As the pandemic (and our self-imposed quarantine) stretches on to almost a full calendar year, the ATH editors have found ourselves trying, testing, and re-testing endless beauty hacks, tips, and tricks. I’ve tried concocting at-home hair gels and have run through a gamut of conditioners to find the most hydrating formula, for example. But a big beauty hack that’s been trending for blondes—particularly bottled blondes, like myself—is using purple shampoo on dry hair.
Allow me to back up for a second. Although my hair is admittedly damaged, the purple shampoo on dry hair hack isn’t related to the health of the hair itself, but rather the state that it’s in. To further clarify, the trend’s been to specifically use a dime-sized drop of the traditionally cleansing shampoo onto dry strands to help mitigate any potential brassiness. This is the exact goal of the shampoo when used properly in the first place, but the reason using purple shampoo on dry hair has become such a big trend is because dry hair can theoretically absorb even more of the neutralizing purple pigments.
How Does Purple Shampoo Work?
Think about it: Since purple and yellow are opposites on the color wheel, using violet-hued products properly, you’ll mitigate any potential blonde-gone-orange situations. The pigments, upon washing, will literally cling to the hair follicles, tarnishing any brassiness or yellow undertones. The result? Blondes, silver, and grey haired folks are left with cool, ashy color—just as it should be.
Should I Use Purple Shampoo on Dry Hair?
Because dry hair is so porous—and unevenly at that—mixing a dollop of a purple shampoo on dry hair will result in an unequal absorption of the pigment deposits. Typically, the ends—the most broken parts of your hair—as well as any bleach-lightened areas will soak up far more purple deposits than any virgin hair, particularly the hairs closest to the roots. The result? Terribly uneven pigmentation—definitely not something you’re trying to do when utilizing a purple shampoo on dry hair in the first place.
How Can I Properly Use a Purple Shampoo?
First of all, leave purple shampoo for blondes, grey, and silver-haired folks—the color deposits won’t provide the same protection from color fade or brassiness or brunettes or other colors. (Alternatively, many brunettes have now turned to blue shampoo for a similar effect.)
So as long as you fit the blonde or silver bill, you can use a purple shampoo: but sparingly. First, completely soak hair through in the shower, and if your hair errs on the drier side, consider conditioning hair first. By concentrating a hydrating product through the ends and rinsing, you’ll be able to achieve more equal pigment deposits when washing with a purple shampoo.
Then, rake a dime-sized amount of purple shampoo and evenly massage through scalp strands. If you’d like to start slow, try mixing your purple shampoo with your favorite formula (ideally something tuned to your hair type or texture). That way, you can reap the color-depositing benefits of a pigment-enriched formula while also treating your strands to a customized cocktail of whatever it needs. For me, I’d probably use a frizz-reducing formula to combat my postpartum baby hairs and cowlicks, but you could also try a damage-repairing formula, a volumizing one, or even just something that has an incredible scent. (All. About. That. Fragrance.)
The Best Purple Shampoos for Color-Depositing Benefits
Purple Shampoo to Try: Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo
This formula, which gently cleanses and reawakens hair, is a perfect for blondes who are in need of serious TLC. I’ve found the Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo, which is laced with reparative keratin, performs even better when paired with its complementary conditioner and glossing tonic, too.
Purple Shampoo to Try: SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Strength & Color Care Shampoo
An all-natural option for those who prefer clean formulations, the SheaMoisture Purple Rice Water Strength & Color Care Shampoo is particularly well suited for those with damaged strands thanks to the fortifying proteins derived from the hero ingredient, rice water. Fragrant additions of wild orchid extract and violet flowers make this formula a full-on olfactory experience, too. Pair it with its matching conditioner for a perfect one-two punch before you even step out of the shower.
Purple Shampoo to Try: Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo
Similar to the other formulas here, the purple toning pigments in this shampoo help to keep blonde hues cool and ashy while banishing any potential brassiness or yellow tones. Plus, Bed Head by TIGI Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo also has a mix of cleansers and conditioning agents to help refresh, detangle and control frizz. Pair it with its complementary conditioner to maximize the benefits, of course—Bed Head’s purple formula is a mask-like reconstructor, making it a particularly great choice for those with dry and/or damaged strands.
The Bottom Line on Purple Shampoo for Dry Hair
If you have blonde, silver, or grey hair, using purple shampoo is a no-brainer. But using purple shampoo on dry hair is a big no-no. Instead, use the product according to its directions, washing the hair only when you really need to. And make sure you pair whichever shampoo you choose with a purple conditioner to maximize the benefits of the color-depositing process. And if absolutely nothing else, remember that regardless of how you use your favorite purple shampoo, blondes do have more fun. (Not like I’m biased or anything.)