Byrdie October 30, 2023



The 15 Best Blue Shampoos Stylists Love for 2023


Ombré, sombré, balayage, and classic highlights are great for adding dimension and lightening brown or black hair. But unfortunately, bleach and other brightening treatments often go hand-in-hand with brassiness. Sound familiar? Before rushing back to the salon for an untimely touch-up, consider an easier solution: blue shampoo.

The technology isn't new, though it used to be reserved for blondes (in the form of purple washes). "Violet is the opposite of yellow, so it will freshen up and help counteract unwanted yellow tones in blonde or gray hair," explains celebrity hairstylist Kevin Murphy.

While fair-haired folks often deal with a yellowing effect, brunettes often see an orangey hue. Blue shampoos are one way to combat this—they neutralize the coppery color by adding a cool-toned finish. Just bear in mind that "blue" is somewhat subjective. So while you'll find plenty of undeniably cobalt options, many lean toward indigo and even violet.

We conducted hours of research on the best blue shampoos out there, evaluating each formula based on its active ingredients, how effectively it cancels out unwanted tones, and whether it provides any other hair benefits such as adding moisture. We also took different hair types and concerns into account from dry and damaged to brunettes and blondes. After consulting with three hairstylists and considering dozens of top-rated picks, we narrowed it down to 15 formulas worth trying.

Best Overall

MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo

What We Like

  • Formulated for lightened brunette hair
  • Creates cool-toned brightness
  • Nice vanilla-floral scent

What We Don’t Like

  • Too drying for daily use

While there are many standout blue 'poos on the market, Matrix Brass Off shines above the rest. Formulated specifically for lightened brunette hair, this sulfate-free hair wash deposits blue-violet pigments to minimize brassiness. In other words, it creates a stunning cool-toned finish that brings out the intended effect of your color-treated hair. The vanilla-rose scent doesn't hurt either.

Whether you're rocking highlights, ombré, or balayage hair, you can count on this shampoo to neutralize any unwanted warm tones. Use it every other day (it's a bit too drying for everyday use), and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing for an extra boost of brightness.

Who It's For

Made specifically for lightened brunette hair, this sulfate-free shampoo deposits blue-violet pigments to reduce brassiness and counteract unwanted warm tones.

Price at time of publish: $20–$40

Hair Type: Color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, castor oil | Scent: Vanilla-rose | Size: 10.1–33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget

Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Conditioner


What We Like

  • Cruelty-free
  • Great for brunettes
  • Produces notable results

What We Don’t Like

  • Contains PEGs
  • Not ideal for blondes

Want something a little easier on your wallet? We're big fans of Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Brunette for highlighted and brunette hair. We love that it's free of sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates (aka all the chemicals that can damage your hair). Use this super affordable blue treatment shampoo two or three times a week to cleanse your scalp and give brassiness the boot.

Who It's For

If you don't want to spend more than $20 to get rid of brassiness at home, this budget-friendly yet gentle on your hair formula has your name on it. That said, it's our pick for brunettes NOT blondes.

Price at time of publish: $19

Hair Type: Color-treated, natural | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, blue tansy oil | Scent: Floral | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore

Eva NYC Brass to Sass Brunette Shampoo


What We Like

  • Lathers well
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Convenient pump bottle

What We Don’t Like

  • Potentially too heavy for fine hair

Eva NYC makes the best option we've found in the pharmacy. Brass to Sass calls on blue pigments to banish orangey tones and reveal the multidimensional beauty of brunette hair. In the brand's clinical trial, 93% of users said their hair looked freshly colored after a single wash. We love that it's vegan and cruelty-free, and relies on natural ingredients to lighten gently. Even though it's sulfate and paraben-free, it also lathers really well.

Who It's For

We highly recommend this affordable drugstore formula for those who want immediate results without in between salon treatments.

Price at time of publish: $10

Hair Type: Color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue pigments, blue tansy oil | Scent: Sweet, fresh | Size: 8.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo


What We Like

  • Generous amount
  • Adds silvery brightness
  • Contains organic ingredients

What We Don’t Like

  • Results not drastic to some
  • Large bottle doesn't have a pump

Aveda's Blue Malva Shampoo comes at a steep price, but you'll definitely get what you pay for. Containing organic ylang-ylang, eucalyptus oil, and lemon, this luxury botanical formula gently cleanses your scalp and adds silvery, cool-toned brightness to color-treated hair without damaging it. We loved how nicely our hair smelled after using it, too (like we'd just been to the spa). We should note that results aren't as dramatic as other formulas, but you'll notice a difference after a few uses.

