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Blue vs. Purple Shampoo: Which Is Better?

Purple vs. blue shampoo: which is right for you?

Written by Amber Belanger
Blue vs. Purple Shampoo

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Purple shampoo is a wide-known product today. But blue shampoo is picking up traction as well.

As a hair care enthusiast, you may have come across both of these products and pondered on which is right for your hair.

The truth is, they both have their place in the world of haircare. Because they do the same thing, but for different hair colors.

In this article, we’ll dive into the depth of blue vs. purple shampoo. Learn which one you should use right here.

Difference Between Purple vs. Blue Shampoo

The difference between purple and blue shampoo is the color they neutralize. They are both toning shampoos, created to eliminate unwanted tones in your hair. But purple shampoo eliminates yellow tones, while blue shampoo targets orange and brassy tones.

When using either purple or blue shampoo, remember to follow the instructions on the product. It’s easy to over-tone your hair.

PropertyPurple ShampooBlue Shampoo
Targeted Hair ColorLight hair such as blonde, platinum, or grayBrunette or darker hair colors
NeutralizesYellow or brassy tones in blonde or light-colored hair.Orange and brassy tones in brunette or dark-colored hair.
PigmentContains purple pigmentsContains blue pigments
Ideal Use CaseNeutralizes yellow tones to keep blonde locks fresh and bright.Eliminates unwanted warm tones to maintain a cooler, more natural brown.
Other Hair ColorsCan also benefit gray hair by counteracting yellowish tones. May be used on red hair depending on the shade.Can work on some shades of red undertones in darker hair colors.
Tackling BrassinessHelps blondes combat brassiness by neutralizing yellow/golden undertones.Helps brunettes combat brassiness by neutralizing brassy orange/coppery hues in lightened/colored hair.
Leave-in TimeUsually 3-5 minutes (varies depending on your hair)Usually 3-5 minutes (varies depending on your hair)

What Is Purple Shampoo?

Purple shampoo is a toning shampoo specifically designed for light hair, such as blonde, platinum, or gray. It contains purple pigments that help neutralize yellow or brassy tones in blonde or light-colored hair.

By using purple shampoo, you can keep your blonde locks looking fresh and bright.

Learn more: What Does Purple Shampoo Do?

What Is Blue Shampoo?

Blue shampoo, on the other hand, is meant for brunettes and those with darker hair colors. It contains blue pigments that help neutralize orange or reddish tones in brunette or dark-colored hair.

By using blue shampoo, you can eliminate unwanted warm tones and maintain a cooler, more natural shade of brown.

Color Theory and the Color Wheel

Both purple and blue shampoos work based on color theory and the color wheel.

Opposite colors on the color wheel neutralize each other. Purple is across the wheel from yellow, so it neutralizes yellow tones in hair. Blue is across the wheel from orange, so it neutralizes orange and brassy tones.

color wheel

Should I Use Blue Shampoo or Purple Shampoo?

Deciding whether to use blue shampoo or purple shampoo depends on your hair color and the tones you want to neutralize:

  • Purple shampoo is designed to neutralize yellow tones, making it ideal for blondes, silver, or white hair.
  • Blue shampoo works best for brunette hair, as it helps eliminate orange and brassy undertones.

When choosing between the two, consider the existing undertones in your hair.

If you notice unwanted yellow tones, opt for purple shampoo. If your hair has more orange or brassy tones, blue shampoo will be more effective.

Use Case for Different Hair Colors

As said, the difference between the two shampoos is the colors they neutralize. This is directly correlated to your hair color.

Purple Shampoo for Blondes

Purple Shampoo for Blondes

If you have blonde or light-colored hair, purple shampoo is great. It neutralizes yellow tones, preventing your cool-toned bleached hair from turning brassy or yellow.

Blue Shampoo for Brunettes

Blue Shampoo for Brunettes

If you have brunette or darker hair, blue shampoo is the right choice for you. It is designed to remove unwanted orange and brassy tones from your hair.

Blue shampoo works by depositing cool pigments, counteracting warm, undesired hues.

Gray, Red, and Ombre Hair

Gray, Red, and Ombre Hair

Gray hair can also benefit from using purple shampoo. It can counteract yellowish tones, keeping your gray locks looking silvery and refined.

Red hair can benefit from both, depending on the shade of your hair, and what tones you wish to eliminate. But here, pink shampoo is generally recommended.

If you have an ombre hair color, where your hair transitions from dark to light, consider using both blue and purple shampoos.

Apply blue shampoo to the darker sections of your hair and purple shampoo to the lighter sections, effectively neutralizing any unwanted tones throughout your unique hair color.

Neutralizing Unwanted Tones

The purpose of blue and purple shampoo all comes down to this: neutralizing unwanted tones.

Different hair colors develop different unwanted colors (pigment). Hence, different products are needed to fix it.

Hair ColorPigment to Neutralize
GrayYellowish Tones
BrunetteOrange/Coppery Hues
RedVaries based on shade

Yellow Tones

If you have blonde or silver hair, you might notice yellow undertones starting to appear over time. This is where purple shampoo comes into play.

Purple shampoo uses purple pigments to neutralize yellow tones, keeping your blonde or silver hair brighter and ashier.

Apply this shampoo regularly to transform your hair back to that cool, desirable shade.

Orange Tones

For those with light brown or brunette hair, orange undertones may be the issue. Blue shampoo is your best option for tackling these unwanted tones.

Blue shampoo uses blue pigments to neutralize the brassy orange tones often found in colored hair.

By incorporating blue shampoo into your hair care routine, you can effectively diminish these warm tones and maintain your desired shade.

Red Tones

While there isn’t a specific shampoo designed for red tones, both blue and purple shampoos can work together to combat them.

You can also check out green or pink shampoo.

