Life as a blonde can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster, especially when you're a true brunette trying to cover up the secret you’ve been hiding since you were 12. (You know that summer when you bought your first bottle of
Sun-In to recreate Ginger Spice's chunky highlights? Ouch.) Most of us living as faux blondes will do anything to look like we were, well, born with it.
Unfortunately, the coloring cycle is viciously endless — the breakage,
the treatments, not to mention the money spent during the process — which makes the idea of throwing in the dye-stained towel and continuing life with your native mousy brown seem so tempting. And, for those of us who like to hold off on salon appointments until the brass becomes unbearable, there's a good friend in purple shampoos.
Whether you're a beach-babe golden blonde, a striking shade of ice white, or a stylish lady of a certain age who prefers a hint of blue with her gray, there's a tried-and-true product for you. We've talked to some pros to find out the technology behind the magic of purple shampoos — and exactly how to choose the best one for your hair.
Finding an affordable shampoo that you love can be tough — let alone an affordable one that
, too. John Frieda has us covered with this formula, however — an effective option for anyone who wants to rid their strands of brassy tones.
Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone Restoring Shampoo, $5.99, available at
Lush's adorable Daddy-O shampoo will make dull strands brighter while nourishing them with a blend of seaweed and coconut oil.
Daddy-O Shampoo, $32.95, available at
This powerful natural shampoo neutralizes brassy tones in blonds and adds cool silver tones to gray hair with the help of lemon, eucalyptus, and ylang ylang. Oh, and it smells like heaven.
Blue Malva Shampoo, $40, available at
This sulfate-free product comes highly recommended by New York City's resident Queen Colorist
, who prescribes it to all of her platinum clients. It's a deep purple that imparts a silvery tone, so it will work on everything from gray to white to pale-blonde.
Alchemic Shampoo Silver,
Alex Brownsell, editorial stylist and cofounder of
, divulges a tip she uses on herself and clients: "If you're looking for an ethereal silver shade, leave the purple shampoo in for a little longer than usual. Pour a generous amount onto
hair, massage in, and leave for 10 minutes. Wash again with silver shampoo and treat with a silver conditioner."
I tried this in my shower at home, and after just two washes, I really noticed the difference in my color. Plus, it's a pretty approachable price point.
Session and runway stylist
insists that you need to understand what level and tone your color is before selecting a shampoo. "Are you trying to neutralize the yellow, or are you enhancing your platinum? I have a friend who leaves it on as long as possible to purposefully
turn her hair a light shade of violet
Almost resembling ink — it could very well be the darkest shade on the market — this shampoo is best for beefing up icy platinums. If left on for enough time, it will dramatically enhance your shade — even if you're way overdue for that touchup.
Professionnel Expert Serie Silver Shampoo,
"A very strong violet shampoo will help neutralize more yellow tones in blond," Pecis says. "But, if the hair is too yellow, then the outcome will be flat and murky. You want to find the right tone for your hair." The tone in this drugstore cult classic is more pastel and less harsh, so it's good for daily use, or for buttery blondes who want to decrease brassiness.
Silver Plus Ageless Shampoo,
This product was designed by a hairdresser for his male clients who were either going gray or were already completely white-haired. The purple tones punch up icier hues, while the formula's ingredients offer hydration.
V76 by Vaughn
Brightening Shampoo for Silvering Hair,
, editorial stylist and creative director of London salon
Windle & Moodie
, explains that the formula for purple shampoo was devised according to the hair-color chart that has existed since the art of hair dyeing began. "Like paints or any color mixing, if you want to cancel out a tone, you use the opposite shade on the chart. So, purple hues help fight brassy, yellow tones while keeping the base color underneath lighter."
Sunset Blvd Blonde Shampoo, $29, available at
Sunset Blvd Blonde Conditioner, $29, available at
Looking to increase the cool tones in your summer highlights? Opt for this jumbo bottle that will last you through the season.
Dumb Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo, $17.99, available at
Keeping brassy tones out of your hair can rack up quite the bill. But this drugstore option is under $10 and just as good as your most luxe option.
Not Your Mother's
Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo, $7.89, available at
This purple shampoo brightens bleached hair while coddling it with lavender oil and chamomile extracts.
Lavender Luminescent Platinum Shampoo, $7.99, available at
The wild cherry bark extract in this shampoo boosts color, while vitamins A, D, E, and B makes hair softer.
Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo, $24, available at
This Cool Blonde Shampoo cleanses the hair while reducing brassiness from color-treatments. We're also told that the brand's shampoo and conditioner combo are
Cool Blonde Shampoo, $24, available at
Don’t let the cute, quirky packaging fool you: This game-changing deep conditioner means business for when your wash-and-go purple shampoo routine isn’t quite getting the job done. Three minutes is all it takes for this treatment to turn even the brassiest, most busted blond clean and cool-toned. (Don’t leave it in any longer, unless you actually want purple hair.)
Fabuloso Platinum Blonde Color Intensifying Conditioner, $35, available at
Using a toning shampoo like Pravana's can keep you out of the salon for a few extra weeks. This formula is sulfate-free — good for your hair's health
The Perfect Blonde Purple Toning Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $19.79, available at
We condone splurging on a shampoo if it means keeping your $200 highlights intact. And if there's a price tag that's worth the stress, it's this one. The violet formula works double time to leave hair extra shiny and bright.
Bright Blonde Shampoo, $46, available at
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the
Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page
. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!