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Ombré, sombré, balayage, and classic highlights are great for adding dimension and lightening up brown hair. But unfortunately, bleach and other brightening treatments often go hand-in-hand with brassiness. Sound familiar? Before rushing back to the salon for an untimely touch-up, consider an easier solution: blue shampoo.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
Taking the top spot, MATRIX's Total Results Brass Off Shampoo is formulated specifically for brunettes with lightened hair, making it one of the most effective products out there. For a more wallet-friendly option, the Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Blue Treatment gives hair a moisturizing boost in addition to combatting brassiness.
The technology isn't new, though it used to be reserved only for blondes (in the form of purple washes). "Violet is the opposite of yellow, so it will freshen up and help counteract unwanted yellow tones in blonde or gray hair," explains expert Kevin Murphy.
While fair-haired folks often deal with a yellowing effect, brunettes are faced with an orangey hue. As such, blue shampoos are all about neutralizing the coppery color with a cool-toned finish. Just bear in mind that "blue" is somewhat subjective. So while you'll find plenty of undeniably cobalt options, many lean toward indigo and even violet.
Without further ado, these are the best blue shampoos available today.
Best Overall: MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo
Formulated for brunettes
Great value for its quality
Not for sensitive skin
Who else recommends it? Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping all picked the MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Shampoo.
What do buyers say? 86% of 25,800+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
While there are many standout blue 'poos on the market, Matrix Brass Off shines above the rest. Formulated specifically for lightened brunette hair, this sulfate-free hair wash deposits blue-violet pigments to minimize brassiness. In other words, it creates a stunning cool-toned finish that brings out the intended effect of your color-treated hair. The vanilla-rose scent doesn't hurt either.
Whether you're rocking highlights, ombré, or balayage hair, you can count on this shampoo to neutralize any unwanted warm tones. Use it every other day, and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing for an extra boost of brightness.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, castor oil | Scent: Vanilla, rose | Size: 10.1 oz. or 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Conditioner
Produces notable results
Not ideal for blondes
Want something a little easier on your wallet? We're big fans of Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Brunette. Use this blue treatment shampoo two or three times a week to cleanse your scalp and give brassiness to the boot.
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Natural | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, blue tansy oil | Scent: Floral | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Drugstore: Eva NYC Brass to Sass Brunette Shampoo
Makes hair soft
Potentially too heavy for fine hair
Eva NYC makes the best option from the pharmacy aisle. Brass to Sass calls on blue pigments to banish orangey tones and reveal the multidimensional beauty of brunette hair. In the brand's clinical trial, 93% of users said their hair looked freshly colored after a single wash.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue pigments, blue tansy oil | Scent: Sweet, fresh | Size: 8.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo
Adds silvery brightness
Contains organic ingredients
Results not drastic to some
Aveda's Blue Malva Shampoo comes at a steep price, but you'll definitely get what you pay for. Containing organic ylang-ylang, eucalyptus oil, and lemon, this luxury botanical formula gently cleanses your scalp and adds silvery, cool-toned brightness to color-treated hair.
Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Key Ingredients: Violet pigment, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang | Scent: Eucalyptus | Size: 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Balayage Hair: Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Toning Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Prevents warm undertones
We recommend Redken's Brownlights Shampoo for balayage beauties and anyone with traditional highlights. The sulfate-free formula draws on blue pigments to correct brassiness while preventing orange and red undertones from cropping up.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, wheat protein | Scent: Fresh | Size: 10.1 oz. or 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Brunettes: John Frieda Blue Crush for Brunettes Blue Shampoo
Prevents warm undertones
Adds much shine
Stains the hands
Formulated explicitly for brown-haired babes, John Freida's Blue Crush neutralizes the most stubborn orange tones and obliterates brassiness. The result? Cooler, brighter color, and a squeaky-clean scalp.
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Natural Brunette | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Crushed blue pigments | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8.3 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Blondes: Phyto Phytoargent No Yellow Shampoo
Brightens bleached hair
Diminishes yellow tones
Fragrance too strong to some
Brunette-gone-blonde or natural-blonde-gone-blonder? Phyto's No Yellow Shampoo is your best bet. Violet pigments brighten lighter shades ranging from dirty blonde to platinum. According to the maker, walnut leaf and rhatany root help neutralize brassiness and diminish yellow tones.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Violet pigment, walnut leaf, rhatany root | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Highlights: Fanola No Orange Shampoo
Formulated with coconut oil
A bit drying to some
Highlighted hair? Reach for a bottle of this fancy Italian shampoo. Whether you're looking to eliminate copper tones or cancel out unwanted orange, the rich blue pigments are up for the task.
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Gray | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Violet pigments, castor oil | Scent: Citrus | Size: 11.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Ombré: dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo
Doesn't strip hair
Could lather up better
For the ombré camp, we suggest dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo. This ultra-gentle cleanser won't strip or dull color-treated hair. Instead, it neutralizes coppery, orangey tones to keep your hair looking fresh AF between salon visits, while amino acids and hydrolyzed silk strengthen hair.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, amino acids, hydrolyzed silk | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Gray/Silver Hair: ORIBE Silverati Shampoo
Adds silvery brightness
Results not drastic to some
"Oribe makes a great silver-enhanced shampoo and conditioner," says hairstylist Shelly Aguirre of Maxine Salon in Chicago. "The Silverati line is perfect for those clients who want to cancel any yellow or dullness with their gray [hair] and also add lots of shine."
