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Does Purple Shampoo Lighten or Darken Your Hair?

So, you colored your hair a shade of yellow, and your hairdresser advised you to add purple shampoo to your care routine.

Why is this, and what exactly does it do? Does purple shampoo lighten or darken your hair?

Stick around because we’re about to share how purple shampoo works to keep your colored locks vibrant for longer.

Can Purple Shampoo Lighten or Darken Your Hair?

Technically, purple shampoo does not chemically lighten or darken your hair because it does not contain hair dye. But the purple stain buildup can make your hair look darker.

How Does Purple Pigment Maintain Light-Colored Hair?

Purple and yellow are complementary colors, meaning they’re opposites on the color wheel. When you combine the colors in equal parts, they cancel each other out and create a gray, muddy shade. 

However, when you add a small amount of purple pigment to yellow, it neutralizes overbearing yellow hues. This is how purple shampoo works.

Adding a small amount of purple pigment to light-colored strands achieves a natural ashy look while simultaneously preventing a washed-out brassy appearance.

Purple shampoo is crucial to maintaining blonde or light-colored hair because minerals in your water supply, chlorine, and air pollution cause build-up on the hair cuticle, or the outermost layer of the hair, causing damage.

Heat styling tools and UV rays also dry out hair, causing damage. The more damaged your hair becomes between colors, the more oxidized your hair becomes, meaning the color begins lifting and appears brassy.

Luckily, the combination of color-safe and purple shampoo can maintain your dyed hair for much longer than usual. However, because purple shampoo only contains pigment and not dye, its effects are temporary.

To achieve the best results, use a color-safe shampoo daily and a purple shampoo once a week.

Why Does Hair Look Darker After Using Purple Shampoo?

Why Does Hair Look Darker After Using Purple Shampoo?

While purple shampoo doesn’t darken hair, it may create the illusion of darker hair because you’re adding a dark pigment atop a light shade. 

Purple shampoo adds pigment to create an ashy look that makes hair appear more natural. However, if your hair starts looking muddy, you’re either using the product too often, leaving it in too long, or needing a clarifying shampoo.

Because purple shampoo merely sits on top of your hair cuticle to mask brassiness, it doesn’t rid your hair of the build-up that caused the yellow hues in the first place.

Clarifying shampoos offer a longer-lasting fix by cleansing deep to remove residue build-up and reduce harsh yellows.

It should not go without saying that washing with clarifying shampoos too often dries out hair and strips the color. Following the use of a clarifying shampoo, be sure to condition and add a purple shampoo to your wash routine once a week.

If a clarifying shampoo doesn’t work, visit your stylist for a touch-up.

Is Purple Shampoo Safe to Use on Brown and Blonde Hair?

Is Purple Shampoo Safe to Use on Brown and Blonde Hair?

We know that purple shampoo is safe to wash blonde and light-colored hair with, but what about brown hair?

Although purple shampoo won’t harm brown hair, it won’t necessarily benefit it either.

Unless you have ombre or balayage-dyed hair that has the potential to grow brassy, there’s no need to use it.

As previously mentioned, hair stylists recommend purple shampoo for light-colored hair because it’s the opposite of yellow on the color wheel and neutralizes brassiness.

People with brown-dyed hair will most benefit from a blue shampoo. When build-up accumulates on brown-colored hair, it takes on a rusted-out orange or gold color.

Because blue is complementary or the opposite of orange on the color wheel, a blue shampoo is best for gently toning brown hair that’s taking on an orange hue.


Although purple shampoo may create an illusion of darker hair for purple pigment buildup, it does not physically lighten or darken hair.

It neutralizes brassy tones in blonde or light hair, creating an ashy look. It’s safe for both blonde and brown hair but more effective on the former.

Use purple shampoo weekly for the best results, and consider a clarifying shampoo if hair appears overly dark or muddy.