Here's What Happened When I Dyed My Grey Hair Purple
Most of us have an advertising Achilles heel. It's the one app or website that serves you up just the right combination of relevant without being creepy, effectively triggering your “purchase now” finger.
For me, that app is Instagram.
Mind you, I thought I was completely ad-blind—whether sidebar ads or promoted tweets, pins, or boosted posts in social media. I couldn’t tell you if I saw them, let alone what I saw.
But Instagram somehow broke through, and the ad that started it all for me was Overtone and its Purple for Dark Brown Hair plant-based temporary dye.
Purple, you say? You mean, my favorite color?
And it works on "Dark Brown Hair?" Like, my hair? (Well, the parts that aren’t silver, that is.)
And ... it’s vegan and cruelty-free?
Anyone who is about my age might remember a temporary hair color solution called a “cellophane” hair treatment. I started getting them in college, turning my very dark brown hair into shiny dark burgundy hair, especially in the sun. This was before I had gray hair to cover.
When I first started getting gray hair in my late 30s, I had dreams of getting a cool silver streak—like Bonnie Raitt, or Stacy London from What Not to Wear—but it was not to be. The gray hairs were somewhat sparse and unevenly distributed, not at all a streak to speak of.
So I began the coloring.
I never wanted to go the full-on bleach and re-color route that seemed harsh on my hair and the environment, so my hairdresser found a gentler, demi-permanent solution, and for years, that was my solution.
That is, until that product line was discontinued (and my gray hairs multiplied). I was left with a choice: Go gray or take the plunge into more permanent hair color solutions.
I went gray.
Being in my 40s and 50s, I eventually had enough gray hair that I finally did have a streak. I often got asked if I had purposely dyed that silver streak to be that way. I felt lucky.
That ad for "Purple for Dark Brown Hair" called to me with a siren song. Over and over, it showed up in my feed. Tempting me.
Fifteen minutes to re-live my college hair escapades? Sign me up!
And here’s the thing: It’s been a total win.
Not only do I just totally love how it shows up in my silver hair as bright purple—while the majority of my hair just has a lustrous purple overtone—but it’s also a conversation-starter and ice-breaker in the best possible way.
People can (and do) compliment my purple hair without me feeling like they’re objectifying me. My purple hair is a leveler ... it makes me approachable (again, in a non-creepy way). It seems to make them as happy as it makes me.
One guy told me it made him think of Prince, and who wouldn’t want to remind people of PRINCE?!
Overtone is also easy, one might say fool-proof, and it fades in the nicest way. So if I get lazy and don’t reapply for several weeks, I still have a nice lavender glow to my hair.
Overtone comes in many colors, but purple is and will always be my jam.
Take a tip from me: Turn the fifteen minutes you’re waiting for the treatment to set to do other little acts of self-care.
I usually do a mask. And I shave my legs, if I feel super-motivated.
These are little, quick things that are easily skipped when I’m rushing to spend as little time as possible in the bathroom getting ready for the day.
Another tip: Get yourself some latex gloves and some shower caps.
When I’m done applying the dye, I put on the shower cap so that I don’t have to worry about throwing drops of purple anywhere, and I take off the first pair of gloves, so I can do my above-mentioned acts of self-care. I then put on a second pair to do the rinsing.
Final tip: Do the bulk of your rinsing in a sink without grout, if your shower tiles have grout.
I’m not saying you couldn’t get rid of any slight purple hue to your grout with some scrubbing, but who wants to scrub?
Verdict: Overtone is easy, fun, more affordable than a salon color, creative, and everything I never knew I needed.
BEFORE. Hair brushed out and weeks old previous purple treatment still hanging in there.
Yes, I take advantage of the time to do other self-care like applying a mask.
Hair's still wet in this shot, taken under a bright bathroom light.
The final look, hair dry, still under the bright light.
Longtime veg Elisa Camahort Page is the host of The Op-Ed Page podcast, co-author of Road Map for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All, and an entrepreneur best-known as the Co-Founder of BlogHer. Learn more at elisacp.com.
Note: A product appearing in our blog is not an official Kinder Beauty endorsement. While every product we feature in an article is cruelty-free and vegan, these products do not necessarily meet all of our strict brand standards for curation in one of our boxes.