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-silver pigments, keratin, botanical complex | Scent: Oribe signature | Size: 8.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Lather: L'ange Brunette Boost Blue Toning Shampoo
Leaves a residue
Formulated specifically for brown-haired beauties, L'ange's Brunette Boost gently cleanses with a luxuriously rich lather, then deposits blue pigments to banish unwanted reddish, brassy tones.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: No | Key Ingredients: Blue pigments, sodium lauryl sulfate | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Sulfate-Free: Oligo Professionnel Blacklight Blue Shampoo
Could remove orange/yellow tones better
If you prefer sulfate-free shampoo, your best bet is Oligo Blacklight. Made with light brown to medium-blonde hair in mind, the vegan blend eliminates brassiness while repairing damage and strengthening each hair shaft.
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, amino acids, argan oil | Scent: Citrus | Size: 8.5 oz. or 32 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Curly Hair: DevaCurl No-Poo Blue Anti-Brass Zero Lather Curl Cleanser
Creates ultimate curl flexibility
Doesn't strip hair
Creates frizz for some
DevaCurl No-Poo Blue is, by far, the best option for curly-headed folks. The no-nonsense, lather-free formula promises long-lasting color toning, but it doesn't stop there. You can expect bouncier, shinier, livelier curls after every wash.
Hair Type: Color-Treated, Curly | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, vitamin B5 | Scent: Fruity | Size: 12 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Damaged Hair: Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo
Repairs brittle hair
Frequent color treatments can wreak havoc on your hair, but Joico Color Balance Blue offers a remedy. Featuring blue pigments, keratin, arginine, and rosehip oil, this shampoo pulls out all the stops for repairing, fortifying, and de-brassing brunette hair.
Hair Type: Color-Treated | Sulfate-Free: No | Key Ingredients: Blue pigments, keratin, arginine, rosehip oil | Scent: Citrus | Size: 10.1 oz. or 33.8 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Brightening: Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel Wash
Nice lavender scent
Watery consistency to some
Looking to achieve lighter, brighter hair? Angel Wash is your new best friend. "It contains optical brighteners to revive brown [and] blonde tones that need a little bit of help," Murphy says.
Hair Type: Dulled | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Violet pigments, jojoba oil, shea butter | Scent: Lavender | Size: 8.4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Matrix Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo is, hands down, the best blue shampoo available today. We love that it's formulated specifically for lightened brunette hair and that the sulfate-free blend uses blue-violet pigments to provide a brilliant cool-toned finish with no brassiness in sight. Having said that, Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Shampoo is an excellent budget-friendly pick, and the Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo is well worth the splurge for those who can swing the price tag.
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in a Blue Shampoo
Blue vs. Purple
There are lots of blue and purple shampoos on the market. And while they achieve roughly the same outcome, blue is generally intended for brunettes, and purple is for blondes. However, some blue washes lean more toward indigo (and sometimes violet) than classic blue. In any case, you can pretty much count on a reduction in brassiness and an overall cooler-toned finish.
Frequency of Use
Most blue shampoos are intended to be used two or three times a week, though weekly use is often plenty. Be sure to read the directions carefully to avoid overusing it, as the blue pigments could leave your hair with a purple tint. "Sometimes purple or blue toning shampoos can over-tone and cause the hair to look dingy," adds celebrity hair colorist Guy Tang.
Since bleach and other hair-lightening treatments are harsh on your hair, you'll also want to look for nourishing ingredients that help moisturize, strengthen, and repair brittle hair. We recommend options containing keratin, argan oil, avocado oil, amino acids, vitamin E, soybean oil, and green tea extract.
What does blue shampoo do?
Blue shampoo deposits blue-violet pigments onto the hair to cancel out unwanted brassiness, copper tints, orange tones, or redness. Similar to a salon gloss treatment, it coats chemically lightened hair to neutralize these warmer tones with a cool-toned hue.
How often should you use blue shampoo?
According to Murphy, you can use blue shampoo as often as desired, but it ultimately depends on the state of your hair. "If your hair is porous and white, then you may need to use [it] only a few times a month, as you don't want a purple hue. If you have blonde [or] gray hair in good condition, you can use [it] as often as you like," he explains. "If in doubt, ask your stylist."
How do you apply blue shampoo?
Apply blue shampoo to wet hair in the shower. Lather it around, focusing on the color-treated sections, and allow it to sit for three to five minutes. Then rinse it out and use a conditioner like you normally would. Some blue shampoos call for using gloves to avoid getting the color on your skin, but most will wash clean from your hands when you rinse your hair.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, covering wellness, makeup, skincare, and haircare. For this story, she interviewed two stylists for product recommendations and insight into the science of color-depositing hair washes. Having tried a handful of blue/purple shampoos in the past, she's particularly fond of Fanola and Kevin Murphy. You can read more stories by Theresa on MyDomaine and The Spruce.
The 13 best blue shampoos for brown hair. Marie Claire. https://www.marieclaire.com/beauty/hair/g35970445/best-blue-shampoo-for-brunettes
The 8 best brass-fighting blue shampoos for brunettes. Harper's Bazaar. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/hair/g35785754/best-blue-shampoo
8 best blue shampoos to eliminate brassy hair. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/g37068674/best-blue-shampoos
Dodgson NA (2019). What is the opposite of blue? The language of colour wheels. Journal of Perceptual Imaging, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.2352/j.percept.imaging.2019.2.1.010401
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Basit A, Asghar F, Sadaf S, Akhtar MW. Health improvement of human hair and their reshaping using recombinant keratin K31. Biotechnol Rep (Amst). 2018;20:e00288. Published 2018 Oct 24. doi:10.1016/j.btre.2018.e00288