This post may contain affiliate links.
If you’re a blonde, chances are you use purple shampoo religiously on your hair to keep the color bright and ashy. But what about using purple shampoo on brown hair? Does purple shampoo work on brown hair?
If you’re a brunette, I know you have asked yourself “how can I tone down my brass brown hair?” And chances are you have probably never thought about using purple shampoo on brown hair. Since, it’s marketed towards blondes, most people don’t think about using purple shampoo to tone down brassy brown hair.
But, what most people don’t realize is that brown hair is more likely to be warm, brassy and orange! And, even if you don’t highlight your brown hair, it can still be brassy. So, purple shampoo is an essential product for those with brassy brown hair, platinum blondes and everyone in-between!
So, I decided to come up with a guide for using purple shampoo on brown hair! Purple shampoo works great for blonde hair and brown hair!
What Does Purple Shampoo Do To Brown Hair?
Many people worry about using purple shampoo on brown hair, thinking it may mess up their color. But, will purple shampoo lighten dark hair? Or does purple shampoo darken brunette hair?
Well, neither, actually!
So what does purple shampoo do to brown hair, exactly?
Purple shampoo simply deposits purple pigment into the hair to counteract the orange and yellow tones in brown hair. Whether you’re hair is brown with blonde highlights or naturally a little brassy, purple shampoo can turn down those warm tones into more cool and ashy ones.
Purple toning products won’t lighten or darken your hair, as they don’t have any bleach or actual color in the products. The purple pigments will eventually wash out and fade, so it’s not permanent.
Think of purple shampoo as more of a toning product, rather than a color or bleach. It simply changes the tone of the hair. So, purple shampoo for brown hair will simply tone down the warm colors and make it more ashy.
How Does Purple Shampoo Work On Brown Hair?
Essentially, when you use purple shampoo on brown hair, it will simply tone down the orange and yellow tones in dark hair and they will appear more cool toned.
Let’s take a look at the color wheel.
You see the yellow and orange colors? And directly across from them are the purple and blues. And notice how the purple is very deep? You need your purple products to be around that color to get maximum color deposit.
The deeper the purple, the better results you will have. Not only will it help if you have extremely brassy hair, but it will take less product and less time to tone it down to an ashy color.
I’m going to repeat this for emphasis because I don’t want you wasting your time and money on something that won’t work: your purple shampoo must be very pigmented/dark purple for it to work especially on brown hair.
What Will Purple Shampoo Do To Natural Brown Hair?
Even if your hair is not highlighted, you can still use purple shampoo on natural brown hair to tone down any orange or yellow hues in your hair. Before I started highlighting my hair, my hair was so brassy because the sun lightened it. In a lot of light, it almost looked red/orange.
So, on a whim, I tried some purple shampoo on it, and to my surprise it actually helped!
Depending on how dark your hair is, you may benefit more from a blue shampoo. If you don’t have any highlights in your hair and your brown hair is pretty dark, I would try a blue shampoo first!
Purple shampoo on light brown hair will work very well, even if it’s naturally light brown and not color treated.
How Do I Use Purple Shampoo To Tone Brown Hair?
When putting purple shampoo on brown hair, there are some rules to follow to make sure you get the most benefit out of it and maximum color deposit for brass free hair.
I use purple shampoo on my brown hair with highlights every time I shampoo my hair! Since my hair naturally pulls brassy, I have to use it every time to keep the blonde bright and cool toned.
For the products I share below, all you need to do is follow the directions on the bottle! Just use them in place of your normal shampoo or conditioner.
The lighter your blonde, the easier it will be to tone it. Now, if you have platinum blonde, then you should be careful with these products. I’ve had my fair share of times I left mine in a little too long and had some silver-y/purple hair going on. If that happens, don’t worry, it will wash out!
Tips For Using Purple Shampoo On Brunette Hair
I do have a few tips to get the most benefit out of them that I am going to share with you all. These tips are especially helpful if you have really stubborn hair that’s naturally warm toned, like mine.