Who It's For

If you're open to spending a bit more on a high-end formula that brings out silver tones and brass-free brightness, this luxury shampoo won't let you down.

Price at time of publish: $53

Hair Type: All | Sulfate-Free: No | Key Ingredients: Violet pigment, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang | Scent: Eucalyptus | Size: 33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Balayage Hair

Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Toning Sulfate-Free Shampoo


What We Like

  • Non-stripping sulfate-free formula
  • Prevents warm undertones
  • Fortifies processed hair

What We Don’t Like

  • Strong smell

We recommend Redken's Brownlights Shampoo for balayage beauties and anyone with traditional highlights—it helps extend the color while reducing the orange effect. The sulfate-free formula draws on blue pigments to correct brassiness while preventing orange and red undertones from cropping up. It also contains wheat protein to fortify and strengthen over-processed hair.1 Users didn't love the smell, but that's sometimes the price you pay with blue 'poo.

Who It's For

Formulated with balayage and highlighted brunette hair in mind, this pick minimizes brassiness, preventing reddish undertones, and strengthens processed hair.

Price at time of publish: $30–$60

Hair Type: Color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, wheat protein | Scent: Fresh | Size: 10.1–33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Brunettes

John Frieda Blue Crush for Brunettes Blue Shampoo


What We Like

  • Award-winning formula
  • Prevents warm undertones
  • Removes scalp buildup

What We Don’t Like

  • Stains the hands

Formulated explicitly for brown-haired babes, John Freida's award-winning Blue Crush neutralizes the most stubborn orange tones and obliterates brassiness. The result? Cooler, brighter color, and a squeaky-clean scalp. Just a heads up, the intense pigments might leave your hands looking slightly blue, but it should come off after washing your hands a few times.

Who It's For

This shampoo was specifically formulated for brunettes, whether naturally brown or color-treated.

Price at time of publish: $11

Hair Type: Color-treated, natural brunette | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Crushed blue pigments | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Blondes

Phyto Phytoargent No Yellow Shampoo

What We Like

  • Suitable for light blonde, gray, or white hair
  • Brightens lightened hair
  • Diminishes yellow tones

What We Don’t Like

  • Fragrance too strong to some

Brunettes-gone-blonde or natural-blondes-gone-blonder will appreciate the yellow-canceling power of this shampoo. Whether you're maintaining platinum hair, trying out a dirty blonde look, or rocking white or gray locks, Phyto's No Yellow Shampoo has your back with its super violet pigments which brighten a range of lighter hair colors.2 According to the maker, natural ingredients such as walnut leaf and rhatany root help neutralize brassiness and diminish yellow tones. However, the fragrance is a little intense for some.

Who It's For

If your hair is bleached blonde, platinum, gray, silver, or white, the violet pigments in this shampoo will deliver a noticeably brighter, cooler tone.

Price at time of publish: $17

Hair Type: Color-treated, bleached, gray, white | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Violet pigment, walnut leaf, rhatany root | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Highlights on Brown Hair

Fanola No Orange Shampoo


What We Like

  • Great value
  • Cancels orange, coppery tones
  • Nice citrus scent

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit drying to some

We know that highlighted brown locks can sometimes go orange, but did you know the sun can give your highlights an orangey tint too? If either has happened to you, reach for a bottle of this fancy Italian shampoo. Whether you're looking to eliminate copper tones or cancel out unwanted orange, the rich blue pigments are up for the task. We should note the formula can be slightly drying, so it's best to use it once or twice a week.

Who It's For

If you need help maintaining your highlights between salon visits (especially if you've been out in the sun lately), we highly recommend this orange-canceling blue shampoo.

Price at time of publish: $15–$27

Hair Type: Color-treated, bleached, gray | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Violet pigments, coconut oil | Scent: Citrus | Size: 11.8–33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Ombré

dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo

What We Like

  • Cleans thoroughly yet gently
  • Doesn't strip or dull hair
  • Strengthening

What We Don’t Like

  • Could lather up better

For the ombré camp (aka those with a fade to a lighter color) we suggest dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo. This ultra-gentle cleanser is sulfate and paraben-free so it won't strip or dull color-treated hair. Instead, it neutralizes coppery, orangey tones to keep your hair looking fresh AF between salon visits, while amino acids and hydrolyzed silk strengthen hair (while also adding luster).3 Though it doesn't create a rich, frothy lather, it certainly gets the job done.

Who It's For

This super gentle hair wash won't strip or dull ombré hair, instead leaving brighter, non-brassy tones in its wake.

