Purple shampoo is one of those essentials that’s recommended to anyone with blonde hair to calm down brassiness, but have you heard of blue shampoo?

Blue shampoo does the same thing for brunettes as purple shampoo does for blondes. It neutralizes brassy tones in brunette hair, especially if it’s been lightened or highlighted. Over time, the tones in colored hair can change slightly and become more red or orange. This is usually caused by sun exposure, product fade or lifestyle.

Colored shampoos, such as blue or purple, work by depositing pigment onto your hair temporarily. This changes the shade your hair appears by essentially adding the opposite color on to the top layer of your hair. Purple minimizes yellow and blue minimizes orange – if you’ve ever seen a color wheel, then this will make sense.

Even if your brunette locks haven’t been enhanced, you can still incorporate blue shampoo into your hair care routine. Natural brown hair can still become brassy and in need of a refresh, and blue shampoo can make it look shinier. It’s best to limit your usage of blue shampoo to a few times a week to avoid changing the tone of your hair more significantly.

Is blue shampoo easy to use?

Blue shampoo is so straightforward to use. If you were worried that it was going to take hours or be really complicated: don’t. It’s really easy to incorporate into your hair routine.

Everyone has a different way of doing their hair – whether that’s no-poo, the Curly Girl Method, daily hair washing, co-washing, once a week, sufate-free, extensions….the list goes on – so for this we’re assuming a pretty regular hair routine. Daily (or every-other-day) washing with a regular shampoo and conditioner. You should be able to tweak this to suit most routines (though with no-poo you might have to cheat a little, after all it’s blue shampoo we’re talking about here).

Step 1 – Wash your hair normally using your regular shampoo

We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you how to wash your hair. But, just to be really clear, washing your hair with a blue shampoo is really, really similar to using your regular product. You just need to wet your hair then start shampooing with the blue shampoo of your choice.

One teeny, tiny thing to remember: with normal shampooing, you’re usually focusing on the roots and scalp to remove oils and build-up. With blue shampoo, it’s less about your scalp and more about the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, as this is where the brassiness is most likely to show. Also, try and apply the shampoo in an even way across your hair to make sure it doesn’t “take” in some places but not others.

If you’re worried about not focusing on your roots as much or you struggle with an oily scalp, you can still shampoo your roots as normal with blue shampoo. Or, if you really want your hair to be squeaky clean then you can use your normal products first to do a clean and then use the blue stuff as a second shampoo and to deposit pigment.

Step 2 – Condition as normal

If you have color-treated hair you really should be using conditioner. We know that sometimes this is down to personal preference, and some people say they don’t like their hair to be weighed down by conditioner (we say: you just haven’t found the right conditioner yet!).

This is true when you use blue shampoo too – because its primary goal is cleaning and depositing pigment, blue shampoo may not always be the most moisturising option for your hair. You have to do what’s going to be right for you and your locks.

Simply add your conditioner, leave for the right amount of time and rinse out. We’d recommend a conditioning hair mask once a week too, just to give your hair a treat and to keep it in the best possible condition.

Step 3: Style it out

After you rinse your conditioner out, it’s time to style. Again, styling is a personal preference and blue shampoo doesn’t come with any of the major styling upheaval that something like a perm or some chemical straightening methods do. You can dry and style your hair as normal (you can even leave it to airdry if that’s your vibe).

One thing we would say if you’re going to be using heat on your hair: heat protector is your friend. You’d be surprised how many people skip this step, but it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to keep your hair in great condition whilst protecting from further damage. Heat styling is one of the most damaging things we can do to our hair so protect it as much as you can.

Provided you’ve followed the directions on your blue shampoo, you should now have brass-free brunette tresses. Repeat as needed to keep orange and red tones at bay.

Will it turn my hair blue?

Blue shampoo isn’t a hair dye and shouldn’t leave your hair looking like the Cookie Monster’s. However, depending on how damaged or light your hair is, how long you leave it on for and how evenly you add it to your hair…there is a chance that it could turn out bluer than you expect overall or a little more blue in some places. You can always try it out on a little piece of hair first if you’re worried.

Again, unlike a dye, it’s pretty easy to get the deposits of blue shampoo out of your hair if you need to. A clarifying or anti-dandruff shampoo should do the trick, just remember to condition well afterwards.

Are all blue shampoos the same?

They’re not – some will work better for you than others. If you try one and find it doesn’t do what you need it to, don’t give up; try a different brand. We hate to say it but sometimes price point is key and using a better-quality product will deliver better (or longer lasting) results for you.

Blue shampoo doesn’t need to be a scary as it sounds, and can be the best way to get that brass out of your brunette hair. Have you tried it? What did you think of the results?