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DIY Purple Shampoo Toner Recipe And Guide

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We blondes are at times mocked and adored, envied and emulated. Do we have more fun? Sometimes we really do. But being blonde certainly isn’t always easy, and we don’t always know to turn to purple shampoo. Whether you’re a natural blonde or you go to the salon to have it professionally colored, those yellow, brassy tones can pop up and throw off your whole look. Achieving that perfect gorgeous tone can sometimes take a lot of time and be costly, not to mention damaging to your hair. After I’ve gotten my hair turned into the perfect honey/gold mix, I love the lush color. The tone is so rich and vibrant.

After a few weeks, and more rapidly so in the summer, it becomes a bit brassy. My poor locks lose their luster, and despite my best efforts they just start looking pretty dull. So to breathe life back into my hair, I use purple shampoo once a week. And today we’ll look at how to make your own DIY purple shampoo toner for your blonde hair! 

Why Use Purple Shampoo?

Brunette woman shampooing her hair while showering.

Woman washing her hair.

Your blonde hair, gray hair, or highlights can turn a shade of yellow over time that can be unattractive. Normal color-treatment fading, air pollution, hard water, too much sun exposure and chlorine (and other pool chemicals) are some of the culprits that are to blame for turning your hair this less-than-attractive brassy or yellow color. You know how hard it is to get excited about your hair when the tone is off.

Luckily there is a simple fix, and purple shampoo doesn’t only have to be used to treat blonde hair; there are plenty of brunettes out there with highlights looking a little less than bright.

You can tone your hair by visiting the salon on a regular basis. But this really does get time consuming and expensive. You can buy brand-name shampoos (you might need to try a few before you find one that works best for you). But this too can be expensive. Finally, you could make your own “at-home” toning set.

Regardless of if you’re using a name brand or homemade, these products aren’t intended for everyday use. Use them about once a week, or whenever your hair is looking a little brassy. Consider them more of a maintenance product or a cheaper alternative to having to return to the salon every other week or so.

Before I proceed, keep in mind that no two people are alike, which means perfection is relative. Like any product, purple shampoo will likely not make everyone happy all the time. Yet it is certainly worth trying out for yourself. Especially once I share with you the recipe to make your very own inexpensive version at home.

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What Is Purple Shampoo And How Does It Work?

Side view of woman on beach wearing sunglasses with highlighted short hair.

Woman with blonde dyed hair.

Simply put, it is a light-to-deep purple colored shampoo. It distributes purple pigment to neutralize and revive brassy, yellow tones in your hair. It’s great for all varieties of blonde from dark to silver.

To understand this concept, we have to know a little color science. Purple (violet) and yellow are directly across from each other on the color wheel, while the blue-violet mix is for orange-yellow colors. Thus, the purple color in a purple shampoo/conditioner will effectively neutralize all the yellow/brassy tones in your hair. When washing your hair with purple shampoo, the follicles absorb a small amount of purple pigment. This cancels out the unsightly yellow undertones.

Adjust the mixture according to your needs. It basically brightens up the blonde by restoring your hair to its former cooler color. But unlike what some people think, it is not meant to be used for lightening hair like a bleaching agent.

Using purple shampoo as occasional aftercare at home is the best thing for in-between color appointments! It is like doing a mini toner at home, and it can extend the life of your color. By extending the life of your color, your trips to the salon become less frequent. You can spend that money on other things or save it. The bottom line is, it’s just going to really brighten up that color, making it look like you’ve just visited the salon. Tell me that doesn’t sound great!

Brand-name purple conditioners are more pigmented than purple shampoos. So they work harder to combat those yellow tones in blonde hairs, but because of this, there is the chance of over depositing color. So they really need to be used only once a week.

In a DIY set, this isn’t the issue; rather you would use the conditioner if you have more brassiness and need to keep the product in longer (more than say an hour). I don’t recommend using both, certainly not more than once a week. If you overdo it, you really can end up with ashy hair at best, or purple-hued hair at worse. Regardless of which you use, both should be moisturizing!

