Does Purple Shampoo Work On Gray Hair? Here’s Everything You Need To Know.

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Silver hair and gray hair are so on-trend right now as a smokey, sultry shades that aren’t just for the older generation!

Are you a silver sister looking for a way to add some vibrancy and shine to your gray hair?

It’s time you heard about purple shampoo – the easy way to keep gray hair cool and give your color a boost.

But does it really work? Here’s everything you need to know about using purple shampoo on gray hair. 

What is purple shampoo?

Purple shampoo is exactly what it sounds like—a shampoo that is purple in color.

It’s specifically designed to help remove unwanted yellow and brassy tones from gray, silver, and blonde hair, making it look brighter and more vibrant.

Purple shampoo works by neutralizing any unwanted yellow or brassy tones in the hair, leaving you with shiny locks that look freshly dyed. 

It’s all to do with the science of color theory and color correction where opposite colors cancel each other out.

For example, a blue base tone helps make blonde hair look more natural and cool-toned while violet and purple shades help give silver hair an icy finish. 

Check out the hair color wheel below to see what we mean.

hair color wheel infographic

Does purple shampoo work on gray hair?

Gray hair can often take on a yellowish tint that looks dirty, old and frankly ick.

Fortunately, purple shampoo can help restore your hair’s natural cool tone and bring out the subtle hues of gray.

While many people think that purple shampoo only works on blonde or silver hair, it is also extremely effective at removing unwanted yellow tones from gray strands and even brunette hair as well.

Whether you’re transitioning to gray hair or just need a little help refreshing your color, purple shampoo can be the perfect option. 

Plus, using a toning product like purple shampoo can help keep your grays looking fresh for longer between dye jobs! 

How to use purple shampoo on gray hair.

To get the best results from your purple shampoo, you should use it no more than once per week.

Apply a dime-sized amount onto damp strands and massage into lather before rinsing thoroughly with lukewarm water after five minutes or less of contact time (any longer could lead to an ashy tone).

Follow up with a conditioner that’s specifically designed for colored/gray hair—this will help lock in moisture and prevent dryness while keeping your locks looking soft and shiny all day long! 

Watch and learn: How to use purple shampoo on gray and white hair

Here’s a great video that shows you how often to use purple shampoo, how to use purple shampoo and when to use purple shampoo to keep your color looking its best!

Which is the best purple shampoo?

The best purple shampoo depends on your individual needs, hair type and desired results, but here are a few of our tried and tested that we recommend for you.

You can read more about each one in our best purple shampoo reviews!

Best purple shampoos at a glance.

ShampooLooks likeBest forBuy it now
Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair.

BOLD UNIQ Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair - Toning Shampoo for Blonde, Platinum, Bleached, Grey, Ash, and Silver Hair - Eliminates Brassy, Yellow Tones - Vegan, Paraben & Sulphate Free - 8 Fl Oz

Keeping platinum blondes cool.
Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo

Redken Purple Shampoo, With Citric Acid and Vi Violet Pigment, Hair Toner, Color Depositing Formula, For Blonde & Treated Hair, Neutralizes Brassy Tones, Extend Blondage, 10.1 fl.oz./300ml

Darker Blondes.
Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo.

Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Purple Shampoo for Blonde & Lightened Color-Treated Hair, 33.8 Fl Oz

Bringing blonde hair back to life.
Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet.

Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet 8.5 oz

Happier and healthier cool blonde hair.
John Frieda Sheer Blonde Violet Crush Tone Correcting Purple Shampoo.

John Frieda Violet Crush Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair, 16 Fl Oz

Cool blonde on a budget.
Fudge Professional Purple Toning Shampoo.

Fudge Clean Blonde Damage Rewind Violet-Toning Shampoo 8.4 oz

Ash Blonde cleanliness
TIGI Bed Head, Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo.

TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo, 13.5 Ounce

Less brassiness, more softness.


Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet.

Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet 8.5 oz

Features & ingredients:

  • Enriched with a potent combination of Hyaluronic Acid and Edelweiss flower.
  • The formula has high concentrations of antioxidants to prevent damage and protect your hair.
  • Hyaluronic Acid deeply hydrates and smoothes your hair.
  • Nourishing ingredients.
  • Hair is really clean, with a radiant shine and nourished from root to tip.

Reviewers say:

“My hairdresser uses this product and it always leaves my hair very soft shiny and manageable. Brilliant product.”

