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 colors

How 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 dying 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…

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. That dark purple faded into the shade it is in this outfit post (where it so wonderfully matched my dress!), and then a week or so of more intentional fading after that I finally moved on to orange.

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.


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

Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio.

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  • 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 🙂 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 wasn’t light enough and I didn’t want to continue damaging it with the bleach. I toned it as well but it still didn’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 it’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. 😛

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

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

    I’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 it’s definitely my husband’s least favorite crazy color I’ve done. I’m going to let it fade as much as I can handle and be washing it with hot water and all that. I’m trying to decide which would be the best color to go to from here with preferably no bleach. I’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 🙂