Platinum blondes do NOT want to see ANY one dimensional yellow color in their hair.
Yet hair dyed blonde soon slides back to a cheap looking brassy yellow.
Usually all too soon.
It’s just one of the things that makes rocking faux blonde hair so darn hard.
Which is also why our article “Easily Fix Orange Brassy Hair At Home” explored six ways to bash the brass. One of the ways mentioned was purple shampoo. You’ll definitely want to check that out next after reading what’s revealed here to get ways to beat the other five culprits if brassy hair is an issue for you.
Anyway, if you’re seeing seriously dingy blonde color and are looking for ways to brighten it one solution is purple shampoo.
It’s what some dub “toner lite”. Yeah, because of its bold, shocking color some swear dark violet shampoo could be the product miracle that will help keep your color cool.
Yet why and how does it perform it’s magic to help you extend the time between salon appointments?
Okay so how does purple shampoo work exactly? These products are saturated with unexpectedly vivid violet pigments. These pigments have color correcting abilities. When deposited on yellow, brassy blonde hair they neutralize the warm hues. This works since purple is the color opposite so it cools or tones them down leaving you with a more ashy shade of blonde.
Think of these guys as having color super powers. It’s their pigment that make purple shampoos and conditioners perfect for extending the life of any blonde color you have.
Just understand it will not keep your color from ever getting brassy again. Which explains why you need to treat your hair regularly to keep it the shimmering and vibrant shade of blonde you love.
But what all does that treatment involve? Here’s more answers that add to your understanding of this magical purple stuff.
Quick Section Navigation
- More on how purple shampoo works on blonde hair
- Does purple shampoo really work?
- What happens if you use too much purple shampoo?
- How long does purple shampoo take to work?
- When to use purple shampoo?
- Should you use purple shampoo every day?
- Does hard water make hair brassy?
More On How Purple Shampoo Works On Blonde Hair
To understand why purple works as it does it helps to understand a little color science.
Which as suggested earlier makes this answer all about the color wheel.
Simply put, whatever color is across from the tones you want neutralize is the color of shampoo you need.
So if you’re facing unwanted yellows reach for the purple. That’s because purple and yellow are known as complimentary colors that cancel each other out.
Or you’d use a more blue color balancing shampoo if things are badly orange.
See how that works?
Yet don’t mistakenly think the deep purple pigment is working some kind of unexplained bleaching action. It’s not.
Rather it’s more about how light is reflected. The color purple simply makes your hair appear more ashy to the eye. That’s its job.
Oh and it also works to brighten blonde highlights (and only the highlights) to make them crisper, brighter with more cool undertones too. Even when they’re in the form of brown hair with highlights.
So now you should have a better idea of just how does purple shampoo work on blonde hair. Plus maybe an explanation as to why how to tone hair with purple shampoo is such a popular topic online.
But this next question is for those not quite convinced of the power of purple pigment infused shampoo.
Does purple shampoo really work?
Absolutely. So much so you’ll wonder what you did before you used it.
That means if you’re platinum blonde or any other shade of lightened hair this is a must-have product in your styling arsenal.
Because it’s an amazingly easy way to maintain a cool super icy shade.
Oh and you might check out what we wrote about why purple shampoo on dry hair might work even better!
But this phenomenal product isn’t without it’s downsides.
One being it definitely can be drying.
Drying because purple shampoos have to lift the cuticle a bit to deposit a trace of pigment. So for that happen they, like clarifying shampoos, will fall on the higher end of the pH scale.
In this article a chemist explains how this works for clarifying shampoos. Since they’re more alkaline they cause the cuticle layer to open up. Pretty much the same thing happens with most purples. Once opened some violet pigment is deposited to cool down any warm shades.
So yeah. This process isn’t exactly easy on your hair. In fact it can be very drying depending on which shampoo you use.
If you’re wondering, one that costs a little more but tends to be less parching is No Yellow by Fanola (Amazon link). Given it is so purply pigmented it might be worth a try.
POINT TO REMEMBER: Violet shampoos work in amazing ways to extend the life of color you have but cannot create a color your hair never had.
In other words this can stretch out the time between salon visits but not work as a substitute for time with your colorist.
What happens if you use too much purple shampoo?
Some think if a little is good a lot must be a lot better. Not really. Sadly it is possible to overdo it here.
