Blue shampoo versus purple shampoo: What is the difference?

When it comes to shampoo products, that are currently on the market, most offerings made by large and small haircare companies fall into two rough camps. It’s either you deal with a product that has a blue liquid inside or you open a tube of whatever shape and design and find a purple fluid. Believe it or not,

this is not just a simple matter of fluid color, this is not a case where both product categories basically have the same rough set of ingredients and the only difference is cosmetic.

One product category is blue and the other is purple but at the end of the day, when it comes to the actual results as far as clean hair, dandruff prevention, and all that good stuff, you’re dealing with the same product. This is not one of those situations. There is a big difference between blue shampoo vs purple shampoo.

What is blue shampoo anyway?

A shampoo that has a blue pigment is intended for special toning the blue shampoo brand, specially formulated for women who have brunette hair. If you have a broad natural brunette color and you want to increase its brassy hue to give it more vibrancy and personality, you might want to consider cleaning your hair with blue shampoo. This product is also a good match for people with brown hair that has been lightened. If you were looking to bring your brown hair to life by adding highlights, blue shampoo can go a long way in treating the brassy effect that you will get overtime.

Color-treated hair develops a “brassy” effect

If you wash your hair a lot, which most people do, eventually your color-treated hair will have this brassy effect. It doesn’t appear overnight but with enough washing, the overall effect of the original hair color treatment gives way to something that’s a little bit off. You can’t quite put your finger on it

and it depends on the angle that you’re looking at but sooner or later you would notice that there’s something as a kind of awkward about your hair. Of course, most people can’t afford and don’t have the luxury to just keep going to the hair salon and getting their hair recolored after a short period of time. 

So how do you deal with this? Blue shampoo helps preserve the color treatment of your brunette or brown hair so you can control the brassiness. How bad can it get if you don’t use this type of product? Well, it can get so bad that your color-treated hair which is normally brown or brunette can become red or if you’re unlucky, orange. Imagine that, you would have the hair color of a clown, we’re talking Ronald McDonald here.

If you think that this is the worst-case scenario, well, think again. It all depends on how you frequently you wash your hair. If you hop in the shower first thing in the morning and your idea of unwinding before bed involves a nice bath or a shower and you’re constantly washing your hair without using the right product category like blue shampoo then might have a problem on your hands.

The issue of “virgin” hair

In addition to brunette and brown-haired persons using blue shampoo, people with virgin hair use this product to add the much-needed shine to their mane.

How does virgin hair play out? Well, if you are already using a regular shampoo, you would want to swap it out with blue shampoo at least once or twice a week. In this way, you can preserve the overall natural look of your virgin hair.

Using blue shampoo the right way

First of all, wet and cleanse your hair like you normally do with any kind of shampoo. Next, make sure you apply blue shampoo only to the scalp section of your head. This is crucial, don’t apply it to your hair but to the base which is the scalp working from the roots, and make sure that the product at the tip

level, is pretty much distributed evenly across the surface. It’s a good idea to follow-up with a high-quality conditioner. This is non-negotiable. If your hair is color- treated, make sure you follow-up with a good conditioner to prevent dryness and damage. Also, to boost the overall hair health-promoting effect of blue shampoo.

What about purple shampoo?

Purple shampoo is a product category that uses purple-coloring agents. These pigments neutralize or tone down the brassiness that often follows color-treated blonde hair. The purple pigment is tuned more to the yellow tones that will typically find in blonde hair. How blonde can you get? Well, this product of choice would apply to grey, silver, pastels, and yes even platinum blonde hair. The purple pigment in this product prevents the light elements of the blonde color-treated  hair from fading, moisturizes, and keeps your mane vibrant and fully alive.

How does purple shampoo work with blond or yellow-colored hair?

Well, the yellow element of blonde hair is neutralized by the purple pigments in purple shampoo. This produces a cooler tone to preserve your color-treated and to make it last longer. The key here is to prevent your hair from becoming yellow. A lot of women are unconsciously careless about their color-treated blonde hair because they think that as long as their hair is light, everything’s fine. But what they don’t realize is that eventually, their hair is no longer blonde, attractive, youthful, and vibrant but instead it’s just yellow, like the color you see on a faded doll.

Regardless of whether you use blue shampoo vs purple shampoo, keep this in mind

If you have color-treated hair, please understand the frequency of your usage of these products is caused by a wide range of stress factors on your hair. These stress factors can increase brassiness so your blonde hair turns into yellow or your brunette or brown hair turns red or something unattractive.

