Blue Or Purple Shampoo For Grey Hair?

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In the past, grey hair had most women rushing out to the drugstore or the salon to color it. God forbid someone catch you with grey hair!

With an emphasis on being young and beautiful being hailed as the ideal we’ve all been conditioned to aspire to, grey hair is kind of the antithesis of the ‘young’. And apparently, if you’re not young, you can’t be beautiful.

Well, we’ve come a long way baby! The new trend is to embrace the grey and to dial it into the perfect platinum tone.

In this article, we are going to help you figure out whether you should be using blue or purple shampoo for grey hair to keep your grey looking gorgeous.

Wisdom and experience carry far more clout than youth and the unnatural pursuit of trying to fake it. And grey hair can be beautiful, especially when it’s toned!

Let’s get started.


What Are Purple And Blue Shampoo?

Purple Shampoo

Okay so purple and blue shampoo are all the rage and everyone is apparently using one or the other. If you are trying to figure out which is best for you, it helps to know what they are and what they are meant to achieve, so you can make the decision that’s best for your grey hair.

Blue and purple shampoos are toning shampoos. A toning shampoo’s function is to neutralize unwanted brassy undertones of your natural hair color.

The color of the shampoo (blue or purple) is based on the opposite color of the brassy tones that it is designed to neutralize.

Blondes and those with light-colored hair tend to have yellow undertones. Brown hair typically contains warmer, orange undertones.

Purple shampoo neutralizes yellow tones and blue shampoo neutralizes orange tones.

What Is Silver Shampoo?

Silver Shampoo

In your search for blue and purple shampoos, whether it be online or in the shampoo aisle at the drugstore, you may have come across silver shampoo.

Silver shampoo is just purple shampoo with a different name, meant to neutralize yellow.

Blue Or Purple Shampoo For Grey Hair?

If you are among the growing number of those choosing to embrace your grey, you’re almost certainly aiming for the ‘wise and sophisticated’ grey, rather than the ‘old hag’ grey. 

A toning shampoo will transform dull, muddy-colored grey hair into a fantastic, healthy-looking shade of shiny, ashy silver. It will add brightness, definition, and clarity.

People use blue and purple shampoo for blond and brown hair. But when it comes to grey, which should you use? Blue or purple shampoo for grey hair?

Purple shampoo is best for toning LIGHT* grey hair, regardless of your previous natural color. Let’s refer back to the color wheels above and elementary school when you learned about mixing paint colors.

Purple will cancel out dingy yellow tones. Blue (shampoo) and yellow (hair) mixed together, on the other hand, make green.

Probably not what you were going for.

*purple shampoo on dark grey hair may have little or no effect.   

We discussed how blue shampoo is meant for neutralizing orange undertones in brown hair, and purple for yellow undertones in blonde hair. But if your hair is grey then it means your hair has stopped producing melanin, which is why it’s grey.

So it’s not undertones of a particular hair pigment you need to neutralize.

Grey hair that has become dull and dingy and taken on a yellow tone has nothing to do with underlying pigment because the hair has none (or very little).        

That said, you might want to also address the issue that’s actually causing your hair to become dull and yellowed, as opposed to just trying to tone it out.

Why Grey Hair Turns Dingy and Yellow

Grey hair becoming lackluster, dull and yellowed is due to external factors such as:

  • Sun – the sun can bleach the hair, altering not only its colour but texture
  • Air pollution – smoke and other pollutants in the air where you work and live can build up
  • Minerals and chemicals in the water – things like copper and chlorine can affect your hair. Copper can build up and chlorine will hasten the oxidation of the copper and can even make it turn a muddy greenish yellow.
  • Hair products – hair products containing silicones and sulphates, which bind to the hair, can build up and affect how the light reflects, making it look dull, dingy and yellow.
  • Heated hair appliances – Your flat iron and blow dryer won’t cause your grey hair to be dingy and yellow on their own. But the reaction between the heat and the buildup of minerals, chemicals, pollutants, and hair products in your hair can make your hair take on a dull, dingy, yellowish hue.

Sure a purple shampoo is great for toning, but what you really need is a clarifying or chelating shampoo, especially if you do a lot of swimming and/or have hard water.

Clarifying And Chelating Shampoos

Clarifying Shampoo

Sometimes you will find the words ‘clarifying’ and ‘chelating’ used interchangeably to describe shampoo. Though they are both designed to be kind of like a detox for your hair to remove residue and buildup, they are a bit different.

Clarifying shampoo removes most buildup that accumulates on the surface of your hair, like dry shampoo, styling products, hairspray, gels, and leaves/in products, as well as buildup from things like smoke and air pollution.

Chelating shampoos are much stronger than clarifying shampoos and contain specific “chelating agents”. These ingredients remove residue and build up of styling products and environmental pollutants, and also target chlorine, metal, and mineral deposits, such as limescale.

Chelating shampoos will have one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Tetrasodium/Trisodium EDTA
  • Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid
  • Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate
  • Oxalic Acid or Sodium Oxalate
  • Potassium or Sodium Citrate
  • Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate
  • Sodium Gluconate and Gluconolactone
ClarpHx Clarify Shampoo 12oz
ClarpHx Clarify Shampoo 12oz
UV & Color protection formula.; Sulfate & Amine-free. DEA & MEA-free. Paraben-free. Gluten-free. 100% vegan.

Chelating shampoo tends to be very harsh on your hair. They’re only recommended for use once every couple of weeks.

You can use a chelating shampoo (to remove build-up) and a purple shampoo (to tone). But neither is meant for everyday use.

Use each as directed.

How Often Should You Use Purple Shampoo For GREY Hair?

Purple shampoo is not meant to replace your regular shampoo and should be used only once a week, or twice a week max.

Does Purple Shampoo Make GREY Hair Darker?

Using a toning shampoo once a week will not make your grey hair darker. But if you use a toning shampoo too often, you can actually get a buildup of product which may start to make your hair appear darker. 

Take Away

Use a chelating or clarifying shampoo once every couple of weeks to ensure your hair is being deep cleaned of the buildup and residue from external factors that can make it dull and dingy. 

Couple that with a purple shampoo once a week to tone down brassiness and add brightness and vitality so you can flaunt your gorgeous grey with confidence.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).