Gentian violet: what it is used for and how to use it

to use gentian violet
This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Gentian violet is a chemical compound, also known as crystal violet. It can be used for various functions, such as treating infections, thrush and external wounds, in addition to coloring the hair.

According to the herbalist Camila Teles, gentian violet has antiseptic and antifungal properties, being widely used in laboratories in the identification of bacteria and some other microorganisms. Its best known use is in the treatment of thrush .

In addition to being beneficial to our health, it can also be easily found in pharmacies and cosmetic stores for affordable prices.

What is gentian violet good for?

As we have seen, this substance has advantages for the skin, hair and even treats some diseases. Learn about its top five benefits:

Treats wounds and skin problems

Camila explains that due to its antiseptic property, gentian violet fights the proliferation of microorganisms and also destroys them. Therefore, it is used in the treatment of skin and mucosal affections.

“In addition, it is seen as an auxiliary agent in the treatment of wounds, dermatitis and the prevention of mycoses , in addition to alleviating the burning sensation caused burns”, adds the herbalist.

Fights candidiasis

Vaginal infections are common problems and can affect women at different times in their lives. One of these most common infections is thrush, which causes itchiness, pain and discharge. In this case, gentian violet may also be beneficial.

According to Camila, it has antifungal properties and, therefore, it manifests itself in the face of the appearance of fungi.

“This product is routinely used to treat infections caused fungi of the Candida genus, which is responsible for thrush. In the form of sitz baths ”, he says.

dye the hair

Gentian violet is also commonly used for tinting blonde hair, being a great option to remove the yellowish appearance of hair . Usually, a few drops of the product are added, diluting in neutral shampoo or moisturizing cream.

“But you must be careful with excessive use, so that the hair does not have a purplish tone. In addition, as some compounds may contain alcohol, the threads tend to get dry”, warns Camila.

However, if the objective is precisely to achieve the purplish tone in the hair, the substance can be used in greater amounts. Thus, it ends up also serving as a dye for the threads .

Remember that the product has an intense violet color which can stain clothes and skin. Be careful when applying.

thrush scar

Due to its antibacterial action, it also works in the treatment of thrush and other mouth diseases.

“It helps to heal thrush, causing relief from the burning sensation caused them. However, its use must be advised a doctor or dentist, as it can harm the mucosa”, explains Camila.

Still talking about the oral region, it is important to clarify a myth. Gentian violet does not work to whiten teeth ! Dentists confirm that the product is proven to be an antiseptic agent, but has no effect on tooth whitening.

Treats and prevents wounds in animals

This substance can also be beneficial to animals. “Some medicines for veterinary use contain gentian violet in their composition, because due to its antiseptic and antifungal properties, it helps in the treatment and prevention of wounds in animals”, comments Camila.

In addition to medications, veterinarians also often recommend their use mixed with pet shampoo to treat itchiness and dermatitis .

However, it is essential to take your pet to the vet. It is this professional who will evaluate and recommend or not the use of the product. Never use any medication or substance on your pet without medical advice.

How to use gentian violet?

The product can be used in different ways for each case mentioned. Learn how to do it:

for candidiasis

As Camila pointed out, gentian violet can be used from sitz baths for the home treatment of thrush.

To do this, put about 1 liter of water with 2 to 5 drops of product in a basin and sit in it. Leave the region to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. The water must be at a warm temperature.

It is also common to apply the product directly into the vagina. However, this should only be done under medical advice.

For thrush and sores

Gentian violet should be applied directly to the injured area for 3 to 4 days. In the case of thrush, it must be applied with the aid of gauze two to three times a day.

Gentian violet in hair


There are three ways to tint your hair with this compound: in water, in the hydrating mask or in the shampoo.

1- In the water

This is the fastest method , but it dries the hairs the most. Thus, it is advisable to make a hydration after the process. Check it step step:

  1. Fill a bowl with 1 liter of water, add 2 drops of gentian violet and stir with a spatula or spoon.
  2. Soak hair in water and then remove. Pour the remaining water over the hair, leave it for 1 minute and rinse well.
  3. Finally, just wash your hair normally.

2- In the hydration mask

This is the least aggressive way , as it makes the tint and also hydrates the hair, thus preventing dryness. See the step step:

  1. Drop 2 drops of gentian violet into a glass or plastic container, then pour in some white moisturizing mask of your choice. Mix well until the color turns lavender.
  2. Wash your hair with shampoo, rinse well and then apply the mixture to the entire hair.
  3. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how yellow your hair is. If your hair is platinum or very light it is not advisable to leave it too long as it can stain and turn purple. In that case, just leave 3 to 5 minutes.

3- No shampoo

To apply with the shampoo, the procedure is similar to the one done with the moisturizing mask. Mix 2 drops of gentian violet with the amount of shampoo you normally use to wash your hair and leave for 5 minutes. Shampoo must be neutral.


It is also possible to dye your hair with gentian violet. If that’s your case, learn step-by-step to get a beautiful purple hue on your locks:

  1. In a jar, pour as much white cream as you can to cover all your hair. The cream has to be white so you can tell if you’ve reached the desired shade of purple.
  2. Pour 3 drops of gentian violet into the creamer and mix. If you want a light shade of light purple, this amount is enough; if you want a stronger purple, add more drops until you reach the desired shade.
  3. With dry or slightly wet hair, begin to spread the mixture onto the strands. You can use a glove to apply with your hands or use a brush. Leave the mixture on the strands for about 40 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  4. Finally, wash your hair normally.


Gentian violet has some contraindications, as Camila explains: “It is contraindicated for women who are breastfeeding, patients with ulcers or who are allergic to the component. Pregnant women should only use it with a medical prescription”.

In addition, the herbalist also says that prolonged use can cause skin irritation, itching and blemishes. “I must emphasize that in all cases it is important to consult a professional before starting use”, reinforces the professional. 

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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