Picture this: You’re living your best #vaxxedgirlsummer life. Then, maybe you go for a dip in the pool, or you find yourself in that weird limbo period between visits with your colorist, but when you look in the mirror, your hair is no longer the sleek blonde shade it was when you first stepped out of the salon. So, what can you do? Enter the product every blonde should have in their arsenal: Purple shampoo.
Besides just being a fun color, long-time hair stylist and former salon owner Karen Quick of Milford, NJ says “The violet pigment balances a blonde’s color by canceling out the unwanted golden, sometimes referred to as brassy undertones. This will ultimately give a brightening, cooler appearance to the color.”
These warm tones can come from a variety of factors including your hair products, hard water, and even pollution in the air. Stylist Hallie Wutzke, who specializes in blonding for a variety of hair types and is co-owner of Serene Oasis Hair Studio in Corona, CA says “Most purple shampoos are alkaline base, meaning they will open up the hair cuticle and work to gently clarify pollutants. Because of this, blonde swimmers and those washing their hair with hard water get great use out of it because of its abilities to cleanse out those green-tinged minerals while correcting the natural yellow pigments in the hair.”
While there is such a thing as not using enough purple shampoo, you’re more likely to notice if you use too much. Because purple shampoos are so highly pigmented, it’s best to only use them a couple of times per week to avoid going from an icy blonde to a pale lilac or even light gray. (And don’t go trying a new purple product before a big event.) But don’t let that deter you, assures Quick: “The beauty of purple shampoo is it’s not going to permanently alter anything at a chemical level. It’s like rinsing away the dirt and leaving a veil of brightness behind that can be shampooed away just as easily with your regular shampoo if you find you’ve used too much and need to dial it back.”
It’s also important to know that all purple shampoos can dry out your hair, which is why many stylists, including Quick and Wutzke, recommend using salon-quality, color-safe shampoos and conditioners when you’re not using your purple shampoo. “Aside from the superficial benefits, there isn’t much benefitting the health of your hair from your basic purple shampoo,” says Wutzke. “I never recommend using it every day—if you must wash your hair every day, then use another shampoo that suits your needs such as one with hydrating or reparative properties.”
When it is “wash day,” Quick suggests washing your hair with your regular shampoo first to remove any lingering product as well as any other pollutants in the hair, rinse, and then use your purple shampoo. “You want to lather it in your hands before applying it directly to your hair so that it dilutes and spreads evenly— preventing patchy “over-toning” in one or more areas,” warns Wutzke. Unlike regular shampoos, purple shampoo shouldn’t be washed off immediately because you need to give the pigment time to be absorbed into your hair. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to leave it on for 2-5 minutes, but it’s best to follow the instructions on the bottle. Wutzke then recommends following up with conditioner (purple or not), before rinsing with cool water to lock it in.
Still not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.
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Best Purple Shampoos
Pureology Strength Cure Blonde
In addition to being vegan and cruelty-free, this $32 purple shampoo is a favorite of Wutzke’s because of its strong pigment and ability to simultaneously tone and repair hair. She says “The tone of this shampoo is closer to blue-violet, meaning that it works better with those deep yellow and light orange tones. It includes Pureology’s anti-fade technology, which helps your demi-permanent gloss/toner last longer.” Check out the Pureology Strength Cure Blonde here.
Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo
If you’re on the lookout for an aluminum-free shampoo that will keep those highlights fresh in between salon visits, this is a great drug store option that won’t break the bank at $14. However, if you have coarse or curly hair, you may find this is a bit too drying. Check out the Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo here.
SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Strength & Color Care Shampoo
With a formula that includes antioxidant-rich rice water and wild orchid extract as ingredients, this $11 cruelty-free purple shampoo moisturizes your hair while keeping the brass at bay. SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Strength & Color Care Shampoo works well with color-treated and damaged hair, but it’s especially handy for those with natural and curly hair because it will hydrate your gorgeous golden locks without weighing them down. Check out the SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Strength & Color Care Shampoo here.
dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo
There’s no shame in being sensitive, and that goes for your scalp as well. If you want to beat the brass without irritating your sensitive skin, this $26 gluten-, paraben-, and sulfate-free purple shampoo just might be what you’re looking for. (Plus, it’s not tested on animals.) Check out the dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo here.
Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver Shampoo
This $31 salon-grade clarifying shampoo doesn’t just make your hair look great—its subtle floral scent will make your hair smell great too. Quick personally recommends this brand because “it’s highly concentrated so you get a big bang for your buck, plus it smells good and does what it says it’s going to do.” Check out the Matrix Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver Shampoo here.
Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo
If you’re looking for a shampoo to take care of your chemically-treated hair (and all the damage that comes along with it), consider Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo. Though it does contain sodium laureth sulfate, this $35 purple shampoo is formulated with hyaluronic acid as an ingredient, so your hair stays moisturized while you kick those orange tones to the curb. Check out the Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo here.
Redken Color Extend Blondage
Compared to other options, Redken Color Extend Blondage is a bit on the pricey side at $42, but it performs double duty for your locks, keeping the brass away while nourishing and hydrating your hair. This color-depositing shampoo will return your curly or damaged blonde hair back to its original glory in no time. Check out the Redken Color Extend Blondage here.
Lush Daddy-O Shampoo
Whether you’re a strict vegan or you just want a purple shampoo that’s a bit kinder to your furry friends, Lush’s $10 Daddy-O purple shampoo has it all—no animal testing, a delightful floral/citrusy smell, and a list of soothing ingredients that won’t take you back to when you were struggling to make heads or tails of your high school chemistry textbook. Plus, Lush’s commitment to the environment means their containers are recyclable. Check out the Lush Daddy-O Shampoo here.
Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo
They may say blondes have more fun, but brunettes don’t have to miss out on playing with purple shampoo too! If you’re a cool brunette and want to stay that way, Quick likes this $14 blue-violet shampoo because of its affordability and “it’s great for brunettes that don’t actually like to see warmth.” Plus, it’s another good option if you have natural or oily hair and don’t mind that it isn’t sulfate-free. Check out the Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo here.
AG Hair Colour Care Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo
While it may be called “Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo,” AG Hair’s $20 purple shampoo is great for toning any shade of blonde hair. Just note that while it’s great for cutting brass and isn’t tested on animals, it’s not sulfate-free. Check out the AG Hair Colour Care Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo here.
Fanola No Yellow Shampoo
Whether you’ve gone platinum or you’ve lifted your dark hair to a nice honey blonde, Fanola No Yellow’s deep pigment removes warm tones in a snap (and for only $14). Plus, it has no parabens, sulfates, or silicones, so you can keep your color fresher for longer. Check out the Fanola No Yellow Shampoo here.
Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo
Though it can be a bit drying, if you have so much brass you think there’s no going back, don’t give up without trying Joico’s $19 Color Balance Purple Shampoo. This peptide-rich shampoo works in tandem with UV absorbers and the antioxidant powers of green tea extract to make sure your blonde stays cooler for longer. Check out the Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo here.
Pravana The Perfect Blonde Shampoo
Has your bleached hair seen better days? In addition to being sulfate-free and not tested on animals, this $44 purple shampoo has ingredients like keratin, silk amino acids, and wheat, so your hair can be soft, supple, and toned to perfection. Just be careful not to overdo it with products that have added keratin and proteins, says Wutzke: “Too much of those specifically can cause brittleness, which leads to breakage.” Check out the Pravana The Perfect Blonde Shampoo here.
John Frieda Violet Crush Purple Shampoo
You may have a stubborn streak, but that doesn’t mean your hair has to. Boasting a rich pigment derived from crushed violet, many users have praised John Frieda Violet Crush Purple Shampoo for making a noticeable difference after just one wash. Not bad for a $12 drugstore brand, huh? Check out the John Frieda Violet Crush Purple Shampoo here.
Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo
Formulated with their signature ArganID technology, Moroccanoil’s $24 Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo is a triple threat—it tones, softens, and shines. This sulfate- and cruelty-free shampoo keeps your hair feeling thick and full so you can live out your wildest Farrah Fawcett fantasy. Check out the Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo here.
