I have a new found obsession with everyone who lightens their hair needing a purple shampoo in their shower. Why? One of my beauty pet peeves is brassy coloured hair. That lovely shade of orange your hair turns when you are naturally brunette and you have lighten your whole head, got ombre or even highlights. Of course you’re supposed to go back to your hair dresser for toner treatments or re-colour every 4-8 weeks, but let’s face it, many of us aren’t that regular with hair dresser visits.
We all colour our hair because it’s something new, I get excited talking to colourists about trying new trends and colours, which is all fun and games until you factor in the fact that I am Asian and lightened Asian dark brown/black hair goes brassy rather quickly and our hair inevitably starts getting shades of strawberry blonde in it – and not in that cute shade that the likes of Kirsten Dunst, Blake Lively, Christina Hendricks, Nicole Kidman and Emma Stone have all gone in the past.
“Coloured hair goes brassy for a variety of reasons,” says Kevin Murphy, hair director and the man behind the hair care brand of the same name. “It can be because of the chemicals in the water used to wash your hair, environmental stresses such as sun, and pollution and sometimes it has to do with the condition of your hair and how often you are colouring it.”
Not that we can help colouring our hair, after all there seems to be a new hair trend coming through every season, with the likes of ombre and bronde being the most buzzed about hair colour trends that can be easily achieved without commiting to a full head colour.
The is why I believe anyone who chemically treats their hair should be looking after it with the right colour locking shampoo and a purple shampoo once a week.
“Purple shampoo works to neutralise brassy / warm / yellowish tones in blonde hair,” Murphy tells us. “If you look at a colour wheel purple is opposite yellow, which means it counteracts those tones.”
It’s really as simple as that.
But your hair and scalp are should be treated with the right shampoo and conditioning treatment, because like ice cream, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
“If the purple shampoo is used too often or left on for more than a few minutes, hair will begin to look a little lilac, which although is not good for the sparkly blondes, but it is quite current for the lilac / grey tones that is very on trend at the moment.” Tracy Hayes, Fudge Professional Global Head of Technical Colour.
“Depending on how light light the hair has been lifted, I would recommend brunettes use a blonde shampoo. If hair has been lifted to blonde, then I would recommend Fudge Professional Clean Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner to keep hair looking fresh in-between colour appointments. If hair has been bleached to pale blonde, then the Fudge Professional Colour Conditioners would be ideal. You can mix the colours to tailor make your own tone, however I would recommend for this to be done in a professional salon.”
So after chatting with the professionals we put our hair on the line and trialed a few purple shampoos, a at home toner, a deep conditioner and a rich serum.
The Purple Shampoos
Fudge Clean Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner
My friend with dark brown hair swears by this product whenever she lightens her hair, so I was definitely keen to try this. Fudge definitely brings back memories of my childhood trying to colour my hair with their products (and hair mascara, but that is another story). A stalwart in the colour sector the Clean Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner doesn’t disappoint. Featuring a blend of guarana and violet pigments in the shampoo, it doesn’t strip any colour or shine from my hair and my hair was less orange.
Bed Head Dumb Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo & Reconstructor
I’m not going to lie, what attracted me to this purple shampoo at first was the pump bottle for ease of use in the shower. And the attraction didn’t stop there, like their other trusty products it gives you great hair. Filled with purple toners to minimise brassiness and brighten blonde hair, it smells lovely and reduces the brassiness in your hair. While the Bedhead Dumb Blonde Reconstructor acts more like a deep conditioner than an every day one with its super moisturizing skills and Protein Booster Technology™ that helps restore the hair at its core. Overall, loved this combination.
Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel
RRP: A$42.95 from Adore Beauty
My naturally-light-brunette friend loves this conditioner every time she goes blonde (which is every few months) so it was definitely on my to try list. Specially formulated for blonde hair, this conditioner is not just a moisture boost with a formulation that includes colour enhancers, optical brighteners, natural softeners, keratin amino acids and flower extracts, which means it moisturises, reduces colour fading, silkens, improves elasticity and encourages healthy hair. Teamed with the Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel Wash (aka the matching purple shampoo), it would be a winning pair. The conditioner in itself was lovely and I loved the fact that it is sulphate- and paraben-free, as well as cruelty free.
Lush Daddy O Shampoo
RRP: AU$12.95 (for 100ml) from Lush.com.au
I have been a Lush fan for over a decade now, ever since I fell for their bath bombs in my teens. I was so happy when I was told they did a purple shampoo for grey and blonde hair. Vegan friendly, Lush Daddy O uses the best the environment has to prevent brassiness and yellow tones, mainly thanks to organic lime juice, seaweed and coconut oil. Smells great and work great. Exactly what you would expect from a Lush product.
The At Home Toner
John Frieda Colour Refreshing Toner
RRP: A$16.99 from Priceline
When I first started thinking about using at home toners and purple shampoos, I was standing in the supermarket starring at the shelves full of hair care products and John Frieda’s Colour Refreshing Toner caught my eye. Another friend of mine swears by their hair colour mousse to cover her greys, so I thought I’d give this weekly hair toning treatment a try. Grabbing this and their Colour Refreshing Gloss for brunettes, I went home and used the toner right away. Worked great except for some scalp tingling, rinsed and then did my usual post hair washing thing – letting my hair dry naturally to about 70% before a quick hair dryer blast. Except all did not go as planned, when my hair was part dry it felt matted and slightly sticky, like I hadn’t washed it out properly. When my hair dried it felt like someone had left old school mousse in my hair for a week. On the plus side my hair did look less brassy.
Determined to give the product another go, I tried again a week later, this time leaving the toner in for the set time, then popping some deep conditioning treatment on my hair to hopefully help the toner rinse off easier. I also rinsed for what felt like a good 5 minutes more than usual. Result? My hair still felt like it had an extra layer of texture on it, less than the previous time, but it still didn’t feel like it’s normal silky self. Disappointing result, I would love to hear from someone else who has tried this and had a similar or different result.
The Deep Conditioner and Serum
Redken Colour Extend Magnetics Deep Attraction
RRP: AU$35.95 from RY.com.au
Ask any of my flatmates and they will tell you I love rinse-off deep conditioners. So when Redken’s Colour Extend Magnetics Deep Attraction landed in my hot hands I was dying to try it. The formula attracts to colour molecules, trapping them into the hair fibre to preserve colour richness. To be very honest, it is a lovely product, good for a weekly treatment for people less serious about keeping brassy locks at bay. Perhaps team it with the whole product line rather than expecting this one item to do the job.
Kerastase Serum Therapiste Dual Treatment
RRP: A$53 from Adore Beauty
I love love love the Kerastase Therapiste range, designed for over-processed hair, it basically restores your hair back to its glossy self if you use the whole range (which includes a shampoo you use AFTER you condition). Originally I had used the whole range diligently with hair that wasn’t coloured from root to tip and found it the addition of the Serum Dual Treatment little rich for my locks so I set it aside for another time. That other time came when my hair was losing its natural lusture from the processing required to lighten dark brown hair and I started using the serum after my purple shampoo and conditioner. Combining the benefits of both an oil and a cream, it instantly repairs, reinforces and resurfaces hair fiber. It also gives great heat protection (up to 230 degrees Celsius) which means less product on your hair and great if you heat style your hair often. I definitely recommend this product (and the entire Kerastase Therapiste range) if you’re hair is feeling dry and in need of moisture and shine.