Beauty Chemistry: Blue-Tinted Hair

Dove Conditioner, Manic Panic Ultra Violet, and Bad Boy Blue
Manic Panic Bad Boy Blue, Ultra Violet, and Dove Conditioner

With Nicole Richie's new purple ‘do, and Ireland Baldwin going lilac a few hours later, maybe it’s a sign that it's time to start exploring non-natural shades of hair color once again—this time in the violet realm. While a whole head of Lite-Brite hair is still a viable option, there is a happy medium for those of us not ready to take the full-on purple plunge. In other words: let's try a watered-down approach. Remember Sienna’s moment with rose gold-tinted hair? The look is more of a wash than a traditional dye job.

The method is simple—and takes place in the comfort of a warm shower. Wash your hair and apply a layer of conditioner. While you’re standing there, after legs, underarms, and…anything else has been shaved, take a container (or two—like Ultra Violet and Bad Boy Blue) of Manic Panic and add some of the creamy paste on top of your conditioner. Coverage level is up to you—with your hair coated in a protective layer of conditioner, the intensity will be controlled already—but the length of time the solution is left to sit, the amount of pigment used, and the original shade of your hair will all effect the subtlety of the end result. And if you’re worried about the overall effect or concerned about the work-appropriateness of your new style, try an ombré, which is easily hide-able (just throw the colored bits up into a bun). The conditioning layer with help prevent any potentially harsh DIY ombré lines. The color will fade out a few washes later, so the commitment level is low, and it’s a whole new hair style for just a few dollars, a couple minutes, and, for one writer, a slightly ruined manicure and stained shower floor. (Maybe invest in some Lysol, too.)

Photos by Emily Weiss and Elizabeth Brockway.

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  • Alyssa Gapske

    Best. Idea. Ever. I can't wait to try this.
    A couple of weeks ago I put some neon purple food coloring in a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar as an at home toner. It turned some of my highlights a very light lavender. Barely noticeable but good enough for me!

  • thunderlegz

    So pretty-how will this work on brown hair, you think?

  • llama

    damn you guys are like mind readers...i did this last night. i used adore semi permanent hair color, which i like better than manic panic, but you definitely want to dilute it with conditioner before will stain everything it touches

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    What a great idea for blondes! I'm not sure as someone with auburn hair I could get away with it!

  • Anna Raponi

    Elizabeth what nail polish is that?

  • guest

    I love this! Also love the sweater/ Where is it from Elizabeth?

  • Jocelyn

    I'm really interested in trying this! ITG, if you see this, do you think it would work on dark hair? Thanks!

    • Hannah M.

      The darker colours of Manic Panic work on darker hair, but the only way you could get a pastel look would be on light-to-medium blonde hair. The company website has some good example photos of what you can expect with different colours of dye on different colours of hair. :)

      • Jocelyn

        thanks so much!

  • Sabrina Rice

    manic panic ultra violet is my fave dye color! I'm trying something new w purple haze right now though, it's just slightly warmer/pinker than ultra violet. Lovely! Although I'm full on mermaid-ed out w purple teal ultra violet ombre mix going on haha

  • Lagi

    This was a godsend. I'm in a hair rut but am not willing to chop it all off just yet or damage my never-dyed hair with full blown dye job. Enter Manic Panic's Electric Lizard (bonus: glows in black light) and Voodoo Blue. My hair is very dark, almost black, and through a series of trial and error last night I found that putting the color directly on the ends of my dry hair and letting it sit for 30-40 minutes was enough to tint. The color is just present enough to double take and maybe wonder if something is different, but subtle enough that I won't be sent home from work for having green hair. Everyone wins.

  • Chloe

    Oh.... love good mermaid hair!

  • Michelle K. Lee

    great idea

  • Kristen

    purple and blue does not wash out in a "few washes".

  • Emma Hager

    This reminds me of my hair experiments a couple of years ago. In fact, this faint, My Little Pony palette was my go-to because it is subtle. At the same time, it satisfied my restlessness when it comes to hair


Dove Daily Moisture Therapy Conditioner
Manic Panic
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Color Cream