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What Does Purple Shampoo Do to Grey Hair? | Detailed Guide

Whether you’re rocking some greys for the first time or struggling with a full set of grey hair that’s turning brassy, you might be wondering—what does purple shampoo do to grey hair?

We’ll teach you how purple shampoo impacts grey hair and when this shampoo does (and doesn’t) work.


What Is Purple Shampoo and What Does It Do to Grey Hair?

Woman using purple shampoo on grey hair with a bandana

Yaroslav Astakhov/Shutterstock

Purple shampoo is a violet-tinted shampoo that counteracts the brassy color of grey hair, turning it into a luminous, healthy color. We’ll help you understand the ins and outs of purple shampoo for grey hair by teaching you:

  • How it works
  • When to use it
  • How to apply it

It’s easy to have bad results using purple shampoo on hair that’s peppery grey or using it too frequently on porous hair. So, we’ll teach you the must-knows of what to watch out for. 

Understanding How Purple Shampoo Works

Grey hair has unfortunate fame for turning brassy, giving hair a yellowish hue. It’s an understandably off-putting look, and many factors can cause it. Examples include:

  • Contact with chlorine
  • Pollutants 
  • Heated stylers
  • Time in the sun

Alternatively, if you dyed your grey hair and it starts looking brassy, it’s because the color and toner are deteriorating. You can fix that with a trip to the hairdresser or opt to embrace your grey hair and start managing it with purple shampoo.

The Benefits of Violet Pigments

Violet pigment in purple shampoo works so well because of a concept you likely learned in your grade school art class—how colors interact on the color wheel. Brassy colors sit on the yellow end of the color wheel.

So, if you pull out an image of this wheel and look at the color opposite of it, you’ll see that it’s violet.

As a result, when violet combines with yellow, these colors act together to form a neutral state. So, your hair benefits from taking on a bright, brass-free tone when using purple shampoo.

Read Next: What Is Brassiness in Hair?

Signs of Grey Hair Without Purple Shampoo

Woman showing us what happens to grey hair after using purple shampoo

Waewkid/Shutterstock

If you have light-colored grey hair and don’t use purple shampoo, your hair will likely become unruly over time. Signs that people don’t apply purple shampoo to their greys include:

  • A brassy, yellowish tone
  • Dull, peppery appearance
  • Appearing older than your age

That’s right—if you thought grey hair couldn’t make you look older, compare the vibrant hair of a purple shampoo user to a person who doesn’t apply this shampoo.

Over time, never using purple shampoo will cause hair to turn from brassy to a downright dirty yellow. Such harsh yellow colors are an especially big issue for people who wash their hair in hard water treated with chemicals.

Types of Purple Shampoo

As with regular shampoos, the purple variety comes in several forms to meet a range of hair types. Examples of popular purple shampoos include:

  • Moisturizing shampoo
  • Reparative protein shampoo
  • UV filters

We also recommend reading purple shampoo labels. Keratin and hyaluronic acid are some popular ingredients. Edelweiss flower extract is another excellent ingredient choice, as it can strengthen hair, and studies show that it has anti-aging effects.

Read Next: What Is the Main Ingredient in Shampoo?

When to Use Purple Shampoo

Your ability to apply purple shampoo to grey hair and the frequency you use depends on several factors, including:

  • Your hair’s porosity level
  • Your hair’s greyness level
  • How much dark hair you have

Let’s explore each of these points in more detail.

Hair Porosity

The more porous your hair, the less frequently you should apply purple shampoo. That’s because your hair will soak in its color, temporarily changing your hair from grey to a purple hue.

We recommend starting by applying purple shampoo once a week. If you know you have porous hair, cut this frequency in half, using it every two weeks.

From there, you can slowly work your way to using purple shampoo more frequently, according to how your hair responds. When you don’t use purple shampoo, wash your hair with a standard, high-quality shampoo.

Read Next: How Porous Is My Hair? Quiz

Hair Greyness Level

Purple shampoo responds well to grey hair. But in order for it to do so, you must have a lot of grey hairs, and light-colored ones at that. In fact, if your grey hair is below level eight, purple shampoo won’t work.

Should you be on the fence about what category your grey hair falls under, your hairdresser will be able to help.

Amount of Dark Hair

Just like purple shampoo won’t work on dark grey hair, it also won’t serve a head of grey hair mixed with a lot of colored hair (whether natural or dyed).

So, if you’re on the path to becoming grey but aren’t most of the way there yet, hold your “shampoo”—using the purple variety will have little impact on your greys.

According to scientists, after you turn 30 years old, the likelihood of your hair becoming grey increases 10 20% every decade. So, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll be able to put your prematurely bought purple shampoo bottle to work.

Read Next: What Causes Grey Hair?

Step-by-Step Guide on Using Purple Shampoo

So, now that you know the answer to “What does purple shampoo do to grey hair?” and how often you should apply it, let’s explore how to use it.

