I’ve been blonde to some degree for the entirety of my 28 years of life, but started bleaching my hair three years ago. And as a double-processed blonde, I’ve dabbled in some science for the sake of maintaining the integrity, health, and color of my hair. Through my studies (read: asking our beauty editor, Chloe), I’ve learned that not only do I have to eschew regular shampoos because of the way they could dull my color, but I also had to worry about things like sulfates, tonality, UV protection, breakage, and most of all, how to maintain a color that simply never seemed white enough for me. That’s when I started experimenting with purple shampoos and conditioners, and now I can confidently say I have tried just about every single one ever invented. (Thankfully, I didn’t encounter any chemical explosions during the process.)
“Violet tones neutralize or remove orange and yellow, or as you call brassy tones, that may develop with time in color-treated blonde hair,” says Joseph Cincotta, a cosmetic chemist, who warns that these dyes might cause a temporary blue hue on extra-porous hair. “Typically, water-soluble dyes that are used in shampoos will last until your [next] shampoo. Conditioners and toners may also contain temporary dyes that could last three shampoos.”
Ahead, my ranking and reviews of five of the best purple shampoos and conditioners on the market.
Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner for Beautiful Color
As a huge fan of all things Oribe, I was slightly disappointed after using this shampoo and conditioner for a couple of weeks straight. Despite having a delightful scent and fantastic packaging, I found this particular duo to be incredibly drying. It did, however, neutralize any yellow/golden tones, so snaps for that. If your hair isn't as brittle as mine, you might have better luck, but I give this pair one star.
Bright Blonde Shampoo for Beautiful Color, $46; at Oribe & Bright Blonde Conditioner for Beautiful Color, $48; at Oribe
Redken Blonde Idol Shampoo & Custom Tone Violet Conditioner
This shampoo helped keep my hair vibrant and bright, and as an added bonus is pH-balancing and sulfate-free. The conditioner has a dial that allows you to control how much violet pigment you want to use, so as both a control freak and craft enthusiast, I appreciated the DIY aspect. However, as a conditioner, I didn't find it to be as deeply moisturizing as others, so it comes in fourth.
Redken Blonde Idol Shampoo, $34; at Ulta & Redken Blonde Idol Custom Tone Violet Conditioner, $32; at Ulta
R+CO Sunset Boulevard Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner
This shampoo and conditioner weren't purple as I expected, but rather, a pearlescent white hue; that said, it wasn't as much of a heavy-duty color protector as the others that contain more violet dye. As a result, I use this every other wash to keep my color from looking too lilac-y. This one places third.
R+CO Sunset Boulevard Blonde Shampoo, $29; at Barneys & R+CO Sunset Boulevard Blonde Conditioner, $29; at Barneys
Sachajuan Silver Shampoo & Conditioner
As a Sachajuan devotee, I was relieved that it didn't disappoint. (Also, "silver" is misleading as the formula is, in fact, bright purple.) This shampoo and conditioner pairing not only kept my brassy tones at bay, but it also kept my hair hydrated and shiny. Plus, it has UV filters which kept my color from fading with sun exposure. This one gets the runner-up spot.
Sachajuan Silver Shampoo, $31; at Sephora & Sachajuan Silver Conditioner, $33; at Sephora
Davines Alchemic Shampoo & Conditioner Silver
I have to say, out of any purple hair product I've used, this shampoo and conditioner duo is my favorite. The shampoo is less opaque than others with similar properties, but deposits just the right amount of purple to cancel out any brassiness going on and makes my hair feel super clean. The conditioner (which is a super fun, BRIGHT violet) is really thick (almost putty-like), hydrating and just feels super nourishing. Together, they make the perfect pairing.
Alchemic Shampoo Silver, $25.50; at Davines & Alchemic Conditioner Silver, $29.50; at Davines