Basically, I have a character that I'm working on in a futuristic-fantasy type of planet. She's supposed to have purple hair that she was born with.

What is a magical explanation for this phenomenon?

Other Info

  • The rest of the character is completely normal
  • She is the only one in her race with this hair color
  • She is what is considered a "magical talent" aka. having higher cultivation skills, higher inborn skills, better comprehension speed, etc.
  • She is human
  • The magic involves casting spells using staff and elixirs; some of it consists in using dice and tea kettles
  • Planet a lot like Earth (basic edits to day length, planet size, continents, and number of moons/asteroids)
  • Storyline is between her vs. the current leader of the planet; The leader did not sabotage her by giving her purple hair because the girl is considered a "weakling" when she is first born, and therefore beneath the leader's noticing

Magical Rules

  • No bringing back the dead
  • Strength increases with bodily size or with smarts
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    – L.Dutch
    Feb 25 at 20:24

9 Answers 9


Magic is, well, magic. You don't need an explanation for why magic does what it does.

If you want magic users in your world to have purple hair, then you can just make it so. If you only want a few magic users in your world to have purple hair, you can just say that magic ability sometimes causes people to have naturally purple hair.

All that matters when building a world with magic is that how the magic works is internally consistent. This means that you can make up any rules and effects for magic you want, as long as you apply them consistently throughout the work.


Take birds as a real world example (as they are the only animal I can think of with distinctive purple coloration). Plumage coloration is mainly due to two substances: melanins and carotenoids. Birds cannot produce carotenoids on their own. For feathers with bright colors, birds must consume food items that contain these pigments, and the carotenoids circulate through the bloodstream and to the feather follicles. Birds can produce melanins. Human hair color is similarly controlled by melanins - but I'm guessing ours are a lot more boring than birds. (ref: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170805142503.htm)

Two options: A) either consumption of something or constant exposure to something in the environment interacts with physiology to produce purple hair; B) slightly different physiology means character has more diverse melanins that produce a distinctive purple coloration - this may have evolved in their people over time as a response to a unique property of the environment that is not present on earth (e.g., the existence magic).

Bonus third option is there was a magical potion accident at birth (perhaps child was conceived through magical means like a love or fertility potion).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1. Pretty interesting really. Apparently "melanocytes" are what gives feathers (keratain) their pigmentation color and also what gives hair (also keratin) its melanin color. Same cells. Slightly different function. It doesn't seem unreasonable to assume some....mutation...perhaps with some magical influence...allowed this character's melanocytes to produce purple pigment rather than some usual melanin. (Really a level of detail I doubt the world needs, but "purple hair mutation" doesn't seem all that far fetched, either, so that's convenient!) $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Feb 22 at 4:54
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Birds make the same kind of melanins as we do. Blue- and purple-colored feathers owe their colors to structural coloration, just like the irises of the human eyes. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 22 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ Further reading and interesting stuff: academy.allaboutbirds.org/how-birds-make-colorful-feathers $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Feb 23 at 3:57

She is the magic equivalent of a redhead.

Ayup. That's the short answer.

To better explain it, let's look at one of the best analogs to such a case in humans: people with red hair.

enter image description here

To put it basically: people with red hair have certain mutations in the MC1R gene. These usually causes them to have their distinct hair color as well as low levels of melanin on the skin.

These mutations are recessive, meaning the traits they code only really show up if both chromosomes have the mutated gene, and is the reason why parents with "normal" hair can have a kid with red hair.

So what do redheads have to do with a magical explanation for purple hair? Well it's pretty simple: I'm taking a genetic approach to explaining magic.

Now for the actual explanation: your character has higher cultivation skills and higher inborn skills. If these aren't due to any kind of external intervention (or her being your world's equivalent of the dovahkiin/chosen one blessed by the gods/etc) , that has to mean some aspect of the magic in your world is inherent of the individual and their genes, aka its not that different from things like more flexible joints, higher bone density or a predisposition to muscle gain. Your character is a genetic anomaly in that she has a few traits that come from having certain recessive genes, explaining why she's not like her parents. These recessive genes give her a higher reserve of inner magical power and a predisposition to grow her magic skills faster through cultivation than normal, but also have an unusual side effect: one or more of the mutant genes cause a small portion of her extra magic power to accumulate in the hair, and the magic accumulated in this way happens to give off a purple color, resulting in purple colored hair.

Much like how the amount of melanin defines the color of your hair and skin, lasting changes in the amount of inner reserves she has may also cause her hair color to further change as time passes.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What a foolish answer. Redheads comprise 8.36445. . .% recurring (of course) of the population of Scotland. Case in point -- the image you posted has exactly six redheaded human beings (they/them). A far cry from OPs "the only one in her race with this hair color". Checkmate atheists. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 22 at 15:26

There's many ways this could happen! Here's a few ideas:

  1. The character's purple hair could be that it is a manifestation of her innate magical abilities. In this explanation, the character's magical talent is so strong that it affects her physical appearance, specifically her hair color. ( reminds me of super saiyajin's changing hair colors getting stronger )

  2. Perhaps the character has a unique type of magic that is associated with the color purple. For example, she could have the ability to manipulate or create purple-colored energy, and this energy might be what causes her hair to appear purple.

