Leaving Purple Shampoo in Your Hair for an Hour or More? What Happens?

African American female with a dark brown hair color with brassy tones and an unwanted tint.

Have you ever thought about leaving purple shampoo in your hair for an hour? Some think that doing so could lead to enhanced brass elimination and a better overall result.

Others claim it’s a big no-no. In this article, we’ll clear things up for you by letting you know once and for all whether it’s a good idea.

Leaving Purple Shampoo in Your Hair for an Hour is Risky

Although the specific instructions may vary by shampoo, leaving purple shampoo in your hair for an hour is almost never recommended. It’s a case of too much of a good thing; going over the recommended time can have an adverse effect on your hair’s luster and color.

Does purple shampoo lighten hair if left on too long? Does it cause damage? Keep reading to learn more about the consequences of leaving purple shampoo in your hair for an hour or longer.

Key Takeaways

  • How Purple Shampoo Works: Purple shampoo is essential for eliminating unwanted yellow tones and achieving cooler tones in color-treated hair, especially in blonde hair strands. Purple shampoo works by depositing violet pigments that counteract brassy and warm tones.
  • Usage Time: Leaving purple shampoo on your hair for too long, such as an hour, can lead to overtoning, which can cause dull hair, unwanted purple tones, and dry, brittle strands. The best way to use it is by adhering to the recommended time, usually at most 30 minutes.
  • Hair Type Considerations: Different hair types and colors, including gray hair, blonde highlights, and darker shades, require varied approaches with purple toning shampoo. For instance, light-colored hair may need less time than darker hair to avoid a purple tint.
  • Proper Application: For effective results, wet your hair with lukewarm water, apply the right purple shampoo, and focus on areas with brassy or unwanted warm tones. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and follow up with a conditioner to maintain your hair’s health.
  • Fixing Overtoned Hair: If your hair becomes overtoned, washing it with a normal shampoo or using treatments like baking soda or dish soap can help remove excess purple pigment. However, these methods should be used sparingly to avoid damaging the hair.
Cute black girl with ombre curls perfected after putting purple shampoo on the tips to reduce yellow tones.

The Consequences of Leaving Purple Shampoo in Hair for an Hour

Leaving purple shampoo in your hair for an hour will cause your hair to be overtoned (and could make your hair purple). Be sure to follow the recommended time limits in order to avoid any of the following negative effects: 

  • Dull and lifeless hair. If you leave purple shampoo on your hair for an hour, it will remove an excessive amount of yellow undertones, leaving your hair looking dull and dark. You won’t get the fresh, vibrant color you wanted.
  • Unwanted color. Purple shampoos are highly pigmented, and some of those pigments will always be left behind during the toning process, even after rinsing your hair thoroughly. But if you leave purple shampoo in your hair for too long, you could be left with purple, gray, blue, or lilac tresses. Hair that is very light or damaged is particularly susceptible to picking up an unwanted purple pigment.
  • Product buildup. The pigments left behind after using purple shampoo incorrectly can cause product buildup. This leftover residue can prevent water from reaching your hair, leading to dry hair that’s stiff and fragile. Product buildup can also weigh your hair down, slow hair growth, and decrease shine.
  • Brittle hair. Shampoo can dry out your hair and strip it of its natural oils. Leaving it in your hair for longer than the recommended time can increase these drying effects, leading to brittle hair that’s prone to breakage.
Female leaning against a wall with brown and orange hair strands with unwanted yellow tones.

How to Use Purple Shampoo Properly

Now that you know the consequences associated with leaving your purple shampoo on for too long, let’s look at how to use purple shampoo for the best results.

Purple Shampoo on Curly Blonde Hair ??

