Byrdie February 15, 2024



The 8 Best Purple Shampoos, Tested & Approved by Our Editors


Your color should go the distance.

Lifting your hair to a lighter, blonder hue is a commitment—a worthy one, but a commitment nonetheless. The lightening process leaves the hair porous and more prone to damage, often leading to unwanted dullness and yellowish undertones. That's where purple shampoo comes in—an at-home solution to keep your hair looking bright and balanced between salon appointments.

"Purple shampoo works by neutralizing any unwanted yellow or warm tones to your blonde or gray hair," explains Carolyn J. Gahan, a hairstylist with extensive blonde and hair-lightening experience. Finding a purple shampoo that complements your hair type isn't exactly straightforward (a simple Google search will garner hundreds of results).

To help you narrow the results down, we conducted hours of research and tested dozens of picks ourselves. We used each purple shampoo multiple times over six weeks, taking note of how well they lifted brassy tones, hydrated the hair, and more. We then consulted multiple stylists and color experts for professional insight and recommendations to compile this list.

Best Overall

Nexxus Blonde Assure Shampoo

What We Like

  • Cleanses buildup well without over-drying or causing irritation
  • Nourishing formula
  • Saw noticeable results with each use

What We Don’t Like

  • Chemical-like smell

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Citrus | Size: 8.5 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: No

This formula gets top honors from us for its rich, hydrating formula—and, of course, the fresh blonde shade it leaves behind. Formulated with keratin protein for softer hair and violet pigments to balance brassiness, this pick from Nexxus checked all of our boxes while testing. It has a perfect lather and is easy to spread on the scalp, and it didn’t stain our hands at all while washing. We loved that it cleansed thoroughly but didn’t leave our hair feeling dry and lifeless (as many purple shampoos are guilty of doing). In fact, we noticed that our hair felt even more nourished and healthy than it did with our standard shampoo.

The best part of using this shampoo was that there was a noticeable difference with each use—our hair color just looked better and better. We were able to keep blonde highlights looking fresh until the next appointment (and they were fading at the beginning of the testing period). Brassy and yellow shades that were present before completely disappeared. We also loved that we didn’t have to alternate shampoos in fear of our color becoming too cool—it never turned the hair purple while using.

Who It’s For

This is a great purple shampoo for blondes all around, but we especially recommend it for fine hair types. While it’s a powerful cleanser and toner, it stays lightweight and doesn’t leave any residue behind.

Best Budget

Kristin Ess The One Shampoo

What We Like

  • Works on both blonde and brunette tones
  • Kept hair smooth even after heat styling
  • Washes out easily, doesn’t leave any residue

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be a little drying

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Amber, magnolia, and pear | Size: 10 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

If you frequently dye your hair blonde, it’s pretty easy to make your way through bottles of purple shampoo—so you’ll want one that you don’t have to budget for. We recommend this one from Kristin Ess, which you can get for under $15. It can be used on both blonde and brunette shades to keep the color fresh and is a great pick if you like having an ashy tone to your hair.

During testing, we loved that it didn’t stain our hands or leave an unpleasant smell behind and that it gave us a light and bright shade of blonde without any brassiness. While it did feel a bit drying, our hair felt soft and balanced overall when paired with a hair mask. But, it didn’t cause any irritation on the scalp or leave a residue, and our hair was smooth and shiny afterward—even once it was heat styled.

Who It’s For

This is a great pick for oily hair types, as it cleanses deeply to remove oil, sweat, and build-up from the scalp—without causing irritation.

Best Hydrating

Amika Bust Your Brass Shampoo

What We Like

  • Made hair softer and shinier
  • Repairs and strengthens
  • Also tones gray and lavender shades

What We Don’t Like

  • Scent may be too strong for some

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Amber vanilla | Size: 8 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Purple shampoos aren’t always the most hydrating products on the market—many options are known to strip the hair of its natural oils. However, this super-nourishing pick from Amika is just what bleached or damaged hair needs— we were shocked at how soft our hair felt after rinsing it out. It contains quinoa protein and plant butters (mango and shea) to moisturize and strengthen the hair.

While the shampoo itself is very pigmented, it never stained or turned our hair purple—and we loved its amazing smell and how well it lathered. It’s a great shampoo choice if you want your color to look cool and frosty, especially if you have gray or lavender tones. Our favorite part of using this shampoo was that our shade seemed to get brighter and brighter each day after washing—leaving us with hair that looked fresh and healthy.

Who It’s For

If you are prone to breakage or trying to repair your hair after damage, this purple shampoo can strengthen and nourish for stronger, healthier strands.