Step 1: Get Your Hair Wet

There are plenty of people talking about the benefits of bathing in cold water. However, on your purple shampoo day, we encourage you to wet your hair with warm water.

That’s because the warmer the water temperature, the more your cuticles will open. As a result, it encourages dirt to release from your hair. Furthermore, it’ll loosen up the oil on your scalp and help your hair better absorb the purple shampoo.

Step 2: Scrub in Your Purple Shampoo

You should use the same amount of purple shampoo on your hair as you would regular shampoo. So, this amount will differ between users depending on the length of their hair.

You should aim to scrub your shampoo into all parts of your hair, from the roots to the tips. Although it’s unlikely that you have a full head of brassy hair, even grey hairs that aren’t brassy will benefit from the luminosity that purple shampoo provides.

Step 3: Focus on Spots that Need It Most

Although you should lather your entire head of hair in purple shampoo, focusing on the brassy areas is crucial for the best outcome. Here’s a fact you might not know: Your roots have less porosity than your hair.

Therefore, you should scrub purple shampoo into that area first, giving it extra time to soak in. You’ll also want to focus your scrubbing attention on parts of your hair that have the brassiest color.

Step 4: Listen to a Podcast

If podcasts aren’t your thing, that’s okay—the radio, your favorite song on replay, or any other activity to occupy your mind while taking a shower is just fine. That’s because you should let the purple shampoo sit in your hair for 15-30 minutes.

You’ll have to play around with the ideal amount of time for your hair. For example, people with porous hair will likely want to leave the shampoo in for a shorter amount of time than those with regular hair porosity.

Step 5: Condition Your Hair

Without rinsing the shampoo out of your hair, apply your favorite conditioner. We recommend a natural conditioner that has a lot of moisturizing qualities without toxins.

If you’ve already been researching purple shampoos, you’ve likely noticed that purple conditioners are also on the market. While you can give this a try, it’s unlikely you’ll need it. As long as you choose a high-quality purple shampoo, that should be enough.

Step 6: Rinse Out Everything

Rinsing may sound like a no-brainer step, but it’s more important than you think—if you accidentally leave some of the purple shampoo in your hair that isn’t rinsed well, it could cause a patchy effect.

Furthermore, like many regular shampoos, leaving bits of purple shampoo in your hair can cause dryness and a flaky scalp.

Step 7: Check Out Your Work

Once you towel your hair dry, you should be ready to show off your brilliant greys to the world. However, if you nearly keel over from seeing a purple tint in your hair after drying your hair, there’s no need to worry.

It can happen to the best of us, especially under the following conditions:

  • You left the shampoo in your hair for over 30 minutes
  • Your hair is extremely porous

To fix this situation, buy a high-quality clarifying shampoo. Then, apply it according to the instructions, which will be similar to the steps we discussed here. Before long, your hair will lose its purple hue.

Step 8: Keep Your Hair Moisturized

In between your purple shampoo applications, it’s crucial to condition your hair regularly. That’s especially the case if you use a purple shampoo without conditioning qualities.

Purple shampoo—and clarifying shampoo, if you need to use it—can have extreme drying qualities. So, don’t be afraid to use a deep moisturizer on your hair whenever you feel it needs it.

Frequently Asked Questions

For a piece on what does purple shampoo do to grey hair, a woman looking at the camera in a black shirt

YuriyZhuravov/Shutterstock

Do you still have questions in addition to “What does purple shampoo do to grey hair?” If so, the answers below can help.

Does purple shampoo make grey hair darker?

Technically, purple shampoo turns grey hair a slightly darker color than before you used it. However, because of the way color passes through the eyes, you won’t notice a darkening effect.

Will purple shampoo lighten grey hair?

Purple shampoo will brighten grey hair, which can make it appear lighter. It helps to neutralize brassy tones, allowing your hair to return to brilliant silver.

Can purple shampoo cause hair loss?

No, purple shampoo won’t cause hair loss. However, if you use it too frequently, it can cause damage and breakage, making it appear that your purple shampoo is causing it rather than the poor use of it.

Do purple shampoos actually work?

If you use purple shampoo on the right hair type, meaning a level eight or higher for grey hair, it’ll work. However, take care to use this shampoo sparingly. That way, you can find a balance of removing brassy tones without overdoing the purple color, especially if you have porous hair.

Do the effects of purple shampoo wash out?

Yes, the effects of purple shampoo wash out, which is why you need to include it as part of your routine hair care. Purple shampoo acts as a kind of temporary stain. So, washing your hair with traditional shampoo will gradually remove it.

So, What Does Purple Shampoo Do to Grey Hair?

Purple shampoo is a safe and effective product to transform grey hair into a luminous, non-brassy state. Provided you have grey hair that’s a level eight or higher, you can expect to see unexpectedly vibrant results.