What Does Purple Shampoo Do To Gray Hair?

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Gray hair has been given a stylish status over the last few years, making it incredibly popular for people of all ages to try.

If you have gone naturally gray, lucky you! Lots of people pay good money to achieve the perfect shade of gray that makes them feel stylish, fashionable, and confident in themselves. 

Once you have achieved the perfect gray color, maintaining it can be hard as you don’t want it to fade too quickly.

A popular way of toning dyed hair is to use purple shampoo, but what does purple shampoo do to gray hair? Does it help to maintain the color?

This article will explain how purple shampoo affects gray hair and if it is beneficial to use to help keep the color fresh.

If you are unfamiliar with purple shampoo, this article will explain everything that you need to know to make sure that your hair is kept in the best condition possible!

What Does Purple Shampoo Do?

Purple shampoo is a type of shampoo that contains violet pigments. These pigments help to maintain the cool color of your hair and prevent it from becoming brassy.

Purple shampoo is very popular with those who have blonde hair as it helps to maintain a neutral color and stop it from looking brassy or yellow. 

Given that purple shampoo is popular with blondes, people don’t often associate it with being a big help for people with gray hair. However, purple shampoo gives gray hair an undertone of silver, so it doesn’t look brassy.

It tones your hair, so the cool colors don’t look too warm, and it doesn’t turn your hair purple!

How The Color Wheel Works

The color wheel helps to show how purple shampoo can prevent gray hair from looking brassy. Brassy undertones in gray hair are found as a gold color on the color wheel, and the color purple is found on the opposite side of the color wheel.

This shows how purple is the best way to get rid of the brassy undertones of your hair as it cancels out the color. 

To remove the brassy undertones, violet pigments in purple shampoo leave your hair with a cool undertone instead of a warm one.

As gray is an ashy color, the cool undertones that the purple shampoo gives it will remove any brassy undertones and leave you feeling confident in your hair color.  

How Does Gray Hair Become Brassy?

When we think of brassy tones in hair, we immediately think of blonde hair, not gray. However, gray hair is just as prone to experiencing brassiness as blonde hair. How can such a cool and ashy color be prone to warm tones?

Natural Gray Hair

When you have natural gray hair, you probably don’t see brassiness as an issue as you are not using dye. However, you are just as prone to brassy tones.

The main reason for this is the sun.

The UV rays that are found in the sun get rid of the blue molecules that are found in gray hair, turning your pigments yellow. 

If you swim in a pool, chlorine in the water can also affect the pigmentation in your hair and give it warm undertones.

Exposing your hair to harsh chemicals or pollution can also give your hair a yellow tinge. Using purple shampoo can prevent this from happening and keep your undertones cool. 

Dyed Gray Hair

When you dye your hair gray, you will find brassiness to be a problem as soon as your toner and color begin to fade.

To dye your hair gray, you need to have it bleached as you need to lighten your hair first. This exposes the yellow pigmentation in your hair, so it can be removed as soon as toner is applied to your hair. 

The reason that brassy undertones start to become a concern is when your color begins to fade, which can happen when you shampoo your hair often and expose your hair to heat, either with a hairdryer or with straighteners.

Using purple shampoo can help to keep your undertones cool until you have a fresh dye at the hair salon.

What Happens To Gray Hair Without Purple Shampoo?

If you don’t use purple shampoo on gray hair, your hair can start to look yellowish.

When brassiness appears and becomes worse, your hair can start to look dark yellow and dirty, which most will agree is not desirable.

This can cause your hair to become dull and no longer as vibrant-looking. 

It may seem like having brassy tones is inevitable if you have gray hair, but this issue can easily be avoided if you continue to tone your hair with purple shampoo.

Using Purple Shampoo

What Does Purple Shampoo Do To Grey Hair

Knowing how to use purple shampoo is essential for keeping your hair healthy and fresh.

Don’t use purple shampoo every day as this could start to strip your hair of color or natural gray pigments.

Once or twice a week is a good regimen for keeping brassy tones under control (besides, you shouldn’t be washing your hair everyday as a general rule of thumb). 

How To Use Purple Shampoo

Wet your hair in warm water as this opens up the cuticle layer, making it easier for hair to absorb the purple shampoo. 

Once your hair is wet, work a good amount of shampoo into your hair. Make sure that it covers your roots all the way down to the ends of your hair.

The brassiness will mostly be found at your roots, so concentrate on this area, but make sure to cover your hair. 

When you are working purple shampoo into your hair, make sure you’re concentrating on the areas of your hair that are prone to brassiness.

By focusing on your roots, you will be getting rid of yellow or brassy streaks in your hair.

Leave the shampoo in your hair for 15 to 30 minutes until you are happy with the tone of your hair. Purple shampoo needs to be left on gray hair longer than blonde hair to get rid of yellow tones. 

