Products / November 16, 2019

Blue Shampoo is The Best Way to Conquer Brassiness in Your Brunette Hair

Do you remember learning the color wheel in elementary school art class? Who knew it would come in so handy? Read on to find out why blue shampoo can help reduce orange tones and brassiness in your brunette hair!

What Is Brassy or “Blorange” Hair?

As most dyed brunettes know, when you haven’t dyed your hair for awhile, the dye can fade and become brassy.

Brassiness in brunette hair means unwanted red or copper tones.

Here’s a picture of me from early July 2018, five months into my gray hair transition.  The silvers look nice but the faded dye is turning ORANGE. In the gray hair community, brassy orange hair is also called “blorange.”

brunette gray hair brassiness blue shampoo
Rocking some orange hair here!

I checked in with my gray hair Facebook support groups to get some advice on how to handle this issue. Many women recommended purple shampoos, but I did a little digging and found out that, for brunettes, blue shampoo is best.

** Please Note:  This post contains affiliate links. You can see my full policy here **

Why is Blue Shampoo Great for Brassy Brunette Hair?

Blue shampoo is best for brassy brunette hair because blue is the opposite color from orange on the color wheel, so the blue tint neutralizes the orange tones.

image of a color wheel

Purple shampoo is best for brassy blonde hair, as purple is the opposite color on the color wheel from bright yellow, so the purple cancels out the yellow. 

How to Use Blue Shampoo

One of my fellow brunette Instagrammers recommended Joico Blue Shampoo to me, so I decided to give it a shot.

As per her advice, I put it on dry hair and let it sit for 5 minutes.  I then took a shower and added a little more blue shampoo and worked it in well before rinsing it out and conditioning.

When I dried my hair, the brassiness was pretty much gone! My dyed hair looked darker and my silvers were brighter!

I was very happy with the results.

brunette blue shampoo results
After using the Joico Blue Shampoo on dry hair- no more orange!

Blue shampoo can leave your hair a bit dry.  You should definitely deep condition afterward.

My friendly neighborhood beauty supply shop recommended Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator Treatment.

After using blue shampoo, rinse it out and put the K-Pak on wet hair and let it sit for anywhere from 5-30 minutes before rinsing out.

Your hair will feel SO hydrated! I use it every time I use the blue shampoo.

What Not To Do with Blue Shampoo

Don’t use it too often: If you’re going gray, you should only use the blue shampoo once a week because you can get a blue tinge to your gray hair if you use it too often.

Don’t leave it on too long: I accidentally left blue shampoo on my dry hair for 30 minutes (a number of little family emergencies happened and I had to run around the house like a nutcase with blue hair and blue hands!)

My hair felt quite frizzy afterward, and even the Joico K-Pak wasn’t enough to get it back to normal.

Don’t put it on wet hair if you want to REALLY tone down the orange: I was tired one morning and didn’t feel like putting the blue shampoo on my dry hair.  So I skipped that step and just put it on wet hair in the shower.  It didn’t work.

As you can see below, when I put it on wet hair, my hair stayed brassy.  The blue shampoo made NO difference:

brunette woman gray hair orange brassiness
Results after putting blue shampoo on wet hair instead of dry hair. Not good.

Blue Shampoo: Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Removes brassy orange tones from your faded brunette hair
  • Brightens your silver hair (if you’re going gray)

Cons:

  • Blue shampoo is a temporary solution – you have to use it at least once a week to get good results
  • If your hair is SUPER orange (as mine is now, after 15 months of not dyeing), it doesn’t work as well as it does on mildly orange hair.
  • Blue shampoo is very drying – you must deep condition afterward

The Best Blue Shampoos for Brunettes

My favorite blue shampoo is Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo. The price is right, and even though I use it once a week, I’ve had it for over a year and still have plenty left. Joico Blue Shampoo is a great value and it works beautifully!

image of joico blue shampoo for orange tones in brassy brunette hair

Fanola No-Orange Shampoo also gets great reviews. Their No-Yellow Shampoo has been a hit for years with bleached blondes, and I’m surprised and delighted to discover they’re now making a blue shampoo for brassy brown hair.

image of fanola no orange

Aveda Blue Malva is a pricier option, but a lot of women swear by it. I personally love Aveda products – they are cruelty-free, smell great, and are plant-based. I want to try the Blue Malva, but I still have plenty of Joico Blue Shampoo left.

image of Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo for Brassy Hair

Conclusion

Anyway, if you’re a brunette like me, you may want to give the blue shampoo a try.  I’m very happy with it.

I have nothing against the color orange, but I don’t really want orange hair, you know what I mean?

And remember: purple shampoo for blondes (or fully silver/gray), and blue shampoo for brunettes.

Related Posts:

Best Products for Gray Hair

Can Overtone Soften the Skunk Stripe?

Interview with Joli Campbell of QuickSilverHair

Why Blogger Lauren Stein Launched Her Own Line of Haircare Products

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27 Comments

  1. Glenice

    I’ve just found you and want to follow to learn how to do this. Thank you.

    19 . Nov . 2019 Reply
  2. marilyn

    My hair is natural brown. I have been coloring it for ages to a dark ash blonde. Have orange/ red brassy highlights. Will blue shampoo give me an ashy tone which I love. Thanks

    13 . Oct . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Hi, Marilyn – I don’t think blue shampoo will give you that ashy tone. Some people say to use purple shampoo for that (which goes against my advice to always use blue shampoo on brunette or red hair) But the ashy issue is a different matter)! Just remember, both blue and purple shampoos work best if you apply them to dry hair and let them sit for 5 minutes before you go back in the shower. I found putting them on wet hair didn’t work as well.

      Good luck – and let me know what works for you!

