If you're a long-term bottle blonde, you're doubtless already well acquainted with the benefits of a purple toning shampoo. Whether you're sporting a dramatic platinum shade or a warm golden hue a la Blake Lively, this unassuming hero product is a key ally in every not-so natural blonde's fight to eliminate yellow, brassy tones in between salon visits.
How does it work? Think of the colour wheel: yellow and purple are on opposite sides, so just as make-up artists use colour correction to correct complexion flaws (green to counteract redness, yellow for dark, purple shadows under the eyes), the shampoo's purple pigment will help eliminate yellowness. It's a godsend for those chasing the perfect ice blonde, and for those with warmer tones, too.
Who should use a purple shampoo, and what are the benefits?
'A purple shampoo is great to use for anyone with blonde hair from a natural blonde through to a very light platinum blonde as it will subdue and neutralise yellow hues,' explains Christel Lundqvist, founder and director of STIL Salon in Notting Hill. 'When the hair colour is
lighter the product is more effective as its easier to see cooler hues on a lighter base with a purple shampoo. You can also use a purple shampoo on darker shades however, it will have a natural cooling effect on darker shades from dark blonde to light brown hues.'
How often should you use purple shampoo: every wash or as a less frequent treatment?
'Depending on the hair quality you can use a purple shampoo every day, if desired,' explains Christel. 'If the hair is slightly sensitised from colour services it will be beneficial to use it 1-2 times a week, whilst using a strengthening shampoo in between. A purple shampoo is designed to wash the hair but it’s main purpose is to tone, so if the hair needs extra keratin or moisture it might be good to use an additional shampoo in between.' If your dyed hair feels dry or damaged, then, 'it is best just to use once a week, using moisturising, strengthening or reparative care the rest of the time.'
Can purple shampoos ever stain your hair?
While using a toning shampoo shouldn't result it any colour transfer if applied correctly, there is a small risk for white-blonde hair, as Christel explains. 'Certain purple shampoos are very strong in hue so if its left on too long it can have a slight blue or purple tonal effect on very blonde hair.'
What is the difference between purple and silver toning shampoos?
Confused by colour jargon? 'Some shampoos have more of a violet tone which can look slightly silver and some shampoos will have more of a blue tone,' says Christel. 'Both will do the same job, however purple based shampoos are slightly cleaner looking on blonde hair as it won’t necessarily leave a residue of grey or blue hues.'
Can you use purple shampoo on other hair colours?
If you've opted for balayage colour with blonde tones towards the ends, you might notice the lighter hue becoming warmer or brassier with time. Time for a toning shampoo? Christel notes that while you can use purple shampoos on different hues, 'bear in mind that it's designed to cool tones: if the hair has a mixture of warm and cool hues it will have a cooling effect on the overall hair colour.'
What are purple conditioners?
Many colour ranges for blondes go beyond the toning shampoo to offer 'purple' conditioners and masks to complement its effects, protecting colour and treating damaged hair. 'TIGI's Catwalk Fashionista Violet range has a shampoo, conditioner and a treatment mask to tone and hydrate the hair,' recommends Christel.
How can I prep my dry, damaged hair before using a toning shampoo?
'For the best results when using a purple shampoo and conditioner, you need to make sure your hair is in good condition and properly nourished. If it’s dry or damaged, the end result could be patchy and uneven,' explains Fie Karayannis, senior colourist at Jo Hansford. 'This is because dry hair is more porous due to over-processing, so the purple shampoo will stain bits of the hair differently. One of the easiest ways to remedy this is to incorporate nourishing hair treatments into your routine. Use a deep nourishing masque, such as Jo Hansford Expert Colour Care Intensive Masque, £28.50, once a week. Lather a generous amount onto dry hair and wrap hair in a warm towel for 10 minutes for a quick fix, or if you have more time, leave on as an overnight treatment to really quench dry, damaged and over processed coloured hair.'
The best purple shampoos for blonde hair
Jo Hansford Platinum Shampoo
Legendary colourist Jo Hansford's Platinum product line is a godsend for blondes everywhere, with a sulfate-free formula that'll protect against colour fade in between salon visits.
L'Oreal Professionnel Shine Blonde Shampoo
Hard water (which the majority of the UK's urban areas are blessed with) is a prime cause of brassiness. The anti-hard water agents in L'Oreal's neutralising shampoo help to protect against these impurities, making it a must for city-dwelling blondes.
Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo
Cult brand Oribe won't just make an Instagram-friendly addition to your bathroom shelves with its eye-catching packaging: this blonde-friendly shampoo contains the optimal amount of violet pigment to banish yellow tones and boost any natural highlights.
Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Brightening Shampoo
It's a rare high street hair product that will give you impressive results and change from a five pound note, but Pro:Voke's Touch of Silver shampoo does just that, earning shout-outs and recommendations from colourists and beauty editors.
Sachajuan Silver Shampoo
The secret to maintaining the perfect Scandi blonde hue? A purple toning shampoo from Stockholm's favourite salon, Sachajuan. Added UV protection will keep your colour looking radiant in between appointments, too.
Bleach Silver Shampoo
Don't let the inky hue of Bleach's toning shampoo phase you: it's a must-buy for those chasing the perfect ash blonde or a salon-fresh platinum finish. Wheat proteins and Vitamin B5 add a moisture injection to over-processed lengths, too.
Tigi Catwalk Fashionista Violet Shampoo
Tigi's toning shampoo works a dream on a range of blonde hues, helping to preserve a salon-fresh feeling in between appointments. Use the Violet Mask for an extra boost.