have the right hue in place if you’re already blonde.
Take your everyday, straightened 'do up a notch with a vibrant purple ombré. And if you don't already have a short style, now's the perfect time to make the chop—when all the attention's on your newly dyed ends, you probably want to make sure they look soft, healthy, and gorgeous.
This beautiful purple balayage only looks effortless. In reality, a colorist had to lift and lighten her natural hair color, then tone it down with Calura Gloss in different violet hues before styling it in sleek, touchable beach waves. (So, yes, a lot of effort did go into this, and it looks amazing.)
Multidimensional & Berry-Hued
You don't have to choose just one shade to incorporate into your new 'do. This natural brunette opted for allover highlights and lowlights, in different shades of red, mahogany, Pulp Riot "Velvet" and "Fireball." The end result is a perfectly blended, multidimensional swash of berry hues.
Mix up your regular box braids with unexpected hues. We love the dark-to-light gradient happening here with different shades of lavender, white, and pastel purple.
Believe it or not, these streaks are only temporary—so they're perfect for anyone nervous to take the plunge and make an actual colorist appointment. For a low-lift switch-up, this makeup artist went for Lime Crime Makeup's hair color spray in Lollipop.
Give your ends the VIP treatment. With muted, nearly invisible highlights throughout, you can go for the bold with saturated, vibrant tips—like these gorgeous mauve ones. Perfect for anyone with long tresses, or just a person who may or may not want to experiment with dyeing hair extensions.
Ask for a melting technique if you're looking to blend your base color with something bright, like this gorgeous grape-soda hue. (Color-melting is great if you're low-maintenance, since it still looks soft and natural even when it grows out. Less touch-ups, less problems.)
Subtle & Muted
Add some flair to your average beach waves with subtle streaks. Pick a shade that can subtly blend with your natural hue—in this case, a soft wine shade that complements her dark brunette locks perfectly.
Liven up your usual highlighted beach waves with some soft, light-purple strands. (This client chose subtle streaks before taking the plunge into full-on purple.) We’re obsessed with the way the hue pairs perfectly with both the highlights and lowlights in her ‘do.
Tousled & Subtle
Put a spin on your naturally low-maintenance, wavy hair with subtle streaks. The violet shade hair blends with her natural hair color perfectly (just add a good texturizing spray for styling).
Pops of Purple
With naturally dark hair, you can easily achieve purple highlights that blend well into brown or black tresses. The bob here has super-subtle streaks of plum—they complement the curled, angled cut perfectly.
Piecey & Plum-Hued
A rich, deep plum color is the perfect complement to a rich, deep natural shade of brown. Note how the piecey layers of the cut—and tousled, wavy style—add dimension to the look.
Just the Tips
You don’t necessarily have to go all out and make a major statement. Dip-dye your tips or get subtle lowlights to get an understated style—especially if you have brown hair that doesn’t provide too much contrast.
Depending on what your natural shade is, your colorist might have to do some overall toning and lightening before they can even begin on purple highlights (and this could take multiple sessions). But when the end result is as gorgeous, cohesive, and tonal as this? It’s obviously worth the wait.
Feel like taking a beauty risk? Forget lavender, plum, and other easy-to-pull-off purple hues—bright, saturated purple highlights instead could be perfect for satiating your bold side. Just make sure you have the right color-protecting shampoo and conditioner so it doesn’t lose its pigment.
You can do anything with a solid base color. Case in point: This natural brunette who opted for both blonde and purple highlights. It gives her straight hair (and sleek braid) a rich, dimensional look.
Don’t be shy. Go for the bold with borderline-neon tresses—in this case, magenta highlights and a choppy, layered ‘do. Allover neon can be a little intimidating, so you can ease into it with adventurous streaks instead.
Upgrade an otherwise neutral dirty blonde with a combo of lavender and platinum highlights. Long layers and beach-wave styling bring out the multidimensional mix of colors.
Touchable Long Bob
We’ll always give two-thumbs-up to perfectly tousled long bobs. And we love the look of rich, saturated purple mixed with a warm dirty blonde—the subtle-wave styling is just the boysenberry on top of the sundae.
If you’re already rocking (or growing out!) bangs, consider experimenting with a purple balayage like this one. With a straight style, natural roots, and contrasting bangs, you can bring the drama while knowing you can ultimately grow it out if you get sick of it.