Haircare - Hair

Can Brunettes Use Purple Shampoo? A Quick Guide

Can you use purple shampoo, even if you have brown hair? Well, it depends…

Written by Amber Belanger
can brunettes use purple shampoo

We may earn a commission for products sold through links on this page. Learn more.

As a brunette, you may have thought that this hair product was exclusive to those with blonde locks.

Not only can brunettes use purple shampoo, but they can greatly benefit from it too.

But, it’s not all brunettes that can benefit from it.

So under what circumstances does it make sense for someone with brown hair to use purple shampoo?

Lets take a look at it. But first, a bit about purple shampoo.

What Is Purple Shampoo?

Purple shampoo is a toning shampoo specifically designed to combat brassiness in hair. It helps to neutralize unwanted yellow (and orange tones) that make your hair look dull and lifeless.

If you have any lightness, highlights, or even just subtle changes in your hair color, purple shampoo can help maintain those desired tones and keep your hair looking vibrant.

Purpose and Benefits of Purple Shampoo

The main purpose of purple shampoo is to eliminate unwanted yellow or brassy tones from your hair.

The shampoo contains purple pigments that counteract those warm tones in your hair.

It’s commonly used by blondes, but it can also be a great option for brunettes with lighter hair sections.

In addition to its color-correcting properties, purple shampoo can provide some of the same benefits as regular shampoo, such as cleansing and nourishing your hair.

How It Works

Purple shampoo works by depositing small amounts of purple pigment onto your hair, which neutralizes the warm yellow or orange hues.

The color theory behind this process is simple: on the color wheel, purple is opposite to yellow, so it counteracts and cancels out yellow tones in your hair.

color wheel

By using purple shampoo, you can extend the life of your hair color and maintain that fresh-from-the-salon look.

Remember, though, purple shampoo shouldn’t replace your regular shampoo entirely—instead, use it as a supplementary product to enhance and protect your hair color.

Why Brunettes Might Consider Using Purple Shampoo

As mentioned, purple shampoo is for light hair. But believe it or not, brunettes can benefit from using purple shampoo too.

Here are some of the things that purple shampoo does to brown hair:

  • Neutralizing brassy tones
  • Brightening/enhancing hair color

Neutralizing Brassy Tones

Just like blondes, your brown hair can develop brassy tones over time. These tones can make your hair look less vibrant and a bit orange, which is where purple shampoo comes in.

Thanks to its color-correcting properties, purple shampoo can neutralize those unwanted yellow and orange hues, leaving your hair looking cool and fresh.

Purple shampoo is most efficient in removing yellow tones. If you’re plagued with more orange brassy tones, it won’t work as well.

Brightening Hair Color

Another great reason for you to use purple shampoo is to brighten your hair color.

Whether your brunette shade has highlights or just needs a little pick-me-up, purple shampoo can come to the rescue.

By counteracting dull, brassy undertones, you’ll find that your hair color appears more vibrant and shiny after using purple shampoo regularly.

Just remember, the frequency to use purple shampoo depends on how much lightness is in your hair.

Experiment with it and find the right balance for your specific hair type. In no time, you’ll have cooler, brighter brunette locks!

Why Purple Shampoo Isn’t for Some Brunettes

In some instances, purple shampoo won’t be for you as a brunette. There are two main reasons why this would be the case:

  1. Your hair is too dark
  2. You have orange brassy tones

Your Hair Is Too Dark

When your hair is a very dark brown, you might not see significant benefits from using purple shampoo.

The primary purpose of purple shampoo is to neutralize yellow, orange, and brassy tones in hair colors like blonde, platinum, silver, pastel, beige, and gray or in brown hair that has lighter parts.

As Davines explains, the pigment in purple shampoo works as a gentle toner, not a lightener or hair dye.

If your hair is mostly dark brown without any lighter parts, purple shampoo can’t work its magic.

Purple Shampoo Doesn’t Deal With Orange Tones Well

For those with brown hair that features more orange brassy tones than yellows, purple shampoo might not be as effective.

As Byrdie points out, purple shampoo is designed to neutralize yellow tones while blue shampoo takes care of orange and brassy tones.

The reason for this is because violet-purple sits across the color wheel from yellow, and blue sits across the wheel from orange.

So, if orange or brassy tones are your main concern, you’d likely benefit more from using a blue shampoo instead of a purple one.

When Is Purple Shampoo Good For Brunettes?

Purple shampoo can be beneficial for brunettes, but only in certain situations when there are lighter shades within the mix:

  • You have light brown hair
  • You have light highlights
  • You have light balayage

Use it according to your specific hair situation and enjoy the benefits it can bring to your lighter hair colors.

Light Brown Hair

If you have light brown hair, you can develop yellow or brassy tones that purple shampoo can eliminate.

Light Highlights

For brunettes with lighter highlights, purple shampoo can also be beneficial.

It can help maintain the vibrancy and tone of your highlights by counteracting any brassiness that might develop.

Remember to apply the shampoo only to the highlighted sections of your hair, as it might be less effective on darker-colored hair.

Light Balayage

If you have a light balayage hairstyle, where lighter colors blend into your natural darker tone, purple shampoo can help maintain the cooler tones in the lighter sections of your hair.

