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…

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. 

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, 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, it’s fading into a pinkish lavender. I want more of a blue/purple but can’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! 🙂

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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.