When rinsing out the shampoo, make sure that you rinse thoroughly.

If you accidentally leave the purple shampoo in your hair, it can cause dryness and patchiness in your hair. 

Once you have rinsed the shampoo out of your hair, use a deep conditioner to help to keep your hair moisturized.

Purple shampoo can be drying to hair, so using a conditioner is important. 

Rinse the conditioner out with cool water to seal the cuticles.

Dry your hair with a towel or hairdryer on a cooler setting to limit your hair’s heat exposure. 

Can Purple Shampoo Turn Your Hair Purple?

When you use purple shampoo as instructed, it does not turn your hair purple or change your hair color.

However, it might look a bit lilac in color if you leave it in too long, particularly if your natural color is blonde or lighter-colored to begin with.

The aim of using purple shampoo is to tone your hair and get rid of any brassy undertones, not to change the color. If you want to dye your hair lilac, make sure that you dye it using hair dye, not purple shampoo. 

Otherwise, if you accidentally end up leaving purple shampoo in too long, there are ways to fix it.

How To Get Rid Of A Lilac Tone

Simply wash your hair with your regular shampoo on your next few washes. If that still doesn’t do the trick, you can also use a high-quality clarifying shampoo to return your hair’s hue to its normal color. 

Clarifying shampoo can cause your hair to become very dry, so it’s important to use a good conditioner afterwards.

If your hair is especially dry, adding a deep conditioner or hair mask to your hair care routine will help hydrate dry strands.

To avoid this happening again, make sure that you leave the purple shampoo in your hair for the right amount of time and make sure that you do not go over this time limit. 

If you think that your purple shampoo is too strong for your hair, you can dilute it with water before you apply it. This lessens the chances of you ending up with a lilac tone. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Purple Shampoo Safe To Use?

Purple shampoos are very safe to use on your hair as they do not contain sulfate or harsh chemicals.

This means that your hair won’t be stripped of color, it will just help to enhance it.

Hair dye can fade quickly by using the wrong shampoo, but purple shampoo helps to keep the dye looking fresher for longer periods. 

Using purple shampoo can even save you from having to go to the hair salon for touch-ups as often.

Are There Different Types Of Purple Shampoo?

If you want to start using purple shampoo as a toner, you might be reluctant to do so if you’re currently using a shampoo that takes care of other issues you might be having with your hair.

For example, you might use a moisturizing shampoo. You’ll be happy to know that there are moisturizing purple shampoos that will both condition dry hair while toning down any yellow pigments. 

Moisturizing purple shampoos can contain hyaluronic acid to help keep your hair hydrated, but you can also find purple shampoos that contain proteins to help keep your hair strong and healthy.

Keratin proteins that found in purple shampoos can help strengthen your hair and keep your tresses a neutral gray. 

Additionally, there are purple shampoos that contain UV filters to keep your hair protected from the sun.

If you spend a lot of time in the sun, it’s a good idea to use this type of purple shampoo to keep your locks protected from the sun’s rays and get rid of any brassy tones. 

How Does Gray Hair Turn Brassy?

Gray hair becomes brassy for a number of reasons. If you have dyed gray hair, warm tones will start to come through the more the color and toner begin to fade.

When that happens, yellow tones show through your hair and create a brassy undertone.

If you have naturally gray hair, spending a lot of time in the sun can also cause your hair to look yellowish or like dirty dishwater.

If you’re a sun worshipper, get yourself an ultra-violet purple shampoo to counteract the sun’s rays and keep your grays vibrant.

How Long Should Purple Shampoo Be Left On Your Hair?

It is recommended that you only leave the purple shampoo on your hair for 15 to 30 minutes.

If you leave the shampoo on for longer than an hour, it’s possible that your hair will develop a lilac tone.

Always make sure that you thoroughly rinse all the shampoo out of your hair as leaving some in your hair can cause dryness.

Purple shampoo can also cause patchiness in your hair color if not completely rinsed out.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, using purple shampoo on gray hair helps to keep it looking fresh and vibrant by toning down the yellow hues in your hair.

It is recommended that you use purple shampoo on both natural gray hair and dyed gray hair as they are both prone to brassiness. 

Purple shampoo is safe to use, doesn’t contain chemicals that are harmful to your hair, and it doesn’t change the color of your hair when used correctly.

If your grays are starting to have the color of a used dishrag, I’d highly recommend using a purple shampoo to keep them bright and beautiful.

Emma Lee
As long as she can remember, Emma has been obsessed with beautiful hair. Her favorite look is pin-straight, sleek glass hair. She's had multiple styles from short and permed to long and natural throughout her life, and knows full well that how your hair looks can make or break your day.

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