Since red undertones usually appear in darker hair colors, a combination of the blue and purple shampoos may help to minimize these unwanted hues.

Experiment with both shampoos to find the balance that works best for your hair, and enjoy the improved vibrancy and tone.

Learn more: Purple Shampoo on Red Hair

Tackling Brassiness

Brassiness can be a challenge for both brunettes and blondes when trying to maintain the perfect hair color.

Here’s how blue and purple shampoo does that.

Brassiness in Brunettes

If you’re a brunette, brassy undertones can appear as unwanted orange or coppery hues in your hair, especially if your hair has been lightened or colored.

To counteract these tones, blue shampoo is the way to go. The blue pigments in the shampoo neutralize brassy orange tones in your hair.

Brassiness in Blondes

For blondes, brassiness typically manifests as yellow or golder undertones, which can make your hair look dull and less vibrant. Purple shampoo is your best friend in this scenario.

The purple pigments in these shampoos neutralize yellow tones and keep your blonde hair looking bright and ashy.

Regular use of purple shampoo, in conjunction with a quality conditioner, will help maintain your ideal blonde shade and keep your hair healthy and shiny.

How to Use Purple & Blue Shampoo

Here’s a short guide on how to use purple and blue shampoo. Since they work the same, the application process is the same.

The only thing you have to pay attention to is the leave-in time. This varies depending on your hair, not the shampoo.

Remember, less is more with toning shampoos; you can always repeat the process if needed, but over-toning your hair can lead to unwanted results.

Wet Hair vs. Dry Hair

When you’re using toning shampoo, remember that applying it to wet hair is recommended.

Wet hair allows the shampoo to spread evenly and work effectively.

You can also apply it to dry hair for a more intense toning effect. But this is generally not recommended.

How to Apply Toning Shampoo

Here’s how to apply toning shampoo:

  1. Wet: Wet your hair thoroughly.
  2. Apply: Dispense a small amount of shampoo into your hand and then massage it gently into your hair, covering all areas (you can also dilute the shampoo with your regular shampoo for a milder effect).
  3. Wait: Leave the toning shampoo in your hair for the specified amount of time, usually 3-5 minutes.
  4. Rinse: Rinse it all out.
  5. Condition: Apply a conditioner to replenish your hair with moisture.


Toning shampoos may cause temporary staining on your hands, scalp, or bathroom fixtures.

To avoid staining, ensure you rinse your hair thoroughly after using the shampoo and clean your shower or sink immediately. Also, using a dark towel to dry your hair can help prevent staining your lighter towels.

Cool Water

After leaving the toning shampoo in your hair for the recommended time, rinse it out thoroughly using cool water.

Cool water helps seal the hair cuticle, ensuring that your hair retains the toning effects and looks vibrant and refreshed.

Following the shampoo, apply a good quality conditioner to keep your hair moisturized and healthy.

Maintaining and Enhancing Hair Color

If you’re looking for a purple or blue shampoo, you probably want to enhance your hair color. So here are a few tips to do so.

Tips for Long-Lasting Color

To make your hair color last longer, avoid washing your hair daily. Instead, use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner formulated for color-treated hair.

Opt for blue or purple shampoos to neutralize unwanted undertones depending on your hair color.

Remember, purple shampoo neutralizes yellow tones, while blue shampoo neutralizes orange and brassy tones.

Limit Heat

Another tip for maintaining vibrant hair color is to limit heat-styling tools, like curling irons and flat irons, which can diminish the vibrancy of your dyed hair.

When using heat tools, always apply a heat protectant spray to minimize damage.

Hair Masks

Consistent use of a hair mask targeted for color-treated hair can also contribute to enhancing your hair’s natural shine and moisture balance.

Hair Color Glazes

Hair color glazes offer a temporary option to achieve a natural shine and refresh your dyed hair. They work by sealing your hair cuticle, which adds a layer of shine and vibrancy to multiple undertones.

Glazes can be translucent or color-depositing, providing a modest color enhancement while adding more shine. You can choose a glaze in a shade that matches your hair color or opt for a clear glaze to boost shine without altering your hue.

Most hair glazes can be easily applied at home. Follow the instructions on the package and rinse after the recommended time, usually 15-20 minutes.

Keep in mind that glazes are temporary solutions. They generally last up to a few weeks, so you will need to reapply them to maintain the desired effect.

Final Takeaway: Which Is Right For You?

When deciding between blue and purple shampoos, consider your hair color. If you have lighter hair, opt for a purple shampoo to neutralize yellow tones. For darker hair with cooler tones, blue shampoo will counteract brassiness.

To save time and money on salon visits, select the toning shampoo that aligns with your hair needs.

Remember, results may vary, so test small portions of the chosen shampoo to ensure the product achieves your desired tone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use blue or purple shampoo for my hair type?

It depends on your hair color and the undertones you want to neutralize. If you have blonde or light-colored hair with yellow tones, use a purple shampoo. On the other hand, if you have brunette or darker hair with orange or brassy tones, use blue shampoo.

Can blue and purple shampoo be mixed together?

While there isn’t a rule against mixing blue and purple shampoo, it is rarely necessary. Each shampoo targets specific hair undertones, and using them together may dilute their effectiveness. Instead, choose the shampoo that best fits your hair’s needs, as mentioned above.

What happens if you use blue shampoo on blonde hair?

Using blue shampoo on blonde hair may not give you the desired results. Blue shampoo is meant to neutralize orange and brassy tones often found in brunette or darker hair. Purple shampoo will help blonde hair come out cooler and lighter, as it combats yellow tones.

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Amber Belanger

Amber is not just a beauty enthusiast. She has spent countless hours doing the nails of her friends, researching the newest studies on personal care, as well as tried and tested numerous hair products. She prides herself on her factuality and luscious hair.