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Inside: Find out why blue shampoo helps reduce brassiness in brunette hair
If you have dyed brunette hair, you may find that your hair takes on brassy orange tones as the dye fades.
There are measures you can take to prevent brassiness but if it’s too late for prevention, your best recourse is blue shampoo.
What is Blue Shampoo?
Blue shampoo is a color-depositing shampoo with a deep blue-violet tint that is intended to reduce unwanted brassiness in dyed brunette hair.
Blue is the opposite color from orange on the color wheel, so it neutralizes the orange tones and helps get your brunette hair back to looking fabulous.
What is the Difference Between Blue and Purple Shampoo?
Blue shampoo is best for brassy brunette hair since brunettes are the ones who end up with unwanted copper and orange tones in their dyed hair.
If you have unwanted yellow tones (generally found in dyed blonde hair, or naturally grey hair), purple shampoo is recommended since yellow is the opposite of purple on the color wheel.
Some blondes DO use blue shampoo to make their hair look more “ashy”, but most turn to purple shampoo for best results.
Related article: The Ultimate Guide to Purple Shampoo
How to Use Blue Shampoo
- Rub the shampoo between your hands and apply it all over your DRY hair.
- Wait for 5 minutes
- Step into the shower, wet your hair a little, and keep working the shampoo through your hair.
- Rinse, and then deep condition.* Let the deep conditioner sit on your hair for 5-30 minutes before rinsing out.
* Deep conditioning is important after using blue shampoo because it can be VERY drying. I recommend Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator Treatment.
Note: Don’t freak out if your hands turn bright blue while applying blue shampoo. Trust me, it will wash off in the shower.
Video: Blue Shampoo Application
Before and After Using Blue Shampoo on Dry Hair
I took these photos while I was transitioning to my natural gray hair, so I’ve totally got a skunk stripe going on, as well as brassy orange tones in my fading dyed ends.
As you can see, after using blue shampoo on dry hair, the unwanted orange tones are GREATLY reduced and I’m back to the cool brunette tones I love.
Of course, whether using it on dry or wet hair will yield best results depends on your hair type
If your hair is resistant to color, using blue shampoo on dry hair may be more effective.
If your hair takes color well, do a strand test on dry hair. If you rinse it out and end up with unwanted blue tones, you may be better off applying the shampoo to wet hair in the future.
What NOT To Do with Blue Shampoo
Don’t use it too often: It is very drying, so it should only be used once a week.
Don’t leave it on too long: I accidentally left it on my dry hair for 30 minutes. My hair felt quite frizzy afterward, and even the Joico K-Pak wasn’t enough to get it back to normal.
Pros & Cons of Blue Shampoo
- Removes brassy orange tones from your fading brunette hair
- Brightens your silver hair (if you’re going gray)
- Blue shampoo is a temporary solution – you have to use it about once a week to get good results
- If your hair is SUPER orange, it doesn’t work as well as it does on mildly orange hair.
- Blue shampoo is very drying – you must deep condition afterward
Using Blue Shampoo While Going Gray
Do you HAVE to use blue shampoo while going gray cold turkey? Definitely not! Only use it if the brassy tones in your fading dye bother you.
I used blue shampoo once a week while I was going gray, and I used it exactly as described above with great results.
It will NOT turn your gray hair blue unless you use it too often. Once a week should be fine.
I found that the blue shampoo really helped me for the first 9-10 months of my gray hair transition. But towards the end of my transition, my fading brunette dye was SO orange that even blue shampoo barely helped.
Alternatives to Blue Shampoo for Brassy Faded Dye
If your faded brunette dye turns so orange that blue shampoo no longer works for you (while you are going gray), you have a few options:
- Only dye the brassy ends, while leaving the gray roots untouched.
- Hide the brassy ends with hairpieces or extensions.
- Just learn to live with the orange tones until all of your dye fades away.
Personally, I was so DONE putting chemicals on my head, that I chose the latter option.
Now that my hair is fully gray, I no longer have to worry about orange tones. What a relief!
If you have dyed brown hair that is taking on unwanted brassy tones, you may want to give blue shampoo a try and see if it works for you. For many of us, it does a GREAT job!