The One Shampoo Hair Stylists Recommend For Brunettes With Highlights—It Might Surprise You!

If you dyed your hair blonde, silver, or white you know that this chic look tends to get yellow over time. That’s where purple shampoo comes in. The shampoos traditionally have a blue or violet color, which neutralizes the yellow tones. This makes the dyed blonde hair look clean and bright. And while this problem is more common in blondes, even dyed brunette hair with blonde highlights can turn a nasty shade of brassy orange. Dyed brown hair can fade faster than lighter shades because the color is deposited into hair, not stripped from it, meaning there’s stuff to wash out, and those darker hues can get warmer (and brassier!) as they fade. Enter blue shampoo. Similar to purple shampoos, blue shampoos are specifically designed to color-correct dyed brunette hair.

To learn more about blue shampoo, we spoke with Alice Rawling, a hairstylist and chief editor at Hairdo Hairstyle, and Jamie Mazzei, creative director for NuBest Salon and Spa. She said blue shampoo is better for brunettes with blonde highlights than purple shampoo. Find out more below!

Blue shampoo

Although brown hair may be common, the color can be so dynamic and difficult to maintain. You can't just forget about it, it requires upkeep if you don't want your hair to fade. If you have mahogany locks, you'll be happy to know there's a solution. Rawlings says, "Blue shampoo is best for brunettes with highlights, unlike the purple shampoos due to the cobalt-colored formulas which are effective in maintaining dark hair highlights." There are numerous blue shampoos out there that are spiked with blue pigments that can preserve the darkest, nutmeg-brown hair color.

"If we think of the color wheel, we can understand why blue shampoo can work for unwanted orange in the hair," Mazzei explains. "Blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel, so they counteract or neutralize one another. The same is true for unwanted yellow. Purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel, so they also counteract one another as well. This is how a color-depositing shampoo is able to tone your highlights by counteracting the unwanted shade." Noted!

"Some brassiness is inevitable when highlighting your brunette hair. This is because whenever we lighten [our] hair, we expose warmth. Your colorist will tone this warmth at the salon to get you to your desired shade. Using a semi-permanent color depositing shampoo in the shower will help maintain your salon toner and keep your color from getting brassy," Mazzei continues. "Pro Tip: It is important if your highlights are pale blonde or platinum not to use blue shampoo as this will likely turn your highlights blue and will not be the result you are looking for." Colorists also say women over 40 should avoid these hair-dying mistakes.

If you're seeing orange tinges in your brunette hair, we recommend using a blue shampoo every other day until you're back to the look you want. Then, for maintenance, use the blue shampoo once a week. You'll start to see a difference in no time!

If you do choose to use blue shampoo on brunette hair, just remember the advice outlined by Mazzei and Rawlings, and you'll be on your way to the best results possible! And, if the blue shampoo isn't working for you, Rawlings suggests trying another color treatment. "Another recommendation to prevent brassiness for brunettes is [a] gloss treatment. It helps to restore and refresh the rich brunette color in between visits to the stylist. Also, avoid sunlight on your highlights to protect the color-treated hair as it wrecks it," she says. A gloss treatment is a great way to revive dry, damaged hair.