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Purple streaks are sure to add electricity to any base hair color. Before you set up shop in your bathroom, however, understand that doing streaks on your own can be tricky -- even trickier than dyeing your entire mane by yourself. For thin, blended streaks, it may be best to visit your salon, but for thicker, punkier streaks, all it takes is some time and effort to pull off the look at home.
To Bleach or Not to Bleach?
Though it isn’t necessary, bleaching your hair before you dye it purple will make your violet shade last longer. It’ll also appear more like its advertised shade. If you do choose to bleach, choose a bleach based on your current hair color. If you’re bleaching light or blond hair, a level 10 or 20 developer should be strong enough. If you’re starting with dark red, brown or black hair, you may need a level 30 or 40. If you choose not to bleach, your hair will thank you for it, but your purple streaks are more likely to look like subtle lowlights.
How to Bleach
Apply petroleum jelly to your hairline and ears to protect them from bleach. Wear gloves while you mix hair bleach (never use household bleach) according to instructions. Use a toothbrush, small paintbrush or comb to rake the product through dry hair wherever you want streaks. Or, if you want platinum to be your base color, use a larger brush to coat your entire mane in bleach. Allow your hair to process as long as it needs to lighten to pale blond. If you’re going for platinum, rinse the bleach when it reaches a light yellow shade. Follow up with a lilac-colored toner to remove unwanted yellow hues; it’s way safer than waiting for the bleach alone to turn your hair white.
If you find a highlighting kit in the shade you want, snatch it. Kits are easier to use now than ever, and they come with the tools you need to brush on your new shade (you may even be able to skip bleaching altogether). If you don’t use a highlighting kit, you can still get the effect you want with a little planning. Isolate the sections of hair that you want to dye purple, and cover surrounding strands in petroleum jelly to repel dye. Coat your hair evenly from roots to tips with your purple shade. Let the dye sit as long as it needs to, and rinse with lukewarm water.
Before you bleach or dye your hair, test the product on a strand of hair. This will help you see how much time the dye requires to process. You'll also get used to the feel of the product and tools, and uncover any surprise allergies. If you’re planning a mane full of violet streaks, start with just a few; it’s easier to add more later than to remove hair dye.