Does Purple Shampoo Work On Orange Hair? What Will Fix It?

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Does purple shampoo work on orange hair?

Nope. A purple shampoo will not work on orange hair.

Wow. That was probably the easiest, fastest Google search ever!

But if you want to know why purple shampoo will not work on orange hair, what purple shampoo will do to your orange hair and what you can use to fix it, then keep reading.


Why Is My Hair Orange?

To get a better understanding of your hair and why it turned orange will go a long way to figuring out how to fix it.

There are 3 main reasons brown hair turns orange.

  1. Bleaching
  2. Environmental exposure
  3. Heat styling

If you have dark hair and you want to go lighter or brighter, it’s going to involve bleaching. A standard box dye or hair color with a developer will contain enough bleaching agent to lighten your hair a couple of shades if you are aiming for a slightly lighter shade of caramel, for example.

But any lighter than that, like say, if you’re planning on going light blonde or if you want something a little more daring, like hot pink, you are going to have to bleach it before you color, if you have dark hair.

The problem with bleaching dark hair is that it tends to go orange. Unfortunately, it’s part of the process. So don’t panic if you’ve ended up with a disastrous shade of pumpkin.

The problem with bleaching dark hair is that it tends to go orange. Unfortunately, it’s part of the process. So don’t panic if you’ve ended up with a disastrous shade of pumpkin.

Though bleaching is the most common cause of unwanted orange showing up in the hair, heat styling and environmental exposure (a.k.a. sun) can also bring out your natural copper undertones.

But Why Orange?

Your natural hair color is made up of melanin. All natural hair color is made up of four pigments of 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.

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

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

When hair is bleached, the cooler black and brown pigments are smaller and the first to be lifted out of the hair, often leaving behind some of the larger, more stubborn yellow and red molecules.

Those with blonde hair have more yellow than red pigment, so blonde hair has a tendency to go a brassy yellow. But since brown hair has more red than yellow pigments, this is why you end up with orange.

Orange can also happen as a result of sun exposure and heat styling as well as things like chlorine, hair care products containing alcohol, certain medications, and even natural aging.

All of these things can break down the melanin (the pigments we were talking about earlier) in your hair. And if you remember the cooler colour pigments are always the first to go because they are smaller molecules and easier to break down. The larger, harder to lift warm colour molecules (a.k.a. the red and orange pigments) are the last to break down so that’s why you are left with orange tones.

So that orange isn’t as a result of bleaching, the sun, your curling iron or chlorine “turning your hair orange”. Orange is your natural undertone being revealed as a result.

Unless you’re prepared to embrace the orangutan as your spirit animal, you are probably going to want to fix that.


Does Purple Shampoo Work On Orange Hair?

Purple shampoo will not work to fix orange hair – and here’s why.

Purple shampoo is a color depositing shampoo, sometimes referred to as a toning shampoo. Colour depositing shampoos do exactly what they sound like they do – deposit color. However, unlike a hair dye, the color they deposit is meant to neutralize unwanted tones, as opposed to changing the color of your hair.

Sounds like just what you need! It is actually… but just not purple.

Have a look at the color wheel:

Colours opposite each other cancel each other out. Purple is opposite yellow. So if you have brassy, yellow hair, then you need purple shampoo.

But if your hair is orange, you need BLUE shampoo. It works exactly the same way as purple shampoo, except it’s meant to neutralize orange, rather than yellow tones.


What Happens When You Put Purple Shampoo On Orange Hair?

Purple is a combination of red and blue. Orange is a combination of red and yellow. Notice that there is red in both purple and orange. If you apply purple shampoo to red hair, you are doubling up on the warm red pigment.

This will just turn your hair into a shade of darker orangey purple. Pretty sure that’s not what you were going for.

Blue shampoo, on the other hand, which is opposite to orange on the color wheel, will neutralize those warm orange tones, giving your hair a cooler more ashy tone.

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Take Away

Does purple shampoo work on orange hair? No. But a blue shampoo will. If you don’t want to tone your orange hair, you could also use a box dye to fix it.

Written by Kayla Young

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