There is no feeling quite like going to the salon, getting a new fresh cut and color, and then suddenly being overcome with anxiety right before bedtime or the first shower because—wait, how are you, a mere mortal, supposed to maintain such beauty day-in and day-out? Unless you're a professionally trained stylist, it's okay if you fumble with hot tools and blowdrying because, well, that stuff's really hard. What's less hard, however, is knowing what will keep that color looking fresh and vibrant in between salon trips. Enter purple shampoo, the hero to blondes and silver-haired people everywhere. Purple shampoo allows you to tone your hair at home without the risk of the hair turning yellow or orange. But it can be a little tricky to master at first—we reached out to three hairstylists to get to the root of who needs purple shampoo and how it works.
What Is Purple Shampoo?
Purple shampoo is a tone-intensive shampoo that allows you to tone your hair at home. Violet tones control warmth in your hair and neutralize yellow and orange tones in the hair, making the hair look more ashy and cool tone. "Think about the color wheel; for example, purple is used to combat yellow, which we use for hair color as well," explains Wiley
What Purple Shampoo Can Do for Your Hair (and What it Can't)
Put simply, purple shampoo can work to counteract yellow, orange, and brassy tones in the hair for those with blonde, platinum, silver, pastel, beige, and grey hair, as well as dimensional brunettes. "I have found that when your roots are coming in and the tone is wrong when you use a purple or silver shampoo, it can make the line of demarcation look less intense and make it look more polished," explains Bodt. But that doesn't mean purple shampoo is a miracle product, however. Sadly, purple shampoo cannot make your hair lighter so if the tone is too dark or too orange, it will not make it brighter. "In fact, sometimes if the hair wasn’t lifted light enough and you just try to tone with purple shampoo, it can make it look mucky and worse," says Bodt.
Who Should Be Using Purple Shampoo?
According to Capri, those who have "platinum blonde hair, blonde highlights, or anyone who has had lightener in their hair and loves a bright pop" are great candidates for purple shampoo. Purple shampoo is a wonderful product for anyone that wants to maintain their fresh from salon-lightened hair weeks after leaving the salon without any risk of orange or yellow popping through. Beware, Halloween colors. You're not welcome here.
How To Use Purple Shampoo To Keep Your Hair Vibrant
- Bodt always recommends that the first time you use a purple shampoo to mix it with a little of your regular shampoo to see how potent it is; you don't want to wind up with purple hair accidentally.
- "Alternate your purple shampoo with a moisturizing shampoo," says Wiley. "Depending on how brassy your blonde hair is, you won’t need to use the toning effects every wash, and it is important to add moisture and strengthen hair during the color process to keep hair healthy and strong."
- On that same note, try not to use purple shampoo every single time; it can start to make your hair look ashy and dull.
- Be aware of how long you leave a purple shampoo on each time, so you can figure out what will be the perfect timing for your hair and porosity. The more porous the hair, the more it will grab.
- According to Capri, the Best way to use purple shampoo is once every third wash. "But if you have been in the sun or feel as if your tone is too brassy, use purple shampoo at every wash until you get the desired results, THEN use once every 3rd wash," she explains.
- After using a purple shampoo, when styling, how you use your tools also matters, you'll want to use a blowdryer or curling iron at a lower heat setting to protect the color.
- "I also like to tell people to start on the ends and work up and make sure it's evenly distributed," says Bodt.
- If your hair is extremely brassy, once you wash your hair, try purple conditioners like Matrix Total Results So Silver Conditioner ($17) or Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Conditioner ($33) to towel-dried hair. "This way, the conditioner will absorb even more since water from the shower won’t act as a barrier during the application," explains Wiley.