Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to dye Asian hair lavender purple at home (all about bleaching and dyeing)

If you have been following me on Instagram, this is an old news but I have dyed my hair lavender purple about two months back. I was getting some questions about how I achieved my lavender color on my dark Asian hair, so I wanted to share my journey and some tips today.

When it comes to hairstyles, I have an urge to change them every three months. I have been fortunate enough to go back to Korea every 3-5 months, so all I had to do was sit back and relax, and let my hair stylist achieve whatever crazy hairstyle I wanted. However recently because of work, I haven't returned to Korea in almost five months now and have no concrete plans on when I'll be back. And I wanted my hair to be lavender--and I wanted it done now. So I searched through and through the web and YouTube, put on my gloves, and got to work.

Before I begin, I would like to emphasize that I am NOT a professional hair stylist so what I did may not do the same thing for your hair. Also as I said earlier, I wanted this lavender hair done as fast as I possibly could--and that meant hair damage x1000. It is almost certain that you need to bleach your hair to achieve a lavender purple hair color, especially if your hair is dark like mine. And bleaching is sure to damage the heck out of your hair. You could rest your hair for a month or two in between each bleaching session to reduce the damage and meanwhile do whatever treatment you possibly can on your bleached hair. If you are concerned about hair damage and split ends but you want your hair turned lavender fast, going to the salon would probably be the safest option.

That said, I was well aware of the consequences of bleaching, but I could not care less because my hair was already pretty damaged and I had bleached my hair numerous times before.

Let me just go through the kinds of hair style changes I went through for the last year and half prior to turning lavender so you know what's been thrown onto my hair: 

February 2014: My hair was overall a medium brown color, but I wanted pink peek-a-boo highlights. I used Clairol Born Blonde, bleached some strips of my hair twice using one box (in one day which I do NOT recommend), and then put Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink all over the bleached parts.
Asian Hair Bleaching Dye Clairol Born Blonde
Considering that this is a drugstore brand, I was really surprised by the outcome. It didn't damage my hair too much, but then again my hair is quite thick.
Asian Hair Bleaching Two Tone
Here's what my hair looked like after bleaching it twice. Clairol Born Blonde didn't make my hair a big hot brassy orange mess--thank goodness.
manic panic hot hot pink peek-a-boo hair two-tone
Here's me with pink peek-a-boo strips!
manic panic hot hot pink peek-a-boo hair two-tone-2
These pink highlights really did their trick when I tied up my hair
manic panic hot hot pink peek-a-boo hair two-tone-3
Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink is a super flourescent pink under a flash light!
July 2014: So I've had enough of Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink by now, and with the roots growing out and all, my hair was a big hot uneven mess. I ran to my hair stylist who, after recovering from the initial shock, suggested that I section my hair into two horizontal parts and bleach the whole thing on the bottom. After bleaching the bottom section (see photo below), he colored the entire hair using an ashy brown dye.
As you can see, some parts were really light blonde, some light brown, some medium brown, and some black. A complete mess.
Asian hair bleaching two tone
By this point, I was freaking out and my stylist had to assure me again and again that I will not walk out the salon looking like this.
Asian hair bleaching two tone 2
Do I look worried? BECAUSE I WAS!
Asian hairstyle two tone ash brown
So this is what my hair looked like afterwards--pretty! Loved the ashy brown color...while it lasted!
Asian hairstyle two tone ash brown horizontal
As someone who loves to tie her hair up, this kind of two-tone was awesome. Plus, these colors were so beautiful.
Asian hairstyle two tone ash brown 2
The same hair when put down.
Asian hairstyle two tone blonde bleaching
And the ash color was gone, and I was left with this
Asian hairstyle two tone blonde bleaching  2

December 2014:  My hair is naturally curly and gets messy really easily, so this time when I went back to Korea I got my hair straighten at the top and permed at the bottom. Bleached hair usually cannot take perm, but I begged my stylist and he somehow made it happen!

