Yellowing, brassy or orange hair – most blondes have experienced some variety of an unwanted colour. To avoid or counteract discolouration, it is advised to use products containing purple pigments such as purple shampoo (or ‘silver’ shampoo), purple conditioner or other products containing violet pigments.
How do purple shampoos and other purple products work?
They contain tiny violet pigments which, when deposited into your hair, counteract the warm yellow or orange tones. It’s all to do with the colour wheel and classic colour theory – violet is the opposite of yellow and so by adding violet, you cool and neutralise the strength of the warm yellow tones.
So the more yellow in your hair, the more violet pigment you need.
What causes brassy hair?
Pollution, heat styling, product build up, swimming or simply your natural hair pigment showing through a faded toner.
Do purple hair products damage hair?
Some will, over time, cause some damage. Shampoos often contain sulphates and drying alcohols, even some purple conditioners. Bleached hair usually already has a degree of damage and dryness, so for this reason we advice so stay away from any drying chemicals that may be in your violet products. Our list of recommended products are outlined at the end of this article.
Will purple hair products work for brunettes?
No. In order to see the purple pigments clearly in your hair, it needs a lighter base. As a general rule – the lighter the hair, the better your purple product will work.
Will purple hair products work for natural blondes?
Absolutely! Hair that has been bleached however will absorb the purple pigments more effectively. Bleaching hair opens up the hair cuticle and creates gaps in the hair shaft, which allows purple pigments to deposit and lodge themselves easily. Naturally blonde hair usually has a smooth hair shaft which can make it more difficult for the pigments to attach and remain in the hair. Natural blondes may find that they need to leave purple products on for a little longer.
Will my hair turn purple or grey?
If you use purple hair products too often or leave them in for too long then yes, you will find your hair has a grey or pastel purple tinge to it. It’s best to start leaving in purple hair products for a short amount of time at first and build up from there.
What is a silver shampoo?
It’s the same as purple shampoo. Purple shampoos were originally created for those with grey hair, to brighten the colour to a silver – hence the term ‘silver shampoo’. These still contained the same purple pigments but were originally much weaker so as not to stain the hair purple. Nowadays though, a silver shampoo is much the same as a purple shampoo.
How often should I use purple hair products?
It’s recommended that you use purple hair products no more than twice a week. Other than that, it depends on how brassy or yellow your hair is, as well as the strength of the product. As a general rule, once every two weeks to maintain a good blonde works well. If you’re looking to really bash out that yellow blonde, then start with twice a week.
Do purple shampoos work better than other purple hair products?
It depends. Purple shampoos are generally more effective because they cleanse and open up the hair shaft, making it easier for colour pigments to be deposited. However, different products contain varying amounts of pigment. So you may find, for example, that a purple conditioner with a lot of colour pigment is far more effective than a purple shampoo that doesn’t have a great deal of colour.
Which type of purple hair product should I use?
It depends on your hair type. If your hair is straight, naturally blonde or tends to get greasy, then a purple shampoo is probably best suited to you. On the other hand, if your hair is curly, bleached or dry then one of the other product types listed below will help to keep in any moisture.
How can I avoid discoloured blonde in the first place?
Here’s a few handy tips:
- Go for a sulphate-free shampoo most of the time you wash your hair, and use a clarifying shampoo every 2 weeks or so to reduce general product build up.
- Keep your hair dry when you go swimming – the chlorine can turn blonde hair green! A good quality hair cap will do this.
- Use a heat protector following each wash. Not only does this protect against damage from heat tools, but also pollution which can cause discolouration.
- If you live in a hard water area, use a chelating shampoo once a month.
On to the products
Our favourite purple shampoo
B Uniq purple shampoo
This shampoo is the absolute best. It is free from sulphates and parabens and isn’t as drying as any other purple shampoos we have used. It’s super pigmented so our advice would be to wear gloves when applying and to start off with leaving it on your hair for 30 seconds before rising. The purple pigments start to fade usually after around 3 washes.
The best purple conditioner
Joico Colour Endure Violet Conditioner
This conditioner works amazingly to neutralise unwanted yellow or brassy tones with it’s high level of violet dye. It’s also brilliant at dentangling as well as protecting damaged locks with it’s keratin amino acids. Leave in for a couple of minutes before rinsing, for super soft, ashy blonde.
The most moisturising purple mask
Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask in Baby Blonde
We are massive fans of Christophe Robin products, and this little gem is no different. Free from parabens, silicone, oxidant and ammonia, this beautifully aromatic purple mask is essential for damaged, dry or curly blonde hair. The creamy formula feels truly nourishing and contains heaps of purple pigment. Leave on for 3-30 minutes depending on how much yellow you wish to banish!
Versatile violet pigment drops
IGK Hair Mixed Feelings Cooling Blonde Drops
These are brilliant to add to your favourite hair products! Whether it’s shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, mousse, serum – you name it! These pigment drops can be left in your hair for on-the-go toning. Use 1-4 drops with each application – easy!
The best purple gloss treatment
Shu Uemura Color Lustre Shades Reviving Balm Cool Blonde
A super moisturising, sulphate-free gloss conditioning treatment. This is our no1 go-to purple product. Especially suited for dry or damaged hair, this highly pigmented at-home gloss really does leave hair silky-smooth and brass-free! Leave in for 5-10 minutes for a strong colour deposit.