Price at time of publish: $28

Hair Type: Color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, amino acids, hydrolyzed silk | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Lather

L'ange Brunette Boost Blue Toning Shampoo


What We Like

  • Rich, luxurious lather
  • Very nourishing
  • Gentle on color-treated hair

What We Don’t Like

  • May leave slight residue if not rinsed thoroughly
  • Contains suflates

We love a color-toning shampoo that lathers nicely, and that's L'ange's offering in a nutshell. Formulated specifically for brown-haired beauties, L'ange's Brunette Boost gently cleanses with a luxuriously rich lather while depositing blue pigments to banish unwanted reddish, brassy tones. It does contain sulfates, but this is where the satisfying suds come from. Some users have noticed that it can leave a residue behind if not thoroughly washed out, so maybe give your hair an extra minute or two while washing out.

Who It's For

If you don't mind sulfates and love a rich, sudsy lather, this brass-banishing blue shampoo is for you.

Price at time of publish: $11

Hair Type: Color-treated | Sulfate-Free: No | Key Ingredients: Blue pigments, sodium lauryl sulfate | Scent: Fresh | Size: 8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Sulfate-Free

Oligo Professionnel Blacklight Blue Shampoo


What We Like

  • Non-drying formula
  • Strengthens and repairs damage
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

What We Don’t Like

  • Results aren't as noticeable as others

While sulfates in shampoo provide a nice lather, they tend to be drying, which isn't great for color-treated hair that's already drying. Oligo Blacklight is a great sulfate-free shampoo that not only tones out brassiness but also repairs damage your hair may have already sustained from coloring. Made with light brown to medium-blonde hair in mind, we love how the vegan, cruelty-free blend also strengthens each hair shaft .

Who It's For

If your color-treated hair tends to dry out from sulfates, we recommend this blue shampoo. It not only works to get rid of brassiness but also strengthens and repairs brittle strands.

Price at time of publish: $25

Hair Type: Color-treated, damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, amino acids, argan oil | Scent: Citrus | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Curly Hair

DevaCurl No-Poo Blue Anti-Brass Zero Lather Curl Cleanser


What We Like

  • Creates curl flexibility
  • Doesn't strip hair
  • Enhances shine

What We Don’t Like

  • Creates frizz for some

Curly hair tends to be the hardest to lighten because it's already more fragile and prone to damage. DevaCurl No-Poo Blue is, by far, the best option for curly-headed folks. The no-nonsense, lather-free formula promises long-lasting color toning by equalizing the hair's porosity, but it doesn't stop there. You can expect bouncier, shinier, livelier curls after every wash thanks to its gentle, moisturizing formula. Just remember, it doesn't foam up like traditional shampoo, and you should leave it on for two to three minutes for maximum effect.

Who It's For

This pick is specially formulated to nourish curls while color-correcting unwanted tones.

Price at time of publish: $34

Hair Type: Color-treated, curly | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, vitamin B5 | Scent: Fruity | Size: 12 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Damaged Hair

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo


What We Like

  • Strengthens brittle hair
  • Repairs breakage
  • Moisturizes dry hair

What We Don’t Like

  • May stain hands

Frequent color treatments can wreak havoc on your hair (we're talking brittle stands and lots of split ends), but Joico Color Balance Blue offers a remedy. Featuring blue pigments, hair-strengthening keratin, breakage-preventing arginine, and moisturizing rosehip oil, this shampoo pulls out all the stops for repairing, fortifying, and de-brassing brunette hair.4 Like any other blue 'poos out there, it may stain your hands though, so consider wearing gloves when applying.

Who It's For

If your bleached or color-treated hair has seen better days, we suggest using this shampoo. It brings out the cool tones while repairing damage and adding much-needed moisture.

Price at time of publish: $23–$43

Hair Type: Color-treated, bleached | Sulfate-Free: No | Key Ingredients: Blue pigments, keratin, arginine, rosehip oil | Scent: Citrus | Size: 10.1–33.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Brightening

Kevin Murphy Blonde.Angel.Wash Color Enhancing Shampoo


What We Like

  • Contains optical brighteners
  • Restores shine
  • Nice lavender scent

What We Don’t Like

  • Somewhat thin, watery consistency

Blue shampoo doesn't typically brighten on its own (it can help revive dull highlights though). But this one from Angel Wash absolutely does thanks to a little chemical magic. "It contains optical brighteners to revive brown [and] blonde tones that need a little bit of help," Murphy says. We're also big fans of the calming lavender scent and the Murumuru Seed Butter and shea butter which help condition hair and improve elasticity. We just don't love that it can sometimes get a watery consistency, which sometimes results in us losing precious product.

Who It's For

This purple shampoo contains optical brighteners to bring out the bright, cool tones in bleached or lightened brown hair while restoring shine.

