Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair: Does It Work?

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purple shampoo on brown hair with blonde highlights

Can You Use Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair?

Color depositing shampoos have become increasingly popular. Not only do they help keep your color looking fresh and bright, but they can also extend time between salon visits, saving you money. If you’re a blonde, chances are you use purple shampoo religiously on your hair to keep the color bright and ashy. But can you use purple shampoo on brown hair? Does purple shampoo work on brown hair? We’ll answer all these questions (and more!) in this post.

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 on 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 here’s your guide on using purple shampoo on brown hair. We’ll cover everything from how to use purple shampoo on brown hair, how long to leave it on for, how often to use purple shampoo and of course the best purple shampoos for brown hair.

What Is Purple Shampoo?

It’s simply a regular shampoo that contains purple (sometimes violet or blue pigments, depending on the formula) pigments that deposit into the hair to tone bleached or colored hair.

Most are formulated just like a regular shampoo so you get all the benefits of a cleanse, plus a nice tone to keep your color looking fresh and brass-free.

You simply use it in place of your regular shampoo. but there are some tips to get maximum benefits (which we’ll get into later).

What Does Purple Shampoo Do To Brown Hair?

Wondering what happens if you use purple shampoo on brown hair? Many people worry about using purple shampoo on brown hair, thinking it may mess up their color. But, will purple shampoo lighten brown hair? Or does purple shampoo darken brown 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 your 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.

how often to use purple shampoo

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.

Now if you have very dark brown or black hair, purple shampoo really won’t be effective and you probably won’t have very dramatic results. However, you can use purple shampoo on brown hair with highlights.

What Does Purple Shampoo Do To Brown Hair?

Purple shampoo will help to neutralize any yellow or slightly brassy tones in light brown or highlighted brown hair. Once you apply the purple shampoo, the purple pigments will despot into the hair shaft, which neutralizes those unwanted yellow tones.

Purple shampoo will not lighten or darken brown hair and will not actually change the color of your hair at all. The shampoo simply tones the hair and will wash out eventually.

Purple shampoo works best on brown hair with highlights or naturally lighter brown hair.

What Does Purple Shampoo Do To Brown Hair With No Highlights

Using purple shampoo on brown hair with no highlights won’t do much, actually. Since brown hair doesn’t have natural yellow tones, purple shampoo won’t work as well. Brown hair will have orange and red tones that will make hair look brassy. The yellow tones only show up when hair has been highlighted or if your hair is naturally light brown.

So using purple shampoo on brown hair without highlights won’t be as effective.

Keep in mind that this can definitely depend on the color of your brown hair. Lighter brown hair will have more yellow tones that the purple shampoo can counteract. But if you have very dark brown hair, you probably won’t notice a difference after using purple shampoo on it.

How Do I Use Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair?

how does purple shampoo work

Here’s how to use purple shampoo on 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.

Tips For Using Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair

can a brunette use purple shampoo

Wanting to know how to use purple shampoo to tone hair and get rid of brassiness? Here are my tried and true best tips that I use to keep my highlighted hair bright and ashy.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Just as an added tip, if you do want to use purple shampoo on dry hair, be prepared to spend a lot of time working the product in. If you don’t, you’ll end up with patchy hair that’s brassy and ashy.

Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair FAQ’s

does purple shampoo work on brown hair

What Will Purple Shampoo Do To Natural Brown Hair?

Wondering what happens if you use purple shampoo on brown hair that’s natural? I Even if your hair is not highlighted, you can still use purple shampoo on natural brown hair or highlighted brown hair to tone down any orange or yellow hues in your hair. However, if your hair is dark brown, the purple shampoo will not do anything. Purple shampoo really only works on natural light brown hair or brown hair with highlights.

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.

Does Purple Shampoo Lighten Brown Hair?

No, purple shampoo does not lighten brown hair. It does not contain any bleach which is what lightens hair. Purple shampoo is not a bleach or color, it’s more of a toning product.

Can You Use Purple Shampoo On Brown Balayage?

Absolutely! Purple shampoo can be used on brown hair that’s been highlighted or balayage or ombre hair.

What Happens If You Use Purple Shampoo On Reddish Brown Hair?

Although purple shampoo can work some miracles, its brass-neutralizing abilities are pretty limited when it comes to dark brown, black or reddish hair. Purple shampoo really is designed to help reduce yellow pigments in the hair, not orange or red tones.

So if you have reddish brown hair, you’ll need a green shampoo. If you have orange in your hair, you’ll do better with a blue shampoo.

Is Purple Shampoo Bad For Your Hair?

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about purple shampoo, and many people seem to think that purple shampoo damages your hair. However, that is not true at all. Purple shampoo is simply just regular shampoo with purple pigment added.

The only thing that may happen with purple shampoo is that it can turn your hair purple or lavender. Keep reading for tips on how to prevent this! So, don’t worry, purple shampoo is not bad for your hair.

It also can depend on which product you are using and if the product is well formulated or not. A good purple shampoo will not damage your hair. Be sure to look for one that’s sulfate free to avoid drying your hair out too much.

How Long Should You Leave Purple Shampoo In Brown Hair?

does purple shampoo lighten hair

Wondering how long to leave purple shampoo in for? While it may seem self-explanatory, you can mess up your color and get purple hair if you don’t use it right.

If you’ve never used purple shampoo on brown hair before, then I recommend going by the directions on the bottle. Some products will just recommend using it like a regular shampoo and others will recommend to leave the product on for a few minutes.

Once you try it out, you can see how your hair looks and determine if you need to leave it on longer next time. Some hair types will absorb a lot of pigment very quickly. If your hair is more porous, you won’t need to leave the purple shampoo on as long.