Best for Gray Hair

Better Not Younger Silver Lining Shampoo

What We Like

  • Adds volume and shine
  • Made hair feel more silky and manageable
  • Strengthens

What We Don’t Like

  • Bottle is difficult to twist open

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Floral | Size: 8.4 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Purple shampoo isn’t only for blondes—it’s a great way for those with natural grays to keep brassiness at bay. Better Not Younger’s sulfate-free shampoo was formulated with aging hair in mind, containing ingredients that will hydrate and strengthen the hair (including biotin and bamboo extract). While testing, we loved its lovely smell and soft lather. We left it in for four minutes so the formula could absorb into our hair, and it didn’t leave any staining or purple tints behind.

With continued use, we saw that our hair was softer and smoother overall and even looked thicker and more voluminous. The best part? The yellow tones in our hair have noticeably faded, with color that looks bright and fresh.

Who It’s For

You’ll love this purple shampoo if you have flat hair that needs a little bit of a lift. It works to add volume and shine, leaving a silky finish after washing.

Best Shine

dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo

What We Like

  • Vegan formula
  • Salon-quality results
  • Great smell

What We Don’t Like

  • Could be more hydrating

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Clean | Size: 8.5 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

If you want to look like you just left the salon every time you wash your hair, you’ll love this purple shampoo from dpHUE. After use, our hair was smooth, soft, and shiny, with luminous color. The paraben- and sulfate-free formula has violet pigments and silk proteins to nourish and tone brassiness, and it didn’t strip our hair even after two shampoos. It also has a great, clean scent, which makes using it every day an even better experience.

During testing, we loved that it evened out the tones without tinting our hair purple, and that it was easy to lather and spread around the hair. You can also leave this formula in your hair for up to five minutes for more intense color.

Who It’s For

Those with delicate or fine hair—this is the purple shampoo for you. It cleanses gently without stripping the scalp, resulting in super soft hair.

Best for Highlights

IGK Blonde POP Shampoo

What We Like

  • Safe and effective for chemically treated hair
  • Hydrates for hair that looks smoother overall
  • Cleanses the scalp well

What We Don’t Like

  • Can slightly stain the shower

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Unscented | Size: 8 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

If you have blonde highlights and think you can get away with using a regular shampoo only, think again. Adding a toning purple shampoo into your wash day routine can extend the life of your color, so you can add some time between salon touch-ups. We tested this shampoo from IGK on highlights, and we saw a noticeable difference each time.

There were no instructions about leaving it in for a certain time period, so we just washed it out immediately— and it was still able to lift brassiness with each wash. It has a hydrating formula that doesn’t irritate the scalp, but it still cleans as well as your standard shampoo. After multiple uses, we noticed that our hair felt softer and less dry.

Who It’s For

This is a great option for those who wash their hair multiple times a week, as it doesn’t need to be left in to show results. It also doesn’t irritate or dry out the scalp.

Best for Thick Hair

Kérastase Bain Ultra-Violet Purple Shampoo

What We Like

  • Only need a little bit for a lot of hair
  • Can leave on longer for a cooler tone
  • Doesn’t leave a residue

What We Don’t Like

  • Have to follow up with a normal shampoo if you have a lot of product buildup

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Scent: Unscented | Size: 8.5 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Thick hair needs hydration more than anything, and this purple shampoo from Kérastase has hyaluronic acid to do exactly that. It’s also formulated with antioxidant-rich flower extracts to protect the hair from damage. When we tested it for ourselves, we loved that it was easy to spread around the hair and the scalp and that you didn’t need to use an excessive amount to cover long, thick hair. It also did an amazing job of cleansing without drying out the hair or leaving a residue behind.

We left the shampoo on for five minutes and it gave our bleached color an icy finish, and our hair still looked as healthy and shiny as ever. While you can use it as a standalone shampoo, we recommend following up with your standard shampoo if you have a good amount of product buildup or do intense, sweaty exercise.

Who It’s For

We recommend this shampoo for dry, thick hair types. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid to add hydration back into your strands.

Best for Sensitive Skin

Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Shampoo

What We Like

  • Cleanses thoroughly without irritating or drying out the scalp
  • Effective on all hair types and textures
  • Able to protect hair from damage

What We Don’t Like

  • Has a great smell that we wish lasted longer

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Scent: Pear, rose, and sandalwood | Size: 9 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Purple shampoos are infamous for causing irritation and dryness, so finding one that caters to sensitive scalps is not always an easy feat. However, this pick from Pureology was one of the least irritating options that we tested—it didn’t make our scalp tingle after leaving it in for a couple of minutes. The sulfate-free formula has a rich lather that cleanses deeply without leaving a residue, and our hair felt clean for a while after using. It also didn’t cause any dryness, and our strands were soft and smooth to the touch. It lifted the brassiness in blonde tones as promised, and the great scent was another added bonus. We also love that it comes with so much product (you can get around 75 shampoos—depending on length and texture, of course—in a single bottle).

Who It’s For

If your scalp frequently gets irritated by hair products, you won’t have to worry with this shampoo. It cleans thoroughly and won’t cause dryness or tingling for sensitive scalps.

