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They say that blondes have more fun, but we’re guessing that whoever coined that one isn’t referring to blondes who are dealing with their hair turning brassy shades of funky yellow or orange. When blondes have to spend a load at the salon on a toning treatment for their highlights, they definitely aren’t having more fun.
If you’re wondering what the culprit is that causes blonde hair to go brassy, we’ll give you a mini science lesson: When hair oxidizes, the pH level rises, which opens up the cuticle and then releases the controlling pigment that was making your color look pretty. For blondes, that controlling pigment is typically violet. So what can cause hair to oxidize? There are a few common causes including overusing heat-styling tools, harsh shampoos, and too much fun in the sun.
This is where purple toning shampoos come to the rescue. They can keep your honey-hued locks, well, honey-hued. It all goes back to the color wheel: Because violet and yellow are opposite colors, violet cancels out yellow, bringing you back to the cool blonde tones we all covet.
How often you should use a purple depends on a few factors, including how frequently you shampoo your hair, how brassy it is, and how well your hair holds tone. If you’re just starting to see minor brassiness now, use a purple shampoo and conditioner once a week in place of your regular duo. To make the most of it, lather up the shampoo for two to three minutes, and leave the violet conditioner on for about five minutes, or longer for both, if your hair doesn’t take the purple tone right away. If you wash your hair more than four times a week, that is tough on your toner, so you’ll need to use the violet shampoo and conditioner twice a week. However, don’t use the purple shampoo too much, otherwise your hair can end up turning violet. Don’t panic if it does—simply wash it with your regular shampoo to rinse it out.
Now that you know how it works (you’re welcome), you’re ready to start sudsing up with a purple shampoo. These are the top purple shampoos for blonde hair.
Best Overall: Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo
Breathe new life back into your blonde hair again with Joico’s Color Balance Purple Shampoo. The formula has just the right amount of pigment in it to neutralize yellow tones so it won’t leave any purple traces in your hair. Its tone-correcting pigments will stay attached to the hair fibers through multiple shampoos. Plus, the Multi-Spectrum Defense Complex guards against color fade, and the Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex repairs, nourishes, combats frizz, and leaves strands shiny. Your hair will look and feel healthier every time after you suds up.
Best Budget: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone-Correcting Shampoo
John Frieda was one of the first drugstore brands to break out products by hair color, and this one is still going strong. It only takes three washes with this shampoo to rebalance your blonde and remove that dreaded brass. The line contains Optical Brightening Technology, which absorbs UV light to make your hue look more vibrant. It’s also infused with lavender extract to leave strands soft.
Best for Highlighted Hair: Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights
This shampoo has been on shelves for decades and it has truly stood the test of time. One of the most popular options out there across price points, it gives you the most bang for your buck. The protein-enrich formula is super gentle and the purple in it is vibrant, so you’ll have noticeably brighter and lighter strands after just one wash. The conditioning shampoo works to tone allover brassiness, plus it gives a refresh to faded highlights.
Best for Natural Blondes: dpHue Cool Blonde Shampoo
If you’re a natural blonde—and if you’re not we’ll keep your secret and still recommend this shampoo—this dpHue shampoo is for you, and it also works wonders for gray and white hair. The deep violet pigments neutralize yellow tones and brassiness, and the gentle formula, which is free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates, delicately cleanses hair.
Best for Blowouts: Drybar Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo
If you color your hair and get blowouts on the regular, you’re doing double damage to your hair—and this shampoo does double duty to fix that. The formula is infused with lemon extract to brighten and maintain your blonde, as well as chamomile extract to improve tone and amp up shine. To counteract all that heat styling, it has keratin and vegetable proteins to strengthen the structure of the hair and prevent heat damage. Strands are left healthy-looking and without that warmth that can bring down blonde, gray, and white hair.
Best for Colored Hair: Pravana The Perfect Blonde Shampoo
When you color your hair, you’re weakening its bond, so you’ll need an extra gentle shampoo to fight those warm tones without leaving it dry. That’s where Pravana’s The Perfect Blonde Shampoo comes in. Its purple pigment is so strong that you only need to use it once a week to reap the rewards. The formula is sulfate-free so it’ll go easy on your hair but tough on brassiness. It contains an exclusive dual ultra-violet dye system and built-in brighteners to leave you with brighter, blonder hair that’s stronger and shinier, courtesy of the keratin, wheat and silk amino acids.
Best for Damaged Hair: Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo
Add harsh blonde dyes to already damaged hair and you have strands that are in serious need of some help. Amika’s Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo will come to the rescue! It strengthens hair’s elasticity to prevent more breakage and fortifies with protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as vitamins A, D, E, and B. The ultraviolet formula knocks out brassy tones and replaces them with cool tones, leaving hair soft and shiny.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular shampoos for blonde hair on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different shampoos overall, screened options from 23 different brands and manufacturers and read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.