Purple shampoo is a godsend for blonde hair – but just how often should you use purple shampoo to neutralize unwanted brassiness? According to the experts, there’s a ‘right’ way to use these toning products that can help brighten color without compromising the integrity of your hair.
The best purple shampoo will tone blonde, silver and gray hair colors by removing dull, yellowish hues that can appear in-between salon appointments and after spending time in the sun. These shampoos can, however, be drying so it’s important not to overuse them. “My biggest advice for blondes turning brassy is to invest in a great purple shampoo,” says Adam Reed (opens in new tab), legendary hair stylist and editorial ambassador for L’Oreal Professionnel, “it will keep any brassiness at bay and allow the color to really pop.”
To avoid product build-up, Reed advises against using these products every day. To find out exactly how often you should use purple shampoo, and how it works exactly, we’ve quizzed the experts below.
How often should you use purple shampoo? An expert guide
The answer to how often should you use purple shampoo will vary depending on the type of purple shampoo you’re using. But as a general guide, the experts agree that once a week should suffice. “We recommend using the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair texture for your daily washing, as well as a weekly blonde boosting treatment with a specialist purple shampoo,” says Anabel Kingsley (opens in new tab), brand president and trichologist at Philip Kingsley. Alex Brownsell (opens in new tab), color expert and founder of BLEACH London, seconds this and recommends “using a toning shampoo and conditioner every second or third wash to maintain a cool color.”
What is purple shampoo?
Now we know how often to apply purple shampoo, let’s discuss what it is exactly and how it works. “Over time, blonde hair becomes brassy due to free radical oxidization,” explains Kingsley. To counteract this, the science of color theory is used to reverse these effects. “By depositing opposing purple and blue colorants onto the hair shaft, yellow and orange tones in the hair are neutralized, removing any brassiness,” continues Kingsley. “These shampoos are suitable for pre-lightened or very light blonde/white hair,” adds Brownsell. You can also use them on highlights, balayage hair, or on specific sections of hair that are blonder, such as balayage with a money piece.
What happens if you use purple shampoo too often?
While the results are impressive, it is possible to overdo it with purple shampoo. “You can lift your hair too much,” warns Kingsley, “it can become much brighter or cooler than your desired shade.” That’s not all, if you use purple shampoo too often or leave it on for too long, “you run the risk of making hair appear purple or blue in tone,” adds Kingsley. Which is probably not the blonde hair idea your colorist painstakingly created in the salon. Plus, as we mentioned before, certain purple products can be drying so it’s important to follow up with one of the best hair masks to nourish strands.
How long should you leave purple shampoo in for?
As well as asking how often should you wash your hair with toning products, it pays to check how long to leave it on for. Always follow the instructions of your chosen purple shampoo as different formulas can contain different amounts of violet pigments. “A good tip is to make sure your hair is soaked wet so that the product is distributed evenly,” says Brownsell, “then lather the shampoo into your strands and leave the product in your hair for five minutes.” Follow with conditioner before drying locks with your best hair dryer for glossy, icy and refreshed results.
The best purple hair products to try now
Philip Kingsley Pure Blonde Booster Weekly Shampoo | RRP: $40/£25.50
“Our shampoo contains the optimum level of violet micro-pigments to brighten light hair while also smoothing the cuticle, repairing damage, and replacing lost keratin thanks to a unique combination of actives,” says Kingsley.
Pureology Colour Fanatic Top Coat and Tone Purple | RRP: $35/£29.90
Designed to be used post-shampoo, this makes light work of toning for blonde hair (opens in new tab). It contains purple pigments to neutralize warm tones as well as oat milk, camellia oil, and vitamin E to soften strands and bolster shine. Leave on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo | RRP: $16.93/£14.85
“L’Oréal Professionnel Silver Shampoo is my absolute hero and I have been using this on my clients for years,” says Reed. Blended with purple pigments and magnesium, the formula subtly lifts your color while nourishing the hair fiber.
Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.
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