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What is blue shampoo?
Blue-tinted shampoo gets rid of unwanted brassy tones in brunette hair — a particular problem among women who dye their hair or have highlights — when the color starts to fade.
"That's when your undertones, the natural pigment, starts popping up, and the red comes out," celebrity colorist Mincho Pacheco, who uses blue shampoo on his clients at James Joseph Salon in Boston, told TODAY Style. "Everybody has red in their hair, even blondes."
"It's great to cancel out orange or red tones from brown color," he added. "We use it on someone who always wants that deep, shiny brown look, someone who spends a lot of time in the sun, or someone who washes their hair too often."
Blue shampoo works for brunettes the same way purple shampoo works for blondes. Colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel cancel each other out, so purple gets rid of yellow or greenish tones and blue gets rid of orange or red tones.
Hairstylist Paul Norton is also a fan of blue shampoo — he's used it on celebrity clients including Gina Rodriguez. But he adds that brunettes shouldn't discount purple shampoo entirely. Depending on what tones you're trying to correct, it might even be the better option.
The moral of the story? Play around until you find a shampoo you like.
"It is 100 percent safe to try any of these at home," Norton told TODAY Style. "This is not something you need to rely on a hairstylist for because there's no deposit of color. There's only tonal correction, and it's not even aggressive tonal correction, it's almost surface-level tonal correction. And it's not permanent."
Both experts recommend that brunettes with brassy tones use a blue shampoo about once a week. But be careful: If you use too much at one time or shampoo too often, your hair could turn darker than your desired shade.
Pro tip: Wear gloves and make sure to give your shower a good rinse afterward to avoid any leftover blue residue.
The best blue shampoos:
- 1. Fanola No Orange Shampoo, $13 (usually $28), Amazon
In the salon, Pacheco swears by blue shampoos by this and Alaparf's blue shampoo. Norton is a fan of Bain de Terre's lavender shampoo for brunettes.
But if you're looking for a quick fix, here are a few drugstore versions to try at home.
- 2. Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo, $13, Amazon
Matrix's blue shampoo promises to enhance the cool tones of brunette hair.
- 3. Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo, $12 (usually $16), Amazon
Joico says its blue shampoo is perfect for naturally dark brunettes who have salon highlights they want to perk up.
- 4. Pravana The Perfect Brunette Toning Shampoo, $17, Amazon