January 2015: By this time, I realized that I wouldn't be coming back to Korea for some time. So I decided to keep the current hair style, but just dye the roots ombre style so that the roots would no longer look too hideous. Who would've know I would dye my hair lavender!
Asian bleaching two tone hair 4
Do you see the roots here? As an Asian with naturally dark hair, my roots are the bane of my existence because its so noticeable!
Asian hairstyle two tone hair
The ombre made it easier for me to grow out my hair--especially the bleached parts.
So I thought I'd stay like that for more than six months, but sooner or later I was down with a lavender fever and needed it done. By now some parts of my hair underwent 3 bleaching sessions and most parts had countless dyes and perms thrown into it. It would be a complete lie if I told you that my hair looked as strong as it did in these photos--my hair was damaged beyond control and I had split ends everywhere. That's why when I decided to go lavender I wasn't so scared about messing up because the heck, all I needed to do was chop off the ends and I was fed up with growing out my hair anyway.

Here are things I used:

1. Bleaching powder (you can buy the bleaching kit that come with the developer if you do not feel like measuring the ratios and all)
2. Developer (I used developers ranging from 10 to 40. Higher the number, greater the damage, faster the effect)
3. Coconut Oil (this is a MUST!!)
4. Mixing bowl
5. Brush
6. Wella Color Charm T18 (White Lady) Toner
7. Pravana Chromasilk Vivids in Violet and Wild Orchid
8. Conditioner -- any cheap one without sulfate will do.
9. Purple shampoo (optional)

Except for the coconut oil, conditioner, and the Pravana dyes, I got all of them from Sally Beauty Supply.

How to dye Asian hair lavender purple - bleaching at home
How to dye hair lavender purple Pravana violet and ion magenta
Here in this photo I have Pravana Violet and Ion color briliance in magenta, but I highly suggest getting Pravana Wild Orchid instead of Ion.
how to dye asian hair lavender purple at home
how to dye asian hair lavender purple at home 2

Bleaching Round 1:

I read that coconut oil is supposed to help with bleaching (but NOT with dyeing) so before each bleaching session, I melted the coconut oil and lathered it all over my hair for at least 5 hours. And I firmly believe that coconut oil really does reduce hair damage and helps the bleaching process!  
I used 40 volume developer to mix with the bleach powder and bleached about 3-4 inches from the scalp to create an ombre effect. I only did this because I already had that ombre effect from the last time I visited hair salon and did not want to deal with black roots again and again. Also, this allowed for some room to spare in case I needed to chop off everything. 

However, I do not recommend using the 40 volume developer. From my previous experiences, I knew that my thick hair takes in bleach pretty well and that I don't get any serious reactions and whatnot (Please remember to do a patch test!). Using a 30 volume developer or lower would get you slower results, but your hair will not be as damaged. 

Another note: I used Wella Color Charm T18 White Lady toner afterwards hoping it would make the orange go away--but other reviewers were correct when they said T18 only works on really really bleached hair. You are supposed to mix T18 with 20 or lower developer, but I was stupid and desperate enough to use 30 (DO NOT recommend), and as you can see in the photo below, some parts that's been bleached numerous times turned almost platinum white, but others just stayed orange.
Bleaching asian hair how to
How to bleach dye Asian hair blonde

Bleaching Round 2: 

I was being impatient so after a week, I decided to bleach my hair one more time--this time using a 30 volume developer. Then I got my Pravana violet and lathered it on what I thought was pretty blonde hair. Well guess what, you need an almost platinum white hair for lavender purple to show, or else you get something like the photo below where some parts turn salmon and pink and God knows what.

