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Purple shampoo: the expert secret behind keeping your color popping

Nicole Vince
13 September 2018
hair stylist washing smiling woman’s hair
Nicole Vince

Nicole Vince

Hair journalist

13 September 2018

Nicole is a hair and beauty journalist with a particular fondness for the latest bright hair colors. There isn't a hair trend or tip unobserved by Nicole.

Purple shampoo might sound strange, but it's actually one of the beauty world's top tools in the color arsenal for ensuring that your shade of blonde you worked so hard to get stays the perfect shade. But how is it that the color purple achieves this – magic or just science? Denise Guillouet, French haircare advisor for L’Oréal Professional Products, explains.

Opposite colors to neutralize

Just like in makeup, experts recommend applying colors opposite on the spectrum to neutralize any skin color imperfections: green for redness, orange and yellow for dark circles… And it works the same way for your hair color!

According to Denise Guillouet, “purple shampoo uses violet pigments to neutralize blonde hair that's turned brassy, which can sometimes happen after a few weeks or months since coloring. This process happens when the peroxide present in bleach damages your strands’ natural melanin, causing it to turn a yellowish color – therefore, when the blonde fades, this undesirable hue can shine through”, she divulges. “However, this intelligent shampoo's purple pigments are absorbed by the hair fiber, working to tone down these unwanted tints, leaving hair looking cooler, fresher and brighter... But not purple! One of my favorites is the Shine Blonde shampoo by L’Oréal Professionnel, which really gives a natural finish”.

Not just for blondes

Denise Guillouetalso notes that purple shampoo is not as one-trick as it first may seem: “the color neutralizer can also be used to balance yellow tones that can manifest themselves in gray or white hair. In fact, purple shampoo can even be used on brown hair to cool down a light ash brown, or reduce the brassiness of golden highlights!”

Purple shampoo, A.K.A silver shampoo

You'll also find that purple shampoo is called "silver" shampoo depending on the brand, which reflects the neutralizing effect it has on reds, oranges and yellows. L'Oréal Professionnel's Silver Shampoo by Serie Expert and Matrix' Color Obsessed So Silver shampoo from the Total Results collection all use purple pigments to tone down yellow brassiness. Purple/silver shampoo has a powerful formula, so it's recommended to only use once or twice a week and to top up hydration with a weekly hair mask.

Other tips to revive colored hair

“While purple shampoo is always a good option because it’s easy to use, don’t forget that there are other coloring options you can opt for, such as pigmented hair masks”, Denise Guillouet explains. For example, the brand new personalized ink-in-care collection, Reflection Chromatique by Kérastase, offers you the ability to enhance and correct color between salon visits using the personalized Touche Chromatique formula. Each color-specific option delivers a dose of neutralizing or color-enhancing hues alongside a deeply nourishing Reflection mask. Make sure you follow up with the color-protecting and strengthening Reflection shampoo, Bain Chromatique, in order to fend off fade and keep your hair shining!

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