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Purple Toning Shampoos.....The Lowdown


If you’re a blonde or even if you have highlights on darker hair, you know that over time the colour can turn a hot shade of mellow yellow. It’s hard to get excited about your hair when the tone is off.   Have you tried purple shampoo?  I can tell when someone blonde/highlighted uses it vs. someone who doesn’t, and the ones who do tend to end up in their hairdresser's chair less often and are happier with their colour for a longer period of time. Purple is the exact opposite of yellow on the colour wheel, which is why it cools the gold/brass tones down. The last time we mentioned purple shampoo in a post, one or two readers expressed their skepticism about whether it works or not. It does, but it’s really important to research and find the right one. The best purple shampoos tend to be so densely pigmented that using it the first time can actually be a little scary.  A good purple shampoo will be dark purple, not light purple, and it shouldn’t be transparent. You see how dark the one is below? That’s what you should look for. Here’s a photo before and after she started using purple shampoo for the first time (thanks to The Beauty Department). It makes a huge difference in a good way…

Purple shampoo pointers…

  • When you first start using purple shampoo, use it every other time you shampoo and then adjust your useage from there. If you find that it’s still brassy, start using it every time you shampoo. If you see it starting to get just a touch too ashy, slow your usage. I have clients who use it once a week and some who use it every time they shampoo. It really depends on the type of hair you have (and the amount of yellow you’re trying to combat.)
  • If you’re all over blonde, apply a good amount of purple shampoo to the root and let it run out through the ends as you lather and rinse. Typically the top of your hair is more golden/brassy than the ends (if you’re blonde) so you’d want the most concentrated amount up top. The ends are more porous and will grab the color faster so it doesn’t need to stay on the ends as long. Just let it drizzle through the ends and they will catch the color.
  • If you’re not a blonde but have blonde or caramel highlights on hair that’s darker, you’ll want to only apply purple shampoo where you have lightened hair. You can always shampoo your hair with something else up top and then apply the purple toning shampoo to the lighter bits that tend to get brassy.
  • If your hair gets really yellow, let the purple shampoo sit on for 5 min. If you’re just fighting a minimal amount of brass, a minute or two will be sufficient.
  • If you regularly use a medicated scalp shampoo like our fabulous Scalp Relief Shampoo, or just a shampoo that you can’t live without, you can always shampoo twice– once using your regular shampoo to get your hair clean or your scalp taken care of and then once with the purple to tone. I’ve always shampooed my hair twice to get a super clean canvas for styling.  Typically purple shampoos aren’t known for their cleansing properties so if you need to get your scalp really clean, try using the two shampoo method.
  • If, by chance, you ever over-do it and take it one purple shampoo too far, don’t worry. Just hop back in the shower and shampoo with a non-purple shampoo like Replenish (Moisturising) or Deep Down Cleansing, and it will fade off.

Our Blonde Revitalising Shampoo is a luscious moisturising formula, with a deep purple colour and a nice thick texture.

It tones brassy or gold reflects from blonde or grey hair.  Share your purple shampoo experience with us, or ask a question and we'll try and help out.

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  • Liz Karbowiak
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