2 tips for switching hair color easily

One of the main questions I get about my hair is how I seamlessly change colors so drastically. This post, of course, is really only relevant to unnatural colors done with brands such as Punky Colours, Manic Panic, Special Effects and the like. I also need to give my normal spiel about not being a professional, having no formal training, and that everything I know is from personal experience. That’s not to downplay what I know though, I’ve been dyeing my hair unnatural colors for over eight years. I’ve got it pretty much down to a science.

Below is a perfect example of what my typical timeline looks like and what I’ll be explaining in this post. Blue in June, purple in July, and orange in August – easy peasy and with minimal damage! This is a fairly regular cycle for me. I change my hair color every two or three months depending how quickly I get bored.

How to switch hair colorsHow To Easily Switch Hair Colors

When my hair was professionally dyed pink for the first time around eight years ago I knew nothing about hair! I had been dyeing it black since I was around fourteen and the extent of my knowledge was how to apply box color. But since stripping the black from hair and dying it pink no one else has touched my hair color. It costs a fortune, and after a spending a great deal of time researching I realized I could easily do it myself. I’ve always loved switching colors, and in all my years the two biggest tips I’ve found that help are…

โ–ด Let your current hair color fade. Y’all, I take a lot of pride in my hair. I try to always keep root growth at a minimum and my hair color bright. I’m pretty embarrassed by faded hair but sometimes it is a necessity!

I let my hair fade naturally for as long as I can stand it. Then when it hits me that “I have to change hair colors now!” I give myself a few more days. In those three or fours days, hopefully longer, I will purposely fade my hair to the best of my ability. I’ve never been a fan of bleach baths, using dish soap or anything else like. To fade my hair I rinse with hot water, take baths where I actually let my hair soak instead of keeping it dry, leave shampoo in a little bit longer than normal, and do conditioning treatments at least once a day. The conditioning treatments are especially helpful because before bleaching you obviously want your hair is the best condition possible. You can find a few of my favorite deep conditioning products in this post.

The three photos above show examples of what my hair looked like at it’s best during those dye jobs, not what it looked like before being bleached and moving on to the next color.ย 

โ–ด Use the color wheel. That’s my big “secret”, which totally isn’t a secret at all but it is an important thing that is easily overlooked. I never want to say that something isn’t possible or that you can’t do something but there are definitely colors that are harder to switch between.

watercolor color wheel by Mara Mattia

While my color changes may seem dramatic they are carefully thought out. I’ve found that it’s easiest to work my way around the color wheel instead of skipping around. For example if you have bright pink hair, it’s much easier to move a few shades over on the wheel to orange, instead of rushing right into green. Is it possible to go straight from bright pink to lime green? Maybe but it’s going to involve bleaching your hair to a lot lighter of a color first. You obviously don’t have to stop at every single step on the color wheel, just keep it in mind when deciding on your next color.

Using the color wheel as a guide is what I consider my best weapon for fighting damage. My color changes are smooth and cause minimal damage because I’m not bleaching the entire length of my hair to switch colors and the color itself doesn’t cause any harm. I normally just bleach my roots and that’s all.Since I’m not bleaching the whole length there is obviously still color in my hair when moving to the next shade. Following the color wheel ensures that my next color won’t mix poorly with the color remaining in my hair. Mixing complementary colors will result in a muddy hair color which is something you want to avoid.

purple hair, hair dye

If you have other any general hair questions, or questions about my hair – let me know. I’d love to share more hair related content on The Dainty Squid but I need to know what you want to learn about.

xoxo

You can find more hair dye tips and guides in my hair master post.

Author: Kaylah

Just a green (....sometimes blue) haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio! A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • Have you ever tried the method of using vitamin C powder to fade your hair colour? I keep hearing about it recently in relation to unnatural hair colours and wondered your thoughts if you'd tried it.
    I always find your hair posts a great point of reference, so thanks for putting them together!

