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Mixing Purple and Red Hair Dye | Step-by-Step

You’re ready for a new look, but you can’t choose what color. Red is a stunning shade, but purple is a lot of fun. What if you try both? Mixing purple and red hair dye is a great way to get a custom shade that demands attention.

Mixing Red and Purple Hair Dye: A Summary

To dye your hair could be one of the most exciting changes in style you can make. However, it’s crucial to follow the appropriate steps to avoid any catastrophe.

  1. Pick the right dyes
  2. Run a test
  3. Mix your color
  4. Prepare your area
  5. Dye your hair
  6. Rinse the dye
  7. Care for your hair

How to Mix Purple and Red Hair Dye

Mixing purple and red hair dye might sound like something you need to do in a lab. Some people are overly cautious about mixing pigments because they don’t want to harm their hair.

Be careful, as many hair dyes are harsh and can damage your skin or make your hair brittle over time. But there’s a safe way to mix hair dye.

1. Pick the Right Dyes

Don’t mix different brands of hair dye. It’s always best to buy two different shades from the same manufacturer because you know they use the same chemicals. Mixing dyes from two brands could cause it to react badly in the mixing bowl or your hair.

In addition to using the same brands, you also need to choose the same type. For example, mix a permanent red dye with a permanent purple dye.

You can also pick demi-permanent or semi-permanent, as long as both colors are the same type and brand. It’s best to use semi-permanent hair colors because they aren’t as harsh on your hair. 

2. Run a Test

This step could come after you mix the colors, but it’s best to ensure you don’t react to the dye before you go any further. It’s unfortunate to mix the perfect shade only to find out your skin can’t handle the type of dye.

Doing a test before you mix the colors also ensures you use just one color, so you can return the unopened dye if you have a reaction. Many people skip this step, but it’s crucial.

Thankfully, it’s a simple step that will save you time and pain in the long run. Take one dye color and dab a bit on the inside of your elbow. Let it dry and see if your skin reacts badly. Once it’s dry, rinse it off. Look at your surrounding skin and make sure you feel fine overall.

It’s suggested you wait 48 hours to see if there’s a delayed reaction, but that part is up to you. You should wait if you have sensitive skin, allergies, or extreme reactions to skin products.

3. Mix Your Color

Use a plastic bowl to mix your colors. Metal bowls will oxidize the dye and influence how effectively it dyes your hair. Depending on the elements in the dye, a metal bowl might make the color ineffective on your hair.

It can also cause a harmful chemical reaction. Put newspaper or a plastic tarp down under your mixing bowl. You can also use an old dark towel to prevent stains on your bathroom tiles or kitchen counters.

The primary color you like best should create the base for your dye. For instance, if you want a red color with a hint of purple, use the red dye as your base and add drops of purple to it.

On the other hand, if you want purple hair with red undertones, use purple as your base and add red to brighten it. If you’re using permanent hair dye, follow the instructions in the box to mix each color individually.

You’ll have to mix the color and the developer at a one-to-one or one-to-two ratio. Once you have each color mixed, you can create your custom shade.

Semi-permanent dyes are ready to combine, so start with your primary color. Add a few drops of the other shade at a time. Mix it thoroughly with a plastic fork to see how the shade looks before adding more.

If you start with red, add a bit of purple until you reach the burgundy tone you like. You can also choose to mix equal parts of each color if you want a rich shade. Otherwise, you want to aim for 3/4 of the primary color dye with about 1/4 of the additional tint.

Since you’re mixing purple and red, your final shade won’t be either of those pure colors. It will be a mix or a version of burgundy, plum, mulberry, maroon, or magenta. 

Purple contains red and blue, so mixing it with red is a natural color blend. You can use purple with blue undertones to better complement red dye without going over the top with brassiness.

If you’re pale or your skin has yellow or pink undertones, you’ll want to add more purple to your dye. It cools down the color to best suit your look. If your skin is golden or olive, warm undertones look great on you. Feel free to add plenty of rich red to your custom color.

4. Prepare Your Area

Just as you put down a towel, tarp, or newspaper under your hair dye bowl, you also want to protect yourself. Drape a dark towel over your shoulders so you won’t get the dye on your clothes. Wear plastic gloves to keep the dye off your hands.

