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The best purple shampoos for blonde and color-treated hair

Purple shampoo can prolong your color treatment and keep natural blonde hair bright — experts break down how to use it and recommend some of their favorites.
Experts explain how purple shampoo works and why blondes should use it.
Experts explain how purple shampoo works and why blondes should use it. Amazon; Nak Hair

If your hair is naturally blonde, gray or color-treated blonde, you’ll want to incorporate a purple shampoo to maintain your preferred color. To help you pick the best purple shampoo, we spoke to four hairstylists and colorists and asked them about ingredients, formula and color depositing; we also asked our blonde shopping editors for their favorite purple shampoos. Our top pick is the Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Repair Shampoo, but read on for our other favorites.

SKIP AHEAD The best purple shampoos | What is purple shampoo? | Who should and shouldn’t use purple shampoo? | What are the downsides of purple shampoo? | How to shop for purple shampoo

As its name suggests, purple shampoo has violet pigments to tone and neutralize the hair, which means it’ll counteract unwanted brassiness and yellow/orange hues that can develop over time to help achieve the perfect blonde, according to Brittany Byrd, hairstylist and owner of Blondify Studio. But remember that purple shampoos aren’t meant to cleanse or hydrate your hair nearly as much as regular shampoo, so they shouldn’t act as a replacement.

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best purple shampoos

To maintain your hair, whether it is blonde, gray or white, our experts recommend considering the following to keep it toned and bright:?

  • Pigment: Yellow tones in hair are neutralized by purple, so you’ll want to find a shampoo with a purple-based pigment. Purple shampoos have varying concentrations of pigments, so they can range from a lavender color to a very dark purple, according to hairstylist and salon owner Tiffany Munoz.?
  • Frequency: Consider how frequently you’ll use a purple shampoo. Lighter, less concentrated purple shampoos will allow for more frequent use, while dark, more pigmented purple shampoos should be used more sparingly, according to our experts. Overusing this type of product can dry out your hair or, in some cases, alter the color of the hair by darkening it or making it appear purple. More on what happens if you overuse it below.?
  • Ingredients: Since this type of shampoo can be drying, you want to look for moisturizing ingredients like shea butter ,hyaluronic acid, glycerin and panthenol, according to our experts.

The best purple shampoos

Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo

New York City-based hairstylist Jasmine Burnside recommends this Oribe shampoo to manage brassiness. Brassiness occurs when your hair either oxidizes or gets contaminated with hard water and pollutants, says hairstylist and owner of Blondify Studio, Brittany Byrd. The formula includes ingredients like lemon, ginger root and chamomile extract that work together to brighten the color, according to the brand.?

Recommended frequency by brand: Daily or as needed | Scent: Oribe signature scent — notes of Calabrian bergamot, white butterfly jasmine, and sandalwood

Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Repair Shampoo

This Amika shampoo has ingredients like plant butters and quinoa protein to strengthen the hair and tone down its brassy appearance, according to the brand. Reviewers say that, unlike other purple shampoos, this one leaves their hair feeling soft after cleansing and smells great even post-shower. The shampoo, which is suitable for cool blondes, platinum blondes, grays, silvers and textured blondes, has a 4.6-star average rating from over 2,300 reviews on Amazon.?

Recommended frequency by brand: Every wash for silvers and grays, every two washes for color-treated blondes, platinum blondes and textured blondes and every four washes for natural blondes | Scent: warm vanilla, spicy sweet clover, and fresh citrus

Klorane Anti-Yellowing Shampoo with Centaury

This shampoo has centaury (violet flower) to neutralize unwanted yellow and copper tones in blonde, silver or gray hair, says New York City-based trichologist Shab Caspara. It’s also gentle enough for all hair types and leaves hair shiny, vibrant and soft, according to the brand.?

Recommended frequency by brand: Daily or as needed | Scent: n/a

Sun Bum Purple Shampoo

Suitable for all blonde hair types, you can use this formula daily to brighten, tone and protect your color from fading when exposed to the sun’s rays. You can use this shampoo with its matching conditioner to fade brassiness and moisturize your hair, according to the brand. They also say the shampoo doesn’t turn their blonde hair purple over time, which can happen if you overuse a purple shampoo, experts told us. If you notice any purple residue, the color will rinse out with your standard shampoo after one to two washes, according to Sun Bum.