      14 . Oct . 2019 Reply
  3. Amy

    I am a natural dark brunette, I have been coloring a medium brown for 6 years. Due to recently thinning hair( doc says normal for 40 % of women my age 😝 this is why I went cold turkey to help my thinning hair. Interesting how you are so dark underneath, my underneath is very gray top just some gray. I really like your video helps me, i am at the 6 month stage and it is very hard I have to admit ( still have past the shoulders waiting a bit longer on my fist cut . Thanks for the positive up lift. –
    Amy

    08 . Sep . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Thanks, Amy! I hope you have the same result I had – I thought my hair was thinning due to my age, but since I dropped the dye, I’ve lost so much less hair. Now my hair is back to feeling thick again! And I hear that from other women, too. Good luck!

      09 . Sep . 2019 Reply
  4. Dee

    Thanks so much for the info! I’m just a couple of months into the process but can see the orange color coming through in my bangs especially. Is two months without coloring too soon to try the blue shampoo?

    29 . Jun . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      I don’t think so! The point of the blue shampoo is to make your silvers shine and to lessen the brassy orange, so as long as you have some orange and/or silver in your hair, you can try it. Good luck!

      30 . Jun . 2019 Reply
  5. Linda

    What do you think of the blue conditioner? Does it condition well?

    25 . Jun . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      I’ve never actually tried it – I just stick with the blue shampoo and use a deep conditioner afterwards. But some people seem to really like the blue conditioner as well.

      27 . Jun . 2019 Reply
  6. Lyn

    What are the results for course African American hair?

    16 . Jun . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      That’s a good question – I’ve never seen any research on how it would affect coarse African American hair. I checked online and couldn’t find any answers. I’ll keep looking and will write back if I find out!

      16 . Jun . 2019 Reply
  7. Dawn

    I am also transitioning, my question is, will it give a more suttle transition if ur getting your hair bleached to reach my goal?

    20 . Apr . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      You should consult a hairdresser to see how that would work with your particular hair type, but yes, a lot of women go that route. Check out my post about “How to Go Gray” for all your options, and also my list of Gray-Friendly Hairdressers if you need one in your area.

      22 . Apr . 2019 Reply
  8. auee

    I’ve been scouring the net on and off since 2017, looking for advice and materials to going grey. Your site is a God-send. I last dyed my hair in Dec-2018. This tip on the blue shampoo will come in very handy.

    25 . Mar . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      I’m so glad you found me! Good luck with the blue shampoo 🙂

      25 . Mar . 2019 Reply
  9. Barbara

    Katie, I am 8 months into my silver transition. My “real” color is brown. Thank you for your info – I’ve been using purple shampoo and will now try the blue. I have long hair and can’t wait until this transition is over!

    22 . Jan . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Hi, Barbara! I’m so happy that this article helped! The orangey tones didn’t bother me much at first and now they are really starting to get to me. But like you, I like long hair so don’t want to cut it all off. Good luck with the rest of your transition!

      22 . Jan . 2019 Reply
      • Rebecca

        I appreciate you sharing your experience and your advice. Very informative. I’m 43 and decided to stop coloring my hair a month ago. My hair is colored dark brown. It’s naturally black. I’m looking forward to going grey. I’ll definitely try the blue shampoo as you advised. Much thanks!

        03 . Sep . 2019 Reply
        • Katie

          You’re welcome!

          03 . Sep . 2019 Reply
  10. Jackie

    Katie, I found you on instagram a few weeks ago. I’m 36 and my last dye was on 11/9/18. I haven’t spoken about my transition publicly and haven’t posted an photos on IG because I’m not confident in doing so yet. Your blog has been a HUGE help to me. I love reading all the stories and honestly, can’t wait for the awkward phase of my grow-out to get better so that I can feel a little more sure of my decision. So far, I’m loving the color that’s coming in. Thank you for being a positive plethora of information in a space that’s a little less public than social media! xo, Jackie

    10 . Jan . 2019 Reply
    • Katie

      Thank you, Jackie – your feedback means a lot! I’m happy to host a more private space for us ladies in transition. It’s such a fraught thing still to go gray in our culture – we need all the support we can get!

      10 . Jan . 2019 Reply
  11. Grace

    I think my transition will be similar to yours. I am also a brunette and my hair does turn orange as the grey starts to grow out. I always chickened out when that happened and went back to dying. However this time I am committed ever since I saw yours. Thanks for the help on the best products to use on my hair as I transition. I am 68 and should have done this years ago. I am starting my 5th week into this so I have a long way to go. Keep posting as it helps all of us newbies!

    15 . Nov . 2018 Reply
    • Katie

      Thanks, Grace – I’m so happy you are finding help here! That’s why I started this blog – because I was confused about the process and what products to use, etc. I’ll definitely keep posting – I’m in this for the long haul!

      15 . Nov . 2018 Reply
  12. Sandrine PICARD

    I personally use Schwartzkopf BonaCure Excellium range. It is creamy purple and enriched with Q10+ pearls… I love it !!!!

    12 . Aug . 2018 Reply
    • Katie

      That sounds amazing – I’ll look into it!

      15 . Nov . 2018 Reply
  13. JoAnna

    I just ordered the Joco Blue Shampoo…I have the same problem with the brassiness…thank you for the reccomdation!!

    05 . Aug . 2018 Reply
    • Katie

      I’m so glad! I hope it works as well for you as it did for me. I wish I had known about this product years ago, as my dyed ends have always turned somewhat orange the last week or so before dyeing.

      05 . Aug . 2018 Reply

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Katie

Katie is the founder of Katie Goes Platinum. After constantly dyeing her hair for over 25 years, in 2018 Katie decided to stop the madness and embrace the gray. Since then, she’s been sharing her favorite gray hair tips, resources, and stories to empower women to feel beautiful during and after their transition to gray hair.