“Gorgeous smell and makes my hair feel silky smooth. Definitely buying it again!”

“My color is great after using this, my hairdresser also commented on how well my color has kept! Very pleased!”

Our experience:

This is an award-winning shampoo from the goddesses of Kerastase and we can see why. It’s not just concerned with freshening up your color, it restores your hair’s health too.

We washed twice with this as directed, once to take off grease and grime and another to really cleanse and deposit the toning color. Our platinum hair was soft, silky and shining as if we’d just had it done after only one use. This is the winning shampoo for us.

Best for: Happier and healthier cool blonde hair.

Which Shampoo Should I Use?

Purple shampoo FAQs

Why does gray hair turn yellow and brassy?

Gray hair can take on an unwanted yellow or brassy tone due to a few different reasons:

Reason #1 Environmental factors

One common cause is environmental exposure to pollutants in the air or water that leave an orange-yellow residue on the strands.

This residue is known as “oxidation” and it occurs when oxygen reacts with certain chemicals or polluation in the environment.

The good news is that oxidation isn’t permanent —it can be easily removed with a special shampoo designed for color treated hair or a clarifying product such as apple cider vinegar. 

Reason #2 Hard water

Another common culprit behind yellowing gray hair is hard water, which contains calcium and magnesium ions that build up on the surface of the strands over time.

This build-up not only makes the strands appear yellowish but can also make them look dull and lifeless—not exactly ideal if you’re trying to show off your gorgeous silver locks!

There are products available specifically designed to combat hard water buildup such as chelating shampoos or conditioners that contain EDTA or citric acid – but we wouldn’t recommend using those on colored hair!

Reason #3 UV exposure and sunlight

Another reason for the yellow tinge is UV exposure from the sun.

Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage your hair and cause it to become brittle and discolored over time. 

Wearing a hat when outdoors or using a product with built-in SPF protection for extra safety will stop your beautiful silver hair turning into an unflattering shade of gold! 

Reason #4 Chemical treatments and hair dyes

Chemical treatments like perms, bleaching and hair dyes also contribute to yellowing of gray hair.

These treatments cause oxidative stress which weakens the cuticles on the outside of each strand of hair, allowing pollutants, heat, and other environmental stressors to penetrate much more easily—causing discoloration. 

Reason #5 Medications

Some medications or medical treatments may cause gray hair to become yellowish due to their effects on melanin production in the scalp.

If you suspect this is happening to you, be sure to talk with your doctor about other possible solutions such as switching medications or taking supplements such as biotin or folic acid.  

What happens if you use purple shampoo on grey hair?

Using purple shampoo on grey hair might sound counterintuitive, but it can actually be great for maintaining a vibrant color.

The bluish tones in the purple toning shampoo help to neutralize any yellow or orange hues that might be present in your silver strands, leaving them looking brighter and more alive.

Just remember that too much of a good thing can make your hair look too brassy or violet-y in hue, so start out with small amounts until you know what works for you.

How often should I use purple shampoo on my gray hair?

To keep your gray hair healthy and fabulous, you’ll want to use purple shampoo only once a week.

Although they are super effective at neutralizing brassiness, purple shampoos can be quite drying; so use sparingly.

If your grays look more yellow or brassy than usual, you might need an extra session but remember – too much hair toner can be hard to remove. So go easy!

How long do you leave purple shampoo on gray hair?

Generally speaking, if looking to enhance cool tones, leave the shampoo on anywhere from 3-5 minutes before rinsing it out.

If you need a color boost between salon visits, allowing the product to sit for 10 minutes will give great ashy results.

Enjoy experimenting with different techniques and length of time until you find that perfect balance!

Does purple shampoo make gray hair darker?

While it’s not going to turn your grey strands violet, it won’t make them brown or black either.

Purple shampoo will tone down any hues and give you a glossy shine. It may appear darker and ashier if your hair was very yellow or bright.

The key is finding the right balance – don’t overdo it! Your existing cool tones should be highlighted and neutralized in the most subtle way.

Parting words.

Gray hair doesn’t need to be difficult to manage!

With just a few simple steps each week – using purple shampoo sparingly – you can maintain your vibrant silver hue without any extra stress or effort!

So whatever age you are, don’t shy away from the silver fox trend—embrace it knowing you have all the tools necessary for silvery success! Your grays will thank you later!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!