Two things can happen when you do.
As just discussed your hair can feel straw like as purples are rather drying. For that reason some only use them every fourth or fifth washing. Or they make sure to always follow up with a hydrating mask of some sorts.
Second, depending on how porous your locks are over use can leave your hair with a blueish grey tint. The porosity of your locks also plays a role in how much purple pigment will be absorbed.
So while it won’t necessarily turn you into Barney too much purple can stain your hair a distinctive lilac color. But no worries. That will fade after a few washes.
So don’t freak out if this happens. Just use your everyday shampoo and lay off the purple for a while
How long does purple shampoo take to work?
This is a good question. Sometimes the results you get are directly related to how long you leave the shampoo in your hair.
Unfortunately that means the best answer most often is “It depends”.
First it depends on the particular shampoo you’re using.
So start with reading the label. Some will say for better brightening to lather up and leave it sit for 3-5 minutes. Others 5-10. So the “how long” answer depends on the product used.
Of course if you read user comments they’re all over the map. Some admit they double the recommended time on the label. Doing that means in some cases giving it 20 minutes on your hair. Must be a porosity thing.
Second, it also depends on how long it’s been since you used it last.
And as already mentioned the porosity of your hair plays a role in how long too.
So you probably want to sneak up on this. By that I mean you can start with leaving the product on the recommended time. Then step it up by a minute or two with each use until you get the cooler ashy results you’re looking for.
Just realize the longer you leave it on the greater the risk of ending up with a purple tint to your hair.
Another idea to try if you’re not happy with the results is to use the product on consecutive days to stack up the toning power of the purple over time. It’s not instant results but can help speed up your cool color revival.
When to use purple shampoo?
With this question I’m taking “when” to mean how often. As in how often should you be washing with purple shampoo to keep your “ashiness” going strong?
Again let the label be your guide. Some products advise every other day at most. Others two or three times a week. The Naissant Beige Pearl Tone Shampoo web page suggests one to three times a week.
So clearly these are not daily shampoos.
In actual practice some find once a week is good enough for icy goodness maintenance. So you’ll have to experiment
Here’s another trick. Say you like getting into a daily routine but wish to avoid using this stuff at full strength every day. Solution? Just dilute it half and half with your normal shampoo (or whatever ratio works best) to get a regular dose of purple without over doing it.
Should you use purple shampoo every day?
As we just discussed probably not.
This product is more for tonal maintenance and not designed to be used as a regular shampoo even though some do use it that way.
The idea is to only use it often enough to keep your color bright and free of any unwanted yellow tinge. Which means you’ll want to limit usage to only when you want to revive your blondeness.
Most find that using it every third or fourth time they wash their hair it more than enough.
So that would be once or at most twice a week depending on how often you shampoo to put the brakes on brassy yellowing.
Don’t forget the more often you use it the drier your hair can get. I know I keep repeating this but I don’t want to minimize this fact. That’s dryness is a chemical thing because they’re formulated to open the cuticles and deposit small amounts of color to cancel out the unwanted tones.
Still everyone’s hair is different. Some more porous than others. (I know I keep bringing that up too.) So like most things you’ll want to play around until you figure out the best frequency of use for your hair.
Does hard water make hair brassy?
Yes it can. In part because colored hair tends to be more porous and like a sponge is prone to sucking up stuff that isn’t good for the color.
One of those culprits is iron in your water. Especially if you’re living on well water.
A really smart solution short of avoiding well water on your hair would be a filter on your shower head.
Second would be to avoid exposing your hair to hot water. That works because cooler water temps will discourage the cuticles from opening. When closed they can’t absorb nasty, color unfriendly, minerals like iron as readily.
Another fix would be a product suggestion. Malibu C Natural Protective Hard Water Wellness Kit. (amazon link) It’s amazing how well a treatment like this can bring your color back to life.
Even better there’s actual science that backs this up. This 60 second video quickly explains how it works.
Yeah I know. It’s a little salesy. But … if does a good job of explaining what’s going on with your hair and chemicals in your water. So if your hair is dull and dry something like this may be a critical piece of the puzzle for brightening your color.
Oh and if you’re looking for more ways to make your locks look fabulous, please follow our Pinterest board of popular pins. It’s where we share all kinds of great ideas just like these!