Apply it to the balayaged areas to reduce yellow or brassy tones and maintain a beautiful, natural-looking color.

Remember that purple shampoo works best on lighter hair shades. For very dark hair, it might not be as effective.

How to Use Purple Shampoo for Brunettes

Here’s how to use purple shampoo, also for brown hair.

Choose the Right Product

To get the best results, you need to choose the right purple shampoo for your hair.

Look for a product specifically designed for brunettes, as these will have a stronger purple or blue pigment to counteract any unwanted orange or yellow tones in your hair.

Check the label for instructions on how often you should use the product and how long you should leave it on your hair.

Some of these products also contain nourishing ingredients that can help keep your hair healthy and moisturized.

Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a quick guide to using purple shampoo:

  1. Wet your hair
  2. Apply purple shampoo
  3. Use a wide-tooth comb
  4. Leave the shampoo
  5. Rinse
  6. Condition

1. Wet your hair thoroughly

Before applying the purple shampoo, make sure your hair is completely wet.

2. Apply a small amount of purple shampoo

Take a small amount of the shampoo in your palms, and gently apply it to your hair, starting from the roots and working your way down towards the ends.

3. Use a wide-tooth comb (optional)

To ensure even distribution, use a wide-tooth comb to disperse the product through your hair. This will help you achieve a more even and consistent color correction.

Refer to the product label for instructions on how long you should leave the shampoo on your hair. Typically, this can vary between 3-7 minutes. Keep an eye on your hair while the shampoo is sitting, and rinse it off if you notice any undesirable color changes.

5. Rinse thoroughly

Once the desired time has passed, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove all traces of the purple shampoo.

6. Condition your hair

After using purple shampoo, it’s important to follow up with a color-care conditioner or hair mask to restore moisture and help maintain the cooler brunette tones.

Remember to use the purple shampoo only as often as recommended on the product label, usually around twice a week. Overusing the product can lead to over-toning and dull hair.

Potential Risks and Considerations

Purple shampoo doesn’t come completely without risk. Especially if you have brown hair.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Hair color alteration
  • Dryness
  • Damage

Hair Color Alteration

Although purple shampoo can be used for brunettes, it’s essential to know that using it incorrectly may lead to hair color alteration.

Remember that purple shampoo is meant to neutralize yellow tones in your hair. But using too much or leaving it on for too long can cause your hair to turn a different shade.

To avoid this, follow the product instructions. And always perform a patch test on a small section of your hair before applying to your entire head.


Purple shampoo might cause dryness in your hair. This is because the pigments used to neutralize yellow tones may have a drying effect on your strands.

To combat this, use a conditioner or hair mask after washing your hair with purple shampoo.

This will help to replenish moisture and keep your hair looking and feeling healthy.


Excessive use of purple shampoo can lead to hair damage.

As mentioned earlier, the pigments used in these shampoos can be drying. And if not used correctly, your hair may experience breakage or split ends.

To avoid this, follow the product instructions and use the purple shampoo only as often as recommended. You can also incorporate a color-care conditioner or masque to nourish your hair and minimize any damage.

Blue Shampoo: The Perfect Alternative for Brunettes

Blue shampoo is a fantastic option for brunettes who want to keep their hair color looking fresh and vibrant.

Like purple shampoo, blue shampoo is designed to neutralize brassy tones and prevent color fading.

However, blue shampoo is especially great for brunettes because it targets the copper and orange hues that often appear in brown hair.

When you start using blue shampoo, you’ll notice that your hair looks much cooler and more even-toned. It can help remove those unwanted tones and give your hair a more polished and salon-fresh appearance.

How to Use Blue Shampoo

Using blue shampoo is easy and similar to using any other shampoo. You just need to massage it into your wet hair and make sure it covers all areas.

It’s also crucial to leave the shampoo on your hair for about 3-5 minutes before rinsing it out. This will give it enough time to work its magic and give you the best results.

So, if you’re a brunette looking to keep your hair color vibrant and free from brassy tones, give blue shampoo a try. It’s an inexpensive and easy solution to help maintain your hair’s rich and cool-toned appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does purple shampoo do to brown hair?

Purple shampoo is designed to neutralize brassy tones in blonde hair, but it can also have benefits for brunettes. If your brown hair has lighter highlights or a balayage, using purple shampoo can help to counteract any unwanted warm, orange, or yellow tones, resulting in a cooler and more refined look. Keep in mind, though, that purple shampoo won’t make a significant change to an all-over brown hair color.

Will purple shampoo lighten brown hair?

No, purple shampoo won’t lighten your brown hair. Its primary function is to neutralize brassiness by depositing cool and violet tones, but it doesn’t have the ability to lighten your hair. If you’d like to achieve a lighter shade, you’ll want to consult with a professional hair stylist to explore other options such as hair dye, bleach, or salon treatments.

Should brunettes use blue or purple shampoo?

Brunettes with blonde highlights or lighter tones can benefit from using purple shampoo, but if your hair is a more natural brown or has reddish undertones, you will find more success with a blue shampoo. Blue shampoo is designed to neutralize orange and warm tones in darker hair, while purple shampoo works best on lighter tones and blonde hair.

Photo of author

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.