What Is Hair Toner?

Hair toner is a really helpful little tool for lighter colored hair that is usually purple-blue in color. However, the color may differ from toner to toner. Many think that hair toners can be used to help achieve a lighter or ‘blonder’ hair color. But this isn’t true.

Hair toner generally only helps to manage lighter hair tones, remove brassy streaks or add a bit more luster to your hair’s natural sheen. In order to use a hair toner correctly, you first have to get your hair to the suitable color through dying or bleaching before it’ll be effective.

Basically, hair toner is colored in such a way that it becomes the opposite color of the hair you’re trying to treat. This difference in pigmentation helps to balance out the brassy, orange or yellow tones in your hair (or whichever colors you’d like to remove or reduce). It creates a more even and neutral hair tone overall.

It’s very helpful for people who have recently dyed their hair. Or for those who dye their hair on a regular basis. You should also consider using a good hair toner if you’re in an area where the tap water you use has a high mineral content (think inner cities or homes that use boreholes). That’s because this can affect your hair’s natural color and lead to brassy tones.

They’re also great for the elderly. They will help to create a more neutral and natural-looking grey. This is as opposed to a patchy or streaky grey that only makes you look older than you need be!

Brand Name Purple Shampoo Vs. DIY Purple Shampoo

Girl spraying her curly hair.

Woman using DIY hair toner.

Consider these points when deciding which to use to tone your hair.

1) Price: Brand name pigmented shampoos like Joico Purple Shampoo, Shimmer Lights and John Frieda Purple Shampoo although effective, can be expensive.

2) Adjustments: Is your hair pale yellow or orange? With DIY mixes, it is easy to change the ratio according to your specific toning needs. 

3) Consistency: With brand name shampoo it is easier to achieve the same results over an over because it is consistently the same product. DIY, depending on how careful you are in making it, can vary a bit.

How To Use Purple Shampoo And Conditioner

Using the product once a week typically works to help keep brassiness from developing. This is especially true if you begin a routine of using the purple shampoo a couple of weeks after initially coloring your hair blonde.

If your color-treated blonde hair has already turned brassy, you may need to use the purple shampoo every other day until the brassiness is neutralized and your lush blonde color returns. Frequency really will depend on the level of brassiness. How to apply purple shampoo:

  • Rinse your hair in hot water before applying. Doing so will cause the hair shaft to expand, allowing for better depositing of the purple pigment.
  • Use as you would your regular shampoo/conditioner, and apply it to your roots.
  • Massage into the roots first and then allow the shampoo through to the ends.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water. This will cause the hair shaft to close, sealing in the color and leaving it smooth and protected. 

Depending on the color it needs to neutralize, leave it in for anywhere from a few minutes to up to an hour max. The conditioner can be left in longer, but do so with caution. Shave your legs, exfoliate your face, read a book, watch TV, or do whatever to kill some time while you let the shampoo work its magic, just don’t forget it is in.

Remember, the ends/tips of your blonde hair are more porous than the roots, which means they grab and hold onto color faster. This is why you should always apply hair color as well as your purple shampoo/conditioner to the roots first. Generally, your roots will appear brassy before the rest of your hair.

One of the best ways to keep your blonde hair or blonde highlights looking bright not brassy is to choose styling products that are free from color. Look for clear or white mousses, styling creams, gels, pastes to avoid absorbing those tints.

A Note For The Summer Months

Woman smiling with sunglasses

Woman with blonde hair.

Try to have your hair colored before the summer. You’ll be fighting summer damage to your hair throughout the season, so why add more problems? Whether your hair is dyed or au naturel, sunlight bleaches it out. Color-treated hair can turn brassy and lose luster. 

Go easy on any chemical hair treatments during this period. Avoid anything too bold, whether at the salon or at home. Sun, salt, and chlorine make color fade fast. So if you do opt to color your hair, stick to more natural, easy-to-maintain shades.

