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What Does Purple Shampoo Do to Brown Hair?

Purple shampoos are becoming more popular as women continue to bleach their hair blonde. Since purple shampoo is meant to remove brassy tones from blond hair, you might be wondering: what does purple shampoo do to brown hair?

If you’re a brunette, keep reading to learn how purple shampoo can affect your hair.

What Is Purple Shampoo?

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Purple shampoo is responsible for fixing blonde locks with too many brassy tones, redness, or strong, yellow colors. It can also be used on gray hair, to brighten it, or to remove yellow tones. The shampoo has a purple appearance because it contains violet pigment that coats the hair shaft and tones the hair with frequent use.

Why purple? When thinking about the color wheel, purple is on the opposite side of yellow. This means the two are complementary colors. As such, one color cancels the other one. Due to this, purple shampoo can neutralize yellow tones and keep your blonde locks bright and polished.

Purple shampoo is known as toning shampoo, which means it puts violet or purple pigments into your hair to cancel out brassy or yellow tones. This specific shampoo is meant for people who have blonde, silver, gray, white, pastel, or platinum-colored hair as well as men or women who have highlights.
Read Next: How to Tone Hair

What Does Purple Shampoo Do to Brown Hair?

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What does purple shampoo do to brown hair? Not much. Brown or brunette shades are likely to have brassy tones or redness over time, especially if you’ve dyed your hair this particular color. But purple isn’t the hue to counteract the unwanted warm tones in your hair.

While purple is on the opposite side of yellow on the color wheel, brassy or reddish tones are on the opposite side of green or blue. As such, you’ll need to consider getting blue toning shampoo instead of purple shampoo. Blue shampoo is meant specifically for brunettes and will eliminate brassiness in purely dark brown manes. 

Since dyed brown hair always tends to fade or trend toward red, you may need to take some other steps to keep your color looking fresh and balanced. To prevent brassy tones, you may need to avoid:

  • Too much hot tool styling
  • Heavy water when washing your hair
  • Extra time spent in the sun

When outdoors, it is best to wear a hat to cover up your hair. If you need a little extra help with toning, remember, purple shampoo will not come to the rescue if your hair is entirely brown-colored. You will need to use a blue pigmented shampoo that counteracts the unwanted undertones in your hair.

Can You Still Use Purple Shampoo and How Often?

Were you gifted a purple shampoo and can’t use it?  If your loved one didn’t know purple shampoo isn’t meant for brunettes, you’d be glad to learn you can still use it to wash your hair. However, don’t expect it to change the reddish tones in your brown locks. Unless … you have highlights. Purple shampoo can brighten and tone your highlights while leaving your brown tones alone.

All you need to do is start using purple shampoo instead of your regular shampoo. You can use it as little as once a week to as much as three times per week.

In addition, you should use this type of shampoo alongside a purple conditioner. This will give you the biggest benefit if you have highlights in your hair that need a refresher.

Purple Shampoo and Highlights

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As mentioned, purple shampoo will tone highlights or lighter colors within brown hair. Since purple is on the opposite side of orange on the color wheel, purple shampoo is meant to neutralize reddish and brassy tones whether it is in a brunette’s highlights or a blonde’s locks. In fact, purple shampoo will help those highlights pop as it neutralizes the orange-ish tones and removes the brassiness factor.

You can refresh your lighter tones when using purple shampoo two or three times a week. And since purple shampoo will not affect your brown hair, you don’t have to worry about using it on your highlighted sections of hair only. You can simply lather up and let the shampoo target those areas that need a little tweak.

What Causes Brassy Tones in Your Highlights?

Brassy tones in highlights or bleached-blonde hair can appear over time, after a salon hair-coloring session. Everyone’s hair has warm colors beneath its surface. When you dye your hair a lighter color, the dye will remove your natural color and leave behind the lighter color. 

Once a natural hair color is gone, the reddish and brassy tones underneath will be visible. However, if you don’t want these tones, your hairstylist will use a specific formula to remove those warm colors when dying your hair.

However, even if the hairstylist does everything perfectly, the color will fade over time. Then, the chemistry in your hair will bring back those brassy tones.