L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Shampoo
The deep violet pigment of the L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Shampoo neutralizes orange and yellow tones, though it’s good to note it has a strong scent if you have any sensitivities. As the most cost-effective option on our list at $7, this sulfate- and paraben-free drugstore option is great for those who want to tone up their blonde color while on a budget. Check out the L’Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Shampoo here.
Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo
Finally, a blonde moment you’ll actually want to have. Formulated with glycerin and violet rice to add some moisture while it tones, this $9 purple shampoo is ideal if you’re looking for a drugstore option that’s paraben-, sulfate-, and cruelty-free. Check out the Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo here.
Loma Violet Shampoo
If you enjoy the occasional (or regular) salon keratin treatment, Wutzke says to look no further than this $36 hydrating purple shampoo, which features aloe vera as a primary ingredient. “Loma has an excellent reputation for using organic ingredients and environmentally conscious processing – there are no parabens, sulfates, chlorides, or even gluten… Not to mention, it’s PETA-certified vegan + cruelty-free.” Check out the Loma Violet Shampoo here.
Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo
Imagine a fairy godmother created a magic potion to bring your dull, dry hair back to life – a dash of soothing avocado oil, a pinch of the superfruit sea buckthorn berry, and poof: Your brass has disappeared. Whether your hair is oily or straight, this $24 cruelty-free shampoo has you covered with its winning combination of fortifying vitamins and minerals. Check out the Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo here.
Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo
Formulated with keratin to revitalize and strengthen your golden locks, Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo dismisses dryness while banishing brass. This $12 drugstore option is paraben-free, but not sulfate-free. Check out the Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo here.
Oribe Silverati Shampoo
Whether or not JLo’s beauty secret really is “just olive oil” remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a star ingredient in this fortifying $46 purple shampoo. If you’re looking for a cruelty-free product that will neutralize any warm tones in your gray or silver hair, look no further than the Oribe Silverati Shampoo. Check out the Oribe Silverati Shampoo here.
Unite Blonda Toning Violet Shampoo
Good for both blonde and gray hair, Wutzke also recommends the $29 Unite Blonda Toning Violet Shampoo as another PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free option that won’t break the bank. “This shampoo also lathers very well without the use of parabens or sodium chloride,” says Wutzke. Check out theUnite Blonda Toning Violet Shampoo here.
Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Shampoo
If your platinum color is looking less “Ice Ice Baby” and more “Yellow Flicker Beat” (with some extra emphasis on the “beat”), Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Shampoo is formulated with softening ingredients like jojoba oil. This $15 violet shampoo is not tested on animals, but it does contain sulfates. Check out the Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Shampoo here
Function of Reduce Brassiness
If you have 99 hair problems and brassiness is only one, Function of Beauty may have you covered. This cruelty-free haircare brand allows you to customize ingredients based on your hair type and needs to create the perfect formula for your hair for only $30, so you can narrow down your products and free up some valuable real estate on your shower caddy. Check out the Function of Reduce Brassiness here.
IGK Mixed Feelings Purple Leave-In Blonde Toning Drops
Whether you have hair products you love and don’t want to stray away from or dropping some extra cash on purple shampoo isn’t in your budget right now, IGK’s Mixed Feelings Leave-In Blonde Toning Drops may be just what you need, especially if you’re looking for an option that isn’t tested on animals. Simply mix these $29 purple pigment drops into your shampoo, conditioner, or favorite hair products and watch your newly-toned hair stay shiny and soft thanks to the added prickly pear cactus extract. Check out the IGK Mixed Feelings Purple Leave-In Blonde Drops here.
Having a bunch of options to choose from can be daunting, but the #1 key to purple shampoo? Don’t overthink it. Quick says “Honestly, everyone is different, that’s why there are so many great products out there. There is no ‘best’ answer. It’s a matter of finding what’s best for you.” Maybe it’ll take some trial and error, or maybe you’ll beat that brass right off the bat, but regardless, just know that white-hot blonde shade you’re looking for is just on the horizon.