Purple Dye Disaster

I never expected that dying my hair would turn into an all day event. I’ve been wanting to “go purple” for a while now. Almost a year, in fact. First my excuse was that I didn’t want to bleach my dark brown hair and turn it to a straw-like mess. Then we were in Guatemala and I didn’t want to trust my locks to the hair stylists there, where everyone has the same kind of hair and hardly anyone dyes it a crazy color. But on returning to the States, I realized that I was out of excuses, I’d been putting it off for an age and a half, and it was time.

Two bottles of Special Effects Deep Purple were waiting for me upon my arrival in NH. After doing a ridiculous amount of research, I’d learned that this particular color works on brown hair without bleach. My last excuse, out the window; and I was starting to get excited. My lovely assistants (Mom, and friends Jillian and Lois Wood) brushed liberal amounts of dark purple color into my hair. “It smells kinda like almonds!” one of the boys piped up. It kind of did. And it felt like clay. Nasty, sticky, heavy, thick weirdness. I was already looking forward to washing it out.

Waiting the half hour for the dye to work its magic was agony. The littlest Wood kids watched and waited with me. “You look funny!” Jessie giggled. With a plastic bag twisted around my head like a disturbed purply brown jellyfish, I suppose I did.

(I apologize for the absolutely terrible quality of these photos. I didn’t expect to be writing about this. Lesson in blogging: take quality photos of everything that has even a minuscule chance of making it on the blog)

In progress. Not glamorous, but it works.
In progress. Not sexy, but it works.

The clock ticked away, and finally! It was time to take off my oh so glamorous head covering and wash out the dye! The moms were nowhere to be found. Jillian was writing. But no worries, I told myself. It’s just hair dye. A quick rinse and dry and it’s done! How hard can it be to do yourself?

Famous last words.

So basically, I’m an idiot. I hopped into the shower, carefully disposed of the plastic bag (which by this time looked as if I’d murdered a purple minion in it), leaned back into the stream of water, and briefly closed my eyes. When I opened them, it looked like the set of an alien horror film. Dark purple trickled down the walls and pooled in the tub. My hands were a uniform plum color. My entire body was streaked with deep purple lines, and my feet were as dark as my hands. I was approaching outright panic. No worries. It’ll wash out, right? I rubbed at the wall a bit. Nope. It was the opposite of washing out. If anything, I rubbed more purple into the side of the shower. “DAD. This is really not good. DAAAD!!!”

Shouting for help, I squeezed the last of the color out of my hair, and climbed out of the now violently purple tub. The mirror confirmed my fears. I was literally purple from head to toe.

I was a walking, wide-eyed eggplant.


My face was purple. My ears were purple. My back had a deep purple streak down the spine. My stomach and legs and arms and every appendage at my disposal were all PURPLE. I scrubbed at my nose furiously, smudging more color into it than I was actually removing. I stared. “Violet! You’re turning violet!” That was it. I started to giggle uncontrollably as tears of embarrassment and disappointment started to make streaks down my face.

On the one hand, I was purple, we were going out later, and this was mortifying. On the other, it was absolutely hilarious.

“What happened?!” Dad was knocking on the door at this point, the rest of the family and friends joining him. I wrapped up in a towel and came outside. “Oh. My. Gosh.” Jon took one look at me and ran for the last of the boys. It was the general consensus.  “Holy moly,” was all Jillian said, before running for baking soda and soap to attack my skin with. Dad just shook his head.

I spent about three hours scrubbing out the Wood’s bathtub, and there’s STILL a slight purple stain in the bottom. As for me, I’m still purple. I managed to scrub most of the stain out of my face and neck, but everything else has a slightly purple glow to it. My ears are the worst of all.


On the upside, my hair is awesome! It’s so purple it’s almost black unless the light’s just right, and the color is magnificent when the sun’s out. Also, it perfectly compliments my somewhat violet complexion! Who knows? Maybe I’ll start a trend.

At least my hair looks cool, right?
At least my hair looks cool, right?


A few days later, I’m happy to say that the color has mostly come off my body. Oh wait. Nope. No it hasn’t. My stomach, back, legs, and especially my ears still glow a soft, radiant violet. It’s like I bathed in dye or something. Crazy, right? ;)

15 Replies to “Purple Dye Disaster”

  1. Wow end result that is a fabulous colour. I’ve been thinking about dip dying my hair for a while, but maybe I’ll try doing it a different way :)

    1. Yeah, I love the color! I just wish it had been happy with just my hair. ;)

  2. staceyjeaninion says: Reply

    You poor dear. This is right our of the pages of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s, Anne of Green Gables. What a hilarious tragedy. This is one you will be glad you have recorded. Good for you for scrubbing the tub for three hours….poor girlie. I agree, your violet complexion goes well with your new, radiant hair.

    Off to sharing this with my daughter

    1. Sammy.Goose@hotmail.com says: Reply

      Love the color!! I always am suprised when people all over the world know about Anne. I live in ‘Annes Land’ (Prince Edward Island!!) and its amazing how much it has grown in popularity in the last few years.


  4. I’m sorry, but this is hilarious!!! Next time you decide to dye your own hair, you wash your hair out in the kitchen sink… NEVER in the shower!!! LMHO!!!

  5. So funny. Thanks for the post. My daughter wants to do the same and I’m sure she would have freaked! What do the instructions say? I can’t imagine being able to do this without getting it on your skin.

  6. Couann Benner says: Reply

    great …ha ha ha , so funny but it looks great!

  7. Ahh, our purple hair dye is somewhat camouflaged in our brightly striped shower curtain…but far more visible in the hand & bath towels the kids used when dying our 9yob hair this week….while us parents were out! I came home to flourescent (but adorable) son….no pics for the process. Btw, the colour (of your hair!!) is gorgeous!

  8. Ohhhhhh my gosh!!! But you’re right, your hair does look awesome. I’ve been toying around with going pastel blue or something but I too have many excuses.

  9. Thank you for adding to my “why I say no, C” list. ;)
    Seriously, though. This is funny!

  10. Just another edventure Hannah! You can now land a part in Willy Wonka!

  11. That is hilarious…sorry. I feel your pain but look how beautiful your hair turned out!

  12. Is this your version of Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? But the end result does look fantastic!

  13. Getting dye off your skin with makeup remover works. I know the stressed out feeling. I had the same problem when dying it blue purple red and pink. Silver and green where no problem. Luckily I found that makeup remover gets a lot of the colour off quickly and it leaves just a light glow of colour. A tip for everyone who dyes their hair

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