Should You Be Using Purple Shampoo? Here’s What It Does For Your Blonde Hair

Biolage ColorLast purple shampoo model

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That gleaming, cool blonde you find yourself eyeing with envy on the train or at the gym? Odds are, she has a secret weapon for maintaining her perfect blonde hair color. “I always recommend a purple-based shampoo to clients who want to maintain their blonde hair color, balayage or blonde highlights to perfection,” says Biolage Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas. “One of my go-tos is Biolage ColorLast Purple Shampoo. Its purple pigments counteract the unwanted yellow in cool blonde hair . It also contains nourishing fig and orchid which help delicate hair feel softer with less breakage.”

Why Blonde Hair Loves Purple Shampoo

Blonde hair, white hair, blonde highlights and blonde balayage are the thoroughbreds of the hair color world. They’re outstandingly beautiful, but they also require delicate handling and extra attention to thrive. One of the main things to watch out for is blonde and white hair’s tendency to turn yellow or dingy. This happens because when hair is lightened, it exposes warm underlying pigment in the strand, which takes on a yellowish or orange appearance. In the salon, your stylist may tone your blonde hair after lightening to neutralize the yellow, but over time, such things as frequent shampooing, heat damage, exposure to the sun or chlorine or minerals in the water can cause the discoloration to reappear. So…purple shampoo to the rescue!

What Purple Shampoo Does For Blonde Hair

The concept of purple shampoo is found in basic color theory. Colors that sit opposite on the color wheel will neutralize each other. Yellow sits opposite violet. Therefore, applying a violet or purple formula to blonde hair, platinum hair or white hair that has yellowed will neutralize the unwanted warmth and restore the desired cool shade. That’s why purple shampoo is a great option for those with light hair--”natural or “salon made”--such as blonde, platinum, silver, grey, white or pastel. It can also be used on brunette hair with blonde highlights.

How To Use Purple Shampoo

Everybody’s needs are different so Papanikolas recommends starting by using purple shampoo once a week, alternating it with your regular shampoo for blonde or color treated hair. If you’re still seeing yellow in your hair, increase the frequency to twice a week. If your hair starts to look too purple, dial back your usage. Be sure to distribute the shampoo evenly so all of your hair is treated and try to avoid your scalp if possible. Rinse thoroughly and condition your hair immediately.

A Few More Ways To Maintain Blonde Hair Perfection

Blonde hair, especially if it’s bleached, is like a delicate fabric and the right care will prevent it from becoming worn or frayed. Here are a few pro tips for keeping your blonde hair healthy and strong:

  • Shampoo as infrequently as possible and when you do shampoo, choose a formula that’s made for delicate blonde hair. Skip the scrubbing and rubbing that can cause your locks to tangle; instead simply work the shampoo into your scalp and gently pull it through to your ends.

  • After shampooing, blot, don’t rub your hair. Vigorous toweling can cause your hair to tangle, making detangling a damaging chore. Use a fluffy towel, microfiber towel or even a soft cotton t-shirt—any type of fiber that won’t produce damaging friction.

  • Consider adding a leave-in conditioner to your cleansing and conditioning routine. These all-purpose formulas will reduce pulling and snagging when detangling your hair, plus they add moisture, shine and fight flyaways. Another must? Never brush your hair when it’s wet—that’s a sure way to cause breakage and split ends. Instead, use a wide-tooth plastic comb or hair pik after applying the leave-in conditioner.

  • Dry hair is the enemy of blonde hair color—it leads to brittleness and breakage. One of the best antidotes to dry strands is using a moisturizing hair mask once a week or so. These rich formulas will infuse hair with moisture and nutrients without weighing hair down, and keep blonde strands supple and healthy.

  • If possible, limit your use of thermal tools like blow dryers and styling irons. High heat will cause hair to become dry and damaged. When you do blow dry or heat style your hair, use a heat-protection hair product and opt for the lowest possible temperature setting. Experiment with heat-free hairstyles, which can be supported with no-blow dry styling products that add hold and shine.

  • Avoid metal hairbrushes. Metal bristles will pull and tear at tender, blonde strands, causing unwanted breakage and damage. A boar bristle brush is best for bleached hair—they glide through strands gently without causing breakage.

  • Shield your blonde hair from the sun and the sea. UV rays from the sun cause fading and discoloration. Saltwater and pool water lead to discoloring buildup provoked by minerals and chemicals. If you’re a water-lover, don’t dive in without a bathing cap--but first get your hair damp with clear water and comb through a thick conditioner for extra protection. If you’re a sun-lover, wear a scarf or hat when you’re outside.

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