What Does Purple Shampoo Do to Red Hair?
Blondes rave about their love for purple shampoo all the time.
Whenever you ask your bottle blonde friends—it’s pretty much their holy grail for maintaining those perfect platinum or golden locks, helping to keep them cool and natural-looking without overly warm tones ruining their hairdo.
But they’re not the only ones who notice yellow streaks that ruin their hair color.
Sometimes, redheads with lighter shades also see some gold peeking through. And just the same with blondes, it’s not really a flattering look.
Many people with red hair aren’t sure what to do when they notice yellowish brassiness in their hair. Most websites online say purple shampoo is the way to go, but there’s a notion that it’s only for blondes.
Because of this misconception, it doesn’t even cross their minds to give it a go.
But could purple shampoo be God’s gift to redheads with distractingly yellow tones in their tresses too?
See also: The 20 Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Natural Blonde Hair
What is purple shampoo actually for?
Purple shampoo contains violet pigments that tone your colored hair and cancel out any yellow tones that can make your hair look brassy and unnatural.
It’s designed for blonde hair, who see yellow tones in their hair most often, but anyone with light brassiness can use it.
When your hair gets bleached at the salon, your natural hair color is lifted.
This exposes an underlying pigment, which can either be red for darker hair like black locks, orange for medium shades like brown, and yellow for lighter shades that are more on the platinum, pastel, or blonde end of the spectrum.
But you can’t just walk out of the salon with your hair looking like an overly warm mess.
Your colorist tones your hair to neutralize these stark warm tones, which is equivalent to sprinkling pixie dust on your hair. It gives you that color you’ve always wanted, in the right tone and coolness.
Purple toner is the best way to get rid of golden tones that ruin your hairstyle because it’s the color that contrasts best with yellow.
Purple is placed right across yellow on the color wheel—a tell-tale sign that it’s the toner shade that will neutralize and cancel out yellow patches and streaks in your hair.
Your colorist will use a legit toning solution in the salon when you first get your hair lightened, but you might want to look for a way to maintain that tone in the coming months.
When you expose your color-treated hair to harsh shampoos, hard minerals in your shower water, sun exposure, or ironing and curling with hot tools, you lift the hair cuticles a little more.
This strips it of its color and tone, exposing that brassiness again over time.
That’s where purple shampoo comes in. This toning shampoo is an affordable and convenient way to correct your hair’s tone when yellow brassiness peeks through.
You can use it whenever you’re self-conscious about unwanted golden tones in your hair.
Another option is to use it once a week in place of your regular shampoo just to maintain your current color while preventing any undertone issues.
If it’s for yellow tones, does that mean it won’t work on red hair?
No, because blondes aren’t the only ones who experience stark yellow tones in their hair.
Contrary to popular belief, purple shampoos aren’t just for them. It’s for anyone who notices any yellow or golden brassiness that they’d like to eliminate to give their colored hair a refresh.
You could even argue that because yellow tends to peek through stronger against red hair, those with a cherry shade might find it more useful than blondes do.
Yellow and golden tones appear on bleached hair strands lifted to a lighter hair shade.
Because your hair is so light, it means you have underlying yellow pigments below your cuticle, no matter what hue or tone your hair is in now.
That means anyone with light blonde, light brown, and even pastel-colored hair can experience brassiness. And consequently, people with these hair shades can use purple shampoo.
So if your light auburn or strawberry blonde locks are starting to dull and look warmer than you’d like a few weeks after your color treatment, you might want to start looking for a dependable purple shampoo.
You may also find it useful if you have red hair with lighter highlights that show brassiness.
And if you’re worried about purple shampoo fading your red color, don’t sweat it. It’s totally safe to use on vibrantly colored hair because its job is to tone, not recolor or strip off pigment.
On the contrary, purple shampoos are designed to keep colored hair vivid, extending the longevity of your fiery shade.
But neutralizing yellow tones in red hair shouldn’t be confused with toning visibly red underlying pigments. Someone with black or super deep brown hair might see brassiness in red streaks instead of gold or copper.
When this happens, a green shampoo is needed instead, since green is the color that contrasts red in the color wheel.
Will purple shampoo do anything to dark red hair?
Purple shampoo cancels out underlying yellow pigments in your hair shaft.
And since yellow is exposed when you bleach your hair to achieve lighter hair colors, it means purple shampoo is better-suited for the lightest shades.
No matter how powerful and magical purple shampoo seems to be, it can’t cancel out brassiness in medium and dark hair, which tend to pull orange and red tones, respectively.
These underlying pigments respond better to other toning solutions—those on the spectrum’s blue or green side.
So if your locks flaunt a rich, dark mahogany shade that looks close to dark brown or black, chances are your brassiness will come in the form of reddish copper streaks, not yellow.
For that, you might want to hunt down a blue or green shampoo to neutralize the undesirable brassiness in your deep red tresses.
So if you rock a darker red, don’t waste time on purple shampoo.
Trust me—you’ll only get frustrated and disappointed because it isn’t designed for your dark hair.
Most purple shampoos are labeled “for blondes”—Are there any options for my red locks?
Don’t let the labels and product descriptions in purple shampoos discourage you from trying them out.
They’re only labeled that way because they’re trying to reel in blondes who experience yellow brassiness most often, but it doesn’t mean they won’t work for your red hair.
If you’re a bit uncomfortable trying out a purple shampoo that’s formulated explicitly for blondes and silver-haired ladies, opt for one that is more inclusive and universal in its formulation and marketing.
The L’Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Anti-Brassiness Purple Shampoo is a shining example of this.
It’s a purple shampoo that suits not just blondes, but anyone who has color-treated hair suffering from brassiness and distractingly gold tones that ruin their hair color.
Its purple pigments work to eliminate yellow tones, refreshing your hair and making it look cooler in tone.
It also takes care of your chemically colored hair by nourishing it and making your red hair look more vibrant. Therefore, it maintains the red color you love while extending its lifespan as well.
Another option you might enjoy is the Fanola No Yellow Shampoo.
Unlike most purple shampoos in the market, this shampoo focuses less on who it’s for and more on what problem it solves for you.
In this case, it’s annoying yellow tones that ruin your radiant red hair.
The violet pigments neutralize brassiness in lightened hair of any shade, so it’s suitable for your red hair. It makes yellow tones a lot less noticeable, bringing the freshness and grace back to your locks.
It makes your tresses look brighter, shinier, and more natural-looking.
Take this advice and store it in your back pocket: Don’t mind the labels on purple shampoos.
Even if it says it’s for blonde or silver hair, know that they aren’t the only ones who can restore their hair color with purple shampoo.
Pick up a bottle of this miracle toning shampoo every blonde and their mom is raving about, even if you’re not the primary target market.
As long as you have a glaringly yellow undertone in your locks, you’ll see your hair color vibrant and beautiful in all its glory again with no undesirable brassiness—no matter what color your hair is.
Try it out and see firsthand how purple shampoo can zap away those too-golden tones to keep your gorgeous red hair looking fresh and salon-beautiful months after your coloring session.