  1. Choose your purple shampoo. Not all purple shampoos work the same. Look for a shampoo that has a rich purple hue and a thick consistency. The product should also be opaque rather than transparent.
    • Toning draws upon on the concept of color theory. In a nutshell, mixing two opposite colors will cancel both colors out. If you look at a color wheel, yellow and purple are on opposite sides. The opposite of orange, however, is blue. If you’re trying to tone down orange pigments in your hair, use a blue-toned shampoo.
  2. Wear gloves. Purple shampoo is highly pigmented, so wear gloves to prevent stains. You may also want to wear old clothes you don’t mind getting stained.
  3. Wet hair with warm water. Warm water opens the cuticles of your hair, which helps it absorb the purple pigments more easily. Fully saturate your hair. 
  4. Apply purple shampoo and work it into a lather. Focus the shampoo on any area where you want the brassiness toned down.
  5. Wait. Unlike regular shampoo, purple shampoo needs to sit on your hair for a specific length of time. How long you wait is crucial to getting the right color. Depending on your level of brassiness, you may choose to leave the shampoo on your hair for up to 30 minutes.
    1. For untreated, naturally blonde hair, you’ll only want to leave the shampoo on for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing.
    2. Hair that’s extremely brassy or has been color-treated (e.g., dyed blonde hair) may need extra time to absorb the purple pigments. To correct this, leave the shampoo on for up to 15 minutes.
    3. For platinum blonde, gray, or silver hair, you can leave the purple shampoo on for up to half an hour. While going over 15 minutes isn’t recommended for other hair colors, removing all the warm tones will make gray and platinum hair more vibrant. You can use a shower cap to keep your hair moist as you wait.
    4. Above all, be sure to follow the instructions on the purple shampoo packaging.
  6. Rinse your hair with cool water. Rinse your hair thoroughly to remove all traces of the shampoo.
  7. Condition. You can use your regular conditioner, or a purple conditioner if you’re looking for additional toning action. It will result in an even cooler, ashier color.
  8. Repeat the process as needed. The effects of purple shampoo aren’t always immediate, and it may take multiple treatments to achieve your desired results. You can use purple shampoo once or twice a week but avoid using it more often than that.

How to Fix Overtoned Hair

Black woman with bleached hair with unwanted yellow tones fades in the sunlight.

If you’ve left purple shampoo on your hair for too long, there are steps you can take to remove any unwanted color or buildup.

Wash Your Hair Like Normal

Use your regular shampoo to gently wash away the violet pigments left behind by purple shampoo. The color will continue to fade with each wash.

The time it will take for the color to fully wash out varies, depending on how dark the purple hue is and how light or damaged your hair is. You can also use a clarifying shampoo to strip away extra color more quickly.

Baking Soda Treatment

Baking soda has clarifying and lightening properties, which makes it great for fixing overtoned hair. To give it a try, follow the below steps: 

  1. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda with a dollop of your preferred shampoo. 
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair and work into a lather. 
  3. Leave the mixture sitting on your hair for up to half an hour; just be sure to check it often.
  4. Once you’re satisfied with the color, or after 30 minutes have passed, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.
Gorgeous African American female with recently dyed brown and yellow hair that's perfect after a few washes.

Dish Soap

Dish soap is formulated with strong detergents that can be used to remove the purple haze left behind after overtoning your hair. Follow the below steps to try it out: 

  1. Add 5 drops of dish soap to a quarter-sized dollop of your preferred shampoo. 
  2. Wet your hair, and then apply the dish soap mixture to your strands. 
  3. Work it into a rich lather, and let the mixture sit on your hair for up to 10 minutes. 
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water. 
  5. Follow up with your normal conditioner and hairstyling routine. 

Note: Don’t repeat this treatment more than once a month, as dish soap is harsh and will strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse 

For a long time, people have been using hydrogen peroxide to lighten their hair or fix overtoned hair. You can give it a try by following the steps below: 

  • In a spray bottle, mix equal amounts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. 
  • Shake well, and spray the mixture onto your hair. Focus on just the areas that have been over toned or still have a purple hue. 
  • Let the mixture sit on your hair for no longer than 1 minute before rinsing thoroughly.
  • Follow up with a deep conditioner. Hydrogen peroxide can be extremely drying and damaging to hair, so make sure you’re using the correct percentage and do not repeat this treatment more than once a month.
African American girl with curly brassy hair sitting on a stairway holding the rails.

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We hope that this article has illuminated the risks involved with leaving purple shampoo in your hair for an hour or longer. With the tools and techniques mentioned in this article, you’ve got all you need to undo any unwanted effects of leaving the highly pigmented shampoo on for longer than recommended. Purple shampoo can be a valuable addition to your hair coloring routine, provided it is used correctly.

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