Your Instagram feed is a veritable rainbow these days, and you’re feeling the urge to try the trend. But, there’s just one problem: Your hair is curly. Curly and coily locks are more delicate than straight hair, as each bend in the strand is a weak point prone to breakage. Also, curly hair tends to be more porous and, as you probably know by now, you need a significant amount of moisture to keep it healthy. Unfortunately, lightening and coloring only aggravates these issues by causing more breakage, higher porosity, and more dryness.

Don't fret just yet — there's a way for you to go purple! Many of our readers have been asking how to go purple, but these tips will actually work for any hair color your heart desires. By paying attention to a few key steps, you can get in on the trend all your straight-haired friends have been rocking.

The Coconut-Bleaching Method

If you want to get pastel or vibrant locks, then you will most likely need to lighten your hair before coloring in order for the dye to show up. Unless you already have very light, blonde hair, the color simply will not show up on your strands, which will make bleaching or double-processing a necessary step in the process. Of course, bleaching can be damaging — but coconut oil can help. We recommend the coconut-oil method.

The night before your bleaching appointment, take pure, unrefined coconut oil and saturate your strands completely, from root to tip. Cover up with a shower cap, and leave in the oil overnight. The next day, bleach (or go to a professional stylist) with the oil still in your hair. The oil acts in the same way that your hair's natural oils do, protecting the tresses and scalp from the harmful effects of bleach. Some women in the curly community have even found that it helps the bleaching process go faster.

My purple waves, using Manic Panic

Temporary Color

There are many color options on the market when it comes to blues, purples, and pinks, but you’ll find that most of them are temporary. Manic Panic and Pravana are among the most popular lines carrying an array of unicorn colors, and both wash out over time. Depending on how vibrant you want your color to be, you can mix a small amount (start out with just one drop) of a purple like Manic Panic's Violet Night or Pravana's Violet or Lavender to 2 cups of conditioner to create a lavender tint. If you want the color to be darker or more vibrant, you can add more color to your mixture until it resembles your desired color. You can also add small amounts of blue or pink to alter the resulting color, just remember that these colors are extremely pigmented so even a drop to make an impact. I initially went to a salon to dye my hair purple, but when that dye faded I used Manic Panic in Ultra Violet mixed in with my conditioner to maintain my lavender color.

Watch how askpRoy applied Manic Panic in Ultra Violet and Hot Pink to her hair. She used the whole jar for a deeper, richer color payoff.

To enhance her color, askpRoy enhanced her curls using our next temporary method.


If you don’t want to commit to the rainbow and are looking for an even more temporary fling, then try artist’s soft pastels (make sure they’re not oil pastels or chalk) or cream eyeshadow, like Maybelline’s Color Tattoo. These options will appear vibrant even on dark hair, but application and maintenance can be a little messy. Watch to see how Evelyn and I used eyeshadow and pastels on our hair, and read this tutorial for detailed directions.

Maintaining your color

Now that you’re a purple-haired beauty, you’ll want to know how to maintain the color and keep your curls healthy.

Avoid Sulfates

Curlies prefer sulfate-free shampoos as it is, but if your hair is color-treated, then you will definitely want to avoid these stripping agents as they’ll make your color fade faster.

Add Color To Conditioner

Mix a small amount of your hair color in with your conditioner, so that every time you condition, you are also giving yourself a color touchup.

Do A Weekly Protein Treatment

Protein will help fill the holes created by bleaching and lightening the hair, and it will also help soften the hair when it feels like straw. We like ApHogee’s Two-Step Protein Treatment and Tigi Dumb Blond Reconstructor. Check out our full guide to finding the right protein treatment for you.

Deep Condition

By now you you may be growing tired of this refrain, but lightening your hair creates a damaging chemical reaction that cannot be undone. While you can't completely prevent or reverse the damage done by bleach, you can help reduce the negative effects by moisturizing your hair. We like EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Hair MasqueOuidad Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask and MYHoneyChild Honey Hair Mask, but read here for a full list of deep conditioner favorites.

Want more? 

This is the key to maintaining healthy, bleached Type 4 hair.

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