Purple Shampoo Turned My Hair Grey. How Can I Fix It?

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Purple shampoo has long been used in salons to tone light hair. But recently purple shampoo jumped from the salon specialty to the home.

Everyone loves a new product, and purple shampoo was an instant hit. The only problem is the average person didn’t know how to use these shampoos properly.

This has led to some unexpected experiences, with many exclaiming “purple shampoo turned my hair grey!” And they don’t really understand why or how it’s supposed to be used… only that it’s new and EVERYONE is using it!

If you are among the many whose hair has turned grey because of purple shampoo, fret not. In this article, we are going to take a look at purple shampoo, how it works, why your hair turned grey, and how to fix it.


What Is Purple Shampoo?

Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo is what is referred to as toning or color-depositing shampoo. It is designed to get rid of brassy yellow tones in blonde and light-colored hair.

Rather than changing your hair color, like bleach or dye, purple shampoo neutralizes the unwanted yellow tones. To understand how it works, let’s have a look at the color wheel….

If you’ve ever asked yourself – why purple? – there is a good reason for this. When it comes to getting rid of unwanted tones in the hair, colors opposite each other on the color wheel cancel each other out.

Purple is opposite yellow, so if you are looking to rid your hair of unwanted brassy yellow tones, then purple shampoo is your go-to.

Purple Shampoo Turned My Hair Grey

A big trend a few years back was grey hair. There were a bunch of 20 somethings walking around having colored their hair grey thinking that was cool.

Grey can be beautiful, no doubt! But Mother Nature will catch up to you soon enough. No need to rush something that happens to us all eventually! 

So, why did purple shampoo turn your hair grey?

Purple shampoo will neutralize all of the warm yellow tones which will result in a cool ashy tone of whatever your hair color was before.

Depending on the shade of your hair, that ashy color can look anywhere from silver to grey if you are using it too often and/or leaving it in too long.

Overusing purple shampoo won’t yield the results you were expecting, which should be a toned-down, cooler version of your previous color without the brassy undertones.

Overuse of purple shampoo can even result in your hair taking on a greyish purple tinge.

Product buildup from overuse can also make your hair appear darker.

How often should I use purple shampoo?

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

How Long Should I Leave Purple Shampoo On?

Especially if you’ve had issues with purple shampoo making your hair grey, 2-3 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water is probably enough.

Read the shampoo label for the recommended time. If it gives you a range (i.e. 2-15 minutes), go with the least amount of time.

How Do I Get Grey Out Of My Hair From Purple Shampoo?

Don’t worry, the grey is not permanent. Purple shampoo is different from dye and bleach in that it just coats the exterior of the hair strand, rather than penetrating the hair structure.

If you just stop using the purple shampoo, your hair will return to its previous color before you started using it.

It might take a week or two, with a few washes in between (with regular shampoo).

If you don’t want to wait that long, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process.

  1. You can use a flaxseed oil mask, like Aunt Jackie's Flaxseed Recipes Fix My Hair, Intensive Repair Conditioning Masque  and apply it from root to tip, and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  2. You can also try using a clarifying shampoo to speed up the process. Clarifying Shampoo is specially formulated to remove residue and buildup that accumulates on the surface of your hair, like dry shampoo, styling products, hairspray, gels and leave/in products. Purple shampoo would also fall into this category.
  3. A chelating shampoo is also another option. Sometimes the terms “clarifying’ and ‘chelating’ are used interchangeably, but they are a bit different. Chelating shampoos do everything clarifying shampoos do, but they also contain specific “chelating agents” to remove minerals, metals, and chlorine that cause damage. 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

Clarifying and chelating shampoos are not meant for daily use. If you opt to try one, and if after one wash your hair is still grey, wait 48 hours before washing again with a chelating or clarifying shampoo. 

Clarifying and chelating shampoos can be harsh on your hair. They will leave it feeling dry, so make sure you follow it up with a moisturizing conditioner. It may take a couple of washes for your hair to return to its previous color.

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Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Conditioner, 6.7-Ounce Tube
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Prevent Your Hair Going Grey From Purple Shampoo

If you haven’t given up on the purple shampoo and want to give it another go, here are some things to keep in mind for the next time around:

  1. Use your purple shampoo only if you have unwanted yellow tones that you want to get rid of. Despite everyone saying: “If you’re a blonde – you HAVE to use purple shampoo.” No, actually you don’t. If you don’t have overpowering brassy undertones, and you like the color of your hair, you don’t need purple shampoo.
  2. But if you do have brassy unwanted yellow tones, use purple shampoo only once a week. Twice, at the most.
  3. Don’t leave it in your hair too long – go with the recommended label instructions. If you find it’s still making your hair too grey, leave it in for less time, or try a different purple shampoo.

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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).