  3. Another possible explanation is that the character's hair color is the result of a rare genetic mutation that is linked to magic. In this case, the character's ancestors may have been skilled magic users, and this genetic mutation is a sign of their magical heritage.

  4. Alternatively, the character's hair color could be the result of exposure to a magical substance or energy, the character may have been exposed to some kind of ritual while it was young or a child.


Her crown shakra is so powerfull that it coloured her hairs.

I've found the description below while googling for purple https://www.colorsexplained.com/purple-chakra-meaning/.

I apologize if I make a personnal interpretation, but it would fit to the worldbuilding magic.

Unlike the other chakras, the purple is not located in the body but two inches above the top of the head, where a physical crown would lie. It is linked with

Develop a sharp mind
Develop an excellent overall health
Develop excellent insight and visualization
See and sense connections
Develop a sense of peace and serenity
Gain much sharper senses
See beyond your immediate reality and increase your awareness

So this fits wel with the skills of the character, and having an overdeveloped 7th shakra could affect the color of her hairs.


Part of her magic has a side effect that writes nanoscopic runes into the structure of her hair. The nanostructure of these runes results in selective scattering of light waves in such a way that her hair takes on the appearance of being a deep iridescent blue (ie purple).

Related reading: Structural Colors In Butterflies

  1. Link her exceptional magical talent with other changes brought about by magic
  2. Have her have some unknown background- she thought she was human but alas, she was in fact found... and looked almost human, except the hair..
  3. Have one or both of her parents consume some magical substance- either as a cure for something potentially dangerous, or as advice to increase magical power etc- so the thing does work but also does this.
  4. "child of prophecy" - no one really knows why "but it was foretold" and there.Works best if the story needs for her to do something special.
  5. transformation quest, "second hand given powers" - an alternative of c), normal humans, but one or both have some sort of transformation they strived for (if it was a cultivator novel I'd say ascended or reached some "level" of sorts or had basically reached enlightenment which in your world could have to do with reaching the pinnacle of magical powers)
  6. reincarnation of powerful being in the body of a "former" human, and subsequent transformation because of that
  7. a rare mutation thought to be unique but -consulting very very old documents/finding ruins with ancient inscriptions/portraits reveal it was an ancient "magic nobility" pure bloodline that they somehow forgot about/did not resurface in millennia. The leader of course knew and jealously guarded the secret , observed in secret and..set it in motion from here. Or the leader was the heir of a long line of ruling non-mages that started good, as a revolt against an ancient strongly magic evil overlord that used to have that hair, and was dethroned after long suffering etc. In time and over generations,they became spoiled and not so nice down to downright nasty as the case of the present ruler who...
  8. accidental exposure to magic debris/substance that "should have killed that child in the womb" - or maybe an attack of the fearless leader's military on the mother... that ends up either not having the expected results either got healed by magic and there's back to 3..

and possibly many many others.


She has a magic enhancing photosynthetic bacteria colonizing her hair.

Her hair isn't purple, she's actually a blond with very little hair pigmentation. It looks purple because she has a unique bacteria colonizing her hair. There are alternate types of photosynthesis one of which is purple in color.

Most healthy human's immune systems would prevent the bacteria from growing. Also, most unchecked bacterial spread in a person would be called an infection and would cause sickness ultimately leading to death. Her early weakling status allowed the colony to grow and somehow she didn't develop other deadly bacterial infections. Either through luck, providence of the gods, alignment of the planets, that old healer woman's ritual, really whatever reason you want. This brand of bacteria enhances ones magical power and ability.

For literary effect this power enhancer could have long term negative health consequences or be effected by cutting or washing her hair.


Fatal Foetal Albinism

enter image description here

Original photo of Kendra W

The rules of magic can be what you want. The tricky part to explain is this part.

She is the only one in her race with this hair color

. . . at least without giving our heroine Fatal Chosen One Syndrome. Rather than some super special magic levels, I suggest a combination of two more common conditions.

(1) She has a severe genetic condition. Her body does not produce skin or hair pigment, along with a host of other enzymes that would, in normal circumstances, lead to a stillbirth.

(2) She has elevated mana levels. Enough to become a successful career mage. If she works hard that is. Not enough to become the world's next Merlin.

As we all know, the First Magic is the one that makes inorganic matter arrange itself coherently, move about, replicate, and start referring to itself in the first person. The First Spell was the one that caused the primordial soup to coalesce into the first bacteria. The Second Spell was multicellular life.

Casting spells is just a perversion of Life. That means people with high mana levels can sustain themselves from conditions that should kill them. The mana replaces whatever else is lacking in the body, be it a leg, lost blood, or crucial enzymes.

The protagonist has the pigment in her hair replaced by mana. There is a place where pigment should be but isn't. That place got filled by mana. This is a visible cosmetic change. She also has some enzymes replaced by mana. This is an invisible but far from cosmetic change.

Oh, and as we all know, mana is purple.

Bonus points, the thing that makes her special also comes with downsides related to her genetic condition. It is a double edged sword. Not easy being the chosen one is it?

Perhaps she suffers from expending too much mana too quickly and her symptoms return. You are free to decide the specifics yourself.


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