You can also protect your skin by applying a thick layer of petroleum jelly or lotion around your hairline and on your ears.

Otherwise, the stray dye might temporarily stain your forehead and ears. It will fade with washings, but covering your skin will make the process much simpler and cleaner.

5. Dye Your Hair

Brush your hair to ensure there are no tangles, and the dye will apply evenly. Clip your hair into sections so you can ensure you saturate all strands. If you’re only doing a colored streak, separate the rest of your hair and cover it so it won’t get dyed.

Some dye comes with an applicator bottle, while others have a brush. Use either option to apply dye to your hair about half an inch from your roots. Work the dye into each strand so it permeates the hair instead of just dying the top later.

When you mix hair dye, use it all within one hour. It isn’t safe to store mixed hair dye and try to use it again later. So set aside plenty of time to dye your hair when mixing a custom color.

6. Rinse the Dye

Your dye instructions will tell you how long to let it sit. You’ll most likely get a minimum and maximum time. Rinsing your hair too soon might not give your hair enough time to change color.

Leaving the dye in for too long can damage your hair or make the color change more severe. Set the alarm to ensure you keep the dye in for the right time.

You can rinse your hair in the shower or over the sink. Watch the water running off to see when you get all the dye out. The water from your hair should run clear before you finish.

7. Care for Your Hair

You shouldn’t shampoo your hair until at least one hour after rinsing out the dye. Some dye brands come with a special conditioner to use to help the dye set. If not, you can use your regular shampoo and conditioner.

Washing your hair less frequently ensures the color lasts longer. You can use a conditioner to keep your hair soft without washing out the dye.

Staying away from heated appliances like hair dryers and straightening irons also helps your color last. You shouldn’t dye your hair again before two weeks have passed. Otherwise, you might damage your strands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hairstylist mixing red and purple hair dye to create a dark purple dye


You know how to mix purple and red hair dye. Before you put on your gloves and color your hair, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions for more hair dye information.

Can you mix two colors of hair dye together?

Yes, you can mix two colors of hair dye. People often do this if they can’t find the exact shade they want. For example, one brown is too dark, but the next shade is too light. Instead of choosing something unsatisfactory, you can mix the two for your custom shade.

Start with an even amount of both colors to see what happens. At that point, if the dye is too dark, add more of the lighter dye, bit by bit. Similarly, if it’s too light, you can add a drop of the darker dye, mix it in, and see what hue you get.

What happens if you mix red and purple hair dye?

Mixing red and purple hair dye is a great way to get a custom shade. You can get a rich burgundy with these two colors.

The exact shade of red you use changes the brightness of the final product. Dark red accentuates the purple even more. A medium red neutralizes the purple, so both colors shine through.

Do purple and red look good together?

Yes, purple and red look good together. If you already have red hair, you’ll want to choose a bold purple dye to accentuate your look. Pastel purples and lavenders are likely to wash out your skin, so darker is best.

You should also find a purple that has blue undertones so it won’t compete with your red hair.

Purple with red undertones will be too much on your hair. If you want to find more colors that look good together, you can use a color wheel to find complementary colors.

Does purple shampoo fade red hair?

Blondes use purple shampoo to keep brassy tones from their light hair. People with silver hair also use purple shampoo to eliminate the yellow tint that often appears. However, purple shampoo can neutralize unwanted tones in many hair colors.

Since many redheads have stunning natural brassy tones, you might worry that purple shampoo fades your color.

This isn’t the case, though — the shampoo won’t fade your color, just even it out. It will make your red hair last longer by eliminating yellow and orange undertones to keep your chosen color going strong.

Can purple dye cancel out red tones in your hair?

No, purple doesn’t tone down red hair color. If your red dye is too over-the-top, you should use green to neutralize it. You can find green shampoo at beauty stores or even just add a few drops of green dye or food coloring to your current shampoo. The green tones counteract red dye or tones in your hair.

So, How Do You Mix Purple and Red Hair Dye?

You can mix purple and red hair dye into many unique shades, including plum, burgundy, and magenta. You’re sure to make a statement when you mix these two colors together. And best yet, you don’t have to pick your favorite color — you get the best of both worlds!