The best purple shampoos to beat brassiness and boost shine – tested by our beauty team

The best purple shampoos for fresh blonde, balayage and greys

composite of shampoos included in the best purple shampoo guide from Authentic Beauty Concept, BLEACH London, Amika on a purple watercolor background
(Image credit: Authentic Beauty Concept, BLEACH London, Amika)

Finding the best purple shampoo is, on paper, pretty straightforward. All you need is something to wash your hair with something that contains a toning purple pigment – a simple brief, right?

There are only so many types of purple shampoo and people who want to buy them. If you're looking for the best purple shampoo it's very likely you have blonde or grey hair colour and want to cool down yellow, brassy tones. You likely already use the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair type, so have some idea of what you like, whether that's the best shampoo for fine hair or shampoo for curly hair. But while all violet shampoos aim to perform roughly the same function (toning for blonde hair) there are variations on the theme, each with its own unique merits, or lack thereof. So, it's still helpful to get an expert steer on which are worth your time, and which are better off down the plughole. 

Having experimented with a roster of buys at varying price points (and wreaked havoc on our bathroom tiles in the process) we can confidently say the 12 products in this guide are the best purple shampoo options out there. 

The best purple shampoo, chosen by our beauty team

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

How we tested the best purple shampoo

two bottles of purple shampoo included in woman&home's guide to the best purple shampoo

Two of the purple shampoos we tested for this guide

(Image credit: Amelia Yeomans)

The w&h beauty team comprises unnatural blondes of varying levels. This includes brunette with balayage, naturally mousy blonde packed with ultra-bright and fine highlights, and bleached, warmer-toned blonde that's prone to brassiness. 

To see which purple shampoos really worked, we each tested a selection of products. We looked at factors like how our hair felt after washing and if it did a good job of cleaning as well as toning, paying attention to what type of toning effect it had, i.e. silver, white, or champagne. We tend to find that most purple shampoos show results after just one wash, but we tested these shampoos over multiple washes to get the true toning effect. After seeing the results, these are the purple shampoos we would recommend to anyone to help gray or blonde hair look its best. 

How to pick the best purple shampoo for you

While primarily marketed at bleached blondes, purple shampoo also works well on grey hair, balayage hair, and highlights, while brunettes should seek out blue shampoo for brown hair. Choosing the best purple shampoo means thinking about your hair type. Have you got frizzy hair or a long hairstyle that requires extra nourishment to prevent split ends? Are you a regular swimmer and need something to help you nail how to get chlorine out of hair? you need something Some purple shampoos include hydrating or repairing ingredients, while some are purely focused on packing in as much pigment as possible.

How much you can spend is also an important consideration. They can vary hugely in price, but does spending more really get you the best purple shampoo? The short answer is no – where your product sits on that price spectrum will probably be reflected in the extra ingredients and luxurious packaging, but rarely in the strength of pigment. If all you want is to tone down warmth in the hair, affordable purple shampoos can be as effective as luxury brands. 

What does purple shampoo do to hair?

Now, the science bit. According to Michael Shaun Corby, Global Creative Director at Living Proof, the premise is simple. "Purple is on the opposite side of the wheel from yellow, which means they are complementary colors. You might remember from school that complimentary colors cancel each other out. This means that purple shampoo neutralizes any yellow tones in your hair, leaving hair looking cleaner and brighter."

Does purple shampoo make your hair lighter?

A common misconception is that purple shampoo makes your hair lighter - this just isn't possible without bleach. Corby explains, "Even the best purple shampoo isn’t a lightener, instead, it neutralizes brassiness in light-colored hair. Purple shampoo pushes these yellow tones aside to reveal a cleaner, brighter hair color, which may be why it appears lighter. Another benefit of purple toning shampoo is its ability to do away with dull hair. A hair toner can give hair back its luster and natural sheen."

Rhiannon Derbyshire
Senior Beauty Editor

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 

She started interning for glossy magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos, and every skincare product imaginable. 10+ years into her career, she can confidently tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, and why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round. Ask her about her curly hair routine, skincare minimalism, and how to find the exact right red lipstick

With contributions from