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When we think of universal hair colours that flatter any skin tone, purple may not be the first that comes to mind. But hear us out: Because it’s a mix of blue and red (colours that exist within your complexion), purple is a versatile and surprisingly wearable choice.

“The beauty of red, purple, violet, rose, amethyst, pink or lavender hair hues is that they help to enliven the complexion. Violet and purple hair tends to cast a tint on the skin, cancelling the dull, yellow undertones,” says J Lim, director of hair salon Chez Vous: Private Space.

She adds that with proper care and maintenance, purple can last for up to two months as long as it’s not a pastel or ash-based hue. Even better, the process of dyeing your hair purple requires less bleaching as it includes shades of red.

“That’s because dark Asian hair has strong red, orange and yellow undertones,” explains Selina Ong, co-founder of Coulisse Heir. Since red pigments are the hardest to lift for those with dark hair, bleaching may not be able to completely remove the red tones, hence resulting in a brassy orange dye job.

This or that?

Which purple shade will suit your skin tone best? The hair experts shed light on how to go about choosing the right tone.

According to J, those with sallow or lighter skin tones will be able to pull off violet or amethyst better. “The blue tint will help counteract the orange and yellow hues in your complexion.”

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Selina adds that while a light purple is a natural fit for fairer skins, it doesn’t mean that medium-tan skin tones should avoid it altogether. Instead, she advises using makeup to brighten your complexion if you insist on going for a lighter hue.

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For those with tan and duskier complexions, both J and Selina suggest red-tinged purples like ruby or burgundy that is better suited for warm undertones. Deeper shades of purple are better suited for fuss-free individuals who prefer to wash-and-go in the mornings. 

Where should the colour go?

The placement of the hair colour is just as important as choosing the right shade for your skin tone.

“Shape and colour can transform your facial features by drawing attention to or softening the features,” says Menuka Ghosh Rai, education and trade marketing manager for Wella, South-east Asia region. For instance, geometric cuts that use block colour techniques can add strengthen and definition to a shape.

Want something bolder? Menuka recommends trying a split dye or face framing effect. But if you prefer something more subtle, there’s always the peek-a-boo or earring (also known as ear-loop) dye.

Coulisse Heir’s Selina adds that it’s about “finding a style that speaks to your personality and lifestyle”. There are also options for underlights, highlights and ombre finishes that will help create more movement and dimension to your look.

Ready to embrace purple hair? Here are three shades to try:

#1 Digital lavender A soft and chic pastel purple that’s a 2023 trend shade.

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#2 Ash violet According to Selina, this greyish violet hue is the top hair colour request among her clients at Coulisse Heir, even though it’s a fast-fading shade.

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#3 Viva magenta The 2023 Pantone Colour of the Year is a rose hue with a tint of purple. “It’s a stunning tone that brightens Asian complexions perfectly,” says J.