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How to Use Purple Shampoo to Tone Hair Correctly: Step-By-Step

A beautiful woman with light blonde hair fixed brassy tones by treating her naturally blonde hair with purple shampoo.

Purple shampoo is one of the most important tools in your arsenal if you lighten your hair at home. They’re essential in making sure your icy, platinum locks don’t end up looking brassy.

But what happens when the instructions don’t answer all of your questions? Before you even think about winging it, take a minute to read this article. We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of how to use purple shampoo.

How To Use Purple Shampoo

You can use purple shampoo to neutralize the brassiness in your hair. It can transform your brassy yellow locks into the perfect shade of ashy blonde. Ready to give it a go?

Here’s a rundown on how to use purple shampoo.

How To Do The Perfect Toning Shampoo Treatment on blonde hair

Choose the Right Purple Shampoo

Selecting the right shade is the first and most crucial step in using purple shampoo. Purple shampoo works thanks to the principle of color theory.

As color theory states, opposite colors cancel each other out. So before picking your shampoo, analyze the tones in your hair. 

Make sure you examine your hair in bright lighting so that you can make out even the faintest variations in color. The opposite of purple is yellow, so purple shampoo cancels out yellow hair.

Keep in mind that it’s slightly less effective on orange hair since the opposite of orange is blue. If your hair has orange hues, you’ll want to use a blue or blueish-purple shampoo instead.

Note: If you’re dealing with gray hair (or silver hair), we recommend reading the following articles to mitigate damaged hair and potentially unwanted tones.

Do a Strand Test

Why You Need to Do a Strand Test, and How

If you haven’t been doing strand tests, you’ve been going about it all wrong! Strand tests are your number one line of defense against hair color-related disasters.

They give you a preview of how your hair responds to the shampoo and insight into how long you need to let it process. To begin your strand test, select a small section of hair that’s easy to hide.

Apply the shampoo to the area, and let it sit for the length of time specified on your shampoo bottle. Then, rinse well and observe the results.

Your shampoo session should have eliminated all of the brassy, yellowish tones.

If it didn’t, let your shampoo process for a few extra minutes. Conversely, you need to shorten the waiting time if your strand test leaves you with purple hues. 

A lady with yellow tones used a darker purple shampoo that left her hair purple due to not following the instructions.

Prep Your Hair

Before applying your purple shampoo, saturate your hair thoroughly with warm water. The heat will gently open your hair cuticles so your strands absorb more of the shampoo’s purple pigments.

You can use a different method if your hair tends to have difficulty taking color or needs substantial color correction. Dry hair absorbs pigments more readily, so apply the purple shampoo to dry hair instead. 

Apply the Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo is highly pigmented and can lead to stains. So, before you apply it to your hair, throw on a pair of gloves. Then, pour a liberal amount of shampoo into your hands and massage it into your strands.

After your hair is thoroughly saturated, put on a shower cap and let the shampoo process for two to ten minutes. Once your time is up, grab a section of hair and gently scrape the shampoo off.

Check to see how your color is developing. 

You can leave the purple shampoo in your hair for up to 15 minutes for a particularly stubborn color. Just remember, the longer you leave the shampoo in your hair, the more likely it is you’ll be left with purple locks.

Rinse and Condition Your Hair

Now that your time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water. While warm water opens your hair cuticles, cool water seals them. That way, the purple pigments get trapped in your hair.

And as a bonus, the cool water will leave your strands smooth and shiny.

Keep rinsing the shampoo out until the water runs clear. Even purple shampoos can dry out your hair, so next, you’re going to apply a conditioner.

We recommend a purple conditioner, especially if there’s more brassiness to neutralize. Wait for the amount of time specified on the bottle and rinse well with cool water. Then, just air dry and style your hair as usual.

A female with a pale hair color used a toning shampoo to remove yellow undertones in her natural platinum hair color.

Repeat as Needed

Purple shampoo isn’t meant to be a “one-and-done” product. The effects are temporary, so you’ll need to use it regularly to keep the brassiness at bay.

You can use purple shampoo up to two or three times a week if you have dark or brunette locks. However, light and blonde strands are more likely to turn lavender. 

So, avoid using purple shampoo more than once a week to color-correct lighter hair.

It’s also important to note that although purple shampoo cleanses your hair, it can’t take the place of regular shampoo. Therefore, we advise that you use your regular shampoo at least once or twice a week.

Everything You Need To Know About Purple Shampoo

How Long Do You Leave the Purple Shampoo in Your Hair?

When using purple shampoo, the timing is critical. Leaving the shampoo on your hair too long will leave you with purple locks. And if you don’t leave it on long enough, it won’t tone down your brassiness.

For the best results, leave the purple shampoo on your hair for two to ten minutes. If it’s your first time using purple shampoo, try leaving it on for just two or three minutes. 

Most people who use purple shampoo are simply trying to color-correct their blonde locks, but you can also use it to dye your hair a soft shade of purple! Just make sure you pick a highly pigmented, color-depositing shampoo.

Leave the shampoo in your hair for twenty to 30 minutes before rinsing well.

Then, follow up with a purple conditioner. Remember, your color won’t last as long as it would if you used regular hair dye. But it will let you experiment with gorgeous lilac locks for a few days. 

Will Purple Shampoo Lighten My Hair?

There’s a common misconception that purple shampoo can lighten blonde hair. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Purple shampoo has no lightning agents, and it won’t change the level of your hair.

Despite that, it can make your hair look lighter. Purple shampoo cancels out the darker, yellowish hues in your hair. It reveals your hair’s icy, platinum tones, giving the illusion of lighter hair. 

How to Get Purple Shampoo Out of Your Hair

So you turned your hair purple?? How to correct over-toned hair

Even if you follow the instructions as closely as possible, there’s always a chance that the purple shampoo will stain your strands. The good news is that removing purple shampoo is incredibly simple.

Simply soak your hair with warm water and apply a deep cleaning clarifying shampoo.

Massage the shampoo into your hair and cover it with a shower cap. Wait for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing your hair well with warm water. 

Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Clarifying shampoos are highly drying, so replenish your hair’s moisture with a fortifying hair mask or deep conditioning treatment.

Once your hair dries, you should see a noticeable improvement in color. However, you might also need to do multiple rounds. In that case, you can repeat this process once a week until your locks are purple-free. 

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We’re happy to say that using purple shampoo is relatively quick and easy. For the most part, you use it just like you would any other shampoo! The only difference is that you leave it on your hair for a little longer.

But remember, too much purple shampoo will give your locks a lilac hue, so make sure you use it sparingly. We hope that the information we’ve covered today is just what you were looking for!