The 13 Best Blue Shampoos for Brown Hair

Blue makes brunettes even bolder. (Say that five times fast.)

blue shampoo brown hair
(Image credit: Getty)

Brown hair may be common, but it's anything but basic. In fact, the color is so dynamic, it can be tough to maintain—and if you go brunette (opens in new tab), you can't exactly set it and forget it. (As anyone who has ever walked out of the salon with shimmering mahogany tresses, only to wake up nary a month later to hair that's suddenly drab and lank, can readily attest.) Happily, a range of shampoos spiked with blue pigments can help preserve the truest, deepest, and most intentional brown hair color, says Los Angeles-based colorist Laura Gibson, who's also the Global Artistic Director at Rusk Hair.

What does blue shampoo do for brunettes?

Why you can trust Marie Claire Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Brown hair, by definition, is a mix of absolutely every color out there. But the shade of brown is determined by how much of the primary pigments you're working with. If your hair is deeper and more espresso-toned, you've got more red going. Mid-shades enjoy a redder orange, and the lightest browns, like toffee and ash, have almost all orange. That's where color theory comes in. 

"Green neutralizes red and blue neutralizes orange," explains Gibson. (That's why blue is directly across from orange on ye olde color wheel.) And anything—from regular shampooing to sun exposure, swimming, and heated styling—can cause the deeper red pigments to seep from your strands, allowing the orangey ones to come through. And that's when you hair can start looking brassy or dull.

There's two ways to keep that from happening: First, be sure you're using a sulfate-free hair product (opens in new tab), which are less damaging and won't strip the hair shaft. Second, try a shampoo with blue pigments, which will counteract any fading and orange-tones that are peeking through.

What blue shampoo should I use?

Luckily for you, we've put together a list of some of our favorites. 

Hannah Morrill is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She’s an avid reader, an indifferent face-washer and a sunscreen/retinol evangelist.