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…

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. 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.

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.


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! 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?


    • 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.

      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.