The Only (& We Mean Only) Guide To Using Purple Shampoo You'll Ever Need (2023)



Updated on May 25, 2023

mbg Beauty Director

By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and

(Video) Hairdresser Reacts To People Ruining Their Hair With Purple Shampoo

Every once in a while, the social media masses will discover a beauty product and treat it like it's bright and shiny and new. But of course, when you go to chat with the experts about the trend, they'll be the first to tell you: This has been a not-so-secret pro tip for years.

This was the case with Instagram contouring (makeup artists have been contouring their celebrity clients for decades upon decades) or even rice water rinses (a tradition that has an ancient history). And it's now the case with at-home toning shampoos.


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Purple shampoos have made a big wave lately, resulting in loads of hacks, questions, and questionable hacks. But as any hairstylist or colorist will tell you, color-correcting pigments have been a professional trick for practically as long as people have been coloring their hair in salons. However, they've gained more mainstream popularity—as well as more at-home product offerings have become more widely accessible—in the past several years.

Here, we gathered everything you need to know from the pros.


What is purple shampoo & how does it work?

Purple shampoos are one type of color toning product. You've likely heard of the color wheel (go ahead and Google should you need to), and according to color theory, shades on the opposite side of the circle cancel each other out. That's the science behind toning shampoos.

"We use toners to enhance dull tones or cancel unwanted tones," says hairstylist Natasha Speth. "When we are canceling unwanted tones, we refer to our faithful color wheel to select the proper tones. We would use complementary colors to cancel out unwanted tones." The basics of at-home toning are using violet for yellow, green for red, or blue for orange. "For instance, if a light blonde with soft golden undertones would prefer to be an icy white blonde, we may use a violet base toner or send them home with a violet-based shampoo and conditioner."

As far as the shampoo part goes, shampoos actually are able to open up the hair's cuticle during the wash process. (This is how they deep clean the strands: They can lift and pull out buildup trapped in the hair shaft.) With toning products, they deposit pigment while the cuticle is lifted—therefore canceling out the unwanted tone.

Who should use purple shampoos?

In short, anyone with unwanted yellow undertones can use a purple shampoo. People who commonly experience yellow undertones are those who have lifted their hair or have lighter hair, such as blondes, platinums, and silver strands.

Yes, those with gray hair should grab purple shampoo: "These brighten up silver hair, so it really gives it that luminescent vibe—it feels so uplifting. Gray hair grabs what's in the atmosphere, so it can turn yellow very quickly—this should help that," says colorist Christin Brown.

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Of course many blondes want yellow hues—creating more of a golden and wheat-toned look—but for those looking for icy aesthetics, yellow can be very much an issue. This very common for those who bleach their hair, as the strands can pick up yellow and orange tones with time.

Additionally, purple shampoo can be helpful for those with naturally light hair, too! Even natural blondes can develop stains due to pollution, water, smoking, and so on. Purple shampoo can help the hair appear lighter.

Finally, any texture can use a purple shampoo, but those with curly to coily hair may want to find a sulfate-free option so the formula is less drying.


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How to use a purple shampoo.

In most ways purple shampoo is akin to using a regular shampoo, but it does take a few tweaks on the standard process.

(Video) Purple Shampoo & Grey Hair | How It Effects My Silver (White) Hair

  1. After finding your shampoo (check out the next section for more info), pick your wash day. Everyone is going to have unique shampooing schedules thanks to variations in hair type, lifestyle, and more. The purple shampoo, in most cases, won't fully replace your standard shampoo. Rather, you'll simply swap it in every few washes to tend to your color.
  2. How often you use it will be entirely up to you—and there is no formula or algorithm to help you figure out a magic use number. It really comes down to trial and error. We recommend using it once every week or two, then building it up from there, until you find your balance.
  3. Once in the shower, wet your hair. Squirt your standard usage amount into your palm (everyone uses a different amount of shampoo based on their lengths and thickness). Purple shampoo can stain your skin, so some people opt for gloves—but as someone who regularly uses purple shampoo, I've never used gloves and been just fine.
  4. Lather it up in your hands a bit, then work it into your scalp. Using gentle circular motions work the product around the scalp, between strands, and down the shaft.
  5. Let the product sit on your strands a bit longer than you might a traditional shampoo. About one or two minutes but not much longer than that, as it can be drying.
  6. Rinse the product out of the strands, being careful not to pull the wet strands or snag the hair. Hair is most vulnerable when wet, so be extra careful!
  7. After the product is fully rinsed, apply your conditioner as usual. This will keep strands hydrated and seal in moisture.
  8. After the shower, be sure to wash away any purple stains or marks on the shower. Purple shampoo can stain easily and is much harder to remove after it's dried and left on for a few hours or days.