Price at time of publish: $35

Hair Type: Dulled, bleached, color-treated | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Violet pigments, jojoba oil, shea butter | Scent: Lavender | Size: 8.4 ounces| Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Bleached Hair

Olaplex No.4P Blonde Enhancer Toning Shampoo


What We Like

  • Delivers bond maintenance
  • Helps remove build-up
  • Increases shine

What We Don't Like

  • Can only be used weekly

Known for its ability to repair damage caused by bleach, Olaplex is a tried-and-true salon favorite for creating healthy, soft hair (and we stand by its powers, too). This blue-violet formula helps neutralize brassy tones while removing oily scalp buildup and mending broken hair bonds with its patented molecule.5 It's one of the more nourishing blue shampoos that we've tried, but it should only be used once a week.

Who It's For

We know we can count on this salon-favorite formula to repair broken bonds while brightening bleached hair with blue-violet pigments.

Price at time of publish: $30

Hair Type: Damaged | Sulfate-Free: Yes | Key Ingredients: Blue-violet pigments, bis-aminopropyl biglycol dimaleate | Scent: Floral | Size: 8.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Where We Stand

Overall, our favorite blue shampoo is Matrix Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo. We love that it's formulated specifically for lightened brunette hair and that the sulfate-free blend uses blue-violet pigments to provide a brilliant cool-toned finish with no brassiness in sight. Having said that, Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Shampoo is an excellent choice for those on a budget but still want to tweak the orange out of their warm brown highlights.

What to Consider When Buying Blue Shampoo

Blue vs. Purple: There are lots of blue and purple shampoos on the market. And while they achieve roughly the same outcome, blue is generally intended for brunettes, and purple is for blondes. However, some blue washes lean more toward indigo (and sometimes violet) than classic blue. Boasting a blend of "blue-violet pigments," Matrix Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo contains a bit of both. In any case, you can pretty much count on a reduction in brassiness and an overall cooler-toned finish.
Frequency of Use: Most blue shampoos are intended to be used two or three times a week, which is the case with Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Shampoo, though weekly use is often plenty. Be sure to read the directions carefully to avoid overusing it, as the blue pigments could leave your hair with a purple tint. "Sometimes purple or blue toning shampoos can over-tone and cause the hair to look dingy," adds celebrity hair colorist Guy Tang.
Nourishing Ingredients: Since bleach and other hair-lightening treatments are harsh on your hair, you'll also want to look for nourishing ingredients that help moisturize, strengthen, and repair brittle hair. We recommend options containing keratin, argan oil, avocado oil, amino acids, vitamin E, soybean oil, and green tea extract. Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo is a great option that goes above and beyond to fortify your hair while preserving the desired color.


What does blue shampoo do?

Blue shampoo deposits blue-violet pigments onto the hair to cancel out unwanted brassiness, copper tints, orange tones, or redness. Similar to a salon gloss treatment, it coats chemically lightened hair to neutralize these warmer tones with a cool-toned hue.

How often should you use blue shampoo?

According to Murphy, you can use blue shampoo as often as desired, but it ultimately depends on the state of your hair. "If your hair is porous and white, then you may need to use [it] only a few times a month, as you don't want a purple hue. If you have blonde [or] gray hair in good condition, you can use [it] as often as you like," he explains. "If in doubt, ask your stylist."

How do you apply blue shampoo?

Apply blue shampoo to wet hair in the shower. Lather it around, focusing on the color-treated sections, and allow it to sit for three to five minutes. Then rinse it out and use a conditioner like you normally would. Some blue shampoos call for using gloves to avoid getting the color on your skin, but most will wash clean from your hands when you rinse your hair.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best blue shampoos currently on the market, evaluating their key features—like active ingredients, blue pigments, and intended use—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We also consulted with three stylists for product recommendations and insight into formulations.

Attributes we evaluated each blue shampoo on:

  • Active ingredients and pigments
  • Other hair benefits
  • Recommended use
  • Intended hair type or concern

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland has been contributing to Byrdie since 2020, covering wellness, makeup, skincare, and haircare. For this story, she interviewed two stylists for product recommendations and insight into the science of color-depositing hair washes. Having tried a handful of blue/purple shampoos in the past, she's particularly fond of Fanola and Kevin Murphy. You can read more stories by Theresa on MyDomaine and The Spruce.

Kevin Murphy is a celebrity hairstylist and the founder of Kevin.Murphy haircare.

Shelly Aguirre of Chicago's Maxine Salon is a professional stylist with 12 years of experience teaching at salons and tradeshows.

Guy Tang, celebrity hairstylist and content creator.