Bleaching  Round 3:

So I made a mistake here. If your hair is dyed purple and you put bleach on it, there's a chance that your hair will immediately turn green. Mine did, so I freaked out and left the bleach on a little bit longer (using a 20 volume developer this time). Just to make sure, I used Wella Color Charm T18 using a 10 developer to tone down the brassiness, and then used the purple shampoo to rinse it all out. Fortunately when I washed out my hair, the green was gone--and my hair was pretty much a silvery white color. Before putting your purple dye, make sure your hair is pretty platinum so as to not risk turning your hair green with bleach.
Bleaching Asian hair lavender purple at home
how to bleach Asian hair lavender purple at home
Mixing Pravana Violet and Ion Color Brilliance Magenta in a 1:4 ratio and a whole lot of conditioner, I achieved a color that looked something like this. I wanted more of a pink based than a blue based lavender.
how to dye Asian hair lavender purple at home
Pink based lavender purple dye
Immediately after shampooing all the purple dye. If you do not want your dyes to bleed on to your clothes and pillows and what have you, you must shampoo your hair after bleaching.

Some other tips on dying hair lavender purple:

1. If you want a blue based purple, use only the Pravana Violet dye. Also you will only need a QUARTER size of this or else your hair will turn almost black--and this is coming from my own experience. I cried myself to sleep, washed my hair about three dozen times in one week using baking powder, vitamin C tablets, and dandruff shampoo, only to make it a shade or two lighter. Pravana lasts a looooooooonnggg time, so beware of the color you are depositing into your hair. And if you think the color came out too dark, do NOT bleach your hair again as that may leave you with green hair. 

2. If you want a pink based lavender purple, mix the Pravana Violet and Wild Orchid in a 1:4 ratio, starting with dime sizes. It is easier to darken your dye mixture than lightening it up with a conditioner. So add little by little. 
Pravana Violet Dye hair lavender purple
This is what my hair looked like using only the Pravana Violet dye.
Pravana Violet dye hair lavender purple at home

Pravana Violet dye asian hair lavender purple at home
After 5 washes -- color still going strong, and more silvery and pastel
Pravana Violet faded lavender purple dye
Prava Violet after one month--indoor
Pravana Violet after one month -- the color looks more vibrant outside!
I personally like the pink based lavender a little more, so I've been mostly dyeing my hair by mixing Pravana Violet and Wild Orchid. I've found Wild Orchid to be less pigmented and to fade faster than Pravana Violet, but the color is too awesome to pass!
Asian dye lavender hair Pravana Violet Wiold Orchid
Freshly dyed Pravana Violet and Wild Orchid
One thing to be aware of: Pravana dye is not something you can find at Sally's. I purchased mine online and the first Pravana Violet was not as pigmented as I thought it would be and it definitely was not blue-based (what did I know then?). All the reviewers were talking about how little goes a long way, but I had to almost half of the tube just to get the light lavender color to show on my platinum hair. Then, it faded really quickly (again, weren't the reviewers raving about how long-lasting it is?!) --to a turquoise color. I then bought Pravana Violet from another seller in eBay, and this time the dye was super pigmented and everything I had expected it to be from the reviews I've read. I think the first one was either expired or what have you, but if you find yourself squeezing a chunk of Pravana Violet for the color to show on your hair AND its more of a pink based blue, then I recommend you use it with caution or just get another one from a different website/seller.
It is a hassle redyeing my hair every other week, but I love my lavender hair! And I wonder if I would ever just leave my hair be its natural black color--seriously, will I ever?

As I mentioned earlier, I am not a professional so do research thoroughly! Because everyone has different hair color (I mean just scroll down the first half of this post and see how I did not just start out with a jet black hair), what I did may not work for everybody. If you really want your hair lavender or platinum blonde, just take the risk, don't fear split ends (they are after all my lifelong companion), and worst case scenario, get a hair cut.

I hope this post was helpful to those who are thinking about dyeing their hair lavender or even bleaching it platinum blonde. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll try to do my best to help! :)

Have a wonderful day everyone!

