I Tried to Make My Blonde Hair Less Yellow with First-Aid Antiseptic

Why didn't I think of this before? This purple, vaguely medical liquid would solve my yellowness!
Publish date:
March 2, 2016
bleach, blonde hair, beauty hacks, platinum blonde, first aid, Gentian Violet

Recently, fed up with the blue in my hair, I decided to follow a lifelong dream of mine and go platinum blonde.

I was very, very afraid, though, because my hair has a strong tendency to turn bright orange when it's introduced to bleach. The desire to be as blonde as possible won, though, and I found myself in the hairdresser's chair soon after, doing a double process and trying to ignore the burning and itching on my scalp.

I explained to the hairdresser that I didn't want my hair to be white, but more "natural" blonde. I'm sure there was a much more technically accurate way of phrasing all this, but I made do (and he seemed to understand). After an eternity in the chair, he dried it and it was exactly what I wanted: blonde. Not too white and not orange. I thanked the hair gods for this victory over hot roots and paid.

Unfortunately, by the next day, my hair was quite yellow, because it does whatever it wants to when it's blonde after I leave the hairdresser. (Is this a curse? Should I consult John Exkhardt's Prayer That Rout Demons over this?) I cried and cried and cried all morning. Because, yes, I may be in my mid-twenties, but, as my Twitter bio advises, I'm emotionally 16.

Fortunately, I have close friends and family to support me through such difficult, tragic times. I sent these pictures to a handful of lucky receivers with many crying-face emojis and exclamation marks:

My confidant and fashion advisor, Valeria, told me to not stress and to try gentian violet on it.

Of course! The purple, vaguely medical liquid would solve this! The purple-ness combats the yellow (like we learnt in primary school art class), working as a perfect alternative to purple shampoos.

When I pitched this to Marci, she hadn't heard of the stuff, so I thought it was definitely time to educate the masses while testing how well it really works.

This is my hair before, taken with a camera that isn't my phone mid-freakout:

I mixed a couple of drops of gentian violet into my shampoo, turning it from white to dark purple, similar to the colour of Lush Daddy-O. I added a tiny bit into my conditioner, too, for good measure. I just like to go all in, y'know?

Unlike purple-toned shampoo, this stuff is all business. If you have white hair, it will stain it purple. It doesn't mess around. It's as serious as Liam Neeson in Taken. When I mixed it, I accidentally got a bit on my fingers, and it didn't wash off.

I washed my hair twice with this method and dried and:

It really does work. It's difficult to show you the nuanced yellow removal over pictures, because, apparently my camera is good enough to capture my uneven skin tone and every single blemish but can't convey this very important result to you adequately enough.

I think I'm going to re-bleach once I touch up my roots, but for now, this really eased my anxiety and tears. Just pray for my hair for next time; I'm terrified it will all fall out or — worse — turn orange somehow. When you have a deep, dark fear, it won't let up, no matter how illogical it is. Like my dream about a cat-spider hybrid, I can't shake the anxiety around this.

  • Have you ever tried gentian violet?
  • Have you ever used gentian violet for what it's actually meant for (topical antiseptic)?
  • Do you cry almost every time you go to the hairdresser or is that just me?