Haircare - Hair

How to Use Blue Shampoo: The Complete Guide

Here’s everything you need to know to use blue shampoo today.

Written by Amber Belanger
how to use blue shampoo

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Blue shampoo has become a popular hair care product among color-treated brunettes. It’s proven to help brunettes maintain a beautiful hair color.

This hair care essential effectively neutralizes copper tones, bringing out the best in your lightened or highlighted brown hair.

But so many people use it wrong, because they don’t know how to do it right.

So, here’s how to achieve the “wow” effect with blue shampoo.

What Is Blue Shampoo?

Before you can learn how to use blue shampoo, you have to understand how it works. And what it does.

Blue shampoo is a hair care product designed to neutralize brassy tones in color-treated or natural brown hair. It does this by depositing blue-violet pigments into your hair when you shampoo.

Learn more: What Does Blue Shampoo Do?

Color Wheel and Color Theory

To understand blue shampoo, let’s first discuss the color wheel and color theory.

The color wheel is a chart that displays all colors and how they interact with one another. Color theory is the science behind how we perceive and interpret colors. In the context of hair care. This theory helps explain how certain colors can neutralize or cancel out other colors.

color wheel

How It Works

The blue pigments counteract the unwanted warm tones (brassiness) that tend to appear in lightened hair. This process leaves your hair with a more cool-toned and balanced appearance.

This work because blue is the opposite of orange. And brown hair (especially color-treated brown hair) develops orange brassy tones.

Blue vs. Purple Shampoo

Now, you’ve heard of purple shampoo. Why not use that?

While both purple and blue shampoo work to neutralize brassiness, they target different shades of hair:

Blue shampoo is specifically meant for lightened brown hair, whereas purple shampoo is designed for blonde hair.

This is because violet (found in purple shampoo) is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel. It helps cancel out warm yellow tones in blonde hair. In contrast, blue pigments in blue shampoo neutralize the warmer orange-red tones.

These are found in lightened brown hair.

CategoryBlue ShampooPurple Shampoo
HairLightened brown hairBlonde hair
ColorNeutralizes warmer orange-red tonesNeutralizes warm yellow tones
WheelBlue is opposite of orangeViolet is opposite of yellow
BenefitsMaintains cool-toned and balanced hairCancels out warm yellow tones in hair

How to Use Blue Shampoo

Now, here’s how to use blue shampoo the right way:

  1. Wet your hair
  2. Apply blue shampoo evenly
  3. Let it sit (but not for too long)
  4. Rinse (with cool water)
  5. Use a post-shampoo treatment

Step 1: Wet Your Hair

First, wet your hair thoroughly under the shower. Make sure your hair is completely wet from roots to tips. This will help the blue shampoo spread evenly throughout your hair.

Step 2: Apply Shampoo Evenly

Take a small amount of blue shampoo, according to your hair density and length, and apply it to your hair. Focus on the areas that have the most brassiness or unwanted warmth.

Start at the roots and spread the shampoo evenly through your hair with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. Remember to be gentle and not to tug on your hair to avoid breakage.

Step 3: Let It Sit

Allow the blue shampoo to sit on your hair for the recommended time, which is usually around 3 to 5 minutes (sometimes as little as 1 minute).

This time may vary depending on the specific product, so be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. The blue pigment in the shampoo will work on neutralizing brassy tones during this time.

Step 4: Rinse (With Cool Water)

After the designated time has passed, rinse the blue shampoo from your hair using cool water. Cool water not only helps to seal the hair cuticle and reduce frizz. It also ensures that the blue pigment is washed away properly.

Keep rinsing until the water runs clear, ensuring that all the shampoo has been removed from your hair.

Step 5: Post-Shampoo Treatments

After rinsing out the blue shampoo, you can follow up with a conditioner or hair mask designed to work with color-treated hair. This helps restore moisture and maintain the health of your hair.

Choose a product that is color-safe and specifically formulated for your hair type. After this, you can continue with the rest of your hair care routine, such as styling or applying leave-in treatments.

By following these steps, you can effectively use blue shampoo as part of your regular hair care routine to keep your color looking fresh and brass-free.

Remember, it’s essential to use blue shampoo no more than once a week to avoid over-toning or depositing too much pigment on your hair.

How Often Should You Use Blue Shampoo?

It’s recommended to use blue shampoo once or twice a week to keep your brown hair free from brassy tones. This depends on how brassy your hair is, and your hair type.

Remember to read the instructions on your specific shampoo for more guidance.

Just wet your hair, massage the shampoo in, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Don’t worry, the color will wash out in the shower.

Again, since every hair is unique, you might need to adjust the frequency depending on how fast your hair absorbs the product.

Who Should Use Blue Shampoo?

Blue shampoo isn’t for everyone. So make sure this product is for you, before you spend money on it.

Hair Color Types

Blue shampoo is specifically designed for lightened and highlighted brown hair, and it’s perfect for maintaining caramel, dirty blonde, and ash brown colors.

If you have blonde or silver hair, a purple shampoo would be more suitable for you as it will neutralize yellow tones.

On the other hand, blue shampoo can be used on natural brunettes, but the effect might not be as noticeable.

Here’s an overview:

  • Blonde hair: Use purple shampoo to neutralize yellow tones.
  • Brunette hair: Blue shampoo works best on lightened and highlighted brown hair.
  • Gray or silver hair: Opt for purple shampoo for maintaining a cool tone.

