Blue vs Purple Shampoo: Which One Do You Need?

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Whether you’re feeling like your natural color could use some freshening up, the use of styling products and heated appliances have brought out unwelcome highlights, or you’ve colored your hair only to end up with unwanted undertones, a toning purple or blue shampoo is the perfect solution.

But when it comes to blue vs purple shampoo – which one do you need?

Both will neutralize those unwanted undertones and save you a few bucks by not having to go to the salon to get your color corrected. But you need to figure out which one will neutralize the tones you want to get rid of.

In this article, we’re going to look at the difference between blue and purple shampoo and help you figure out which one is best for your hair.


Is Blue Shampoo or Purple Shampoo Better?

Blue Shampoo

It’s not a question of which is better – blue or purple shampoo – it’s more of a question of which is better for YOUR hair.

Both blue and purple shampoo have been formulated to tone down unwanted undertones in your hair.

The one you should be using for your hair will depend on what color your hair is and what tones you want to adjust.

Hair Tones

Cool Blonde Shampoo

Before we get to the shampoos, having an understanding of hair color will go a long way to understanding blue vs purple shampoo and which one is right for you.

Tyrosine in melanocyte cells, which are located in the hair bulb, triggers a chemical reaction that results in the formation of melanin. Melanin is a natural pigment that determines the color of your hair.

There are two types of melanin. All-natural hair color is made up of the same four pigments of these two types of melanin—black and brown pigments called eumelanin, and red and yellow pigments called pheomelanin.

The shade or depth of hair color is determined by the concentration of melanin. The more melanin produced in the hair, the darker it is. The tone of the hair is dictated by the ratio of black and brown eumelanin to yellow and red pheomelanin.

More black and brown pigments create a cool-toned hair color, while a predominance of red and yellow pigments creates a warm-toned hair color.

Red, orange, copper, caramel, and gold tones are considered to be warm, whereas platinum blonde, cherry red, ash brown, and black are examples of cool tones.

Cool-toned hair dyes contain a base pigment of green, blue or purple.

Blondes and those with light-colored hair tend to produce yellow undertones. Brown hair typically produces warmer orange undertones, and those with very dark hair have red undertones.

Hair dye, heat styling, environmental factors, hair products, and even aging can bring out those undertones making hair take on an overly ‘brassy’ look.

But have no fear – blue and purple shampoo are here!

Blue vs Purple Shampoo

Blue and purple shampoo were both developed to tone down unwanted brassy undertones, but to pick the shampoo that will work for your hair will depend on what color you’re trying to tone down.

To figure that out let’s look at the color wheel:

The color that falls directly opposite of the “brassy” you’re dealing with on the color wheel will neutralize those unwanted tones.

For undesirable brassy yellow tones, purple shampoo is your go-to.

For orangey, brassy copper, or orange unwanted tones, blue shampoo is your savior.

Green swimmer’s hair? A red shampoo is what you want to be using. Yes, they do make red shampoo, too!

What if I have yellow AND orange tones?

If you have multi-colored undertones, it goes back to the undertones in your natural hair color we were talking about before.

If you are a natural brunette, though you may also have brassy yellow undertones, the orange will be more prominent. You’ll want to use a blue shampoo.

And likewise, if you are blonde, and you have a little orange mixed in with the yellow, go for the purple.

Can I use blue shampoo for yellow hair or purple shampoo for orange hair?

Purple will not neutralize orange tones and blue will not neutralize yellow tones. If you use blue shampoo on yellow hair, it could take on a green tinge. That’s probably not what you were going for.

Stick to the color wheel!

Can I use blue or purple shampoo right after dying my hair?

Do not use blue, purple, or any other shampoo right after coloring your hair. When you dye your hair, the cuticle opens, so washing it with any shampoo at this time will fade your hair color.

How often can I use blue or purple shampoo?

Toning shampoos are not meant to replace regular shampoo. You should be using your blue or purple shampoo once or twice a week at the most.

If you use it too often, your hair might start to look silver.

Blue Shampoo for toning down brassy orange undertones:

Purple Shampoo for toning down brassy yellow undertones:

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).