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Maintaining hair color is a scientific art, and purple shampoo is proof. Purple shampoo uses crushed violet pigments to neutralize yellow tones, also called brassiness, in blonde and silver hair. But it isn’t quite as easy as suds, rinse, and repeat.
Purple shampoo’s efficacy is rooted in color theory (more on that later). It also requires proper application to achieve the desired results. Without clear knowledge of both, your purple shampoo could actually do more harm than good.
Here are some common ways you might be using your purple shampoo incorrectly, and, more importantly, how to use it right.
1. You’re Using Too Much Of It
Purple shampoo distributes violet pigments in the hair, which bind to and cancel out yellow tones in your hair. However, less is more with this potent product. Using too much purple shampoo can introduce too much violet to your locks, causing hair to appear dark and dull.
Brassiness refers to the warm yellows and oranges that naturally occur in our hair. While too much can ruin the look of a cool, ashy blonde, not enough can look unnatural and lifeless.
It’s best to use a purple shampoo once a week at most. Luckily, this just means you can invest in higher quality products, like Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance. Because you only have to apply once a week, this high-end hair care solution will last you longer.
2. You’re Skipping This Important Step
Purple shampoo is meant to tone all of your hair, which means you need to ensure you’re putting the product on all of your hair. Uneven application can result in splotches of brassiness or dullness—no one wants that.
To ensure your purple products are reaching every last inch of your tresses, get a wide-toothed shower comb. Use the comb to distribute the shampoo or conditioner evenly down your locks. Just be sure to comb gently, as wet hair is more prone to overstretching and breakage.
3. You Aren’t Waiting Long Enough
Too often, we don’t give our hair products a fair chance to work their magic. We apply, rinse almost immediately, then wonder why our new shampoo or conditioner doesn’t work. Combing product through your hair is the first step to combat this.
The second is to wait. Purple shampoo is not meant to be washed out immediately. Give the products around three to seven minutes to fully absorb into the hair shaft for maximum results. Rinsing off the product too early is essentially like giving your money away.
4. You’re Using The Wrong Product For Your Hair Type
Purple shampoos can be incredibly drying. For thick or oily hair, this can be less of an issue. But for those with dry, coarse, or very fine hair, using too much purple product can increase your risk of breakage.
Redken’s Color Extend Blondage Express is a gentle hair mask that hydrates as it color corrects. Using a mask or conditioner instead of shampoo can decrease the amount of drying-out your locks have to face for the sake of cool, non-brassy color.
5. You (Think You) Have The Wrong Hair Color
Another common misconception about purple shampoo is that it’s only for blonde and silver hair. This goes back to color theory. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel—like purple and yellow—are complementary.
That’s how the violet pigments can soften and eliminate yellow tones. Since brunette and red hair are primarily orange-toned, purple shampoo won’t do much for its overall color.
However, purple shampoo can eliminate brassiness in brunette balayage, ombré, and other highlighted looks. Moreover, blue shampoo like this one from Redken is effective in eliminating orange tones specifically, as blue and orange are complementary colors.
So, depending on what tones you’re looking to eliminate, brunettes and redheads could still use a purple or blue shampoo to color correct.
6. You Aren’t Following Up With Moisture
If you are using purple shampoo to even out dyed blonde or silver, then your hair has already undergone stress from the chemical processes of the hair dye. If you are naturally gray-haired, your hair is also more coarse and prone to dryness.
Therefore, it’s incredibly important to hydrate your hair when using purple products. Verb’s Purple Hair Mask is a nourishing, vegan purple mask that softens and smooths as it tones. It contains pro-vitamin B5, sunflower seed extract, and açai extract for extra moisturizing power.
Whether you’re new to the world of purple products or a bonafide pro, avoiding these common mistakes can help you get the cool, chic blonde and silver hair tone of your dreams.