My hair is very stubborn, so I usually need to leave the purple shampoo on for at least 5 minutes to get the most neutralization. However, you can even leave purple shampoo on for up to 20 minutes if your hair is really brassy or does not take pigment well. If you do this be careful. You can leave purple shampoo on too long and end up messing up your color. And if your highlights are light enough, you can even turn them purple/violet.

What Will Happen When You Leave Purple Shampoo On Too Long?

can you use purple shampoo on brown hair

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. I’ve even heard of people leaving purple shampoo on overnight!

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 or you can try a clarifying shampoo to help strip the pigment. However, I will say that leaving it on too long (or using it too often) can sometimes mess up your color and you’ll need a visit to the salon to get that bright blonde back.

Can Purple Shampoo Lighten Brown Hair?

No, purple shampoo cannot lighten brown hair because it does not have any bleach or lighteners in the product. It simply deposits purple pigments!

Should You Use Purple Shampoo On Dry Hair?

Putting purple shampoo on dry hair can be a good option for certain people, but for others it can be a recipe for disaster. Should you put purple shampoo on dry hair or is it best to use it like a regular shampoo? It all comes down to the product you’re using, how light your hair is and how well your hair absorbs pigment.

If you have very light blonde hair and are using an extremely pigmented shampoo (like fanola or milk_shake) then I would not recommend using it on dry hair. If your hair is already very light blonde, there won’t be a lot of yellow to counteract and all that pigment will absorb into your hair and turn it either purple or lavender.

However, if you are a brunette with highlights that are a medium or dark blonde, you can use purple shampoo on dry hair safely.

Best Purple Shampoo For Brown Hair

purple shampoo on dry 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.

These are my tried and true, absolute favorite purple shampoos to tone down brassiness in my hair. If you’re looking for the best purple shampoo for brown hair with highlights or the best purple shampoo for blondes, then look no further.

Fanola No Yellow Shampoo

Fanola is one of the most pigmented purple shampoos on the market meaning it packs a punch and this shampoo will tone your hair in a matter of seconds. Be careful with this one and wear gloves and don’t leave it on too long. If you want the best purple shampoo for brown or blonde hair then look no further than Fanola. It’s a salon favorite for a reason!

Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo

Redken’s purple shampoo is a great option for anyone that’s concerned about split ends and breakage. The formula contains citric acid to help repair each strand and a ton of violet pigments to help town down brassiness. It cleanses well without making your hair feel stripped or weighed down.

Matrix So Silver Shampoo

The matrix purple shampoo is designed to be a clarifying shampoo, so you know you’re getting a deep clean. This is a great option for those that don’t wash their hair often and need to remove lots of buildup. The formula has tons of purple pigment to help tone down brassiness and doesn’t make hair feel heavy or weighed down.

Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo

The purology strength cure line is an absolute must-have for anyone that bleaches their hair. It’s been my holy grail hair care line for years. And when they came out with a purple shampoo I knew I had to have it. This sulfate free formula is color-safe and perfect for anyone who struggles with breakage and split ends. This shampoo helps to tone and strengthen hair with each use.

Amika Bust Your Brass Blonde Purple Shampoo

This cruelty-free and vegan brand is quickly becoming one of the most popular hair care brands and their purple shampoo is no different. Packed with bond cure technology, quinoa protein, plant butters, and ultraviolet pigments, this formula is exactly what every blonde or highlighted brunette needs to keep hair ashy, ultra healthy and strong.

Milk_Shake Silver Shampoo

Another wildly popular option is the Milk_shake silver shampoo, ideal for blondes, highlighted brunettes, grey and silvers alike. One of the strongest purple shampoo’s on the market, you must be careful with this if you have light blonde hair as it will turn your hair purple very quickly. They also have a lighter version for those who don’t need as much pigment.

OGX Purple Toning Shampoo

This drugstore shampoo packs a punch and delivers some of the most violet pigmentation out of all the purple shampoos I’ve tried. Right out of the bottle, this shampoo is so dark it almost looks black in certain light. It tones down brassiness in no time (without staining your hands). Plus it’s sulfate-free so it’s color safe and even has lots of great ingredients like keratin to keep hair healthy. If you’re looking for a drugstore purple shampoo, then look no further than this affordable gem.


how long to leave purple shampoo in

Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair: Wrap Up

If you’re wondering how do you get rid of brassy tones in brown hair, then purple shampoo or blue shampoo are your best bets. Whether you’re wanting to know if you can use purple shampoo on dry hair or if purple shampoo will make your hair darker, this post covers it all. Now that you know how to use purple shampoo on brown hair, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test and brighten up your blonde or highlighted hair and get rid of brassy and yellow hair for good.

Purple shampoo is a great option for any brunette or blonde to tone down any unwanted brassy colors. However, purple shampoo on black or very dark hair is not the best. If you have black or very dark hair, then I would suggest a blue or green shampoo.

does purple shampoo do anything to brown hair?

Purple Shampoo On Brown Hair

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3 Comments

  1. I am a brunette but I have, like you, gotten my hair highlighted and lightened over the years but finally got back to my original color (brunette). What exactly does purple shampoo do for a brunette? Does it make your hair a little darker as it takes out the brass color or does it lighten it? I just always assumed purple shampoo lightened hair for blondes. Great post, I’ve really enjoyed reading them recently!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! I’m so glad you found it helpful. Purple shampoo won’t lighten or darken your hair as it doesn’t have any bleach or actual hair color in it. So you shouldn’t notice a change in the actual shade of your hair, but you will definitely notice a change in the tone! It will take away the orange, yellow and brassy tones in your hair and make them more cool and ashy. Your hair will absorb the purple pigments in the shampoo which will counteract the warm tones in your hair. It’s like a color deposit but it won’t actually dye your hair or permanently change the color of it. Does that make sense?

  2. Oohh okay, that makes sense. Great! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

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