Using Purple Shampoo in Your Hair Care Routine

Brown-haired woman using purple shampoo on her hair in a home shower


You don’t need to use purple shampoo every day if you want to remove those reddish colors from your hair. All you need to do is to use it once, twice, or three times per week. You should use it in place of your regular shampoo. 

You can also use this shampoo whenever you notice some orange-ish or brassy tones in your highlights or bleached blonde hair. Don’t forget about purple conditioner, as it will also help to cancel out those warmer tones in your hair.

For the absolutely best results, follow the directions on the purple shampoo and conditioner bottles. Also, a weekly purple toning mask can be an extra step that will truly make your blonde or light-colored locks stand out.

What Purple Shampoos and Conditioners Should You Get?

Some of the best purple shampoos and conditioners include:

  1. Violet Crush for Blondes Purple Shampoo
  2. Sun Bum Purple Blonde Shampoo
  3. Blonde Moment Purple Shampoo
  4. Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo
  5. Playa Violet Brightening Shampoo

So, if you’re looking for the perfect purple shampoo for your hair, check out any on this list, and you’ll get a gorgeous hairstyle with cool tones. 

Things to Consider

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You’ll find multiple things to consider when using purple shampoo on your brown hair. What you need to remember is to:

  • Use purple shampoo regularly, as the purple pigments tend to wash out and fade over time
  • Use purple shampoo to tone down your warm colors and not as a coloring product
  • Consider the color wheel when choosing purple or blue shampoos
  • Buy the darkest purple or violet-pigmented shampoos to get the best results
  • Avoid exposing your hair to sunlight if you want to prevent brassy tones
  • Use the shampoo on towel-dried hair to take in more purple pigment
  • Leave the shampoo in your hair for at least five minutes and no longer than 20 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

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Does Purple Shampoo Affect Brown Hair?

Yes, purple shampoo can neutralize some brassy tones in brown hair, just as it does with blonde hair. Purple shampoo is most effective when balancing light, color-treated strands on brown hair. Generally, purple shampoo won't affect the color of dark brown hair, although it can help hair of any color look healthier.

Will Purple Shampoo Turn Brown Hair Blonde?

No, purple shampoo doesn't change brown color tones, so it won't turn brown hair blonde. However, purple shampoo can remove brassiness from blonde highlights in brown hair. It removes reddish tones found in blonde hair dye and highlights.

How Long Should You Leave Purple Shampoo in Brown Hair?

After massaging purple shampoo into your brown hair, leave it in for three to ten minutes. Then, wash it out with cold water, as cold water helps activate the color change. If you're trying to lighten highlights in brown hair, apply the shampoo directly to the brassy parts, especially the lower lengths, as they'll have the most dye.

Is There a Purple Shampoo for Brunettes?

What purple shampoo is to blondes, blue shampoo is to brunettes. The purple shampoo helps lighten and remove yellow and green colors (called "brassy" tones) from blonde hair, while blue shampoo removes similar orange and red tones from brown hair. Any colors opposite one another on the color wheel, such as blue and red, will cancel each other out.

How Can I Make My Brown Hair Lighter?

You can lighten brown hair with a paste made from one cup of baking soda and three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Apply to your hair for 30 minutes to one hour (but not longer). It will lighten most brown hair by one to two shades.

Does purple shampoo lighten hair?

You’ll find that purple shampoo does not actually lighten your hair. It removes the warm, brass-colored, or orangish tones found in bleach blondes or highlights among brunettes.

How long should you leave the purple shampoo in brown hair?

Apply the shampoo to towel-dried hair and leave it in for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then it’s time to rinse it out. Take a look to see if the reddish tones are gone from your hair.

How fast does purple shampoo work?

Your purple shampoo can work in as little as 5 minutes to remove orangish tones. However, for the best results, try to leave it in for 10, 15, or 20 minutes while you’re in the shower, then following up with a matching dye-friendly conditioner.

So, How Does Purple Shampoo Affect Brown Hair?

Purple shampoo removes the reddish tones in dyed blonde hair or highlights found in brunettes. This type of shampoo does not change the tones or colors of brown hair but can cool down the tones of highlights.

With the right toning shampoo, everyone will be complimenting your hairstyle the next time you’re out and about.

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