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The 5 best purple shampoo options for men with blonde or gray hair

Maybe red or blue shampoo is more fitting for your hair color

Brad Pitt
Image used with permission by copyright holder

At some point in time, non-blonde American men decided that blondes really do have more fun, and that they were going to let themselves in on the fun. Brad Pitt (pictured above), Ryan Gosling, and the Carter brothers showed their handsome superpowers, and suddenly everybody from Joe Jonas to Jonah Hill followed suit.

The trend seemed to start during the COVID-19 pandemic when many of us couldn’t leave the house to go to the barber during lockdown — and maybe having just a bit too much time on our hands — inspired many of us regular guys to go to the home coloring route, experimenting with everything from True Sons to Colorsmith to Just For Men to achieve the shining mane of a legendary lifeguard. 

Brass hair man
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What makes blonde brassy?

One of the common problems that arises, especially from DIY hair coloring, even if your hair is naturally blonde, gray, or white, is that hair can start to look “brassy.” You lose that soft, gentle, Malfoy-like glow, and start to look a bit more like Bart Simpson. It can be blamed on several things. The first is that the home coloring kit you use is — well — they’re getting better, but there’s a reason they allow us to play with these chemistry sets at home. For best results, see a professional. There’s a part of the process called toner that functions kind of like a coat of varnish over a paint job to help maintain the color. It can also help further correct the hair color, so once it wears off, your hair’s shade can start to look more yellow or even orange. 

Sometimes, even with a pro stylist’s work or naturally blonde hair, damage can come from something as simple as being exposed to sun and oxygen. Lighter hair is also more porous, so it can suck up things in the environment, like pollution. If there are any weird minerals or chemicals in your water, they can also affect the color (it might be time to install a water softener, which would also be good for your clothes, your washing machine, your dishwasher, etc.) Beyond brassy, if swimming in a chlorinated pool is part of your workout routine, you might even find your hair turning green as chlorine interacts with copper in the water and leaves you with a Joker-like do.

Color wheel selecting hair dye
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Consult the color wheel

How to fix it? It’s time for a bit of color science. We checked in with Larisa Love, founder of the Larisa Love Salon in Los Angeles, and Joico Brand Ambassador. Remember the color wheel from elementary school?

“It all goes back to the color wheel. Blue cancels out orange and yellow, purple cancels out yellow,” Love said. “If you have brassy-orange hair, you should use a blue-based shampoo. If you have more golden-yellow hair, then you should use purple shampoo to counterbalance the color. Purple is great for maintaining colors like gray or white.”

We are men, though, and some of us may also have these clown-like tones showing up in our beards, as well. Can we use these same products on our faces and not worry about coming out looking like Papa Smurf?

“You def can use Joico products on your face to neutralize the tone of your beard,” Love continued.

Unless we’re missing something, we couldn’t even find a beard care company that offers a color-corrective beard shampoo. That’s why assembled a list of shampoos designed specifically to maintain and augment that golden-haired look.

Joico Blonde Life Violet Shampoo

Joico Blonde Life Violet Shampoo

Blonde Life neutralizes the brassy, yellow hues, adding tamanu (from a tropical evergreen) and monoi (from Tahitian gardenia petals soaked in coconut oil) oils. Back it up with Blonde Life Violet Conditioner. 

Aveda Purple Shampoo

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo

Adds silveriness to gray hair, and counters those brassy-orange hues; all with Aveda’s focus on cruelty-free R&D, naturally derived ingredients, and recycled packaging. 

Jhirmack Silver Brightening Ageless Shampoo

Jhirmack Silver Brightening Ageless Shampoo

The value-priced, budget-conscious choice in our lineup, Jhirmack is formulated with green tea extract and folic acid to strengthen and condition, and CoQ10 to protect from styling damage and environmental stressors.

Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo

Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo

Back to that color wheel! Those green tones from chlorine and copper are best canceled out with their opposites on the red spectrum. Color Infuse Red is also great for complementing any ginger’s natural tones. 

UltraSwim Dynamic Duo Shampoo and Conditioner

UltraSwim Dynamic Duo Shampoo and Conditioner

Ask your friends from the swim team. UltraSwim is every freestyler’s secret weapon for fighting green, chlorinated hair. 

Man washing hair in the shower.
Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock

How often should I use purple shampoo?

While it does have its benefits, purple shampoo shouldn’t be your everyday go-to. According to the hair product brand Redken, a purple shampoo should not be a substitute for your regular, everyday shampoo.

A general rule of thumb is to use purple shampoo once or twice per week. Since purple shampoo has violet or purple pigments, using it too much can start to change the color of your hair. In other words, if you start to overuse purple shampoo, instead of a beautiful head of blonde or gray hair, you’ll end up with a purple tint, which isn’t what you’re looking for.

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John Jones
John Jones is a Jersey City, New Jersey-based writer who enjoys covering design in all its forms, from fashion to…
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