What to Look for in a Purple Shampoo

Purple tone: Purple tones and violet pigments aren't all the same, so they can have varying effects at neutralizing unwanted warmth. For example, violet is great at counteracting yellow tones in light blonde hues. "If your hair is more of a brassy orange or warm brunette, purple is too light," says Sabrina Yamani Yamga, an award-winning colorist and extension specialist at SPACE by Alex Brown in Chicago. "So you'll want to opt for a blue shampoo." In some cases, Shelly Aguirre, a professional stylist of Chicago's Maxine Salon, will show her clients the products against a white background so they better see the difference in tones.
Blonde tone: Your particular shade of blonde matters, as well as if you dye or bleach your hair or have naturally light-colored locks. For instance, very light blondes will want something that minimizes yellow and brings out cool tones. "When it comes to that beautiful, silver, gray hair that can make someone actually look younger and hip, tonality is key," says Aguirre. 
Nourishing ingredients: As Yamga notes, purple shampoos can be drying, so look for products containing hydrating ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, and keratin amino acids. These are meant to ensure hair is soft, smooth, and shiny after washing.
Sulfate-free formula: Dying and bleaching your hair can really do a number on it, and sulfates can worsen things by drying it out. With this in mind, you might want to opt for a sulfate-free purple shampoo, particularly one without sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). They're more gentle on your strands while still effectively getting rid of unwanted brassy, orange, and yellowish tones.
Application: When buying shampoo, be sure to note the recommended use. Some are gentle enough for daily use, while others may be too drying or intensely pigmented and are best used two or three times a week. Purple shampoo is generally applied like regular shampoo. Squeeze one or two tablespoons into your hand, then lather it onto wet hair in the shower, making sure to evenly coat the entire length from root to tip. But unlike regular shampoo, you're often supposed to leave it on slightly longer—usually two to five minutes—before rinsing. Be sure to check the brand's specific instructions to avoid leaving the shampoo on too long.


What are the benefits of purple shampoos for blonde hair?

Purple shampoo neutralizes any unwanted yellow or warm tones that can crop up with bleached blonde or otherwise chemically lightened hair. They can offer a brightening effect while bringing out a cooler hue, allowing you to potentially go longer between salon color treatments.

As Gahan explains, "Purple sits directly across from yellow on the color wheel, which means it will correct and cool down the hair with the slight purple pigment in the shampoo." She notes that if you're rocking a darker blonde color or are looking to correct an orangey tint, a blue-based shampoo (as opposed to violet) might be a better option.

How often should you use purple shampoos for blonde hair?

This depends on the specific formula, as well as the current color and condition of your hair. Some purple shampoos can be drying, and if you use them too often, you can risk over-toning. "Overuse can cause the hair to look dull or purple in appearance," says Gahan.

For these reasons, lathering up with a violet-pigmented wash two or three times a week is often best. However, some formulas are gentle and subtle enough for daily use.

What is better for brassy hair: blue or purple shampoo?

It depends on the color of your hair and what tones you want to get rid of. For light blonde, platinum, or silver hair with unwanted yellowish tones, purple shampoo is best. As noted, purple counteracts yellow because it's directly opposite on the color wheel. If you have darker blonde, ombré, or balayage hair and want to remove orangey, brassy, or reddish tones, go with blue shampoo.

Do I need both purple shampoo and conditioner?

Probably not. There's no shortage of purple hair care products to fight brassiness and yellow tones, but you don't need to use them—let alone all at once. A purple shampoo should be enough to achieve the desired results, and you can follow it with a non-pigmented deep conditioner to replenish lost moisture and nourish your strands. (Dry, brittle hair is common among the bleached set.)

What's the difference between toner and purple shampoo?

A purple shampoo is a toning shampoo, but it isn't a toner. A toner is a color product that's mixed with a developer. It's left on the hair for a set amount of time to allow it to process, then rinsed out. (Toners are most often applied in salons by professional colorists, but some at-home kits are available.) A toning shampoo, on the other hand, is milder than a toner and doesn't require a developer.

Will purple shampoo lighten hair?

Not exactly. Purple shampoo doesn't lighten hair—that can only be done with a bleaching agent. This type of hair wash calls on violet pigments to cancel out yellow tones. As a result, your hair will become brighter and cooler-toned, making it appear lighter.

Why Trust Byrdie

Shannon Stubbs is the commerce updates writer at Byrdie, where she covers beauty. She’s frequently trying new skincare and makeup products to recommend the best of the best to readers. She updated this article with tested insights and additional product information. Theresa Holland updated this list with additional buying tips and expert insights.

Team Byrdie worked with experts to ensure the best picks in this category: 

Carolyn J. Gahan, a creative colorist with extensive blonde and hair-lightening experience.

Sabrina Yamani Yamga, an award-winning colorist and extension specialist at SPACE by Alex Brown in Chicago.

Shelly Aguirre, a professional stylist of Chicago's Maxine Salon with over a decade of experience teaching at salons and tradeshows.