Recommended frequency by brand: Daily, once a week or as needed | Scent: n/a

R+Co Sunset Blvd

R+Co’s Sunset Blvd has more of a lavender color, making it a great option for daily use, according to Munoz. It removes the brassiness, adds shine and helps the hair retain moisture using humectants like glycerin and emollients like sunflower sprout extract, according to the brand. If you want a shampoo that’s a bit more powerful, consider R+Co’s Bleu Blonded Brightening Shampoo, which is more moisturizing and has a darker violet pigment, according to Munoz.

Recommended frequency by brand: Daily or as needed | Scent: Serious gaze — notes of juniper berries, blood orange, rhubarb, violet, leather accord and dark woods

Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Shampoo

This deep purple shampoo helps repair damaged hair while neutralizing unwanted warm or brassy tones, according to the brand. The formula includes plant-based proteins to strengthen the hair and prevent future damage, while other ingredients help repair and soften the hair, according to the brand. The shampoo has a 4.6-star average rating from over 2,200 reviews on Amazon.?

Recommended frequency by brand: As needed | Scent: Floral with notes of rose, pear and sandalwood

Nak Hair Australia Blonde Shampoo

Nak has multiple blonde shampoos that come in various purple pigment concentrations, according to hairstylist and owner of Blondify Studio, Brittany Byrd. With hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, this option is great for natural blondes, bleached blondes and grays who are looking to tone their hair and moisturize, strengthen and add shine, according to the brand. The brand also offers Blonde Plus, Platinum Blonde Anti-Yellow Shampoo, Blonde Cleanse and more.?

Recommended frequency by brand: As needed | Scent: n/a

Kerastase Blond Absolu Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo

With ingredients like hyaluronic acid and edelweiss flower, this option prevents breakage and protects hair from daily damage while also combatting brassy undertones. Reviewers say this formula is one of the least drying purple shampoos on the market, and although it is one of the more splurge options, a little goes a long way since it’s not intended for daily use. The shampoo has a 4.6-star average rating from over 8,400 reviews on Amazon.?

Recommended frequency by brand: Two to three times a week | Scent: n/a

Redken Color Extend Blondage Purple Shampoo

This Redken shampoo comes recommended by Burnside, who uses it and sees positive results for her clients. In addition to purple pigments, the shampoo has citric acid to repair damaged hair, according to the brand.

Recommended frequency by brand: Two to three times a week | Scent: Citrus

Milk_Shake Silver Shine Purple Shampoo

Reviewers, including platinum blondes, color-treated blondes, silvers, and grays, say this shampoo makes the biggest and fastest noticeable difference in removing unwanted undertones. They also say a little goes a long way, and you don’t need to let the product sit on your hair for more than a few minutes for it to work. This option, which has a 4.6-star average rating from over 11,100 reviews on Amazon, also conditions the scalp and strengthens the hair. If you want to target the same concerns but in a less-pigmented formula that is more suited for daily use, consider Silver Shine Light, which only has 50% of the violet pigment seen in the original.?

Recommended frequency by brand: As needed | Scent: Notes of blueberry, blackberry and raspberry

Clairol Shimmer Lights

This purple shampoo has a lighter color deposit (meaning it does not add a ton of purple pigment to sit on top of the hair shaft) and is one of the most affordable options on this list. “It’s for somebody that wants the occasional maintenance without a huge investment,” says Byrd. Keep in mind that this shampoo might dry out the hair, so use a conditioner in conjunction with it, according to Byrd.?

Recommended frequency by brand: Twice a week or as needed | Scent: n/a

Davines Alchemic Shampoo Silver

This Davines option comes recommended by Burnside. The shampoo also has vitamin B to add moisture to the hair, according to the brand.?

Recommended frequency by brand: As needed | Scent: n/a

Olaplex No. 4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo

In addition to her standard hair-washing routine, NBC Select editorial director Lauren Swanson uses this purple shampoo to tone her blonde hair. “This Olaplex one is gentle on my fine hair and still does a solid job of bringing the brassiness down,” she says. “I typically leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing, but on particularly brassy, yellow days, I’ll let it saturate for several minutes.”