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Product recommendations.

Finding a purple shampoo that's right for you all comes down to thinking about your needs. Obviously, color-correcting is high on that list (you're reading this article, after all), but you should also consider if you want something that offers a deeper clean, more hydration, antioxidant protection, and so on. We've outlined all of our favorite purple shampoos here, but we'll call out a quick few now for easy skimming.

Together Beauty Purple Reign


This natural, clean hair care brand delivers high-quality smart care and styling products. (It's formulated and created by a famed New York hairstylist and salon owner—so it checks out why.) This option is made with 98% natural and clean ingredients, one being Ancient Chinese purple rice to give it that lush purple hue. The other ingredients tend to your hair health, like protein-powered quinoa and antioxidant-packed baobab oil.

The Only (& We Mean Only) Guide To Using Purple Shampoo You'll Ever Need (4)

dpHue Cool Blonde Shampoo


This natural-inspired brand is founded by celebrity hair colorist Justin Anderson who tends to some of Hollywood's most famous blondes. (So we trust his work and formulations—it's the option that this beauty editor uses on her blond highlights.) It's blended with hibiscus flower extract, amino acids, and hydrolyzed silk.

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The Only (& We Mean Only) Guide To Using Purple Shampoo You'll Ever Need (5)

artnaturals Purple Shampoo


An affordable pick, this gets glowing reviews from users. We suspect that's from the coconut (which is hydrating and softening) as well as vitamin E. Vitamin E is a popular hair care addition since it's oil-soluble, reduces hair loss, and balances the oil on the scalp.

The Only (& We Mean Only) Guide To Using Purple Shampoo You'll Ever Need (6)

Extra purple shampoo tips.

Want additional insights? We've got you covered.

  • As we noted, if this is your first time using it, start with once a week or two weeks (using your other sulfate-free shampoo during the other washes) and build up as needed." Just be mindful that if you go overboard, you can stain your hair purple. But ultimately, how often you use it will be totally up to you.
  • Stylists recommend applying it on wet hair, as putting it on dry hair prior to wetting will likely deposit too much pigment.
  • A word of caution: Those with high porosity hair (check out our porosity quiz here to find out where you fall on the porosity spectrum) run the risk of tinting their hair purple, as they soak up more pigment naturally.
  • Do not sleep in purple shampoo. Some have called this a "hack" to amping up the effects of purple shampoo because it leaves the pigment on longer, but as hairstylist Matt Newman says, "The ingredients in shampoos can be incredibly drying, and under no circumstances should you leave them on your hair that long."
  • If you are looking for a color-correcting product that you can leave on your strands, opt for a purple conditioner or mask. "I have absolutely no problems with someone doing a purple mask for a night since those ingredients are hydrating," Newman says. "The problem is that there's little education about the product at the moment, so people don't even realize that conditioner is an option."

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The takeaway.

Color-correct your yellow undertone away with this hair-colorist-approved product. Just make sure you're using it correctly and thoughtfully.

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Why shouldn't you use purple shampoo all the time? ›

The purple shampoo can cause build up making the hair look dull and darker if overused." This makes the lightening process more difficult to create a seamless blend.

Should I only use purple shampoo? ›

Purple shampoo is meant to only be used weekly or when your hair is looking brassy — not every day. Generally, you'll want to incorporate it into your hair care routine one to three times a week in place of your usual shampoo for color-treated hair.

