Haircare - Hair

How to Pick the Best Toning Shampoo for Your Hair Color

Purple, blue, or green shampoo. What toning shampoo should you choose?

Written by Amber Belanger
what toning shampoo should i use

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

Whether you have blonde, gray, brown, or colored hair, it can fade over time. Or, develop unwanted tones. And that’s where toning shampoo helps.

But it’s not always easy to know which color toner to go for.

There is the famous purple shampoo, made by big brands such as L’Oreal Paris or Olaplex. Or there’s blue shampoo, from many of the same brands. There’s even green shampoo.

Each one helps different hair colors. Here’s how to choose.

Hair Color and Toning Shampoo

When you color your hair, you are changing the pigment of your hair strands. This can cause underlying tones to appear.

Toning shampoos help neutralize these unwanted tones in your hair. This includes brassy orange or yellow tones. And, it helps enhance the desired tone of your hair.

To understand how toning shampoos work, you need to understand the color wheel.

The Color Wheel

color wheel

The color wheel is a tool that helps you understand how colors interact with each other. Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel neutralize each other.

For example, purple neutralizes yellow, and blue neutralizes orange.

This enables you to pick the right color toning shampoo. If you have orange hair, go for something with blue toning qualities.

Use In Moderation

It is important to note that toning shampoos should be used in moderation. Overuse of toning shampoos can result in a buildup of pigment in your hair. This can lead to an unnatural color.

Types of Toning Shampoo

When it comes to toning shampoo, there are several types available on the market. Each type is designed to address specific hair concerns.

Here are some of the most common types of toning shampoo:

Shampoo TypeHair ColorPigmentsToning Action
Purple ShampooBlonde, Silver, WhitePurpleNeutralizes yellow and brassy tones
Blue ShampooBrunetteBlueNeutralizes orange and brassy tones
Green ShampooDark hairGreenNeutralizes red tones
Silver ShampooGray or Silver hairVioletNeutralizes yellow tones
Tinted ShampooColored hairMatched to hair colorHelps maintain and prevent color fading over time

We’ll talk more about how to choose the best one for you later in the article.

Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo is the most popular type of toning shampoo. It is designed for those with blonde, silver, or white hair.

It contains purple pigments that neutralize yellow and brassy tones in the hair, leaving it brighter and cooler.

Learn more: What Does Purple Shampoo Do?

Blue Shampoo

Blue shampoo is similar to purple shampoo, but it is designed for those with brunette hair. It contains blue pigments that neutralize orange and brassy tones in brown hair.

Learn more: What Does Blue Shampoo Do?

Green Shampoo

Green shampoo is designed for those with dark hair. It contains green pigments that neutralize red tones in the hair.

Learn more: What Does Green Shampoo Do?

Silver Shampoo

Silver shampoo is designed for those with gray or silver hair. It contains violet pigments that neutralize yellow tones in the hair. Think of it like a purple shampoo, but lighter., leaving it looking brighter and more vibrant. If you have gray or silver hair, silver shampoo can help maintain the color and prevent it from turning yellow over time.

Tinted Shampoo

Tinted shampoo is designed for those with colored hair. It contains pigments that match the color of your hair. This helps maintain your hair color and prevent it from fading over time.

How to Choose the Best Toning Shampoo

Before choosing the best toning shampoo for your hair, consider the underlying tones you develop.

Based on the underlying tones, you can choose the right toning shampoo to help counteract them. Again, think of the color wheel.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • If you have yellow tones, go with purple shampoo.
  • If you have orange tones, go with blue shampoo.
  • If you have red tones, go with green shampoo.

Purple Shampoo for Yellow Tones

If you have blonde, white, or gray hair, and you notice yellow tones developing, then you should opt for a purple toning shampoo.

Purple sits opposite yellow on the color wheel. So, purple shampoo it the best toning shampoo for blondes to counteract the yellow tones.

When choosing a purple shampoo, look for one that is specifically formulated for your hair color. If you have white hair, some purple shampoos are might be too strong. Too much pigment might leave your hair looking purple.

Blue Shampoo for Orange Tones

If you notice orange tones developing, then a blue toning shampoo is the best option for you. This is most often for brown hair, either color-treated or natural.

Blue sits opposite orange on the color wheel. Using this toning shampoo on brown hair helps to neutralize the orange tones. This leaves your hair looking cooler and more natural.

When choosing a blue shampoo, look for one that is formulated for your hair type. Some blue shampoos can be too harsh and leave your hair looking dull. Opt for a gentle formula.

Green Shampoo for Red Tones

If you have darker hair and notice red undertones developing, then a green toning shampoo is the best option for you.

Green sits opposite red on the color wheel. So, green shampoo neutralizes the red tones, leaving your hair looking cooler and more natural.

By choosing the right toning shampoo based on the underlying tones in your hair, you will achieve the best results.

Expert Advice on Toning Shampoo

If you’re wondering what toning shampoo is right for you, it’s always best to consult with a hairstylist or a beauty expert.

But, if you don’t have access to one of those, here are some tips:

Hair Color

Different toning shampoos are formulated for different hair colors, so make sure to choose a product that’s suitable for your hair color.

Hair Type

Toning shampoos can be drying, so it’s best to choose a product that’s designed for your hair type. If you have dry hair, look for a toning shampoo that’s moisturizing.

Desired Result

Toning shampoos can help neutralize brassy tones, enhance shine, and maintain color. Consider what you want to achieve and choose a product that can deliver the desired result.

Don’t Use Every Day

It’s also important to note that toning shampoos are not meant to be used every day. Overuse can lead to dryness and damage. It’s best to use them once or twice a week, depending on your hair’s needs.

Final Takeaway: What Toning Shampoo Should You Use?

Use the toning shampoo that combats the underlying tones you develop. While purple shampoo is recommended for blonde hair, if you develop yellow tones, use that. Even if you don’t have blonde hair.

It’s all about what colors you’re trying to eliminate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between toning shampoo and purple shampoo?

Toning shampoo is a type of shampoo that helps to neutralize unwanted brassy tones in your hair. Purple shampoo is a specific type of toning shampoo that is formulated with purple pigments to neutralize yellow and orange tones in blonde, silver, and highlighted hair.

How do I use purple shampoo to tone my hair?

To use purple shampoo, wet your hair and apply the shampoo evenly throughout your hair. Massage it in for a few minutes and then rinse it out thoroughly. Depending on how brassy your hair is, you may need to use purple shampoo once a week or more frequently.

What are some of the best toning shampoos for brassy hair?

Some of the best toning shampoos for brassy hair include Fanola No Yellow Shampoo, Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo, and Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo. These shampoos are formulated with purple pigments to neutralize brassy tones and leave your hair looking bright and vibrant.

What is the best purple shampoo for highlights?

If you have highlights in your hair, you may want to look for a purple shampoo that is specifically formulated for highlighted hair. Some of the best options include Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo and L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Blondifier Cool Shampoo.

Can toning shampoo be used on grey hair?

Yes, toning shampoo can be used on grey hair to help neutralize any yellow or brassy tones. Look for a toning shampoo that is specifically formulated for grey hair, like Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo or Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo.

What does toning shampoo do to your hair?

Toning shampoo helps to neutralize unwanted tones in your hair, leaving it looking brighter and more vibrant. It can be especially helpful for those with blonde, silver, or highlighted hair who want to keep their hair looking fresh and free from brassy tones.

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.