  • I want to go platinum sometime in the new year but I've been dying my hair a deep plum/cherry red colour for years now. I'm naturally dirty blonde, but haven't seen my natural colour since 2008. I'm worried about how hard it'll be to go from dark over processed hair, to almost white over processed hair. Any tips on a possible smooth transition instead of going from one colour to the next? (And of course I'll be going to a salon for the bleaching!)

    – Lauren

    • Going from one color to the next is your best option for a smooth transition. Platinum is rouuuuugh on hair to begin with and starting at a dark color is even worse.

      Please make sure you go to an AWESOME salon. If someone offers to do it in one step or even two that's just bad news.

  • The thing that I can't abide when doing bright colours is just bleaching my roots, so I tend to wait a LOT longer between colours and bleach the whole lot. I have real difficulty doing my own roots. I find it really fiddly. Especially when it comes to the back – I missed a whole bit once, luckily is was covered up when my hair was sown, but yikes! What a disaster! Do you have any tips for bleaching your own roots?! I'd love to change my colour more often and I can't afford my hairdressers fees for doing so (ยฃ200 + was the last quote for the colour I want at the moment haha!)

  • This is actually super helpful! I dyed my hair a bright colour for the first time last year (I also started with pink), but have only switched colour once seen as it was such a long process! I get bored, but it's just so much easier to just bleach your roots and keep dying it the same colour.
    I'm now looking to change from blue to red though (possibly a bit of a big jump, but oh well!) so I'll bear your tips in mind. Awesome post!

  • I love your hair posts! Searching for info about dying my hair was actually how I found your site (and I'm happy I did!). I would love to here more about if you have any issues with getting specific colors to stay in your hair. For example, my hair is holding onto this green for dear life, but somehow shed my purple down to grey within a week without me even washing my hair! I've heard a lot of people have similar issues too.

    • You know, I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I keep seeing them pop up all over the web. After the stash in my bathroom cupboard runs out I'll grab some to try!

  • I'm sure you get this a lot but you are a huge style inspiration. Your hair is my dream as are your clothes but that's not to say I don't love reading your blog posts, too. I'm not one to gush at people but I wanted to just say your work is making an old girl in the UK very happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Thank you so much for uploading this post ^^ I got a lot of information from it <3 And i have a question ^^ I have bleached my hair twice and it turned out light blond, and then i dyed it a small part green and a bigger part blue T.T It didn't come out as nice as i'd expected so now i want to have a brown hazel color on my hair without any blue or green stains. Is there anyway that i can achieve the brown color ? Thank you so much in advance <33

  • Thankyou for this post! It helped me out before, when I wanted to dye my hair red. It turned out great, it's quite a dark red with a hint of a fuchsia pink color. I loved it for quite a while but right now I want to try a dark blue. Do you think it will be possible to just put dark blue on top of my red hair if I fade it first, or will it turn out purple? I really don't want to bleach my hair since bleach burned my scalp before. My natural color is light blonde so my roots will definitely be blue, thats why I don't want it to turn out purple :3 I was hoping you might know if it's possible or not?

  • This is a bit old to comment on maybe.. But Iยดll try! I have pastel pink hair now, and I was wondering if its safe for me to dye my hair navy-blue over the pink color?

  • Hey!
    Not sure if you have any experience with this, but I have mostly faded lavender hair that’s kind of grey/muddy looking. If I wanted to go back to blonde, do you know if a warm/honey blonde box dye would cover/counteract the purple? or do you think I’d be better off trying to strip the purple out?

    Thanks for the tips, and I love your vibrant colours!!

    • Honestly, I’d recommend going to a professional. I definitely don’t think just applying a box dye over top would be a good idea.

  • So when you went from purple to orange, you just bleached and then put the orange on? I have about the same purple, and am wanting to go bright orange… but I’m scared the blue in the purple is going to stick, and then I can’t really put orange over that.
    I suppose I can do a strand test, but I’d love to hear your experience ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yep, but honestly, it’s a case by case basis. I could do the same thing over again and not have the same results. I think the best idea is to just be open to go with whatever works. You might bleach your hair and all the purple and blues will come out or you could bleach your hair and still have lots of purp/blue remaining in which case dyeing it a step closer to your goal but not too far from the bleached result would be a safe call.

      Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I really love your hair and how you dye/style it so well! After 21 years of living with my generic dark brown hair I took the plunge last year and dyed it purple- hoping to have it turn a gorgeous plum shade, and then realised to my horror I would have to bleach it first to have it anywhere near the colour the model was toting. Lots of trial and error and eventually I realised I suit tones that are a lot warmer, but it was a fun process of experimenting. It’s not as vibrant as yours, but I’m wearing a more burgundy shade atm and I love it. I wish I could rock vibrant shades like you do!

  • Hey! I’m currently at purple colored hair and am trying to get to a very dark brown, do I just apply the dye? Would the brown fade into a gross color? I’ve heard that’s what happened with some people.

  • I’m a little late to the party. I died my hair a few months ago – a bright fuchsia. Now it’s a faded mess. While googling, I found your blog and WOW! Now I know what to do. Love the color wheel advice. I’m going to try red next

  • Hi, so I had light brown hair and I dyed it violet bt, it look mostly like a dark plum with mostly red undertones. How can I get it to look like a purple kind of like your picture. Not too bright because I am tan.. Will I need to bleach it ?

  • Hey I dyed my hair the splat pink fetish color and it came out pink & red lol I’m now want a midnight blue color , would I have to bleach my hair all over again or could I just put it in top of the pink ss nce it’s a darker color ?

    • If you recently bleached your hair to get to that pink – no, I definitely wouldn’t bleach it again.

      It’s hard to say what it’ll end up looking like but yeah, I’d think that blue would effectively cover the pink and turn out fine.

      Good luck.

  • Hi Kaylah!

    I love your posts! I am going to ask you a specific question that maybe you can help me with ๐Ÿ™‚
    For months, I’ve had an ombre (blonde at the bottom, bleached) and a few days ago, I decided to add ion lavender over the blonde. I also mixed in a color duller so it ended up being a slivery-purple color. Although,it was still pretty purple rather than lavender so (here’s my mistake), I bought a 10 developer and lavender moon toner and put that on top a couple days later. Now my hair is a greenish/aqua color. Any tips on how I can get back to lavender or silverish?

    thank you sooo much!
    ~chloe xxx

    • Hey Chloe! Honestly, I have no idea! I think your best bet right now would be to go to a professional. Good luck!

  • I need help and advice and anything you are willing to give to help my hair. I’m currently in a pickle..while my hair is the color of a faded pickle. Like the gross ones at the bottom of the jar ๐Ÿ™

  • Hi! My name is Majority Leverson and I saw your post and I must say I am at awe with your hair knowledge. My hair was a full on bright red but now it’s faded like very faded. I want to dye it blue because it’s my favorite color and it’s the last color I am going to put in my hair and keep it in. Do you think it’s okay to dye it royal blue at this point now that it’s very faded?

  • Hello!
    I have dyed my naturally curly, dark blonde hair many fun colors. My hair is currently bright blue. It’s very dry and fragile right now. I’m ready to get it back to its natural color and texture, but honestly have idea how. I’d rather not bleach the blue out, but my end goal here is to end up dying my hair back it’s natural color. Any tips on how to lighten it up without killing my hair and how to get the color to match my roots?

    Thanks!

  • Hi, I’ve dyed my hair to shades of blue/purple/green.. Now that it has faded, my hair is now a mix of muddy green, brown and greyish. If I intend to dye it all purple without bleaching it again, would I be able to cover it all to an even colour, or at least can my faded hair turn all purple?

    • If its not an even color now, then it won’t be an even color when you apply dye to it. It hard to say what colors your hair will turn without seeing what it looks like. Chances are if it’s actually brown then you’re not going to get the shade of purple you desire.

  • Hello love !!! I was looking for ideas for green hair and here you are . lol I’ve been every color under the sun . Green is the only one that’s scary to me the fading, not getting the right shade etc . What product are you using? I’ve use manic panic , directions (U.K.brand) it’s been my favorite, special FX hair dye

  • I wanna dye my hair to a new color.. I have a sparks purple passion hair and it’s really hard to fade it all out. The some parts have faded. I have the same idea to using the color wheel as my guide so that I wouldn’t need to bleach it again.. If I would dye it pink would it cover it all? I’m definitely fine with ombres.