How many times should I use purple shampoo before it works? ›

If it's your first time using purple shampoo, it's best to stick to just once a week. Use a color-safe shampoo like our Color Assure Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner Set for Colored Treated Hair the rest of the week and slowly increase how many times you use it until you find your perfect shade.

What's the longest you can leave purple shampoo in for? ›

Unless you have white hair or gray hair, you shouldn't leave the purple shampoo on for longer than 15 minutes at a time. If you're already leaving the shampoo on for less than 15 minutes and you're noticing a purple tone, then try leaving the product on for even less time.

Is purple shampoo damaging to your hair? ›

Does Purple Shampoo Damage Hair? The violet pigment in the purple shampoo will not damage your hair; however, if you leave it on your mane for too long, those purple pigments will handle their job a little more effectively and could turn your hair into a purple-violet color.

Why is my hair still yellow after using purple shampoo? ›

There's two reasons why your hair is still brassy after toning or colouring. Either the undertone of the toner/colour is wrong, or the product is too light for you.

What is the disadvantage of purple shampoo? ›

DOES PURPLE SHAMPOO DAMAGE HAIR? The cool violet pigment in purple shampoo won't damage hair, but if you leave it on strands too long, those purple pigments will take their job a little too far and could turn tresses a purple-violet colour.

Who should not use purple shampoo? ›

DON'T use purple shampoo on very dry hair

“Dry areas can absorb product more which could darken the area more than desired,” says Jimmy Green, education manager for hair brands Pureology and Redken. It's important to get the hair into a healthy condition before drenching it in purple shampoo to make it less porous.

How often to use purple shampoo for gray hair? ›

The best way to use purple shampoo on gray hair

Some hair types are more porous than others, meaning that if you use a purple shampoo too often, you could end up with a slight purple hue to your hair. So, with that in mind, we would suggest using it once or twice a week and slowly building up from there if needs be.

Does leaving purple shampoo in longer make a difference? ›

A purple shampoo will not dye your hair but if you leave it on for too long you could find yourself with a little lilac staining. It's easy enough to get rid of – just wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to reduce the tint!

How long does it take to see results from purple shampoo? ›

Others may be too weak, meaning they need 10 minutes or more to make a noticeable difference to brassy tones if they manage to do anything at all. However, we've created the 'Goldilocks' of purple shampoos; a product with just the right level of purple tones, which takes 3-5 minutes to work its magic on brassy strands.

Do I use conditioner after purple shampoo? ›

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.

Does purple shampoo work on GREY hair? ›

To keep your silver locks cool and vibrant, you might be thinking of the all-time remedy for brassy hair: purple shampoo. While this product is commonly used by blondes, can you also apply purple shampoo on gray hair? The answer is a resounding yes!

What happens if I leave purple shampoo in my hair for 30 minutes? ›

Zoe's answer: Leaving purple shampoo in your hair for longer than the recommended time is not always a good idea. The longer you leave it, the more pigments will be deposited on your hair and they could even stain it permanently.

What is the difference between silver and purple shampoo? ›

Purple shampoo neutralises brassiness but enhances blonde pigmentation. To maintain a silver shade, your shampoo requires a stronger colour neutralisation. Silver shampoo is formulated with deeper purple pigments to target yellow tones in a much stronger way.

Is it better to use purple shampoo or conditioner? ›

While purple shampoo can often dry out hair, purple conditioner is supposed to smooth, soften and intensely moisturize.

What happens if a brunette uses purple shampoo? ›

Purple shampoo works the same way to eliminate brassiness on brown hair as it does on blonde. It helps to prevent color fade, while emphasizing shine, keeping brown hair vibrant and rich. Using purple shampoo on brown hair regularly will take out any unwanted warm tones in your strands.

Do you put purple shampoo on wet or dry hair? ›

OK, so what is the best way to use purple shampoo? Well, for starters, you want to apply it on completely wet hair. (Note: If you have especially dry or brittle ends, we'd also recommend putting a tiny amount of conditioner on just the tips to prevent them from absorbing too much pigment.)