Recommended frequency by brand: Twice to three times a week or as needed | Scent: Citrus

Christophe Robin Baby Blonde Mask

Although this isn’t necessarily a shampoo, you can use this hair mask during every wash, according to Byrd. “It’s a conditioner, so it bathes your hair in nourishing [and] hydrating ingredients [to help] your blonde get some pampering,” she says. “It’s also great because it’s very sheer, so it’s hard to go overboard.”?

Recommended frequency by brand: As needed | Scent: n/a

What is purple shampoo, and how does it work?

Purple shampoos help maintain blondes or grays by canceling out (or neutralizing) unwanted tones and yellow hues that occur over time, according to our experts. When you’re shampooing, the purple pigment in the formula gets deposited into your hair, and it sits on top of the hair cuticle to eliminate that yellow and give you the blonde or gray you want. It also reduces how frequently you’ll need touch-ups at the hair salon, experts told us.?

Who should and shouldn’t use purple shampoo?

While you may have seen different colored shampoos on the market, including purple, green and blue options, purple shampoos are strictly reserved for blondes and grays of all hair types and textures, according to our experts.?

It all comes down to color theory: Yellow is across from purple on the color wheel, so it’ll help counteract any of those unwanted yellow tones. (If you’re a brunette, on the other hand, you’ll want a blue shampoo to counteract orange tones following that same theory, says Munoz.)

What are the downsides of purple shampoo?

The most significant downside of using a purple shampoo is that it’s not formulated specifically to cleanse your hair like most shampoos — their purpose is to deposit color, according to Munoz.?

They can also dry out the hair because they tend to not have moisturizing and hydrating ingredients (such as emollients) like normal shampoos do, says Byrd. Experts recommend using a rich conditioner or conditioning agent (like a hair mask) to help compensate for any dryness, says Munoz.?

Overusing it can also leave your hair looking slightly purple or even gray, and might even cause you to need correction during your next salon visit, says Munoz. (More on what to do if you overuse purple shampoo below.)?

How to shop for a purple shampoo

When shopping for a purple shampoo for your blonde, gray or white hair, our experts recommend considering factors such as consistency and hair type.

Ingredients

When shopping for a purple shampoo, look for hydrating ingredients to avoid your hair from drying out. Consider options with humectants like hyaluronic acid and emollients like shea butter because they can counteract the drying element of purple shampoos, according to Byrd.?

Consistency

Generally, purple shampoos at salons tend to have a thick consistency, while drugstore options have a more liquid consistency, according to Byrd. “I actually tend to like those [liquid options] because clients don’t go as overboard with them,” she says. Runnier shampoos tend to distribute a lot easier, and they usually have less concentrated pigment, so there’s less chance for user error, says Byrd.?

Hair type and texture

Unlike with most other shampoos and hair products, you have a little more flexibility when it comes to choosing a purple shampoo for your specific hair type and texture..?

  • Hair type, like fine, medium and thick hair, may play a role in determining which purple shampoo to use. Fine hair, for example, has thinner strands, which can get too saturated by purple shampoo compared to a coarser, tighter cuticle, which tends not to hold on to as much purple, says Byrd.
  • Hair texture, on the other hand, doesn’t play a massive role when it comes to purple shampoos, says Byrd. However, if you have curly hair texture, you may want to consider a purple conditioner instead because?purple shampoos can strip moisture from your curls, says Byrd.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Brittany Byrd is a hairstylist and owner of Blondify Studio in New York City. Her areas of expertise include platinum blonding, balayage, and corrective color
  • Tiffany Munoz is a hairstylist and co-owner of Moxie Park Salon in Charleston, South Carolina. Her areas of expertise include blonding, razor cutting, bobs and pixies.?
  • Jasmine Burnside is a New York City-based cosmetologist and hairstylist.
  • Shab Caspara is a New York City-based hairstylist, trichologist and hair health expert. She is also the founder of Leona, a hair care brand.?

Why trust NBC Select?

Bianca Alvarez is an associate reporter covering skin care, hair care and gift guides, including recent stories on heat protectants and the best leave-in conditioners. For this story, she interviewed four hairstylists and shared their recommendations, as well as researched highly rated purple shampoos that met their guidance.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

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