If you have blonde hair, you probably have dealt with annoying brassiness from time to time. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to the invention of purple shampoos. For the uninitiated, purple shampoos are a life saver for blondes trying to minimize brassy tones. While it may seem counterintuitive to put a purple-colored hair product into your blonde hair (especially if you spent hours in the chair achieving that golden look), there’s no need to be concerned (and if you're just confused, we get it—which is why we wrote this!). It actually all comes down to color science—and maybe even a little art. Does the color wheel sound familiar?
How purple shampoo works
“Purple shampoo works by neutralizing yellow tones in hair,” explains Michael Duenas, celebrity hair stylist and founder of Veluer Creative. “On the color wheel, purple is the opposite of yellow. It masks the yellow tones to leave a ‘whiter,’ brighter color showing through; it lives on top of the hair and is similar to using a semi-transparent stain on wood.” While purple shampoo works best on blonde-haired folks, Duenas points out that it does have a tendency to make brown hair have a slight shine increase due to the extra pigment, so brunettes can benefit, too.
One thing to keep in mind is purple shampoo can be tricky to use, but mostly because people tend to go overboard. “Some of the most common mistakes people make when using purple shampoo would be leaving it on for too long and over-toning their hair,” says Linh Phan, hairstylist and Schwarzkopf Professional USA Digital Artist. “If you have darker hair with orange tones, you should use a blue shampoo instead.”
Another big no-no? Washing your hair too often. “Purple shampoo should be used once a week to twice a week at most,” says Duenas. “If you use it too much, your hair will get ashy. As you overuse purple shampoo the purple pigment can sometimes build up and leave your hair looking like it has a grayish tint.”
Phan suggests using your purple shampoo once every fourth or fifth wash, depending on the desired look. “Your professional stylist should be able to guide you on how often you should use it for your particular color,” he adds. Ahead find 13 of the best purple shampoos to try on blonde hair.
Best purple shampoos for brassy hair
This purple shampoo is Phan’s favorite. “Purple shampoo works by implementing color theory,” he says. “Purple cancels yellow out so by using a shampoo like Goodbye Yellow will tone out unwanted warm tones in blonde hair.” With over 3,300 5-star ratings and glowing reviews (like this one: “I’m a natural blonde, and I’m always trying to prevent brassiness and darkness as I get older. I’ve tried a couple purple shampoos, but MAN this is good stuff. One shower, left the product on my hair in a wet bun (still in shower) for 5 minutes, then rinsed and let it dry on its own.”), this is a solid pick that doesn’t break the bank.
In addition to containing violet pigments that neutralize yellowness instantly and Smartrelease technology that makes styling much easier, this shampoo has green tea extract which helps defend against fading. You get long-lasting results (12 washes!), and the formula offers intense shine and strengthens follicles (which can be much-needed after bleaching hair).
If you have darker hair, use this blue (yes, blue) shampoo pick from Phan. It cleanses while neutralizing orange or red tones. Just don’t leave it on too long, because it could turn your hair green (temporarily).
Best purple shampoos for blonde hair
A favorite of Duenas’s, this Amika shampoo cleanses and tones while making strands stronger. It also contains vegan proteins that have benefits similar to keratin. Great for all hair types (straight, wavy, curly, or coily), use this when your hair is feeling rough, dry, or if you’re noticing major split ends (this formula helps nourish and smooth, which also stretches out the time in between your hair cuts).
Your blonde hair will love this purple shampoo, which not only cancels out yellowness, but is also infused with moisturizing shea butter, strengthening bond multipliers, and Tahitian Monoi Flower, which is known to boost hydration and protect against pollution.
Olaplex is beloved by blondes and stylists all over—for good reason. Olaplex’s blonde shampoo ensures non-brassy strands without drying them out, and is scientifically proven to boost blonde three times brighter than other top brands. Its bond-rebuilding formula fortifies strands, making hair feel and look stronger every time you use it.
Best drugstore purple shampoos
Leave this shampoo on for a few more minutes than usual—three to five, to be exact—to allow it to fight brassy tones whether you’re blonde, have highlights, or want to retain a nice shade of gray.
This is another favorite of Duenas’s, and it’s easy to see why. This affordable purple shampoo is made with a powerful neutralizing formula that absorbs UV light while emitting a white-blue glow. Thus, enhancing the cool tones in blonde hair and making it look brighter.
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