20+ Ideas of Purple Highlights in Brown Hair.. and Black Hair too!

By: | Last Updated: June 16, 2021

When you’re looking to change up your look, getting in a splash of color is always a great idea.

For the adventurous, purple has always been a favorite.  Purple highlights have gone a long way–from the dip-dye trend to softer pastel looks.

Purple highlights have proven that it’s here to stay. 

It’s a great color to wear or warm and looks especially great on black and brown hair.

In darker hair, you can really experiment with purple too with every shade from bright and bold to sneaky and subtle.

So, if you’re a brunette or someone looking for a darker purple look, here are a few ideas on how you can get in on it, no matter how loud or subtle you want it to be.

But how do you put purple highlights in hair? Does purple show up in brown hair? Here are a few things to consider before going for it: 

How do you put purple highlights in hair?

Specifically, how do you get purple highlights in black hair?

Once you’ve decided on what kind of look you’re going for, you’ll have to start with bleaching your hair to get the most impact from your purple dye. 

Different shades of purple will call for different levels of bleaching too. 

Remember to be patient! It might take more than 1 session to get your hair to the lightness it has to be at before you even get to put any purple in. 

As soon as your hair is lightened enough, you can use purple dye and use it to highlight as you would with any other color in your chosen style. 

Does Purple show up in brown hair? Can you put purple highlights in brown hair?

Yes you can! 

Purple is one of those colors that can still have some pay-off from without bleaching. However, it won’t be a true bright purple. 

If you’re looking for something to change up the tone of your hair color and not the color itself, then you might be able to skip bleaching! 

Just keep in mind that it will give your hair a purplish or reddish tone, depending on what shade you use. 

You might have to experiment with different shades on your base hair color as well because they won’t all turn out the same in combination.

In the same way, what happens if you put purple dye on black hair? 

Well, without bleach, you’re likely going to get a much subtler look. It will be a more dimensional black with some blue or pink tones in the mix. 

Do purple highlights fade fast?

Purple is one of those colors that might need extra TLC to keep it vibrant. 

It requires a lot of pigment to stay true-to-color. 

To keep the color nice and bold, you would have to use color-depositing shampoo and get regular retouches as well.

Purple Highlights in Brown Hair

Pinky-Purple Highlights 

Purple stands out a lot more on brown hair just because it’s a lot lighter. But a subtle look isn’t impossible.

This romantic, almost pink look mixes rose gold with warm purple.

With the smaller streaks, it’s a cute way to incorporate purple without it stealing the show away completely. 

onceuponastef – Curling Diva

Purple Balayage

Of course, purple always looks great in a balayage!

In this look, it complements honey and golden tones, letting it stand out without being too much.

The purple itself also shifts between a lighter, more pinky shade to a deep true purple, giving this look a lot more depth and personality. 

elisebg212hair – Curling Diva

PB&J Highlights

Peanut butter and jelly hair?

That might not be the first thing you think of when you want to change up your look.

But don’t let the silly name fool you. This trend blends together purple with reds and rose golds to give a unique, romantic look. 

salonathaniel – Curling Diva

Smokey Purple Lob 

This look lets you go all in with purple.

On short brown hair, this gives off a striking effect as the bright purple is highlighted by the smokier shades.

While it is a pretty bold look, the way the warm purple blends in with the brown still makes it look effortless and wearable every day. 

deborahlynnhairartistry – Curling Diva

Chunky Warm Highlights

If you’re looking for another bold look without having to dye your whole head purple, try chunkier highlights.

In this look, it is paired with lighter warm pink tones to balance it out so that it’s vibrant but not jarring.   

muahbysarahlaw – Curling Diva

Subtle Pink and Purple Highlights

On the flip side, if you’re looking for just a hint of purple in your look, you can pair it up with lighter, more “natural” colors.

Combined with pink and blonde highlights, this look adds in smatterings of purple here and there just to add in a bit of fun and uniqueness to what would’ve been a pretty standard look.  

wherebeautymeetspassion – Curling Diva

Barely-There Purple and Blonde Bob

Wanting an even more sneaky way to get some purple into your look?

This style is perfect for brown hair.

