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Is burgundy hair red or purple?

Is burgundy hair red or purple?

Burgundy hair has become a popular hair color trend in recent years. But is it red or purple? The answer lies somewhere in between. Burgundy hair contains elements of both red and purple shades.

The Color Wheel

To understand whether burgundy is red or purple, it helps to look at a color wheel. The color wheel arranges colors into a circle based on their hue and saturation. Opposite colors on the wheel are complementary colors.

Red and purple sit opposite each other on the color wheel. Red is a warm, bold shade, while purple is a cool, muted tone. Burgundy sits between red and purple on the color wheel. It contains aspects of both shades.

The Red Family

Burgundy is considered a deeper, darker shade of red. It sits next to other shades like cherry and auburn in the red color family. When comparing burgundy to true red shades, burgundy has more blue undertones, making it closer to purple on the wheel.

There are a few reasons burgundy is categorized with reds:

  • Burgundy is a mix of the primary colors red and blue.
  • It sits next to red on the color wheel.
  • Burgundy has a red base and red undertones.
  • It is created by adding brown, purple, or blue to red.

So while burgundy isn’t a pure red, it generally fits into the red family of shades.

The Purple Family

Burgundy can also be considered a member of the purple family. It sits next to shades like wine and plum on the color wheel. Burgundy contains more red undertones compared to true purples.

Here are some reasons burgundy can be categorized as purple:

  • Burgundy mixes red with blue to tone down the red.
  • It is darker and cooler than true reds.
  • Burgundy is created by adding red to purple.
  • It sits closer to purple on the color wheel than red.

While not exactly a purple, burgundy shares similarities with purple shades.

How Lighting Changes Burgundy

The way burgundy hair appears can change quite a bit depending on the lighting. This is another factor that contributes to its red-purple identity.

Lighting Hair Color Appears
Sunlight More red
Indoor/Dim Lighting More purple
Warm Lighting Warm, red tones emphasized
Cool Lighting Cool, purple tones emphasized

So in warm lighting, burgundy hair will look more red. But in a cool environment, the purple tones come through. The red and purple balance in burgundy hair leads to this color variability.

How Intense is the Color?

The intensity of the burgundy color also plays a role. Pale, muted burgundy contains more purple. But rich, vivid burgundy brings out warmer red tones.

As the burgundy color is darkened, it moves closer on the wheel from purple to red. Deep burgundy borders on auburn. Light burgundy borders on plum.

Burgundy Hair Dye

The formula of burgundy hair dye can provide more clues into its red-purple identity. Professional brands create burgundy dye by combining different ratios of red and purple pigment.

Many vibrant burgundy dyes contain more red than purple pigment. These formulas create an intense red-burgundy. Other dye mixes contain more purple than red. These result in a purple-leaning burgundy shade.

How Hair Colorists Describe Burgundy

Hair colorists are the experts when it comes to describing shades like burgundy. Here are some ways they categorize the color:

  • Dark red
  • Red-violet
  • Red-purple
  • Cool-toned red

You’ll hear colorists refer to burgundy as a red-violet or red-purple more than a straight purple shade. Their descriptions reinforce that burgundy straddles the line between red and purple.

How Burgundy Got Its Name

Burgundy’s name provides insight into its color family. Burgundy is named after a region in France known for its high quality red wines. The name burgundy comes from these deep red wines,associating it with redness rather than purple.


While burgundy sits between red and purple on the color wheel, it tends to be categorized more as a shade of red. The main reasons burgundy leans toward red are:

  • It has a red base and red undertones.
  • Burgundy is created by adding colors to red.
  • It sits closer to red on the wheel.
  • Vivid burgundy appears more red.
  • Hair colorists describe it as red-violet or red-purple.
  • The name comes from red wines, not purple.

However, burgundy is not a pure red. It definitely mixes in purple tones. So the most accurate way to describe burgundy is as a shade that combines elements of both red and purple. The best categorization is red-purple or red-violet.

The lighting, intensity, and hair dye formula all impact whether burgundy appears more red or more purple. Overall though, burgundy is predominantly described as a deeper, cooler shade of red, while incorporating definite purple tones.

So in summary, burgundy hair is technically both red and purple! But it aligns more closely with being a shade of red.