How do you get the best results out of purple shampoo? ›

How To Use Purple Shampoo
  1. Step 1: Choose A Purple Shampoo. ...
  2. Step 2: Always Wear Gloves. ...
  3. Step 3: Apply And Lather. ...
  4. Step 4: Don't Rinse Immediately. ...
  5. Step 5: Follow Up With Conditioner. ...
  6. Step 6: Use A Weekly Treatment.
Apr 6, 2021

What color shampoo cancels out yellow? ›

What is a purple shampoo? A purple-colored shampoo contains purple pigment to neutralize brassy and yellow tones on lighter hair. "The main reason it is purple is because on the color wheel, it is the direct opposite color of yellow, which means purple and yellow will cancel one another out," explains Kandasamy.

What does purple shampoo cancel? ›

Purple shampoo is specifically designed to neutralize brassy, yellow tones in blonde hair, leaving it looking cooler and more vibrant. This is because purple and yellow are complementary colors, and the purple pigment in the shampoo cancels out the yellow tones in the hair.

Is Olaplex purple shampoo drying? ›

Suitable for all blonde, lightened, and gray hair—natural or stylist-created, root-to-tip or balayage—this non-drying formula can be rotated into any hair maintenance routine as needed for your best blonde yet. It's scientifically proven to boost all blondes three times brighter*.

What is the difference between blue and purple shampoo? ›

Blue shampoos are designed to counteract orange tones in brunette hair, while purple shampoos are used to banish brass in blonde hair. If you make the leap from brunette to blonde hair, make sure to switch to a purple shampoo to counteract the yellow tones that often appear in color-treated blonde hair.

Do hairdressers use purple shampoo? ›

Purple shampoos are also a fantastic addition to your salon retail offering to help your clients maintain their beautiful blonde hair between colour appointments.

Why does purple shampoo make my hair darker? ›

If anything, purple shampoo may make your hair temporarily slightly darker. This is because the inky purple pigments found in purple shampoo are a darker color than the shades of yellow in blonde hair.

What shampoo keeps grey hair from turning yellow? ›

Purple shampoos are the best shampoos for gray hair turning yellow, as purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel. A great purple option is BTWCo's purple shampoo & conditioner. It's very gentle, has a light fragrance, and really makes silver hair shine.

Does purple shampoo lighten hair over time? ›

Purple shampoo cannot lighten or darken your hair color. However, if you leave your purple shampoo on for too long, you may notice that your hair has a slight violet tone. This is more common with those that have silver and white hair colors rather than warm blondes and slightly darker hues.

How much of a difference does purple shampoo make? ›

“The violet tone in the shampoo controls warmth in your hair by neutralizing the yellow- making hair look [ashier] and cool-toned.” With purple shampoo, you can maintain a fresh blonde look and prevent your hair from looking brassy and yellow by just using one every couple of washes, says Kell.

What happens if you leave purple shampoo for too long on GREY hair? ›

If you leave purple shampoo on too long, it can make your lighter gray hair take on a gunmetal gray appearance. If this happens, no worries as it will fade in a short while.

What is the best way to use purple shampoo? ›

Purple shampoo should be applied in the shower or during a hair wash. While your hair is wet, apply the shampoo and lather it onto your hair. The amount of shampoo that you use will vary depending on your choice of product and how brassy your hair is looking.

How long to leave purple shampoo on dry hair? ›

Unlike normal shampoo, we recommend leaving purple shampoo on for up to 3 minutes before rinsing. However, if you're only after a gentle toning, a minute or so should do the job nicely.

What is the best color for gray hair? ›

Neutral shades like soft blonde, mushroom brown, light copper, and caramel blonde balayage are the easiest to blend gray into (and maintain over time without wanting to shave your hair off).

What is the name of the purple shampoo for grey hair? ›

L'Oréal Paris EverPure Purple Shampoo

Its dark violet pigment was developed specifically for white, gray, and silver hair colors to counteract brassiness for an icy-cool, vibrant finish.

