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Leaving Purple Shampoo in Your Hair | Step-by-Step

Stylists have used hair toners for years to create the look that their clients want, and now toners are available for use at home in the form of shampoos. One popular toner is purple shampoo, which you can apply in the shower and leave on the hair.

However, you may be asking, “how long should I be leaving purple shampoo in my hair?” Don’t worry — we’ll explain all you need to know below.

How Long Should You Leave Purple Shampoo in Your Hair?

While purple shampoo isn’t necessarily bad for your hair, leaving it in for too long may be detrimental to the overall health of your hair.

Additionally, getting the desired hair color is a tricky endeavor that requires patience and knowing the correct time to remove the product from your hair.

  1. Find the right purple shampoo for your needs
  2. Follow the package instructions and let it sit
  3. Rinse and follow up with conditioner

For most people, purple shampoo is a great way to get rid of yellow or orange undertones from their freshly bleached mane.

However, other formulated versions of purple shampoo exist that will give the user a nice silvery glow to their hair. Leave the purple concoction on your hair too long, though, and you might just end up with purple hair!

How Long to Leave Purple Shampoo in Your Hair

Most toners work quickly, as they sit on top of the hair shaft, adding color on top of your existing color. This is why toners often cancel out colors that are opposite to them on the color spectrum. 

1. Find the Right Purple Shampoo for Your Needs

With more hair toning options available, you can find the right pigment that will help counteract the unwanted tones in your hair. A good purple shampoo should have a rich, opaque color that isn’t see-through or watery.

For the right color, let’s go back to the classroom and take a look at a color wheel. If you have more yellow in your hair that you want to get rid of, violet or purple toner will work, versus a blue toner for orange tones.

2. Follow the Package Instructions and Let It Sit

Although not required, especially if you decide to do this portion in the shower, you can wear gloves to avoid staining your hands. Put the shampoo directly onto your hair and massage your hands through your hair.

This will lather it up nicely without getting it in your eyes. Recalling the instructions on the bottle, let the purple concoction sit on your head for a few minutes, set a timer if need be.

And don’t exceed half an hour. You shouldn’t leave purple shampoo on for more than thirty minutes. By that time, the lather will have dissipated and the shampoo may dry your hair out.

Some side effects of leaving purple shampoo on your hair for too long include:

  • Unwanted purple, lilac, or gray color in the hair
  • Leftover residue that looks like dandruff on the scalp
  • Brittle or damaged hair caused by excessive dryness

3. Rinse and Follow Up With Conditioner

Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed the shampoo out of your hair, you should follow it up with a nourishing conditioner. Another option for deep conditioning while simultaneously toning blonde hair is to use a purple conditioner.

You should use purple shampoo only once or twice per week since it can cause excessive drying and your hair will naturally fade after a few washes.

Read Next: How to Use Color-Depositing Conditioner

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman pouring purple hair dye into a glass dish for a piece on leaving purple shampoo in hair


Here are some frequently asked questions about how long to leave purple shampoo in your hair.

Can I put purple shampoo on dry hair?

Typically, damp hair is a better base for shampoo than dry hair since you need to work up a lather. That isn’t to say that some formulations don’t require dry hair over wet hair.

So it’s best to read the package directions and follow them closely. Otherwise, you may end up with uneven results and you’ll have to repeat the shampooing process.

Does purple shampoo work on brown or red hair?

Depending on the shade of brown and how light it is, purple shampoo may or may not be the best option for you. Brunette is a hard shade to tone, especially if it is on the darker end.

Toning brunette hair is a relatively new concept, but there are new toners specifically for light brown hair that bring down the red tones.

Should I use warm or cold water when using purple shampoo?

When using purple shampoo, rinsing it out with warm water is best. Heat will open up the hair strands, allowing the purple pigments to penetrate the cuticle and deposit the color easily. 

Conversely, when you wash your hair the next time, you’ll want to use cool water for the same reason. Cool water will allow the hair to remain closed so that less of the pigment will wash away.

What do I do if I left purple shampoo on for too long?

Thankfully, toner typically does not last long, although there are varieties on the market made for longevity. Regardless of which one you applied to your hair, there are ways to remove the pigments caused by toning.

Washing with warm water and a sulfate-based shampoo, such as an anti-dandruff shampoo, will aid in getting rid of hard-to-remove color in your hair easily.

Another trick is to use two tablespoons of baking soda mixed with a sulfate-based shampoo, apply it to the problem areas on your hair, and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes before thoroughly washing it out.

Some people have had luck with liquid dish detergent or hydrogen peroxide mixed with water as a means to make pesky color budge.

Can leaving purple shampoo in my hair cause it to turn purple?

If you follow the package instructions to the T, you shouldn’t have any problem with your hair. However, leaving purple shampoo on for more than the recommended time, especially if your hair is already a very light or even platinum blonde, may cause your hair to turn a shade of lilac or purple.

Your best bet in avoiding a situation like this is to set a timer for three to five minutes and check on a section of the hair.

Using your finger to smudge the toner away, you can see if the hair has lightened or changed color. Rinse the toner out of your hair when you’ve reached the desired tone and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner.

So, How Long Should You Be Leaving Purple Shampoo in Your Hair?

Purple shampoo cuts through the yellow brassy color in bleached hair while leaving hair shiny and vibrant. You should take care to use it according to the package instructions. Bleaching is already a taxing event for even the most well-taken care of hair follicles.

So let your hair rest in between these processes and never let toner sit on your hair for more than is necessary. Another detriment to leaving purple shampoo in for too long is surpassing the color you want in your hair.

If you are aiming to simply rid your blonde of unwanted yellow or orange undertones, be sure to leave the shampoo in for less than ten minutes, otherwise, you may end up with silver, lilac, or full-blown purple locks. Happy coloring!