How to use purple shampoo

Heather Roy

Purple shampoos that are strongly pigmented can sometimes temporarily dye the skin, so use a hair tie or clip to keep your hair away from your skin while the shampoo is on your hair.

How do I use purple shampoo to tone my hair?

As purple sits opposite yellow on the color spectrum, the two colors cancel each other out. Purple-pigmented shampoo, therefore, works by neutralizing brassy yellow undertones from hair. Its aim is to remove these undertones and leave the hair blonde and with a cooler, more ashy-toned finish.

Using a purple shampoo is an inexpensive and convenient method of color-correcting and toning hair in between salon visits.

Who is purple shampoo for?

Purple shampoo is designed for those who have light hair — whether natural or dyed. Those with blonde, silver, platinum and grey hair benefit the most from the purple pigmentation in shampoo and can see the biggest changes in hair tone after use. Brunettes or anyone with darker hair, however, probably won’t see any results from using purple shampoo.

How to use purple shampoo

In the shower, wet your hair as usual and pour a generous amount of shampoo into your hands or directly onto your hair. Work into a lather, ensuring that the product is in contact with all your hair, from the roots to the tips.

Unlike normal shampoo, purple shampoo shouldn’t be rinsed off straightaway, as the pigment needs time to work on the hair. Every product is slightly different in their instructions as to how long to keep the shampoo on, but this generally ranges from 2-5 minutes. The length of time you leave the product on also depends on the strength of toning you’re aiming for — if it’s your first time using purple shampoo and your hair has a lot of brassy or yellow tones, you can leave the shampoo on for slightly longer.

Purple shampoos should not necessarily be used in place of normal shampoo; they should only be used once or twice a week, as any more than that can actually over-tone the hair and result in it taking on a purple or blue tone. If you notice a lilac tint in your hair, you should set aside your purple shampoo for a week or two until your hair returns to its natural color.

Best purple shampoos

Redken Color Extend Blondage Color Depositing Shampoo: available at Amazon and Ulta Beauty
This shampoo includes Triple Acid Protein Complex to strengthen and increase hair elasticity, toning the hair without damaging it. Its ultraviolet pigment works to tone hair for a brighter and cooler blond.

Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo: available at Macy’s, Amazon and Ulta Beauty
This product is slightly less pigmented, which means you can afford to use it two or three times a week. It’s perfect for those whose hair doesn’t need drastic toning. It’s enriched with Advanced Peptide Complex which works to reduce frizz and add shine, and because of its gentle formula, it’s less likely to dry out or damage hair than stronger shampoos.

Fanola No Yellow Shampoo: available at Amazon
This shampoo is super pigmented, making it very effective at neutralizing brassy yellow tones. It’s one of the most popular purple shampoos on the market and despite being fairly inexpensive, its success speaks for itself. This shampoo is sold in a liter bottle, meaning it will last for months.

Use conditioner

If you notice that the brassy undertones of your hair aren’t fully removed after shampooing, you can choose to follow up with a color-correcting purple conditioner. Our favorite is EverPure Purple Conditioner from L’Oréal, as it’s sulfate- and paraben-free and is an effective extra step to maximize results after using purple shampoo.

Because purple shampoo needs to be left on for a period of time, if used frequently, its chemicals can dry out hair and leave it more prone to breakage and split ends. To combat these drying effects and keep your hair in optimal condition, try using a heavy conditioner once or twice a week. We love this conditioner from Peter Thomas Roth for keeping your hair smooth and nourished.

Alternatively, if you realize that your hair is becoming noticeably drier or breaking more as a result of using purple shampoo, using a hair mask once a week is a great way to restore moisture. This Deep Repair Mask is sulfate-free and enriched with oils and vitamins to provide deep hydration for dry or damaged hair.

Heather Roy is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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