Purple shampoo is a godsend when it comes to banishing brasiness from blonde hair, but do you know all the rules for using it? Three hair experts tell us how to get the best from our purple shampoos
No matter whether you’re a platinum blonde , a honey blonde or have balayage ends, chances are you’ll have reached for purple shampoo when washing your golden mane. Purple shampoo neutralises brassy, yellow tones to let your best blonde shine through but with hairdressers set to open their doors imminently, one colourist cried out on Instagram asking us to step away from the purple shampoos ahead of our colour appointments. Anneliese Hesse of Humankind Hair colourist training academy and Tribe Salons in Clapham wrote on her page “Clients! Please stop using purple shampoo now! Ahead of your upcoming appointment, this is sooooo important. If you want to go lighter, brighter or even just match your roots up to your ends, now is the time to stop using purple shampoo.
“I cannot stress the importance of this enough,” she continued. “If you have build-up of purple shampoo this stains the hair and can make it look dull/darker and the only way to get this back out may be to bleach it which we may not be able to do for reasons of condition, or time, if you’re not booked in for a colour correction. So please stop using it as of today and instead use a strengthening/moisturising shampoo and conditioner ready for your well-awaited appointment.”
With Anneliese’s warning in our ears, we spoke to three hair pros about the dos and don’ts of purple shampoo to make sure we’re using it correctly.
DON'T use purple shampoo more than once a week
Less is more when it comes to neutralising hair care, as L’Oréal Professionnel's UK editorial ambassador Adam Reed points out. “You only need to use purple shampoo once a week to see a difference. Overuse of purple shampoo can sometimes over-eliminate tones and make the blonde appear visually darker, which isn’t always the desired effect.”
DO apply to specific areas of the hair
With normal shampoos we lather with abandon, but with purple shampoo, it pays to pay attention to specific areas. “Concentrate on applying the shampoo to sections showing dullness and brassiness in particular,” says Adam Reed. There's no need to neutralise sections that are already the desired colour.
DON'T use purple shampoo on very dry hair
If you have certain areas of your hair that are more porous, sensitive or damaged, apply purple shampoo to these areas last so it’s on them for the least amount of time. “Dry areas can absorb product more which could darken the area more than desired,” says Jimmy Green, education manager for hair brands Pureology and Redken.
It’s important to get the hair into a healthy condition before drenching it in purple shampoo to make it less porous. Paul Edmonds, ambassador for Shu Uemura, recommends using a repairing hair mask for a couple of weeks to improve the health of the hair before using purple shampoo.
DO leave purple shampoo on for longer than your usual shampoo
Normally when shampooing you wash the product straight out after lathering but for the full effect purple shampoo should be left on a little longer. “Generally the cooler the blonde, the longer you leave the purple shampoo on your hair,” advises Adam. “For warm blondes leave it on one to three minutes, for neutral blondes leave it on three to five minutes and for cool blondes leave it on for ten minutes before rinsing.”
DON'T use purple shampoo in place of salon appointments
If you’re leaving purple shampoo on for more than ten minutes and still seeing brassy tones, you’re better off having another toner put on in the salon, says Jimmy. “Purple shampoos are only a temporary measure.”
DON'T use purple shampoo before your colour appointment
As Anneliese said, it’s important not to use purple shampoo in the run-up to your colouring appointment. “Stop using purple shampoo a week or so before you have your colour done,” advises Jimmy. “This way your stylist will get a better impression of the canvas they are working on.”
If you DO use purple shampoo, make sure to tell your stylist
“Tell your colourist what you’ve been using on your hair and how often so they can correctly assess what to use on your hair,” advises Paul. “If they don’t know what they’re working with you end up with the wrong colour.”
The best purple shampoos
Best budget purple shampoo: Aussie Blonde Hydration Purple Shampoo, £3.99 for 290ml
This has that unmistakable fruity 'Aussie' scent in a nourishing, hydrating formula that neutralises brassy, yellow tones with the addition of Australian hemp seed and wild plum extracts for smoothing. There's a creamy conditioner in the range too, to follow up with.
Best purple shampoo for vibrant colour: Michael Van Clarke Silver Blonde Shampoo, £19 for 250ml
As well as violet pigment, this colour correcting shampoo is rich in cashmere proteins for ultra-soft, silky hair and UV filters to protect your blonde from colour fade. Amino acids in the mix delve deep into the hair shaft to repair and strengthen strands at the same time as combatting yellow tones. "Using our quality purple shampoo and conditioner in between your regular shampoo to keep your blondes and silver colours a little purer and brighter won't cause your colourist any problems," reassures founder Michael Van Clarke.
Best purple shampoo for quick brightening: John Frieda Violet Crush Intensive Purple Shampoo, £6.99 for 250ml
We can always count on John Frieda for reliably high-performing formulas for supermarket prices. This has violet pigments in it to get rid of yellow and brassiness in just one wash.
Best purple shampoo for repairing breakage: Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo, £15.30 for 300ml
As well as colour-correcting this nourishes and strengthens the hair too, safeguarding vibrancy and making hair ultra-shiny.
Best purple shampoo for hydration: Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra Violet Shampoo, £19.95 for 250ml
This purple shampoo includes hyaluronic acid and edelweiss to pack a nourishing punch and defend against pollution to keep hair extra shiny and never dull.
Best vegan purple shampoo: Maria Nila Sheer Silver Shampoo, £18.49 for 300ml
Repairing algae softens and strengthens the hair in the shampoo, with blackberry extract in the mix too, helping the violet pigment neutralise unwanted tones.