There is nothing like going to the salon getting a fresh cut and color, and walking out feeling like your best self. But then you wonder how you can possibly keep your hair as vibrant as it is in that moment 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 it turning yellow or orange.
We reached out to three colorists and a hairstylist to get to the root of who needs purple shampoo and how it works. Keep reading for their tips and tricks on how to master this hue for your best and brightest hair yet.
Meet the Expert
- Rachel Bodt is a colorist and Matrix Brand Ambassador.
- Jamie Wiley is a colorist and the Global Artistic Director of Pureology.
- Riawna Capri is a T3 Celebrity stylist.
- Lauren Paglionico is a colorist and founder of LRN Beauty in NYC.
What Is Purple Shampoo?
Purple shampoo is a tone-intensive shampoo (best served on blonde hair) 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 Does Purple Shampoo Do?
Put simply, purple shampoo can work to counteract yellow and brassy tones in the hair of those with blonde, platinum, silver, pastel, beige, and gray hair. According to Paglionico, your hair does not have to be colored to reap the benefits of purple shampoo.
Bodt adds that using purple shampoo can help hair look more polished. "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," she says.
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, silver, grey, or beige hair" are great candidates for purple shampoo. And you don't have to have dyed hair to reap the benefits. "Believe it or not, natural gray and white hair can oxidize yellow," she says. "Purple shampoo will help remove that yellow by making the gray and white shiny and bright again," says Paglionico. "For natural blondes who get dull in the winter, purple shampoo can help perk it up!"
How To Use Purple Shampoo To Keep Your Hair Vibrant
- Always Test It First: 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.
- Use a Dollop Every Third Wash: Once you're ready to use a full dose of purple shampoo, Capri says to start using a half-dollar sized dollop 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 third wash," she explains.
- Alternate With Moisturizing Shampoo: 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."
- Use a Comb to Distribute: To ensure even distribution of your purple shampoo, make sure you use a wide-tooth comb to disperse the product in the shower.
- Leave It On for 3-7 Minutes: 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. Your first time, leave the formula on for the lowest amount of time the bottle recommends.
- Finish With a Rich Conditioner: Purple shampoos can be drying, so be sure to rinse thoroughly and follow up with a luxurious, moisturizing conditioner or hair mask.
Can You Use Purple Shampoo on Brown Hair?
According to Paglionico, purple shampoo won't do much for brown hair. "Purple is used to cancel out yellow in blonde hair, whereas blue shampoos are made to cancel out warm, orange tones (aka brass) that are more common in brown hair," she says. However, if you are a dimensional brunette with lighter shades throughout your hair, purple shampoo might work for you.
How to Get Purple Shampoo Out of Your Hair
If you've used too much purple shampoo and are noticing a subtle violet tint to your hair, it's recommended to use a clarifying shampoo to fix it. (You may need multiple rounds of clarifying shampoo, but it should do the trick.)
Purple shampoo is a great way to restore cooler tones to blonde, gray, silver, or beige-colored hair if your hair is looking yellow or brassy. (But unfortunately, it won't do much for brunettes, who should opt for blue shampoo instead.) Always be sure to follow the directions on the bottle and start slow to avoid accidentally staining the hair.