Purple Shampoo 101:


If you have either (a) naturally gorgeous hair color, or (b) the willpower to not indulge at the salon, you don’t know that disappointing feeling of looking in the mirror and realizing that the $100+ hair color you paid for a few weeks ago has, well….changed color. Any time you lighten (or lift) your hair color, it has a natural tendency to fade into warmer shades and, oftentimes, that dreaded brassy color. While some beauties can pull off those warm and rich golden tones, it certainly isn’t a good look on me. To combat those brassy, orange-ish colors, your hair stylist uses a colored toner at the salon to achieve the desired shade. Once this toner fades over a certain number of washes, it’s back to the salon for another $30-40 toner sesh.

I really hadn’t put much thought into this after not coloring my hair at all for seven years, until about two weeks ago, when I hit ultimate boredom with my appearance and decided to take the plunge. Pinterest also fueled the fire by introducing me to the more recently seen “ashy brown” color that I had to have (refer to pics). I’m a researcher at heart, and I don’t take a big decision, including my hair color, lightly. My ashy brown searches led me to what seemed like a miracle product! Purple shampoo? This is a thing? I had never believed that a shampoo could actually change the color of your hair, since they’re all just marketing ploys anyway – right? If you refer to my handy-dandy color wheel below, purple and deep purple are the exact opposite of yellow and orange, which is why they neutralize the gold/brass tones. While some of you might be a little skeptical of putting a color like purple on your hair and turning all Katy Perry, I assure you that a shampoo, used properly, doesn’t have that kind of power. By “neutralizing” the brassiness, I mean that it brings your hair color back toward the cool side of the color temperature spectrum, which is where I want to be.


While many of these shampoos advertise or even state on the bottle that they are used for blonde or gray hair, it can be just as beneficial for brunettes with lighter highlights. It’s recommended that you begin by using the purple shampoo every other time you shampoo, and then adjusting based on your own results. To combat higher levels of brassiness, you can use it every time you shampoo. If your color is getting too ashy, reduce your usage to every three or four shampoos. However, you should know that these shampoos tend to dry your hair out, so you should be using a moisturizing conditioner or mask paired with it. I personally use “it’s a 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner plus Keratin” and LOVE it. Also, feel free to mix a concoction of half purple shampoo and half of your regular shampoo to reap the benefits of both.

c9b8166fe30731f4fcf1eaa67ea5fbadshampoo pic

(note: picture is not my own hair)

I have been using Clairol Shimmer Lights, which I conveniently was able to find at my neighborhood Walgreens. Here are some other popular and tested brands that you can find online, in the hair care aisle, or at a beauty store or salon.

Sheer Blonde Tone-Correcting line by John Frieda
Blonda by Unite
Color Endure Violet by Joico
Happy at-home toning!
Images via and via

One thought on “Purple Shampoo 101:

  1. Mandy says:

    I’m a brunette who pulls brass BAD. I’ve tried every purple shampoo and nothing works – maybe my hair is too dark? I also have a purple conditioner I leave on my hair for 20 minutes 1x/wk and can’t tell 1% difference. Should I try the blue food coloring/white vinegar method? I’m afraid of turning the highlighted section green. Help! thx!!


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