Purple is added in very small sections in combination with blonde to add dimension to this cut. If you want to make it a little edgier or trendier, try it with the blunt bob in the photo for a more avant-garde look. 

fellview hairandbeauty – Curling Diva

Purple and Rainbow Ombre

This look is the epitome of “Don’t blend in, stand out!”.

It takes big, bold streaks of purple and uses them to frame the “highlight” of this look–a pastel rainbow streak.

While a lot of colors could get a little crazy, this look keeps the streaks soft and balanced with natural brown sections.

This way, even if you take the entire rainbow and put it in, it still looks cohesive and polished. 

katicutsandcolors – Curling Diva

Bright Purple and Red Combo

If the rainbow wasn’t colorful enough for you, this electric look combines pink and purple to make a bold combo.

With two vibrant colors put together, this is definitely a look no one is ever going to miss. 

kusinska – Curling Diva

Purple Mermaid Highlights

And of course, a purple highlights list is never complete without mermaid hair.

This dreamy combination of multi tonal purples, pinks and blues is a favorite for good reason.

On brown hair, this combination gives a sweet, magical vibe that you can wear everyday. 

corinnemyers10 – Curling Diva

Purple Highlights on Black Hair

Subtle Ombre

This look is great for those with inky jet black hair.

The purple ombre starts subtly at the top and gets more intense as you go down. It’s a subtler way of incorporating color into your look while still getting the full impact of having those vibrant purple ends.

musesalonvancouver – Curling Diva

Dusty Balayage

This balayage on short hair is a look for someone wanting to give their hair a little more dimension.

In this trendy style, a dusty purple is complemented by softer lilac tones and deep bronze. This blend of colors brings out the purple that can very easily get lost in dark hair.

hair.byabby – Curling Diva

Cool Purple Highlights

After making waves in the pastel trend for more mermaid-inspired looks, the blue and purple combo is here to stay.

But it’s even cooler this time (literally!)

Achieve this edgier twist on the combination by mixing in purple with some dusty blues. The purple roots ombre-ing into blue gives this look a more dark, magical feel.

lulu kutznyc – Curling Diva

Soft Purple Highlights

If you’re not keen on loud colors but still want to incorporate some purple into your look, then this is the way to go.

Purple on black hair can be very subtle if you want it to!

In this look, the purple sections are kept small so they blend in seamlessly with the black. 

lupevmacias – Curling Diva

Barely-There Purple

If that last look wasn’t subtle enough, here’s an even stealthier one!

Going with a very warm, almost red shade of purple is a great way to hop onto this trend.

Combined with a burgundy color, it’s a look that will make people look twice when your dark hair catches the light. 

coloredbyphuong – Curling Diva

Chunky Highlights 

The subtle look isn’t for you?

Then here’s one that puts purple front and center. This is a trendy look you’d see on Tiktok, and rocked by stars like Billie Eilish.

This look involves chunkier highlights and is usually worn with a center part to really draw your eyes to those bright purple streaks. That effect also ends up framing the face nicely!

whitstodyefor – Curling Diva

Vibrant Halo

Here’s a spin on halo highlights!

When placed a little lower on the hair, they’re a sneaky little surprise that can easily be covered up or shown off whenever you please.

This more blue-toned purple also results in a more vibrant look that really stands out against warmer black hair. 

beautifiedbybrandee – Curling Diva

Purple and Pink Balayage

This look is a fun take on the balayage.

It’s purple paradise with different tones ranging from more magenta purples to rosier shades to deeper blue ones.

This combination gives the illusion of more body and volume, and overall just makes this look a lot more vibrant. 

natzhairnmakeup – Curling Diva

Warm Purple Highlights 

Purple and black don’t always have to be so pop-y and vibrant.

This is a look that can be more soft and sophisticated too. A warmer, softer black complemented with more dusty shades of purple can elevate an already sleek short cut. 

ginacoolhair4u – Curling Diva

Bright Purple Ombre

If you want to go all in with purple, then this ombre style is for you.

The subtle shift in the gradient is what makes this look work.It starts close to the root, leaving just a bit of black peeking through.

Then, starting with a deep, almost black purple it slowly goes lighter and brighter as you go down.

hair raiser – Curling Diva

With all these different looks, we know purple highlights are here to stay.

So, whether it’s a loud eye-catching magical look you’re going for, or a subtle oomph to your dark hair, give these looks a shot. Go purple and watch your hair achieve grape-ness! 

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