The darker your hair is, the longer you will need to leave the product on. Since I have brown hair, I leave my purple shampoo on for quite a while. So, if you have brown hair like me you can follow these guidelines below.
So, here are my best tips on how I keep my hair ashy, cool toned and bright:
- Apply product onto towel dried hair. Yes, even the shampoo. When your hair is soaking wet, it’s not going to be able to absorb as much of the pigment, meaning it won’t get as ashy and you will still have some brassy tones. You can use purple shampoo on dry brown hair, but I find it’s easier to evenly distribute the product if there’s some water in your hair already.
- Leave it on longer than recommended. For the shampoo, it’s only recommended to wash with it, and I find that it doesn’t work very well that way. So I apply it to my hair and clip my hair up and leave it in for a few minutes. Just depending on how brassy my hair is. I will usually leave mine in for 5-10 minutes.
- Use it often. You can’t just use it once a month and expect it to keep your blonde ashy and bright. Each time you wash your hair you’re washing the pigment out, so it’s important to use it often. How often you need to use it will depend on how often you wash your hair and if you use any products that are designed to keep your color fresh. I typically use mine every other wash, but I also have hair that doesn’t like to hold onto color, so you may be able to use them less.
What Will Happen When You Leave Purple Shampoo On Too Long?
A big question I get is “how long do I leave purple shampoo on brown hair?” Well, depending on how brassy your hair is will help answer this question.
In general, the lighter your hair, the faster (and better) purple shampoo will work. If your hair is already pretty dark and pretty brassy, then you can leave the purple shampoo on for a while.
Well, how long is a while? Can I leave purple shampoo on for an hour?
If your hair is dark brown and very brassy, you can definitely leave on purple shampoo for an hour. However, for most people I don’t recommend this. Especially if you have any blonde in your hair.
Leaving purple shampoo on too long can actually turn your hair grey or purple! This typically won’t happen with all brown hair, but if you have any blonde in your hair, I wouldn’t leave it on for more than 15 minutes.
I’ve left purple shampoo on my hair too long and it’s turned a very grey/lavender color before. But, it washes out so don’t worry!
If you leave it on too long and end up with purple hair, a few washes with regular shampoo will do the trick.
The Best Purple Shampoos For Brown Hair
These are my tried and true, absolute favorite purple shampoos to tone down brassiness in my hair. I’ve been platinum blonde and I’ve been dark brown and everything in-between. So, I’ve tried pretty much all the purple shampoos on the market. And trust me, they are not made equal.
To get any benefit out of your product, it needs to be very deep purple. ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE BROWN HAIR! If you pick up a purple shampoo and it’s lavender colored, take it back. It won’t do anything. Trust me. You need a very, very deep violet blue product for it to make any difference in your brunette hair.
These are my tried and true, absolute favorite purple shampoos to tone down brassiness in my hair.
Fanola No Yellow Shampoo
This is hands down the most effective purple shampoo I’ve ever tried. And I’ve tried pretty much all of them on the market. The only downside is that it will stain your hands. Of course, it washes off, but your hands will be tinted purple for a little bit. You can avoid this by using gloves!
Since it’s so pigmented, this stuff will work crazy well on toning brown hair. Which is why it’s my absolute favorite purple shampoo.
This will take out any yellow in your brown hair and tone down any brassy orange tones as well. It doesn’t leave a gross film or make your hair feel stripped or dry.
Since it’s so pigmented, you only need a little bit, so the bottle will last a long time.
Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo
This Redken Shampoo is one of my favorites because it leaves my hair feeling clean, smelling great and delivers a ton of purple pigment to take away any orange or yellow tones in my blonde and brown hair. It’s a deep purple shampoo, but not as deep as the Fanola.
It’s also one of the most effective purple shampoos I’ve tried. It packs a ton of brass reducing pigment so I know my hair will be toned in no time.
Matrix So Silver Shampoo
Another great, and very powerful, toning shampoo. If you have platinum hair, it will definitely turn you silver so be careful! But, this one is great for anyone fighting stubborn brassiness or wanting to maintain their platinum blonde easily.