During the summer months, the extra time spent in the sun is going to lighten your hair naturally. It can easily become too light or brassy. So you want to be particularly careful of protecting your hair with sunscreen and covering up.

Get regular trims, because the more you bleach your hair, the more it is prone to breakage. Women with colored bleach blonde hair tend to have drier hair because the bleach sucks out the moisture, but be weary of over-treating your hair. While protein masks are a good thing once in a while, using a protein-heavy mask too often will actually make your hair hard and brittle, causing even more breakage.

Deep condition often, and use a leave-in conditioner once every week or so. In the same way that a deep conditioning treatment will increase the hydration of your hair, leave-in conditioner will leave your strands extra moisturized.

DIY Purple Shampoo And Conditioner Recipe

Not all of us have time or money to get our color refreshed every couple of weeks at the salon, and some of us even struggle to buy the expensive color conserve shampoos! This recipe is just as effective and all you need is a few simple ingredients that you probably already have in your house.

What You Will Need

  • Any inexpensive moisturizing shampoo and or conditioner of your choice (it should be white in color so you can more easily regulate how light or dark purple you want to make it).
  • Gentian Violet dye, a semi-permanent ammonia and peroxide-free hair color, or even good food coloring like Betty Crocker has, in a violet shade.
  • A bowl and plastic spoon to mix the ingredients, a funnel and an empty bottle.

How To Make The Shampoo

  1. Empty the shampoo/conditioner (you can experiment with half the bottle if you wish) into the bowl and add 2-3 drops of the violet hair/food coloring. You can add blue if you need to get rid of more orange tones etc.  Just let the color wheel be your guide.  Regardless, if you are using a cream-like hair color, the amount you should add should be about the size of a pea. This should be enough to change the color of the shampoo/conditioner to a nice purple. This is trial & error, so you may need to add more drops (or less) until you get the results you want.
  2. You can use a funnel to pour this mixture into an empty bottle for storage and easy use.
  3. Use as needed and stated in the “How to use…” section.

Extra Tips For Your Hair

  • If you have bleached platinum hair, exercise caution when using purple shampoo. Use it sparingly and rinse it quickly to reduce the chance of stepping from your shower with a violet hue in your locks. This happens because heavily bleached hair is more porous, and soaks up color like a sponge. 
  • Obviously you should be following up with a good conditioner after each use of the purple shampoo, or a good shampoo before the purple conditioner.
  • When you first start using purple shampoo, use it every third time you shampoo your hair and then adjust your usage from there. If you find that it’s still brassy, start using it every time you shampoo. Also, if you see it starting to get just a touch too ashy, slow your usage.
  • If, by accident, you ever over-do it and take it one purple shampoo too far, don’t worry. Just hop back in the shower and shampoo with a non-purple shampoo and it will fade off.


When it comes to your hair, there is no clear cut right or wrong method to ensure that the dye stays in. You might have to try different methods in order to find the one that makes the most sense to you. Sometimes a purple shampoo is all it takes, and other times your hair might need a little extra TLC. The point of a purple shampoo or toner is to bring the blonde pop back into your hair, but you also need to remember to repair the damage that has been made to your precious locks.

That’s why natural purple shampoos and toners are often the best option for your hair. The formula doesn’t only contain ingredients that are going to nourish your brassy roots back to blonde, but also heal your damaged hair. You won’t need to use this shampoo every day. But it’s definitely a crucial addition to your hair care routine. Using a purple shampoo and conditioner on your brassy hair can revive those golden tones. As mentioned, platinum blonde dye takes a little more maintenance, but there’s something to be said for rocking that bright tone.

Anytime that you dye your hair, you’re causing at least some damage. The dying process is a harsh chemical one. This means that anyone with colored hair should be ensuring that their post-dye hair care products are going to be gentle, nourishing, and restorative on their hair strands!

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