This Purple Masque Claims It Can Replace A Trip To The Salon. We Investigated.

Photo: Courtesy of Charlotte Lewis
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Blondes might have more fun, but being blonde isn't easy. I've been coloring my hair different shades of blonde since I was about 12 years old (other childhood blondes know that this is when puberty often turns your hair from its beautiful natural golden hue to an unflattering shade of ash not-so-kindly referred to as "dishwater"), and the maintenance life is real. Not only is there constant upkeep of roots, but no matter how good your colorist is, you're eventually going to be dealing with... the dreaded brass. When it comes to the pitfalls of being blonde, going brassy is at the very top of the list. Professional colorist Clara Purvis, who founded the Noordwyck Salon in Brooklyn, informed me that there are endless factors that can lead to a cool or neutral blonde turning brassy. "Using a shampoo containing strong sulfates, sun exposure, and even [showering with] hard water containing excess mineral build-up can lead to premature fading and oxidation of the color," she warns. That means that each time you step into the sun or wash your hair — just daily life and the passing of time — there is wear and tear.

For the quiet luxury fans who are eager to achieve what TikTok girlies are referring to as old money blonde — a hue of rich butter blonde that leans toward the warm side — the risk of quickly going brassy is dangerously high. Going to the salon and getting a toner every other month or so will keep your tresses bright, but it's a significant expense. (At the average salon a toning visit can cost up to $100!). But of course, that's not the only way: there's sun protection, water filters, color-safe shampoos, and, of course, purple hair products. On the color wheel, purple and blue are at the opposite end of the spectrum as yellow and orange, so the pigments in purple shampoos theoretically should cancel out shades of brass. However, there are hundreds of purple products on the market, each one claiming to be the best. Pravana's The Perfect Blonde Masque, which currently boasts a 4.5 rating with over 1,000 reviews on Ulta, has die-hard fans praising its unmatched toning abilities — and a few even claiming it replaced their monthly toning appointments with their colorist. As the shopping team's resident blonde, I knew I needed to investigate these lofty claims for myself.
Pravana's Perfect Blonde Masque's appeal is twofold. While most purple hair products are known to be drying, reviewers note this masque moisturizes while it tones, rather than further compromising the cuticle of your bleached strands. Reviews also boast that it was able to tone in merely five minutes, due to its highly concentrated violet pigment. Having tried about a million and one purple products, I was dubious on both fronts. The last time my hair was colored was back in August, so my highlights were starting to show their brass. Below is a picture taken in front of a daylight window nearly four months post-color:
Photo: Courtesy Of Charlotte Lewis
Although the color isn't terrible (roots withstanding), you can tell that it's leaning more warm than neutral — verging right on the edge of orange. I prefer the way my hair looks when it's a cooler shade because it blends in with my roots better, and thus, I can make one highlighting session last months longer. Under fluorescent lights, though, the orange is extremely present:
A closer look, and you can see that it's yellowest at the very top of the color by the root, not only because of the color contrast with my natural dishwater color but because that's what gets shampooed the most and sits under hot water, both which can strip hair of its toner quicker leading to brassy tones.

Hopeful that Pravana would live up to its hype, I popped into the shower to go through my routine, adding the Pravana Masque after my usual shampoo and conditioner. As I squeezed the masque into my hand, I knew the reviewers were onto something. Not only is this masque thicc, she is pigmented. I've never seen a purple hair product so rich in color. The violet verged on being blue, and after applying it to my strands, my hands required serious washing to rinse away the color from my skin. Per the bottle's recommendation, I left it in for five minutes before washing it out. I lightly dried it and then slept on it damp. The results were... mediocre. Although the ends definitely looked more neutralized, the tops of the color were still pretty warm. At the advice of a few reviews, I decided to wait a week and try it again, only this time leaving it in for 30 minutes before rinsing. A game changer.
Although the lighting is slightly different, you can immediately see the difference in the tones. It's wildly different. Like, not even close. Specifically, if you look at the bangs and where the side meets the root, it looks much less stripey, because the ashy tones of my natural color suddenly blend much better with the cooler-toned highlights. Here is a side view for another shocking comparison:
Not only is brass completely eliminated, but my hair texture is noticeably shinier, less frizzy, and all-around healthier looking. You obviously can't touch through a screen, but my hair has never felt softer.

Honestly, I'm thrilled with the result and completely buy into the hype. At a mere $22 a bottle, I feel like I'm going to be saving literal hundreds of dollars to keep my blonde looking fresh and my strands moisturized and healthy. I do have two caveats, though. First, I would definitely advise leaving the masque on for longer than the suggested five minutes — 30 seemed to be perfect for my hair, but other reviewers said they left it in for up to three hours to get their desired brightness. Others say they put it straight on their dry hair for 30 minutes, as if it were a salon toner. I personally don't think that's necessary, but it's possible it'll require a bit of trial and error to find the exact right amount of time to permeate the brass. Second, if you have a white shower (which, most of us do), this will absolutely stain the porcelain if you don't rinse it immediately. The pigment is seriously no joke and requires a quick scrub down if you're a renter who wants to get their security deposit back. Other than that, I see absolutely no drawbacks, and I'm excited to keep using it for my freshest and longest-lasting blonde yet.
Already have the Pravana Masque? Shop the rest of The Perfect Blonde line, below:

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