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Blue vs. Purple Shampoo: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated: October 11, 2022

Over the last few years, it seems like the number of beauty products the average woman is expected to own has increased tenfold. You might be able to get away with a basic moisturizer most of the time, but that 10 step Korean skin care routine is always calling.

Even shampoo has gotten more complex, with blue and purple shampoo taking their places in many people’s hair regimens. But what exactly are they and which one are you supposed to use? We’re going to go over each type and exactly what they’re supposed to do for you so you can pick the best poo for you!

What is Blue and Purple Shampoo?

We’re used to cosmetics and hair care companies adding fragrances and pigments to things. Usually, they don’t really serve a purpose other than to make them smell nice or stand out on the shelf in a clear bottle.

When it comes to specialized blue and purple shampoos though, this isn’t the case. These shampoos were created for use on color-treated hair to help maintain your color.

The blue and purple colors are a result of specially formulated pigments designed to do specific things for your hair regarding its color. Specifically, they are meant to neutralize certain tones in your hair like brassy yellows and greens, or harsh oranges.

When to Choose Blue or Purple Shampoo

When picking one of these two types of color neutralizing shampoos, let’s start with a little lesson in color theory.

When you’re looking at the color wheel, colors across from each other represent a complementary color scheme. When two complementary colors are paired together, they neutralize each other, especially when it comes to cosmetics.

This is why products meant to reduce redness are often pigmented green—red and green are across from each other on the color wheel. 

The same rule applies to blue and purple shampoo. Each one helps neutralize its complimentary tone.

The complementary color for purple is yellow, so purple shampoo is what you need to use if you have hair that has some yellow or greenish tones that you want to get rid of. 

Following the same rule, the complementary color of blue is orange. So if your hair tends to lean toward orange in a way that you don’t like, a blue shampoo is the way to go.

Note: Blondes generally require purple shampoos, while blue shampoos are more common with brunettes (although also ideal for blondes who have unwanted orange tones).

How to Use Blue & Purple Shampoo

Now that you know exactly which type of shampoo to choose, we’ll be sharing a few tips to use both types of shampoos for optimal results

  • Use your neutralizing shampoo daily, or at least every other day, until you see desired results.
  • For more powerful results, try leaving your purple or blue shampoo in your hair for 2–4 minutes, then rinse out. You can do even longer if you’re trying to fix bad brassiness, but some of these shampoos can dry out your hair, so be cautious.
  • If you see unwanted orange and yellow tones, you can use both types of shampoos if desired.
  • Invest in a powerful conditioner to revive dry hair. There are even purple conditioners and blue conditioners that will moisturize while neutralizing unwanted tones!

Top-Rated Purple + Blue Shampoos

If you’re ready to add a blue or purple shampoo to your hair coloring routine, here are some of our top recommendations.

Purple Shampoos

  1. Fanola No Yellow Shampoo
  2. Ethique Tone It Down Purple Shampoo Bar
  3. Lush Daddy-O Purple Shampoo
  4. Drybar Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo
  5. Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo

Blue Shampoos

  1. AVEDA Blue Malva
  2. Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Toning Shampoo
  3. dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo
  4. John Frieda Blue Crush For Brunettes
  5. Overtone Blue Toning Conditioner

Bottom Line

Overall, blue or purple shampoos aren’t really that different from the one you use everyday. The main difference is that they neutralize unwanted tones in natural or dyed hair to bring out your best color. These colored shampoos (or conditioners) can be a great addition to your routine to reach your dream hair color!

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