    • Without knowing what shade of purple you’ve faded to it’s hard for me to comment on. Depending on your current color and the shade of pink it’d most like just make your purple a bit more pink.

  • My blue has garden to a dull blue/green. So if I’m following the color wheel right I can go dark blue/purple

  • Do you ever do video tutorials? I would love to see how you separate and dye your hair. I have dyed a lot of other people hair but I find it difficult to separate and dye my own without missing a bunch of spots.

  • Hi! I currently have a magenta pink in my hair and I actually want the pink to be more of the pastel side. How could I do that?

  • I am loving your color combinations but especially the greens and I have never ventured into green. I love the top shade on top of the blue but I don’t see it listed. Are you using another green besides the spring and alpine or are you doing a mix of the two? It looks perfect for fall. Gorgeous! So glad I found your site! You’re making this colorful blues girl change her thinking on greens and color changes!

  • Hey
    Love your hair in every photo, can you go from turquoise to dark green or which colour did you go after turquoise.

    Thanks holly x

    • Hard to say without knowing more info but as long as your turquoise is faded & the green you want is pretty dark then I don’t see why not.

  • Have you ever tried to go from ot pink to brown, my sisters hair is neon pink and every time she wants it brown you can still see the pink. any tips or tricks?

  • I just wanna say that i love the purple . i dyed my hair a plum purple . i didnt think it would be that dark and want lighter shade . how would i do that ?

    • Hard to say without knowing your whole process / seeing the color but it should start to fade shortly. If it’s still the wrong color after fading, pop some lighter purple dye on top of it. Conditioner will help dilute the dye. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi Sweetie First Of All Love Your Style & Blog:
    Ok Since I’m Familiar With Color & I had An Issue I Took Your Advice To Just Ket It Fade Out, Shmapoing Etc Because Of Previous Bleaching I Wanted No More Damage, Then I Applied a Color Cond, + Reg Cond To Soften The Look Yayyy I Was Happy ๐Ÿ™‚ I Just Wanted To Thank You Fr Your Advice For The Fading & Waiting Period, Helped Me Very Much xoxox <3

  • Hello! I love your advice! I have natural JET BLACK hair. The first time it was dyed was in the December 2016 and it was professionally done. I only wanted the right side dyed, so it was half black and half blue. The right side faded with time and eventually the color was gone and it was just blonde. Over the summer I bleached my left side and what had grown on the right side, I wanted to dye it a silver blue by using sterling and aquamarine by Arctic Fox but my hair wasnโ€™t light enough and I didnโ€™t want to continue damaging it with the bleach. I toned it as well but it still didnโ€™t go to the blonde I was hoping it would be so I went with a different color: virgin pink(Arctic Fox) I loved the color despite not being a big fan of warm colors. Now that the pink is fading and some parts are fading faster than others, I was wondering if itโ€™s safe to just dye it black (Transylvania) over the pink? (The url is a link to one of my IG pictures so you can see how the pink looks)

  • Hi there, I have purple hair currently, do you think it’d be possible to go over it with extreme blue overtone conditioner to give it a purple/blue look?

  • Hi there, first of all I love your hair colors, you are very talented! I have had a lot of fun with color over the last couple years, but unfortunately I have to go back to a natural color to look “professional” for a new job opportunity. My hair is currently magenta, and my dark roots are getting long, so I’m thinking about try to dye it dark brown. Do you have any recommendations on this? I am a bit worried about the brown washing out, and I haven’t been able to get this pink to fad much even though its been about 4 months. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • Going back to natural colors isn’t my area of expertise. The last time I tried to do that, it was a mess. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Honestly, I’d recommend heading to a professional. Good luck!

  • Loved your post and you hair looks great in any color!

