Whether you’ve gone platinum, cool ashy blonde or silver, purple shampoo is the best weapon you can have in your haircare arsenal to stop brassiness and revive your shade as you shower.
But what exactly is a purple shampoo, and can you use it even if you don’t have blonde locks? Keep reading as Daily Vanity gives you the 411 on this brass-toning essential.
What is a purple shampoo?
Purple shampoo, also commonly known as silver shampoo, is a colour theory at its simplest: The temporary hue makes all types of light and blonde hair look fresh-from-the-salon radiant.
Every purple-coloured shampoo formula contains purple pigment to neutralise brassy and yellow tones on lighter hair. That’s because purple is the direct opposite colour of yellow on the colour wheel, which means purple and yellow will cancel one another out.
So, when using purple pigment on colour-treated brassy or yellow tones, it colour-corrects your hair’s hue, restoring it to its former natural or neutral brightness with cooler tones.
While purple shampoos are particularly popular among blondes, they can also be used to boost grey or brunette hair with golden highlights.
A word of caution, though: If your hair starts to take on a lavender (or blue) tint, cut back to one or two washes per week, and supplement with your regular shampoo.
Should you use purple shampoo even if you don’t have blonde hair?
Contrary to popular belief, purple shampoo isn’t just for blondes. As the fundamental purpose of a silver shampoo is to eliminate unwanted brassiness, it’s also useful to anyone who wants to get rid of rusty-looking hair too.
Asian hair, for example, ranges from dark brown to brown and naturally has these brassy tones, so a purple shampoo can be used on ash, brown, or highlighted hair to help tone hair strands and get a brown hue that looks healthier and brighter.
In terms of hair colour, South Asian hair has the highest levels of red pigments and melanin as compared to North Asians and Caucasians.
As a result, we experience a lot of deceptive colour payoff where the final hair colour after dyeing does not match the hair colour selected.
Another problem? We also tend to get unwanted brassiness that appears ‘rusty’, or dull and unhealthy hair, that starts to show when the colour begins to fade off.
The workaround to this issue? A purple shampoo, of course.
How do you choose the right purple shampoo formula for your hair?
The most important thing to do is to look for a shampoo with purple pigments. A good purple shampoo should come with concentrated purple pigments and the texture and consistency of the product should be opaque, not translucent to ensure there are enough colour pigments in each wash to neutralise the brassiness in your hair.
Apart from the number of purple pigments present to neutralise brassiness, it is also crucial that the formula doesn’t contain harsh salts and surfactants (think sulphates such as SLS and SLES) that can strip the hair from moisture and colour, resulting in premature colour fading.
This applies to all dyed and coloured hair such as brown, ash, bleached, highlighted, and blonde. If you have black hair, you can skip the purple shampoo.
What is the best way to use purple shampoo to maximise its efficacy?
The frequency and duration of using purple shampoo will affect the level of toning, so do allow some time for the formula to work its magic as neutralisation generally gets better with regular usage.
We have two tips that can help:
- Use the purple shampoo on semi-wet (instead of dripping wet) hair and gently squeeze dry the hair with the hands or a towel before applying the purple shampoo. This ensures that the purple pigments are not diluted by the water and helps with its penetration into the hair cuticle.
- Leave the purple shampoo on for longer (up to 10 minutes). The longer you leave the product in the hair before rinsing, the more the purple pigments can penetrate into the hair to neutralise the yellow and orange tones, resulting in longer-lasting effects.
Ahead, find a crop of the best purple shampoos to suit a multitude of needs, from getting rid of dreaded brassiness to giving icy shades a much-needed refresh.
12 best purple shampoos to cancel brassiness
Aveda Blonde Revival Purple Toning Shampoo
This sulphate-free toning shampoo revives the look of salon-fresh blonde colour by neutralising brassy yellow tones.
A blend of nourishing lightweight oils, including acai and passionfruit, hydrate and condition over-processed hair to restore softness.
This retails for S$47. Check the link below to shop.
Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo - Blonde & Silver
The protein-enriched conditioning formula of this shampoo helps tone down brassiness on your coloured hair while renewing faded highlights or ash tones.
Regular use will help refresh the hair and remove unwanted dull or brassy yellows in your strands.
This retails for S$31.87. Check the link below to shop.
Kérastase Blond Absolu Anti-Brass Purple Shampoo
For maximum hydration, Kérastase’s Blond Absolu formula is supercharged with hyaluronic acid as highly concentrated deep purple pigments restore blonde and grey shades to their original hue.
This retails for S$43. Check the link below to shop.
Kristin Ess The One Purple Shampoo Good reviews
This one will help boost your blonde locks when it’s looking and feeling a bit meh while also hydrating and strengthening hair, thanks to coconut oil and hydrolyzed pea protein in the formula.
This retails for S$24. Check the link below to shop.
L’Oréal Paris EverPure Purple Shampoo Affordable
A drugstore favourite, L’Oréal’s sulphate-free EverPure formula protects colour with just the right amount of purple pigments, while vitamin C-rich hibiscus helps boost hair growth and retention.
This retails for S$15.90. Check the links below for the latest promotions.
L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Professional Shampoo
Formulated to protect the vibrancy of your locks, the shampoo features magnesium to help combat yellow tones, promoting a clarified and illuminated result while protecting hair fibres.
This retails for S$50. Check the link below to shop.
Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo
While violet pigments target yellow and orange tones, Moroccanoil’s special argan oil-powered technology works to repair hair and seal in the cuticle for longer, lusher strands.
This retails for S$19 (70ml) and S$37 (200ml). Check the link below to shop.
Olaplex No. 4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo
This sulphate-free purple shampoo keeps blonde and silver shades and highlights looking their brightest while fending off brassiness.
The highly pigmented formula allows customisable toning levels too – the longer you treat, the brighter the toning results.
This retails for S$37.95. Check the link below to shop.
Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo for Beautiful Color
Gentle enough for everyday use, Oribe’s Bright Blonde pearlized violet shampoo – infused with hydrating watermelon, brightening lemon, and nourishing lavender extract – neutralises unwanted tones and brings natural highlights out to lustrous effect.
This retails for S$66. Check the link below to find an authorised salon near you.
Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Shampoo
Keeping your blonde looking icy and fresh is possible with this strengthening and toning formula that’s infused with violet pigments to neutralise the appearance of brassiness and corrects the appearance of yellow tones within the hair.
It also contains the brand’s signature Anti-Fade Complex that helps to preserve your colour during washing, maximising colour retention.
This retails for S$39. Check the link below to shop.
Redken Color Extend Blondage Color-Depositing Shampoo
With a combination of citric acid and violet pigments, this purple shampoo strengthens your hair and makes it brighter – all without leaving it greasy or heavy.
This retails for S$22.90. Check the links below for the latest promotions.
TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo Affordable
Mixed with Polyquaternium 10, this shampoo helps to prevent and control frizz or flyaways in addition to its toning benefits.
It also gently cleanses hair while refreshing its colour and conditioning the strands to keep it soft and glossy.
This retails for S$16.53. Check the link below to shop.