We have a prediction, or rather, an observation. There’s a moody hue in the purple color family that is outpacing the icy heads of lavender in our social feeds, and we’re here to call it out: Plum hair color is taking over.
Plum can be deep and rich in its burgundy-red shades. and it can also give a solid punch of vibrancy with its violet and purple tones. The combination of both cool and warm colors gives off a very natural (and at times neutral) appearance. For a not-so-natural hair color, plum can have an extremely natural feel (especially on darker strands), which is part of the reason this color trend is rising to the top. Keep reading for a list of our favorite plum hair color inspiration right now.
Play It Cool
This blend of plum sits on the cool side of the color spectrum. With only a hint of rich, red hues in the mix, this photo is a great color reference if you’re ready to explore the plum color palette but don’t want any warmth to be pulled out of your strands. With a few snowflakes added into the mix, we’re totally here for this cool and cozy hair moment.
The Braided Bunch
These braids hold a combination of magenta and deep purple shades woven into them. When these two colors mix together, you have the perfect blend of plum, so we’re totally coveting this look.
Plum, particularly this shade of eggplant plum, is a great option for extremely dark brunettes interested in trying ombré. Plum’s depth of color makes for a more seamless gradient on naturally dark base colors, meaning you can minimize the potentially damaging bleach associated with ombré’s commonly blonde ends.
No matter how light or dark your complexion, plum is a color that’s compatible with all skin tones. The contrasted pop against bright eye colors is too major. We’re totally lost in Ella Purnell’s gaze. Or is it just the hair crush happening? Too hard to decipher.
This is a color application that we typically see on lightened hair. The reason for brighter face-framing pieces is that it opens things up around the face, and that’s what happens to hair that naturally lightens on its own, which makes this application appear very natural. Get plum color on your highlights as they grow out, or add in some extensions to create a temporary look for a special event.
Highlights and Lowlights
This marbled mix of burgundy highlights and plum-colored lowlights is adding so much dimension to this lob. Even though it’s sleek and straight, the highlights and lowlights add the illusion of movement without a hair moving out of place. If you’re loving this color and cut combo, be sure to stop by our list of A-line haircut inspiration before your next salon visit.
We all know Cardi B will sport a wig of almost any length and color, so it’s no surprise to find her wearing an extra-long plum ponytail, with the nails and handbag to match, no less.
If you previously went lighter and are looking to grow it out, spice up your transition by having your stylist apply plum color to the bleached parts as your darker roots start to grow out. A balayage technique makes for a seamless look that feels intentional and perfect for fall and winter.
The Lavender Alternative
This smoky plum hue is a mood we can get behind. Lavender has been trending on the color scene for years now, but make way for its moody alternative—this clouded shade of plum is a soft yet rich pop of color that’s beautifully suited to brighten up darker base colors. Lighter base colors may have a harder time achieving such a smokey, cool tone because they have a tendency to pull out the brighter components to a color like plum.
The most subtle shades of plum can be caught in all their glory under just the right light. In darker settings, you may not even recognize those deep purple tones, but don’t be mistaken: This is part of the fun with plum. You can fool the eye into thinking one thing and surprise people when they least expect it.
At first glance, you might only notice the pop of purple in Regina King’s waist-length locks, but upon closer inspection, you’ll catch the beautifully blended ombré that starts with a natural-looking shade of plum and cascades into some lightened lavender tips. It takes some serious skill to weave in these tones so seamlessly, and we are here for it.
Slip n’ Shine
The shine on these plum-colored strands is next level. To get a similar effect at home, use an evenly dispersed smoothing balm (like this one from Evo) before blow-drying and styling to help reduce frizz. For added sheen, use a lightweight shine spray like this one from Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi line (the soft scent of ginger tea and mango is an added bonus).
The most common gradient for plum, due to its naturally deep tones, is to have it begin at the roots and blend its way into an ombré gradient of lighter or brighter hues. But here, we see magenta roots with a subtle transition into plum ends. Somehow, there’s nothing backwards about this alternate ombré blend.
Natural hair textures are no stranger to the plum color trend. From what we see here, plum might just be next in line as the most natural-looking ombré hair color after blonde.
Coloring dreads is a surprisingly easy task and can totally be done at home with the right tools. With gloves on to protect your hands from staining, massage a generous amount of your color solution onto your ends—sit, rinse, and voilà. The beauty of coloring dreads is the lack of individual strands that require detail-oriented application. Just remember you’ll have to use a lightener before applying your desired shade of plum.
At The Base
With a base color like plum, you can really experiment with adjacent shades like red, purple, and magenta. Here, a pop of red face-framing curls is a playfully gradual change on this natural brunette.
Bright and Braided
We’ve seen a lot of plum and purple tones incorporated into braids. Here, Venus Williams sports a brightly braided mix of magenta, plum, and creamy white. We love the way plum is consistently subbing in for the most natural-looking tone in the bunch.
If Bettie Page were here today, we’d like to predict this would be the hair she’d wear: Long, blunt strands against those famously short micro-bangs, and Manic Panic’s Violet Knight all over. A classic look for this dark plum tone.
The Perks of Plum
This cascading purple mane is mesmerizing, thanks in large part to its plum undertones. This particular shade has a really smooth balance of magenta-red tints and cool violet hues. The perk to a color like plum is that it keeps your purple shades warm without compromising depth or dimension.
Malbec is a red wine made from purple grapes, and we’re fittingly coining this blend of magenta reds and cool purples a Malbec-colored mane. While it does lend itself to the redder side of plum’s color spectrum, those hints of purple gently tossed into the mix keep things cool.
Plum has a bright side, too—it’s not entirely moody and mysterious. While this vivid blend of purples is beautifully bright, the plum tones keep it grounded and almost hazy, making it difficult to distinguish where one shade starts and the other one begins.
What skin tone suits plum hair?
Any skin tone can pull off plum hair, but the color looks especially great with medium skin tones.
What’s the best way to maintain plum hair?
To keep your color bold and your strands shiny, go in between your regularly scheduled color appointments to get a gloss treatment. It’s a quick process that takes place at the shampoo bowl and will have your hair looking like it got a full-on makeover. But when you’re fresh out of your salon touch-up, add a little grit back into your hair by way of some dry texture spray or sea salt spray. The added, gritty texture will help things hold instead of slip, so you can tie half your silky strands up into a knotted ‘do without it unraveling.