    Iโ€™d like to ask your advice. So naturally my hair is dark blonde (borderline brown in winter) a few weeks ago I bleached it and dyed it atomic turquoise from manic panic. I loved it and still do but itโ€™s definitely my husbandโ€™s least favorite crazy color Iโ€™ve done. Iโ€™m going to let it fade as much as I can handle and be washing it with hot water and all that. Iโ€™m trying to decide which would be the best color to go to from here with preferably no bleach. Iโ€™m ok with my roots being a little darker than the rest of my hair. What color do you think would be the easiest transition?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hiii! I’m sooo glad I found your website! I’m already following your recommendations, like the board bristle brush and the Hask leave-in.
    Right now I have a blue hair, faded (mostly at the ends), I’m thinking about switch color, but I’m not sure which one would work better.
    Let me see if I get it right.., according to the color wheel, purple would be the best option for me or I misunderstood?
    Thanks for your advice and I hope to hear your tips!

  • Hey,

    I’ve dyed my hair a bright purple similar to the one you’ve posted, and my work place do not agree so trying my best to get it back to a blondey/ as light pastel violet I can! Any tips I’d super appreciate ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi! Your hair is gorgeous! I’m trying to get my hair to a nice dark mulberry or violet from the dark burgudy/brown. Do I need to lift/lighten. Then color or can I “over dye” with a purple color?

    Thanks!

    • It really depends on how dark your hair actually is and if you want the color to be a true purple or just purple in some situations when the lighting hits it just right.

  • I thank you for posting your article. My daughter loves doing her hair colors like yours. But we always had the one road block where we had to figure out the best way to keep the color good and strong and now we know. Thank you for giving us hope again in the colors.

  • your hair is so beautiful!
    I’ve been dying my hair for years, been pretty much every colour but I ruined my hair. So I left it alone for about a year and went back to my natural colour (ginger) anyway now I want to go bright orange, I used a box dye and it’s pretty orange, I like it but wanna go a bit brighter! any advice? will I have to use bleach๐Ÿ˜•?

    • It’s super hard to say without actually seeing your hair but in general, if you want a lighter and brighter color you’d need to bleach it first.

      Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m wanting go from dip dyed blond on top, blue on bottom, to all blond. I’ve been fading my hair for a couple of weeks, but it’s still teal. Do you know if I can put the box blond over it and will it cover it?

    • Most likely no. The teal will probably stick around. I’d recommend going to a professional, especially if your hair is/or you’re looking to achieve a light blond. Good luck.

  • Hi! Ur hair is amazing. My hair color right now is a faded violet and ive been waning to turn it pink. What do you sugget i do?

    • Hi Nikki, it’s very hard to say without knowing exactly what color your hair is now, and what color pink you’d like. If you want a bright pink, chances are you’ll need to strip your current color and start off with blond.

  • I just used Punky color purple on my hair today and Iโ€™m not digging it. But Color Oops says it canโ€™t be used for fantasy colors like that? Could I bleach my hair tomorrow? Or any tips would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Did you bleach your hair before applying punky colours? If so, it’s probably not the best idea. Not to mention sometimes even bleach doesn’t take out color like that. Your best bet is probably to fade it as much as possible (wash it with hot water, let conditioning treatments soak, etc) and then apply another color on top of that.

  • I love your pictures! I just color the ends of my hair. Right now it is faded purple ( similar to your faded purple link). I am looking to switch to blue and I will to try your way of fading the color. Thanks!

  • Hi my hair is like a light blue green but I would like to be blonde again. I’ve tried letting my hair fade and used hair color strippers but my hair is still blue green. I was thinking on putting orange hair color on top of it for a few minutes to try and cancel out the color. Any advice?

  • Okay. I am a licensed cosmetologist I wasn’t specifically trained in color. Therefore, girly you have me amazed. You are perfection. I do have a question, I am trying to go from an aqua blue (on the darker side) to all black but for some reason black doesn’t stay in my hair long. Should add an orange toner to my black hair dye to cancel out that blue? I want to have a flawless all black finish. I do understand and do you have any suggestions on black hair dye?

