The 10 Best Purple Shampoos for Blonde, Silver, and Gray Hair

All of the blonde, none of the brassiness.

Mathilde Frachon wears gold earrings, a navy blue velvet silk short dress, and a bow in her blonde hair during a street style fashion photo session, on December 03, 2022 in Paris, France.
(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

When I was in college, a roommate of mine came out of the bathroom, grinning from ear to ear, and announced that she'd found her new holy grail beauty product. And what was it? Purple shampoo. She explained to the rest of us that her blonde hair, which incorporated dazzling highlights, often grew brassy between salon appointments. This means that bright yellow, unnatural-looking tones often showed up in her hair a few weeks or months after it had been lightened. And no matter how high-quality her regular shampoos and conditioners, nothing could fix it. Except, of course, for purple shampoo.

"Purple shampoo is a shampoo with a purple pigment that helps neutralize or get rid of the brassy and yellow tones in the hair," explains hairstylist Glenn Ellis. "The purple pigment in the shampoo neutralizes or cancels out the yellow tones you see in the hair. It is similar to the toning process at the salon, but not as strong or long-lasting. It helps keep your hair fresh between touch ups!"

Since you may not be able to visit your go-to hairstylist or colorist as often as you'd like, I've tapped experts to discover everything there is to know about purple shampoo, how and when to use purple shampoo, and how to find the best one for you. 

Why Use a Purple Shampoo?

Ellis says that if your highlights, platinum color, or grays are looking dull or yellow, that's the best time to look into a purple shampoo—just as brunettes often turn to blue shampoos when their locks are looking dull. 

"You want to use a purple shampoo when you start to see those warmer tones come through in your blonde—when it starts to get yellowy-brassy looking," Ellis explains. "Typically, people use it once every other week once they start to see brassiness (usually 6-8 weeks post color). I recommend talking with your colorist about the frequency with which you use it, depending on your color."

Hairstylist Kevin Kelly adds that purple shampoo is only really a good fit for people with light hair. "You cannot use purple shampoo on caramel highlights," he says. "It will not do anything. It’s not light enough for the color to grab on to." He also adds that purple shampoo works wonders "if your hair isn’t light enough or your hair was highlighted or colors in properly."

So, next time you're in the middle of a hair disaster, consider grabbing a purple shampoo before you start to panic. But remember that purple shampoo is meant to be a temporary fix until your next dye appointment—not a permanent panacea.

"The more you use purple shampoo, the more it makes your blonde look dull, because you are continuously depositing color shampoo," Kelly points out. So, while it's important to keep a bottle on hand, that doesn't mean you can eschew your hair appointments altogether.

What To Look For in Purple Shampoo

As with all hair products, there are an overwhelming number of purple shampoos on the market, making it hard to determine which one's right for you. Thus, I asked Ellis to break down the basics.

"As with any shampoo, you want to look for a high-quality one that is sulfate free," he says. "A good rule of thumb is that the lighter it is, the more subtle of a tone it’s going to be. The brighter the purple, the more drastic the results will be."

Still unsure of where to start? Don't worry—we've got you covered. Below, the best purple shampoos to keep your shade of blonde hair bright.

The Best Purple Shampoos