Purple Shampoo: The Ultimate Guide
If you’re a blonde, either naturally, or not, you’re no stranger to the yellowing, or dulling of your hair color.
Light-colored hair is susceptible to discoloration; caused by heat styling, product build-up, swimming, pollution, and life in general. When you’ve previously rocked an enviable shining halo of golden locks, it can be a real downer when your color loses its brightness, and your hair shades end up resembling bananas and oranges more so than anything platinum.
Is there any way to brighten up your hair without returning to your hairstylist?
The answer is yes: with a purple shampoo!
Purple shampoo is a toning shampoo that uses the color purple to directly brighten up the yellows and brass of dull blonde hair.
If you’re a salon blonde, you’ve probably noticed that this violet-esque shampoo is fast becoming a big deal. We wanted to share everything we know about purple shampoo in this compendium of sorts – in order to explain how it works, if it’s for you, how to use it, and where to get the best purple shampoos on the market.
Whether you’re new to purple shampoo, or a veteran looking for deeper understanding – read on, and stay tuned!
How Does Purple Shampoo Work?
Purple shampoo works by using the color purple to color-correct warm tones in blonde hair.
Take a look at a color wheel, and check out purple’s position to yellow.
The color purple is in direct opposition to yellow, meaning that they can cancel one another out. When you tone your yellowing hair using purple, it cools down the tone of the yellow shades, reintroducing a more platinum vibe.
This means that the purple in a purple shampoo neutralizes the warm shaded base of blonde hair, and hides brassy tones. It cools down these shades by simply being their color opposite.
For a better understanding of how this works, try mixing purple and yellow paints together on a palette – you’ll notice the outcome is an off-white, light grey, or pale beige. This is exactly what’s happening with your yellow-toned hair when introduced to purple shampoo.
The color purple is the active ingredient, so it’s important to use a purple shampoo that is a dark, rich, and vibrant shade of purple in order to get the best out of its toning and color-correcting qualities.
Who Is Purple Shampoo For?
Purple shampoo is for those with light hair, whether that’s salon achieved, natural, or introduced via highlights – purple shampoo will cancel out the yellow undertones of your light-colored hair, and keep it bright and beautiful.
What do we mean by light colored? If your hair is any of the colors below, then purple shampoo will work for you:
- Ashy blonde / very light brown
- Silver / gray
- Pastel (bleached and colored with cooler shaded pastels)
The key here is: purple shampoos only work on light-colored hair. So if you’re a full brunette, this shampoo won’t do anything for you, but if you’re a brunette with blonde highlights, this will keep your highlights in check.
The same goes for those of you with ombre hair; you can target the blonde in your hair with a purple shampoo. Purple shampoo has no effect on darker hair, so you don’t have to worry about affecting your regrowth, or any of your darker hair when using purple shampoo.
If you have bleached hair, a purple shampoo is an absolute must-have. You’re probably used to the disappointment of a dull, banana-shaded head of hair after you leave the salon and go about your business for a couple of weeks. There’s no need to re-dye your hair in these circumstances, or deal with having a mellow yellow mop-top – the key is to use a purple shampoo in your usual washing routine to keep your blonde bright, and cool.
Which Is The Right Purple Shampoo For You?
If you’re ready to kiss yellow, orange, and brassy shades goodbye, and say hello to shining silvers and blondes, then it’s time to add a purple shampoo to your hair care arsenal. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve broken down our six favorite purple shampoos below, indicating which shampoo is best for each reader.
Whether you’re on a budget, looking to brighten white hair, or simply wanting the creme de la creme – there is a purple shampoo for everyone.
The Best Purple Shampoo
By far one of the most talked about, raved about, purple shampoos on the market, Naissant’s Purple Shampoo is a favorite amongst blonde beauty experts.
If you’re looking for a purple shampoo that works as both an intensive toning treatment, as well as an everyday color-correcting shampoo, then look no further than Naissant. With nourishing ingredients like olive oil, and hydrolyzed wheat protein, Naissant’s Purple Shampoo will not only rid your hair of brassy undertones, it’ll also clean your hair and scalp without drying it out.
Purple Shampoo on a Budget (with great results!)
Another favorite amongst purple shampoo users is Clairol’s Shimmer Lights. Shimmer Lights purple shampoo is both affordable and produces great results.
We have to admit, this shampoo does smell a little like something your grandma might use – but the smell doesn’t linger after a rinse. If you’re really not into the scent, then try following up the shampoo with a different brand of conditioner.
Purple Shampoo for Silver or White Hair
If you’re looking to brighten silver or white/grey hair, then try L’Oreal’s Professional Serie Expert Silver Shampoo.