But, if you’re wanting to brighten up your blonde and get a super cool toned, ashy blonde, then this is the product for you.
Kenra Brightening Treatment
The Kenra Brightening Treatment is essentially a purple toning mask. It’s super hydrating and makes my hair feel really soft and healthy afterwards. But, it doesn’t weigh my hair down or make it greasy. I tend to use this one more in the winter months when my hair is more dry because it’s more hydrating than other masks.
It’s not as dark as some of the other products I’ve mentioned, but it’s still a nice violet color that tones down any unwanted brassiness.
Redken Blondage Anti-Brass Purple Hair Mask
The Redken mask is a deep purple and it’s a deeper color than the Kenra one, which is why I like it a little bit better. Not only does it smell amazing, but it leaves my hair feeling like silk! It’s not heavy at all, but my hair always feels healthier after I use it.
I typically leave purple masks/treatments on for a long time. For some reason, I find that purple shampoos work quicker for me. So, I leave this one on for about 20 minutes usually. But, like I mentioned earlier, if you have very light blonde hair already or your hair picks up color easily, you definitely don’t need to leave it on that long. My hair is very stubborn and doesn’t take color very well.
Matrix Brass Off Neutralization Hair Mask
This Matrix mask is very similar to the Redken one, but more nourishing to my hair. This one definitely makes my hair feel the best after I use it. It doesn’t make my hair feel weighed down or greasy and makes it feel silky and strong.
The Brass Off Mask gives me very similar results to that of the Redken one, so in terms of neutralizing, they work about the same. But, like I said above, the formulas are different, so I tend to reach for this one more when my hair is feeling more damaged.
Function Of Beauty Custom Purple Shampoo
Function of Beauty is one of my absolute favorite hair care brand ever. They’re everything I look for in a brand! Not only are they cruelty free, vegan, sulfate, paraben (plus tons of others!) free, but they are completely customizable!
All you do is pick the purple shampoo, take a short quiz that asks about what your hair is like and what concerns you have. There are tons of options like breakage, split ends, oiliness, volume, thermal protection, anti-aging, color protection, curl definition and lots more.
They take into account if your hair is straight or curly, thin or thick, etc. to make the perfect custom formula for you. They also have different scents you can pick, or you can leave it unscented if you wish. And they write your name on the bottle.
Function of Beauty also has customizable shampoo (not purple), conditioner, hair mask, serum and leave in treatment.
Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment Shampoo
This is a good drugstore purple shampoo to tone down brassiness. It’s a dark purple, not as dark as some of the others I’ve mentioned. But, it’s dark enough to get the job done.
I find this one to be pretty heavy on my hair in the summer, so it’s not one that I can use all the time. I use this one strictly in the winter when my hair is more dry. If I use it during the summer, it leaves my hair feeling a little too heavy and weighed down.
However, it’s still an awesome product and helps tone down any brassiness in my hair. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easily found at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc.
Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Conditioner
This is really the only regular blonde toning purple conditioner (aside from treatments and masks) that I like. Most other conditioners are very light purple and aren’t pigmented enough to do anything.
This toning conditioner is just as dark as the shampoo and they both work amazingly well together! Not only that, but the formula is just as great as the regular strength cure. So, it’s perfect for damaged hair that’s been bleached!
The strength cure line is my absolute holy grail shampoo and conditioner and they have honestly improved my hair so much more than I could ever image.
They are expensive, BUT they last such a long time. The shampoo and conditioner are extremely concentrated, so you only need the tiniest amount.
Those are all of my favorite purple toning products that I use to keep my hair bright, ashy and cool toned. Not only do these help keep it the color I want, they also help me maintain so I don’t have to go to the salon as often. So, they save me money, too!
What are your favorite blonde toning products to get rid of brassy brown hair? Let me know your favorites down below! Loved this post? Check out my guide on how to repair damaged hair.
Purple shampoo is your best bet to get ashy hair that’s free from any brass.