XOXO, HaeMin


  1. I just love these purple hair. That´s totally amazing !
    I really like your blog dear & I follow you now ♥
    Lovely photos ♥

    Love from Slovakia ~

    ℓα ℒιcσrηe - ℒa vie est ℓa petite ℓicorne.

    1. Aww thank you Gabrielle! So kind of you <3
      xo~ HaeMin

  2. I don't think I'll ever have the guts to try bleaching and dyeing my hair at home, but this was really interesting! I was wondering, though, since you have bleached your hair multiple times and you dye your hair quite often, do you do treatment or even just hair masks often, too?

    May x • The MaydenBloglovin'

    1. Thanks for reading this long post May! I do treatments because if I don't it's almost impossible to even brush my hair! (boohoo). However, I do personally believe that they only have a temporary effect--but I do believe in coconut oil and lather that allllllll over my head and go to sleep at least once a week. Hope this helps hun! xo~ HaeMin

  3. Whoa! Loved seeing the transformation in this post. Your hair looks amazing. What a pretty shade of purple! I wish I had the guts to do that like you do :)

    Enclothed Cognition

    1. Thanks Keri! It took me forever to decide whether I wanted to go purple or not too, like FORRREVEEER! So glad that I made such transition :)

  4. Oh my goodness. You look beautiful. I love the lavender hair. It sounds like such a process though & I'm petrified to bleach my hair after all those years of dying it. :]

    // ▲ ▲

    1. Bleaching is a scary process! Seriously, I don't think I could bleach from the roots down though! :)

  5. wow you have great hair colors, my favs is the blue bleached hairs but all of them are amazing. It looks very hard process!

    xxx June

    1. That was totally unintentional but I did love that color too! Thanks for the comment June <3

  6. i love this hair color on you! i wish i had read this 15 years ago when i tried dying my hair turquoise blue and it turned out greenish gray. ick. :P
    love, liz

    1. Oh no! But I bet it looked amazing on you hun!! <3

  7. This color looks soooooo good on you :D LOVE IT!

    I don't knew your blog but I really liked your content!!!
    I'm following you via GFC can you follow me back, please? <3

    InstagramFacebook Oficial PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

    1. Oh wow! Thanks Miguel! Heading over to your blog now :)

  8. You have beautiful hair. xx

  9. love it! need to diy my hair too

  10. Ah, this makes me miss my wild hair days!


  11. You look so beautiful. Awesome hair post. :)

  12. I just love your new color! It is so fun and eye-catching:) Thanks for sharing this!

  13. I really want to dye my hair too but my husband strictly said no. And you are already aware how much I love your lavender hair, wish I can dye it that way. However, I also LOVE the pink peekaboo, maybe I'll try that!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  14. It is so pretty :) I need to grow my hair longer and try this some day :D

    Celly | asian beauty and makeup blog

  15. Your hair looks amazing purple!! I love this!

  16. What a wonderful, thorough post! Your hair transitioning is so beautiful from before to now. Great post love :)

    Stephanie |
    Instagram @stephykeung

  17. You're welcome! Nice follow new blogs:D Hasn't appeared in followers but I'll wait :D

    InstagramFacebook Oficial PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

  18. nice post :)

  19. Wow. You've dyed your hair a lot. They all look great. And these are such nice tips.

    Jessica |

  20. Your hair looks amazing!! Love it!! My stubborn asian hair tho T_T

  21. I love the lavender hair on you! You look so pretty! Lovely blog ^-^

  22. You certainly are good in hair coloring!
    Love the color!


  23. You did such a great job, well done!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  24. How'd you get your hair to look like it had multiple colors in it (the pic with the dark blue hat)? I really want to try this to get that look. Is it really just those two dyes on platinum blonde? Also what's the difference between the ion and wild orchard die?

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. Such a good read and photos. I love that blouse with the neck snap. Don't tell me you got it in korea.

  27. Such a good read and photos. I love that blouse with the neck snap. Don't tell me you got it in korea.

    1. Thanks! That tunic is from Free People:)


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