This shampoo will brighten silver hair, ridding it of all warm tones, whilst leaving your hair supple and soft. L’Oreal’s Professional line has always impressed us; leaving our hair with salon-grade results.
Purple Shampoo for Natural Brunettes with Lightened Hair
If you’re a natural brunette with highlights or a lightened hair color, then try using Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo.
Purple Shampoo For Dry, Fragile Hair
If you’re concerned about regularly using a purple shampoo as you’re a sufferer of frizz, dryness, and lack of volume, you should give Luseta’s Color Brightening Purple Shampoo a try.
This paraben-free formula uses natural balancing extracts that encourage volume, and discourage frizz. It contains quinoa seed extract to strengthen the hair shaft and repair damaged follicles, as well as biotin which stimulates production. You don’t have to give up on your hair’s health whilst color correcting your blonde ‘do!
[You amy also be interested in reviewing our favorite shampoos for color-treated hair.]
Purple Shampoo For Eco-conscious and Lovers of Natural, Botanical Ingredients
Despite its name, Aveda’s Blue Malva Shampoo is a purple shampoo – great for toning blondes, silvers, and platinums without using ingredients or methods harmful to your head, or the environment. (Aveda also made our list of the best smelling shampoos of all-time!)
Aveda uses plant-based ingredients in its products, and rigorously holds itself to environmental sustainability values. If fragrance is important to you, then Aveda’s purple shampoo is the way to go. If fragrant hair is your must-have, then this shampoo is the way to go.
DIY | Purple Shampoo
For those of you who want to have total control over the strength, and color-correcting properties of your purple shampoo, why not make one at home?
If you’re not into a steep troubleshooting learning curve, we recommend purchasing a ready-made shampoo. A DIY purple shampoo ends up being more cost effective and allows you to adjust the purple shade to target specific color problems (for example, you may want a darker, bluer purple to get rid of orange shades).
1. Choose a regular shampoo of your choice and Gentian Violet dye. This is a peroxide and ammonia free semi-permanent hair dye that you can grab at many stores. You could even try using a high quality violet food coloring! As mentioned before, you can tweak the shade of your purple shampoo by including a blue dye or coloring to target orange discoloration in your hair.
2. Mix the violet (and/or blue) coloring with your shampoo. To avoid a mess, you can either do this directly into a bottle and shake, or in a bowl with a mixing spoon. Add the coloring slowly whilst mixing so that you don’t overdo it.
Remember, the color purple is the active color-correcting ingredient in your purple shampoo, so make sure your final product is a deep, vibrant purple. A light or pastel purple result will not have enough violet and blue in it, so you’ll need to add more.
Check out the how-to video below for extra tips and tricks!
How To Use Purple Shampoo
There are quite a few techniques for using purple shampoo to tone your blonde hair. It can depend on what kind of blonde you’re dealing with, as well as the dryness, or oiliness of your hair, and its texture.
Of course, if we’re keeping things simple, purple shampoo is just a regular shampoo and can be used as such. You can apply and wash with a purple shampoo the way you would with any other shampoo. However, there are techniques for using purple shampoo to get the most out of its color-correcting abilities, depending on your hair type, color, and desired results.
Here are our recommended steps for medium color correction, and normal to dry hair:
- Cleanse your hair with a purifying/clarifying shampoo
Cleansing your hair will remove product buildup, and other pollutants, ensuring a more receptive hair shaft that will absorb your purple shampoo more readily.
- Apply purple shampoo liberally from your roots, to your tips
To get the most out of your application step, observe your hair beforehand and identify which problem areas would benefit the most from violet tones. Concentrate on these areas when applying your purple shampoo. Remember, it’s the purple in the shampoo that really does the work here, so applying this shampoo mostly to the scalp and hoping that the product will reach the tips will result in uneven colors, and warm-toned ends. Make sure to concentrate on sections of your hair separately.
- Allow the purple shampoo to absorb for five minutes, before rinsing thoroughly
If your hair is particularly yellow, or orange, and you feel you need a big dose of purple to cool it down – you can leave the shampoo on for longer, even up to a half hour. When you leave it in past 15 minutes, be prepared for some lilac staining – which will be beneficial if you’re silver, or gray, but not so much if you’re wanting to keep a natural blonde look.
- Follow up with a purple conditioner for further toning (or any regular conditioner will do)
Some blondes swear by locking in the purple toning with a purple conditioner. However, as the purple shampoo does most of the work, we think it’s OK to use any conditioner you like.
- After rinsing, try a deep moisturizing hair mask to soften your hair, and smooth frizz. This is essential if you have bleached hair.
You can skip this step if you find using purple shampoo doesn’t dry you out. But if you find that it does, or that you’re battling frizz regardless, then try a deep conditioning hair mask before another rinse out.