What factors are we talking about? We’re talking about pollution, certain diet issues such as a high-fat and a high sugar diet and certain medications might trigger a change in your hair color as well. Also, if you swim in a chlorinated pool the chlorine in the water can boost brassiness and, lastly if your hair

is exposed to an excessive amount of sun or smoke, these could be a problem as well. Just as long as you use these products once or twice per week, you should be good to go.

Do’s and Don’ts of using blue shampoo

With all of the above said, don’t just jump into using blue shampoo. You might end up using it wrong. It all depends on the natural color of your hair.

If you’re a brunette naturally or you tend to use brown shade dye (it can range from very light brown all the way to ultra-dark brown), you are at high risk of developing orange-colored hair. At the least, there will be reddish hues or strands in your hair.

Unless you want to look like a clown, this is usually not a good idea. Reddish or orange hues in a bright palate is not usually preferred by most people. How does this happen?

If you’re exposed to a lot of sun and you dye your hair quite a bit, this can be a problem. Also, if you tend to wash your hair a lot, a lot of the darker pigments in your hair color tend to go first. So, what’s left produces red or orange tones.

Blue shampoo can help deal with this because it tones the brassiness and offsets the orange or reddish color. The problem is overuse because there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you overuse blue shampoo, you’re not going to get the benefits that you bought it for.

For example, if you go over 2 uses per week, this is going to be an issue. Also, if you leave it on your hair for much longer than recommended, you may develop problems. How long should you keep the blue shampoo on your hair? Maybe 2 minutes maximum.


Don’t overuse blue shampoo

It’s really important to make sure that you don’t over shampoo and limit yourself to maybe 2 uses per week. When you do use this product, do not leave it on your hair for longer than 2 minutes. It is very strong.

So while it can darken your hair, it can also dry it out fairly quickly.

Do use a conditioner

It’s really important to make sure that when you’re using blue shampoo, quickly follow it up with a conditioner. The conditioner will hydrate your hair and also deliver much-needed moisture. If you use blue shampoo without following it up with conditioner, your hair will become brittle, dry, dull, and lifeless. None of that is good.

So do yourself a big favor. Treat blue shampoo like you would the typical commercial formulated shampoo you find at your corner drug store. In other words, it has to always be matched with a conditioner.

You can mix and match and play around with the different types of conditioner products out there to deliver the right kind of conditioning and moisturizing that would really make your hair stand out. But what’s important is you put in the time to try out different conditioners so you can get the optimal effect. This can take quite some time.

Feel free to experiment. But no matter how you do it, just make sure you don’t keep your blue shampoo on your hair for too long.

Is purple shampoo off-limits to brunettes?

Generally speaking, purple shampoo is a toner product that is specifically made for people with blonde hair. The idea is to neutralize the after tone lighter hair that tends to appear over an extended period of time.

If you have darker hair, you can also benefit from purple shampoo. This is provided that you have highlights. For example, if you have a hair type called balayage that has a graduated look to it, you may benefit from purple shampoo because it can mellow out the overall look of your hair and make it appear more natural.

The problem with highlights is that if you don’t take good care of your hair and you are on top of it, it can easily become brassy. Purple shampoo can help people with otherwise dark hair prevent their mane from becoming orange, red, or light in a nasty way.

It all boils down to using the right type of product for the right type of hair.

Other great benefits of purple shampoo

Not only is purple shampoo a toner, but it also is a hair booster. How exactly can it help? If you want a vibrant younger-looking head of hair, purple shampoo can help, provided you have light hair. Why?

It can boost the overall shine of your hair. It also can help strengthen your mane at the roots. It’s really important to use this product the right way.

Same warning as blue shampoo

Just like blue shampoo, you can not overuse purple shampoo. As powerful as the pigments in this shampoo may be, you have to use it sparingly. We’re talking about maybe twice a week tops. You can’t go over that because whatever benefits you get will be far outstripped by the negatives.

It’s also important that you pay close attention to how blonde your hair is. So if you want a cooler blonde, you can leave it on your hair for a longer period of time. If you want a brighter blonde, 3 minutes is your maximum.

Depending on just how bright you want your hair to be, you might want to get closer to the 1-minute mark. If you are a neutral blonde, you might want to consider the 3 to 5-minute range.

Finally, for darker or cooler blondes, you can probably get away with a maximum 10-minute exposure.

Always condition

It’s really important that if you’re using any kind of toner on your hair to always follow

up with a conditioner. Again, just like with blue shampoo, you should experiment with different hair toner products out there so it can properly nourish and support your hair.

The key here is for your hair not to dry out, but different conditioner products have different effects. So pay close attention to these little differences and nuances because you have to make sure that you pick the right product for the right job.