The Blonde Benefits of Purple Shampoo & Conditioner
So you’ve made the decision, chosen your shade, and taken the leap to being - or obtaining a new shade of - blonde.
If you selected your stylist wisely, you’re likely leaving the salon with the blonde of your dreams, and now that the initial process has been completed, you’re probably wondering…
Hopefully your stylist discussed with you at-home upkeep for your blonde fabulousness, a spiel that almost certainly - and absolutely should have - covered the ease and efficacy of Purple Shampoo and Conditioner.
Just in case they didn’t - or if you’ve been a blondie a while and need a refresher - we decided to assemble a quick recap of the ins, outs, and benefits of purple, tips and tricks for getting the most from it, and the truths behind the most common misconceptions about it.
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyways...selecting an expert colorist and being sure you’re leaving the salon with the desired color and tone are still the first and most important steps in the blonding process!
First and foremost, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Purple Shampoo and Conditioner are an easy, effective way to maintain the tone of your blonde between visits to the stylist...while they’re great for prolonging the color you already have, they are not intended to get you a color you never had. You should either be leaving the salon 100% satisfied with your color results, or at the very least with an in-salon plan to get there with your stylist’s help...it’s just not realistic to be dissatisfied with where you’re starting and think that Purple Shampoo will change that.
So you’re happy with your salon results, and you’re ready to let purple help you keep them...naturally, the next step is selecting the shampoo and conditioner for you! One of the most vital considerations when selecting a formula is the ingredients...try to stick to products that are as natural as possible, made from high-quality ingredients, and always responsibly made via cruelty-free methods.
While you’ll most often hear it referred to as “purple shampoo”, some brands may refer to it as “blonde shampoo”, “silver shampoo”, or “violet shampoo”. While the first two make it clear what hair color is best served by a given product, the difference between “purple” and “violet” versions isn’t as intuitive for most people….luckily, you have us, and we’re not “most people”!
Simply put, Violet Shampoos and Conditioners contain a blend of purple and blue pigments, while Purple Shampoos and Conditioners are packing pure purple.
You see, toning shampoos and conditioners utilize the science behind the color wheel to do their job. For those of us who are more academically or musically inclined than art-savvy, this is a color wheel (shaped like a flower, because - it’s just prettier):
As you can see, purple is directly opposite yellow, while blue is directly opposite orange - which means that if you were finger-painting, you’d use purple to tone down yellow, and blue to dull orange. It’s the same with hair...if you’re struggling with unwanted yellowing (often referred to as “warmth”), then the purity of a Purple Shampoo is going to be best for you as an individual, whereas if you’re seeing more orange-like tones (often called “brassiness”), then a Violet Shampoo may be a more effective counteraction tool.
Luckily, you don’t have to wait for yellowing or brassiness to set in to determine which option is right for you...it just so happens that your hair color plays a large part in the type of tonal changes you’re likely to experience! Lighter blondes - like platinum, ash, champagne, and honey - are more likely to yellow over time, as are whites, greys and silvers - so Purple Shampoo is probably going to offer the desired result there. Meanwhile, darker blondes - such as mocha, golden, caramel, and bronde - and lighter shades of brown are more likely to take on an orange tinge, which means that a Violet Shampoo will best help you maintain your ideal hue.
Two questions that we hear a lot are “Can I use Purple Shampoo on my natural hair, or is it only for use on hair that’s been chemically color treated?” and “What if I have darker hair and blonde highlights...will Purple Shampoo do anything for me?” The quick responses are “Yes” and “YES”! Purple Shampoo works on either natural or color-treated hair, and will absolutely tone your highlights without affecting the darker colors in your dimensional ‘do.
Now that you know if you’ll benefit from purple and you have a basic understanding of the science behind picking the proper pigment, it’s important to comprehend how at-home toners work. While the name makes it fairly obvious that Purple Shampoos cleanse hair - just like a “normal” shampoo - their main function is to gently lift the cuticle and deposit some of that purpley goodness to counteract unwanted warmth.
Anytime you furrow the cuticle, you’re losing moisture - which means that Purple Shampoo has the capacity to dry out your locks. As blonding is well-known to cause dryness to begin with, it’s absolutely vital for healthy, moisture-balanced, well-nourished hair that you understand the importance of following up your Purple Shampoo sesh with a high-quality conditioner. ALWAYS. This is non-negotiable!
Thus, in comes Purple Conditioner. Just like it’s sister Shampoo, Purple Conditioners pull double duty to - you guessed it - condition and nourish locks, and deposit more color-correcting purple pigmentation to counteract that nasty between -- touch-up brassy glow. If you feel like you’re satisfied with the toning effect you got from the Shampoo, following up with a Purple Conditioner may not be necessary...but following up with a conditioner of some kind is absolutely necessary to help rehydrate locks and smooth strands for a well-nourished, touchably-soft result.
So, can you overdose your ‘do on Purple Shampoo?
YES! Purple Shampoos are NOT meant for daily cleansing. The general guideline for such products is once-per-week use - at least one week after your color sesh and not within one week of your next appointment - and only leaving it in for the length of time instructed on the bottle. If you have really hard water, spend a lot of time in the pool, or are regularly exposing your locks to environmental hazards (I’m looking at you, smokers), you may be able to get away with using it twice per week - if you shampoo at least 4 times a week. If you shampoo less than that, you can always mix Purple Shampoo half-and-half with regular shampoo once a week in addition to your one full-on Purple wash to safely enhance your results.
While these are general recommendations, it’s always best to follow the provided instructions for best results...the brand best knows their product!
Beyond the possibility of condition issues from overuse, Purple Shampoos and Conditioners can deposit too much pigment if left in too long or used too frequently - resulting in the presence of a purple tinge once hair is dry. Some people actually go for this look...they enjoy the pretty pastel left behind until it fades back to platinum. But if this happens and you’re not one to enjoy it, DON’T PANIC! Shampooing with a good clarifying shampoo once or twice should take the tinge out...just remember, clarifying shampoos lift the cuticle as well - so be sure to quench locks with a good deep conditioner afterwards!
Well, that about sums up the basics of at-home purple toning shampoos! Before we go, I want to be sure that we answer the question we most frequently receive regarding our own GBG Purple Shampoo & Conditioner:
“If it’s pigmented strongly enough to alter the tone of my hair, what’s to say it won’t stain my skin or my tub?”
The short answer: It absolutely WILL stain your skin and your tub!
It’s easy enough to prevent.
When using pigmented in-shower toning products, the best way to avoid skin staining is to make sure that your hands are well-moisturized, and that the shampoo is applied only to necessary areas. If the skin on your hands is dry - especially your cuticles and the skin surrounding your nail beds - then you can alleviate the concern altogether by wearing gloves.
To avoid staining on the scalp, be sure to focus on applying the complex on the strands, and avoid contact with the scalp when possible - especially if you have dandruff or suffer from conditions like psoriasis or eczema, because the drier skin is, the more likely it is to absorb the pigment.
That being said, there’s no real danger in getting the product on your scalp...the trick to avoiding staining is, after you’ve applied the product and let it sit as instructed, to fully emulsify (lather) the product and massage the scalp with it before rinsing. It’s a little known fact that color removes color...so, just like your stylist does at the salon after your color service, lathering up the remaining color and massaging the skin with it will help to eliminate any staining that may have occurred during the processing period.
Last but not least, you can avoid tub and tile staining by immediately and thoroughly rinsing away any product that may contact such surfaces during use. When it comes to properly storing your purple products between toning sessions, we recommend rinsing and drying the bottles before storing them outside of the shower to ensure that product leakage or spillage won’t cause lasting damage.