We asked you, our wonderful readers, to send us your most pressing purple shampoo questions and boy, y'all came through! We received more questions than we could possibly hope to respond to in a single blog post. Consider this a part one of multiple purple shampoo articles to come.
To help us out with answering these questions, we've enlisted the help of hairstylists Scott Williams and Zoe Green. Scott is a master stylist/owner of Studio S in Brooklyn, NY, and Lakeland, FL. Zoe is a hairstylist and professional hair blogger at blondehelp.com.
Now - onto those purple shampoo questions!
Gina S. asks: If I leave the purple shampoo on my hair for a really long time, like over an hour or overnight, will it work better? I feel it never quite does the job when I just apply it like the instructions say to, there's always still brassiness. Could I just put it in my hair and sleep on it to make it more effective?
Zoe's answer: Leaving purple shampoo in your hair for longer than the recommended time is not always a good idea. The longer you leave it, the more pigments will be deposited on your hair and they could even stain it permanently. If you are a bleach blonde and your hair is very porous you are particularly at risk of ending with lavender-grey hair. And do not think an overnight treatment will work better: sleeping with purple shampoo will lead to dry hair, messy pillows, and purple hair.
Instead, consider why you are not getting the right results from purple shampoo. Is your hair too orange instead of yellow? You need a blue shampoo instead. Is purple shampoo washing off too quickly? Choose another brand, a violet toning mask for blonde hair, or go to your hairdresser for a semi-permanent toner.
Sarah K. asks: What would happen if I put purple shampoo on my hair when it's dry? Like I don't always have time to tone my hair and do the full routine. Couldn't I just put the shampoo in my hair and let it air dry and then would it be nice and ashy?
Scott's answer: Using products as directed is always important. Whenever pigmented shampoos are formulated, they are done so with the idea that it will be applied on wet hair. The water within the hair serves as a conduit to evenly distribute and dilute the product, creating the final effect that the manufacturer intended. If you apply the product on dry hair, the results will likely be inconsistent and create splotchy results.
Ash Q. asks: What's the difference between blue and purple shampoos/conditioners? How do I figure out which kind I need?
Scott's answer: On blonde hair, the color you should reach for depends on the tone that you are trying to correct. If your blonde feels too yellow, think "stick of butter," then a purple shampoo will be the best option to balance out the yellow tone, bringing it closer to neutral. This works because purple and yellow are opposite of each other on the color wheel, which in color theory means they cancel each other out. What is across from blue? Orange. So again, if that blonde is more of an orange-yellow, then I would suggest a blue-based option."
Zoe's answer: Purple or violet shampoo contains violet pigments, blue shampoo contains mostly blue pigments. Purple shampoo works great on lighter blondes to cancel yellow tones, whereas blue shampoo is best to cancel orange tones on darker blondes or brunettes.
Kylie A. asks: My sister has blonde highlights in her brown hair and she uses purple shampoo and really thinks it makes the brown in her hair look better. I have brown hair, should I also use a purple shampoo or is that just for blondes?
Zoe's answer: Usually, brown hair doesn't get yellow, but it can get an orange cast. Blue shampoo works best in this case. The exception is brunettes with ashy highlights who want to keep them bright and fresh. A purple shampoo applied correctly will not affect the brunette sections of the hair but will tone away from the yellow on the highlighted sections.
Abi S. asks: My hair isn't just brassy. It's orange. It's gross. I hate it. How long do I need to leave purple shampoo in my hair when I'm in the shower each night to fix it?
Zoe's answer: Seriously orange hair actually calls for more than purple shampoo, it needs blue shampoo. Blue sits opposite orange on the color wheel, whereas purple shampoo is better if your hair is yellow. You would use blue shampoo the same way as purple shampoo, however, the pigments are usually stronger so you must make sure you don't leave it on longer than recommended or your hair can develop a visible blue tinge.
Anya M. asks: I messed up with purple shampoo and somehow managed to stain my hair purple-grey. I don't want to totally mess up my hair, how do I fix it without making my hair fall out? I also don't want to go back to the salon and admit that I messed it up myself because that's a little too embarrassing, considering my stylist sold me the purple shampoo I used.
Scott's answer: The best, most damage-free way of removing a stain caused by purple shampoo is time. Multiple shampoos over a few days, environmental exposure, and typical heat styling, will all etch away at the effects of purple shampoo. If you must force the removal more readily, I would suggest a high-quality clarifying shampoo. These shampoos tend to be a higher pH, and will be more effective at removing the pigment. That said, clarifying shampoos tend to be drying, and overuse can create worse issues like brittle, dry hair. If you are desperate and the staining is really bad, my off-the-record advice (*wink*) is Dawn dish soap followed by intense deep conditioners. Keep in mind that removing the purple might also fade the professional color in your hair as well.
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