How do Purple Shampoos Work?

What Is Purple Shampoo?

If you are a salon blonde, you know it can be a pain to keep your hair color looking bright, vibrant, and beautiful. Blonde hair can easily pick up unwanted tones due to various factors such as lifestyle, smoke, and external elements. If you have hard water in your home or you spend much of your time in the sun and wind, your initial gorgeous bright color can quickly lose its luster and turn dull and brassy.

One of the most effective ways to fight brassy or orange tones when your blonde dye begins to fade is to use a purple shampoo. The purple-based shampoo is designed to brighten up the color and neutralize unwanted yellow tones that your hair has picked up over time. This shampoo contains active violet pigments that give it an intensely dark purple color. It will make your hair look as though it’s just been colored in the salon. A violet shampoo can extend the life of your color and prolong the time between color services.

Woman washing hair with purple shampoo in the salon

How does a Purple Shampoo Work?

the color wheel

The purple color-correcting shampoo is specially formulated to brighten up the blonde color and cancel out the appearance of the yellow base color. That happens because opposite colors in the color wheel neutralize each other when combined. Since violet is the opposite color of yellow, the purple pigments in the shampoo work to neutralize the yellow pigments in blonde hair.

When mixed together, yellow and violet produce a pale beige or white, which explains why washing the hair with purple shampoo will take brassy and yellow tones out of blonde and gray hair.

Six Great Purple Toning Shampoos for Gray Hair

Who is It Designed for?

In order to combat an unsightly color and keep natural brightness, you need to tone your blonde hair occasionally. A good purple shampoo is one of the most reliable products to do this. If you find that violet shampoo leaves your hair dry, a gentler alternative is a purple mask that contains more conditioning agents.

Blonde hair: Purple colored shampoo is most often used by individuals who have bleached or dyed blonde hair. The cool tones of the shampoo help counteract warm tones in blonde hair, keeping the color fresh and bright.

Those with platinum blonde locks need a purple shampoo to make their blonde platinum color more vibrant and to keep the brass away.

Individuals with natural blonde hair often use a purple shampoo to get rid of yellow tones.

Brunettes with blonde highlights can benefit from using purple shampoo as well. The toning violet pigment helps keep the brass away without affecting dark hair color.

Grey hair: Individuals with gray hair can also benefit from using purple shampoo occasionally. These shampoos will mask yellow that can appear in white hair while improving shine.

Virgin hair: Bleached hair will get more benefits from violet shampoo than virgin blonde hair. The hair that has gone through an extensive lightening process is porous and ready to absorb violet pigments quickly. Virgin hair is less prone to discoloration, but it is also less ready to absorb the pigments present in the purple shampoo.

Happy smiling woman with bright blonde hair

How to Use a Purple Shampoo?

It is recommended to start using purple shampoo a few weeks after your color service to prevent your blonde color from becoming dull and brassy.

This product is not intended for daily use. Wash your hair with purple shampoo once a week or whenever your hair needs it, and rotate it with your regular shampoo.

1. Wet your hair with warm water before using violet shampoo. Hot water will lift the cuticles resulting in better penetration of the purple pigments.

2. Rub the violet shampoo into your hair and let it sit for 1 to 5 minutes. If your hair is very yellow, let the shampoo sit for about 5-7 minutes. Overly porous hair tends to absorb purple pigments quickly. Never leave the shampoo in for more than 5 minutes on heavily bleached hair. Otherwise, your overly-porous hair will soak up too much purple pigment.

3. Rinse the hair with cold water. This will close the cuticles, sealing in the violet pigments and leaving hair smooth.

4. If you have dark hair with blonde highlights, you can wash the hair with your regular shampoo first, and then apply the purple shampoo to the areas with lightened hair. The reason for such partial application is the drying effects of purple shampoo.

5. If you have hair or scalp problems, you can use the shampoo recommended by your dermatologist first, and then apply purple shampoo to tone.

6. Make sure to use a conditioner afterward, as most purple shampoos tend to strip moisture from your hair and scalp. Too much purple can be unfavorable, so use either a purple-based shampoo or conditioner, not both.

If violet shampoo leaves your hair with a purple hint, another wash with a clarifying shampoo will remove the excess purple.

Woman in The Lavender Field

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