- After your hair has been washed and dried, assess the tone. If you find there are strong lilac tones you’d like to get rid of, try cleansing with a clarifying shampoo again.
Some people have especially porous hair that loves to suck up anything that is applied to it. When it comes to purple shampoo, porous hair can end up looking quite, well, purple. If you’re really not into violet, blue, and purple shades in your hair, but find that purple shampoo has indeed given you that pigmentation, have no fear! Simply wash again with a clarifying shampoo, and you will have rid yourself of any temporary staining.
How To Use Purple Shampoo
(Based On Your Hair Type)
We’ve included some tips from both YouTube hair experts, and ourselves here at GetGoodHead to help you on building your own purple shampoo routine. We’ve broken down the tips and suggestions according to desired results, and unique hair profiles.
Thorough color-correction method for dyed platinum blondes:
YouTuber WhippyCake shares her purple shampoo routine in this video targeted towards platinum blondes.
She recommends parting your hair using duck clips, in order to evenly distribute your purple shampoo throughout your locks, as well as get at the roots. She also allows the shampoo to sit in her hair for up to 10 minutes before rinsing it out. Last but not least, she rinses and conditions as normal.
Check out the before and after at the end of the video to see the awesome, cool-toned results! From a dull gold, to full blown sparkling platinum using a purple shampoo!
When your hair is porous, or easily absorbs color:
If you know your hair has high porosity, or have tried purple shampoo in the past only to have it stain your hair purple, then try diluting your purple shampoo with either water or a regular shampoo, and make sure to rinse out your purple shampoo after no more than five minutes. If it’s too late and you’ve already got purple patches in your hair, just try washing it again using a clarifying or purifying shampoo.
Purple shampoo as a toning treatment for more natural blonde shades:
In this video, YouTuber Elle Bangs recommends using your purple shampoo on chelated hair. Chelation is the process of removing metals and minerals that are naturally absorbed by your hair via hard water, and chlorine water.
You can chelate and prepare your hair for purple shampoo by using lemon juice prior to shampooing. What this does is balance the pH of your hair; making it more susceptible to products.
Elle uses her purple shampoo just as she would any normal shampoo; applying it to wet hair and working up a lather, then rinsing it out after just 2-3 minutes. She also swears by following it up with a purple conditioner, which she claims further ‘locks’ the purple in, ensuring perfect color-correction. She finishes up with a cold water rinse, which seals the hair and locks all the product in.
When you shower using warm water, this naturally opens up your hair’s cuticle – so cold water simply closes it back up. This is an important step if you’re wanting to get the most out of any products you use whilst washing.
Controlling how much of a blue/silver tone you get with purple shampoo:
If you’re into the warm tones of your blonde hair, and are not looking to cool it down completely, you can control how much you tone your hair by using more, or less purple shampoo. You can experiment with using watered down purple shampoo or purple shampoo mixed with regular shampoo if you don’t want to brighten and cool down your tones too much.
If you’re using purple shampoo as a casual, subtle toner – use a small amount after clarifying your hair with a regular shampoo. You can also apply just pea sized amounts of purple shampoo to known problem areas, if you’re looking to defeat brassiness in specific spots.
Using purple shampoo to rid your silver hair of brassy undertones:
Silver dyed hair can easily lose its cool colors, and if you’re wanting to rid your silver hair of yellow, or brassy undertones, try using purple shampoo as an intensive toning treatment. Apply your purple shampoo generously to parted, dry hair.
In this video, YouTuber Kristina Angelina leaves the purple shampoo in her hair for 30 minutes, for an intensive treatment to take her silver hair from blonde-ish to bright silver.
Remember, leaving purple shampoo in your hair for this long can result in some lilac staining. This works great for your hair if it’s silver or grey, but might not be the best method for those of you wanting to rock a blonde look.
Light purple shampoo toning for mild yellowing in natural blonde / light hair:
YouTuber SomeGirlJess applies purple shampoo using a method that’s commonly used for applying hair dye.
She applies the purple shampoo directly to her roots with a thin nozzle, and uses a brush to spread it out. As a natural blonde, Jess only really experiences unsightly yellowing at the roots, and tips of her hair, and concentrates on these areas when applying purple shampoo.
For her tips, which are not as yellow as her roots, she dilutes the shampoo. If you’re wanting to follow Jess’ tips, then identify where your hair is yellow, and just apply the purple shampoo to those areas, diluting your shampoo for areas that require less toning than others. This technique is not great for anyone with overall warm tones, looking for an intensive all-over color correction.
Frequently Asked Questions About Purple Shampoo
Q: This shampoo is a really dark purple. Will it dye my hair?