How do I make my grey hair smooth and shiny? ›

How to make gray hair soft, shiny, and silver
  1. Use a hydrating shampoo regularly. ...
  2. Swap in a clarifying shampoo. ...
  3. Use a purple shampoo and conditioner. ...
  4. Use a serum for shine. ...
  5. Use hairspray the right way. ...
  6. See a hair stylist for a keratin treatment. ...
  7. Do weekly deep conditioning masks. ...
  8. Get a gloss treatment.

Is silver shampoo blue or purple? ›

Both silver and purple shampoo are designed to neutralise yellow and brassy tones in blonde, silver and grey hair. If you've used either one, you'll have noticed that bright purple hue when you pop the lid and squeeze. Silver shampoo and purple shampoo use purple pigment to lighten and brighten.

What if I use purple shampoo every day? ›

How often you use purple shampoo is totally up to you. You can either use it daily or swap it in place of your standard shampoo whenever you feel like your color is starting to go a little brassy or needs a quick refresh, suggests Alders. Use it just as you would any other shampoo— yes, it's that simple.

Can purple shampoo ruin your highlights? ›

No, purple shampoo is not damaging. But it may turn the tresses light purple if you leave it for too long.

What happens if you use purple shampoo on brown hair? ›

Purple shampoo works the same way to eliminate brassiness on brown hair as it does on blonde. It helps to prevent color fade, while emphasizing shine, keeping brown hair vibrant and rich. Using purple shampoo on brown hair regularly will take out any unwanted warm tones in your strands.

What happens if you use purple shampoo on red hair? ›

Purple Shampoo for Red Hair:

If you have naturally red hair a purple shampoo may not make much of a difference but it can help those with chemically dyed red hair. Purple shampoo will not fade or remove red color but can impact its visual effect. A purple shampoo used sparingly can help remove bronzy and brassy tones.

What's the difference between purple and silver shampoo? ›

Purple shampoo neutralises brassiness but enhances blonde pigmentation. To maintain a silver shade, your shampoo requires a stronger colour neutralisation. Silver shampoo is formulated with deeper purple pigments to target yellow tones in a much stronger way.

Does purple shampoo make highlights lighter or darker? ›

It's important to note that the pigment in purple shampoo isn't a lightener or hair dye but a gentle toner that works overtime. So it can't darken your hair or make it any lighter. For this reason, if your hair tone is too dark, it won't make it any brighter.

Is blue or purple shampoo better for gray hair? ›

Purple shampoo uses purple pigments to neutralize yellow tones and keeps blondes brighter and ashier. Purple shampoo is also great for silver/white hair as well. Blue shampoo uses blue pigments to neutralize brassy orange tones in the hair.

How long does it take for purple shampoo to work? ›

Others may be too weak, meaning they need 10 minutes or more to make a noticeable difference to brassy tones if they manage to do anything at all. However, we've created the 'Goldilocks' of purple shampoos; a product with just the right level of purple tones, which takes 3-5 minutes to work its magic on brassy strands.

Do you use purple shampoo before or after regular shampoo? ›

Answer: Once your hair has been wet down and shampooed with a regular sulphate free shampoo to cleanse it, my advice would be to step out of the shower and strategically concentrate on applying the purple shampoo to the brassier (yellow) parts of the hair.

Is purple shampoo a toner? ›

Purple shampoo is a toning shampoo used for all shades of blonde hair to help preserve its color and keep locks looking healthy and vibrant. The shampoo essentially acts as a color-correcting toner for your hair without you ever having to step foot in a salon.

How soon can I dye my hair again to fix it? ›

As a result, deciding how frequently to color your hair is a delicate balancing act. As a general rule, wait at least four weeks, and preferably six weeks, before starting another treatment. Semi-permanent hair color can be used more frequently than permanent tints if desired.

Does purple shampoo make hair redder? ›

Instead of canceling the color, the violet dye will mix with the red pigments and darken or deepen the shade of your hair. The purple color in this product will boost the redness of your locks, giving them a richer, cooler red shade. Just remember to take it easy when you're using purple shampoo.


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