How to Dye Your Hair Purple without Bleach

By Alice Marini. Updated: July 8, 2019
How to Dye Your Hair Purple without Bleach

If you have dark hair and you want to dye your hair purple, then many people choose bleach. It is effective because it is a drastic change from dark to light. Unfortunately, a drastic change can mean damaging your hair. For this reason, many people want to know how to dye your hair purple without bleach. Since purple is not a natural hair color, then we need to find purple hair dye for dark hair. there are two main options to dye dark hair purple: semi-permanent hair dyes or katam (also known as black henna).

At oneHOWTO, we go through all the considerations you need to make when dying hair purple without bleaching. This means understand the limitations of dark hair as well as ensuring any product is used safely as well as effectively.

You may also be interested in: How to Dye Your Hair Blue without Bleach

Do you have to bleach your hair to dye it purple?

To bleach or not to bleach. That is the question. The answer will be determined by how dark is your hair and how light you want the purple to be. If you have black or very dark hair, then making it lighter is difficult. Bleach works by removing the color from the hair in the first place. This requires oxidization, a permanent change to the chemical makeup of the hair.

Many people can bleach their hair fairly regularly and not cause particular damage to their hair. Others are not so lucky and find their hair can be badly damaged after only one bleaching. Even if we keep the hair hydrated and try to look after it, it can still be difficult.

If you already have light hair, then it is possible you can dye your hair fairly easy without bleaching it first. The lighter the original hair, the easier it is to dye your hair purple. This is why dying dark hair purple without bleaching is tricky if you want a lighter purple hair color. In fact, if you have dark hair and you want to dye it a light purple color, you will have to bleach your hair first. Dark hair is best suited to warm purple colors if we want to dye it without bleaching.

Another thing to take into consideration when it comes to dying your hair purple, is matching it to your skin tone. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to matching hair to skin tone. Even subtle changes in skin tone can make the difference when it comes to matching hair color. Find the closest match on a piece of material and choose the purple hair dye which comes closest to it.

Even with semi-permanent hair dye, you will want to ensure your hair is in the best health. Make sure you look after your hair before you dye it purple. Conditioning, moisturizing, using serum or whatever product works best on your hair are all important.

How to dye your hair purple with katam

Katam is a natural hair dye which is sometimes known as black henna. However, you need to be careful. There are many different products which claim to be black henna. Some of these contain unlisted chemicals which can be detrimental to your skin. Only purchase quality products which have good reviews (easier to do if you buy hair products online). Even with quality products, put a tester on a piece of your skin first and see if you have an allergic reaction.

Katam is similar to indigo hair dye. It has recently been rediscovered and is a great way to keep your hair natural while still changing its color. To make the most of katam, you will have to use a mixture of katam and henna.

Here is the method on how to dye your hair purple without bleach using katam hair dye:


  • A box of henna powder
  • A box of katam hair dye powder
  • Water


  1. Mix henna and water in a bowl to form a paste.
  2. Let sit 30 minutes.
  3. Apply to hair.
  4. Let sit 5 hours.
  5. Rinse with water and dry.
  6. Mix katam with water and apply to hair immediately.
  7. Let sit for 5 hours.
  8. Rinse with water only.

By dying your hair with katam you will achieve a purplish color. The exact shade will depend on your base color. If you have black hair you will only get a few warm purple shades. If you have dark brown or brunette hair you will be able to get a nice dark purple color without bleaching.

Henna helps enhance the purple color, and it is important to use it as a base if you really want to color hair purple without bleaching. Katam will fade over time, and you will achieve a stable color only after 3 applications. We recommend you apply katam once a month.

Katam is definitely the healthiest way to dye your hair purple without bleach. It is natural, it does not damage your hair, and it lasts long. If your hair is very dark, then the tone may only be changed slightly, but it can still give you a purple hue which we think makes all the difference, even it is is subtle. However, you can try another way to dye your hair purple without bleach. Read below.

How to Dye Your Hair Purple without Bleach - How to dye your hair purple with katam

How to dye your hair purple with semi-permanent hair dye

There are many different temporary or semi-permanent hair dyes on the market. Just as with the katam hair dye, you will need to ensure the product is quality. Punky Color, Crazy Color and Manic Panic are three options which are highly recommended and generally get good reviews. Manic Panic is a vegan hair dye product which is great for ethically minded.

Semi-permanent hair dyes are generally more effective than katam, but they are still not going to make dark hair turn light. They will work with your own natural hair color and change it according to its darkness. For light hair, these will work wonders and can give you violet or mauve colors if this is what you're looking for. Deeper purple colors will happen with darker hair.

As with katam, you will need to test the purple hair dye on a section of skin first. To dye your hair purple with temporary hair dyes such as Punky color and Crazy color you need to simply apply the dye to your hair:

  1. Pick a temporary hair dye you like (plum violet, pastel purple, etc.)
  2. Mix the content of a hair dye bottle with some conditioner to form a paste
  3. Apply to your hair
  4. Let sit for 1 hour
  5. Wash out the hair dye

Depending on your natural color, you might be able to achieve very fun and vibrant hair colors with this kind of dyes. The drawback is that they literally last one wash. You can have fun and try them without the fear of permanently dying your hair though. Although bleaching hair is recommended to get the exact color shown on the box of temporary hair dyes, you will be able to achieve pretty vibrant colors and dye your hair purple without bleach on any base color apart from black.

For something half way, you can try the many semi-permanent colors options available on the market. They dye your hair purple without bleach, will last up to 1 month, and give you an intense purple color, although not as vibrant as the temporary hair dyes.

How to Dye Your Hair Purple without Bleach - How to dye your hair purple with semi-permanent hair dye

Tips for dying dark hair purple without bleaching

As we have said, to dye dark hair purple without bleach, you will have to match it to your skin tone. If using a product which is new to you, there will be a trial and error element. Seeing what result is part of the fun, but its unlikely you will do anything drastic if you have dark hair and aren't using bleach.

Still, if you have opted for one of the options we recommended for dying your hair purple without bleaching, keep in mind the following tips:

As you can see, there are a few ways to dye your hair purple without bleach. Avoiding bleach will help you to ensure you don't damage your hair. If in doubt, you can go to a professional hair salon to ask their advice on how to reach your color goals.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Dye Your Hair Purple without Bleach, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

Write a comment about How to Dye Your Hair Purple without Bleach

What did you think of this article?
Ashley Turner
I have natural red hair and want to dip dye or ombre with clairols color crave semi permanent or orchid. What will that look like and. What's the best way to use the color
is this permanent??
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Salma,

It is not as permanent as permanent hair dye, but it will stay with your for a while and wash out progressively.

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