It’s important to remember that purple shampoo is NOT a hair dye. Whilst leaving a purple shampoo on for too long may result in a slight lilac tint, it will never dye it purple. Any staining can be rectified by using a clarifying shampoo on the affected areas!
Q: I’m a brunette with an ashy ombre, can I brighten my ashy colored hair using purple shampoo, and will the purple shampoo make my darker hair appear purple?
Purple shampoo only works on light-colored hair, so anything from an ashy blonde, to grey/white hair. It won’t affect your darker hair at all!
Q: Should I apply purple shampoo to dry or wet hair?
It depends on what kind of toning treatment you’re going for. If your hair needs some intensive color correction, especially if you have very light hair (platinum, silver or white) which has yellowed over time, then you may want to apply your purple shampoo as a toner on parted, dry hair. Then, rinse out after a longer absorption period (up to a half hour). However, if you’re using the purple shampoo to lightly tone your hair on a regular basis, you will want to apply it to wet hair as part of your normal wash routine.
Q: How often should I wash my hair with purple shampoo?
It depends on how fast your hair discolors, and how often you wash your hair in general. Some people find that washing their hair daily can strip it of its natural oils; leaving their hair dry and brittle. If that’s the case for you, you may want to use purple shampoo as part of your infrequent wash routine. However, if you find your hair discolors very easily, and you require more frequent use of a toner, then try washing more often, or using purple shampoo on targeted areas as a treatment – and forgoing washing your entire head – so as to not dry it out.
Q: If I use a purple shampoo, when should I expect to see results?
If you’ve used your purple shampoo correctly, you will see color-correction results instantly after you rinse. If you can’t see any difference, then this means you’re either using too little purple shampoo, and/or haven’t left it on long enough.
Q: Can I use purple shampoo on hair extensions?
It’s best not to use purple shampoo on hair extensions, as the ingredients in purple shampoo may have an adverse reaction with the ingredients used to glue in extensions. This means your shampoo could dissolve the glue, leaving you with damaged extensions. Overall, it’s best to steer clear of using purple shampoo in this case. If you’re still keen on giving it a go, look into the ingredients of your purple shampoo, and ask your hairstylist about whether those ingredients will dissolve your hair extension glue.
Q: Can I use purple shampoo on my curly hair?
A big no-no when it comes to caring for curly hair is sulfate-laden shampoos. Unfortunately, many purple shampoos have sulfates in them, so they’re not exactly 100% safe for curly hair. However, if you’re wanting to maintain your blonde curls, you may have to compromise. Try using your purple shampoo only when it’s absolutely necessary (when your hair is obviously discolored and needs some TLC). Be specific as to where you use the purple shampoo on your locks; if you’ve got areas of your hair that are not yellow or brassy, then leave them well alone. As for your regular wash routine, use your sulfate-free, curly-hair-friendly shampoo, and silicone-free conditioner. Only introducing purple shampoo when needed. If you find the sulfates in your purple shampoo dry out your curls and disrupt your curl pattern no matter how sparingly you use it, always follow up your color-correction treatment with a deep conditioning hair mask.
Purple Shampoo Final Thoughts
Rocking the blonde bombshell look, or an ethereal silver or snow white mane may look effortless in the light of day, but the reality is that there is plenty of behind-the-scenes maintenance. Whether you’re fighting discoloration caused by the chlorine in your tap water, or the build up from your products, the key to a yellow, orange, and brass-free head of golden locks is the color purple.
Purple shampoo is not just a shampoo, it’s a toner, and color-corrective treatment. It’s an absolutely essential product to have in your hair care routine if you’re wanting to maintain your light colored hair, without ending up looking like Leeloo from ‘The Fifth Element’ (unless of course, you’re going for that look!).
Purple Shampoo Recap
We know that there is plenty of information in this article, so we’ve provided a handy wrap up!
- Purple shampoo neutralizes warm tones in blonde/light hair by depositing cool, violet pigment.
- It’s the best way to rid your hair of brassy tones, and keep your blonde looking natural, or your platinum or silver looking bright, without having to plan a visit to the salon.
- When it comes to use, follow these rules:
- Tweak the amount of purple shampoo you use, along with how long you leave it on, according to how much color correction you need.
- Purple shampoo can be used as a regular shampoo, or as an intensive treatment by applying it generously to dry hair.
- It won’t affect, or damage brunette hair, but it can leave a lilac tint on light hair if left on too long.
- Always rinse, and follow with a moisturizing conditioner.
That’s really all there is to it! We hope we’ve helped you decide on whether purple shampoo is for you, which purple shampoo product is best for your hair type, and the best method for using your shampoo to help you reach your hair goals.
If your head’s looking a bit too yellow, don’t be blue, go purple!