Learn More: What Does Blue Shampoo Do to Brown Hair?

Natural vs. Color-Treated Hair

When it comes to using blue shampoo, your hair type matters. Whether it’s virgin hair, color-treated hair, or naturally curly hair plays a significant role.

If you have color-treated brunette hair, blue shampoo can be a lifesaver to keep your hair color looking fresh and vibrant.

However, if you have virgin hair (natural brown hair), the effect of the blue shampoo may be less noticeable. You can still use it to enhance cool tones in your natural hair color though.

Again, here’s a quick overview:

  • Color-treated hair: Use blue shampoo to maintain and enhance your color-treated hair.
  • Virgin hair: The effect might be less noticeable but can still help bring out cool tones.
  • Curly hair: Blue shampoo is suitable for curly hair, but keep your specific hair color in mind.

Remember to use blue shampoo in moderation to avoid any unintended color changes in your hair.

Can Blue Shampoo Go Wrong?

As with almost everything in the personal care category, blue shampoo can go wrong and damage your hair.

There are three common issues when it comes to blue shampoo:

  • You can experience blue stains and undertones
  • Your may experience hair breakage and damage
  • Sun exposure can negatively affect your hair color

Blue Tint and Undertones

Sometimes, using too much blue shampoo can cause your hair to take on a blue tint. Especially if you have lighter hair.

To avoid this, limit your use of blue shampoo to once a week or less.

Remember to follow the instructions on the bottle and watch your hair closely while it’s in to prevent the blue pigments from depositing too much.

Effect on Hair Breakage and Damage

While blue shampoo is designed to neutralize orange tones, it’s not meant to repair or prevent hair breakage and damage.

Overuse of blue shampoo can also dry out your hair. Shampoo is meant for cleansing (mostly) and not nourishing.

To protect your hair from breakage, use a deep conditioning treatment regularly. In addition, avoid using high heat styling tools and chemicals that can weaken your hair.

When you notice signs of damage, be gentle and give your hair some extra care. Use a conditioner or a hair mask.

Sun Exposure and Heat Protection

Sun exposure and heat can cause your color-treated hair to fade or become more brassy. Even with the use of blue shampoo.

To protect your hair, apply a heat protectant before using any heat styling tools. When spending time outdoors, consider wearing a hat or using a UV protection spray specifically designed for hair.

This will help maintain your hair color and minimize damage from heat and sun exposure, keeping your locks healthy and vibrant.

Maintain and Enhance Hair Color

Here are some tips to maintain or even enhance your hair color:

  • Use a toning conditioner with your toning shampoo for extra effect.
  • Look for the right color pigments.
  • Watch out for heat.
  • Use deep conditioning to your advantage.

Toning Shampoos and Conditioners

When you want to keep your hair color fresh and vibrant, toning shampoos and conditioners can be helpful.

If you have brown or bronde hair with lightened or color-treated parts, blue shampoo is perfect for you. This shampoo neutralizes unwanted orange and brassy tones in your hair, leaving it with a cooler, more neutral shade.

For proper hair care, consider using a moisturizing conditioner, or even a leave-in conditioner, after washing with the blue shampoo.

These products keep your hair soft and manageable, providing extra hydration, which helps prevent breakage and promotes healthier hair.

Color Pigments in Hair Care Products

Color pigments like blue-violet pigments are the key ingredients that make toning shampoos effective. These pigments work by adhering to the hair strands and neutralizing the unwanted color tones.

The more you use these color-specific hair care products, the better the results in maintaining your desired hair color. To a certain extent (remember, don’t overdo it).

Heat Styling and Deep Conditioning

Heat styling tools, like flat irons and curling wands, can often affect your hair color and make it appear dull or brassy.

To minimize these effects, always use a heat protectant spray before styling. This creates a barrier between your hair and the heat.

Moreover, deep conditioning and oil treatments are essential for keeping your hair healthy and maintaining its color. Incorporate a deep conditioning treatment into your hair care routine at least once a week.

You can also opt for an oil treatment for added nourishment.

These treatments help replenish the moisture that your hair loses during the color-treating process and keep it smooth and vibrant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I leave blue shampoo in my hair?

You should leave blue shampoo in your hair for about 3-5 minutes, depending on the level of brassiness. Make sure to keep an eye on the color while the shampoo is sitting to achieve your desired results.

Should I apply blue shampoo on dry or wet hair?

Apply blue shampoo on wet hair, just like you would with your regular shampoo. Thoroughly wet your hair, then apply the blue shampoo, lather, and rinse it out.

How often should I use blue shampoo for best results?

It is recommended to use blue shampoo once a week at most. Using it too often could potentially turn your hair blue, even if it is dark.

Can blue shampoo be used for gray hair?

Yes, blue shampoo can be used for gray hair. It helps neutralize yellow and brassy tones in gray hair, making it appear more vibrant and silver-toned.

What is the difference between blue shampoo and conditioner?

Blue shampoo deposits blue-violet pigments to neutralize brassy tones in your hair, while blue conditioners are non-color depositing formulas that help retain cool tones, hydrate hair, and protect hair color.

Does blue shampoo help eliminate orange tones in hair?

Yes, blue shampoo helps eliminate orange tones in hair. It is particularly beneficial for brunettes who have lightened their hair with highlights, balayage, or ombré, as their underlying tones can be more orange.

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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.