    • Hmm… I’m not really sure. I had black hair for many many years before going colorful and never really had any issues with black not staying around. It’s been a really long time but I always used L’Oreal Feria.
      http://amzn.to/2E2jFvm

      I wouldn’t think that you’d need to cancel out the blue since black basically covers everything but I could totally be wrong…

      BUT if I were to dye my hair black today, I would simply put the dye I mentioned above over whatever color I had going on already.

  • Hi, thanks for all of your advice! I currently have a mix of turquoise/green hair, but I want to go purple next. Can I dye it straight purple (I’m thinking of using the direction’s violet color) or should I go with a more magenta color to balance out the turquoise/green?

  • Have you ever mixed colors together? I have purple hair right now, itโ€™s fading into a pinkish lavender. I want more of a blue/purple but canโ€™t find a dye for the color i want. I was thinking of buying a blue and mixing it with the purple dye i previously used to get the perfect shade.

  • Hi, first thank you sooooo much for this post it’s great, and really helpful, but second, I have a purple color like the example you showed but I want to do a bright orange. The box shows that it would show up even on brown hair and I was wondering if it’s likely that I’d have to bleach it at all first, or if, since my color is faded, and likely to fade more, it’ll end up orange instead some really horrid color

    • Hi Desta,
      I’m not sure what brand you’re talking about but I would stay away from boxed colors like that. If it’s saying that it would show up orange when you’re hair is brown it probably has some sort of lightening product in it so you definitely wouldn’t want to bleach first if you’re going to use that product.

      It’s hard to say without seeing your hair or knowing what you’ve already done to it but I would probably fade it as much as possible, bleach it, and use a dye like Punky Colours or Manic Panic close to whatever color it bleached. There’s a very good possiblity the purple might not bleach all the way out.

      Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi, I have a bright pink hair, and Im thinking when its fade to orange, I put some green like mermaid hair .. what you think I should do ? because I see at wheel its really far away pink from the color I want which is some green with blue but lighter

    • If you put green over top of orange it is going to be very muddy and possibly brown. You either need to bleach it first to remove the pink/orange or patiently make your way over to green on the color wheel.

  • Hey there. I went and had my hair dyed grey… well should have been silver but she dyed my hair black and bleach my ends and let the black turn my hair grey . It has faded and I am bored. I want to do teal. I have watched videos but want to know do I need to re bleach it. I have been using hair butter titanium to keep up the grey but it’s just not vibrant enough.

    • It really depends on what color your hair is currently, how long ago it was bleached, and how vibrant you want the teal to be. The answer is probably yes. Best of luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hello:)My hair is manic panic rock n roll red right now and i wanted to switch over to a blue is it possible just washing my hair until kts faded and applying blue over or will it make an ugly color?thankyou in advance!

    • Depends on how much the red washes out, and what color blue you’re looking to achieve. Generally speaking applying blue over faded red probably isn’t going to leave you with the best, brightest results.

  • Hi, I just wanted some advice for colour switching. My hair was navy blue (bleached underneath) and I’ve faded it to a mid-green. My goal is light pink, will I need to bleach again or do you think the pink will cover it? Would the pink come out muddy or even purple? Any advice would be great, thanks!

    • You will absolutely need to bleach. Pink over top of a green will just leave you a muddy mess. Best of luck!

  • My hair use to be a very bright blue now it’s like a greenish very light teal can I dye bright auburn over it or would it mess the color up needed it not blue for work

    • It would most likely be a muddy mess. My advice is to seek the help of a professional. They’ll be able to help you get the teal out without causing too much damage.

  • hello!
    first of all, I really enjoyed the post!
    second, I have a question and I hope you’ll answer ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have now light blond hair and I want to dye my hair indigo
    i know that blue fades to some greenish color
    I wanted to ask if it will be difficult to dye after the blue faded to ginger
    i’m afraid the green won’t come off or I’ll have to bleach it because my hair is pretty damaged

    • It’s hard to say but if you’re worried about your hair being damaged, first step should be getting it back to health! ๐Ÿ™‚