Here’s an easy guide on how to use blue shampoos for toning your brassy brunette or blonde hair. Check out how often you need to use this shampoo and if you can use it with regular conditioner.
Toning your hair is as important as dyeing it the right shade. A lot of hair colors (especially bleached blonde tones) fade with time. And this can often lead to something called “brassiness”. This is nothing but the presence of warm undertones on hair.
In blonde hair, this can be seen as an abundance of orange giving bleached hair a “coppery” or strawberry blonde look.
But these warm undertones are not as visible on brown hair. On brunette tresses these undertones might appear as reddish auburn highlights.
While some people like this look and keep them, others prefer a cool “Ash” brown shade. So in that case, a blue shampoo comes handy.
How To Use Blue Shampoos
At a Glance:
If you want to tone brunette hair to make it appear less red, here’s what you have to do.
- Step 1: Color your hair with the desired brunette color
- Step 2: After washing out the dye and before conditioning the hair, massage some blue shampoo on to the wet, freshly-dyed hair
- Step 3: Leave the blue shampoo on hair for a few minutes (ideally 3-5 minutes) to make the pigments from the blue shampoo penetrate hair better.
- Step 4: Wash off the blue shampoo from hair (I suggest using cold water to lock in the color) and condition as usual.
Here is a step by step guide on how to use blue shampoos effectively. Check it out!
Step 1: Wet Hair Thoroughly And Apply Blue Shampoo
There is actually very little difference between a blue shampoo and a regular shampoo except for the presence of color pigments.
So you can use a blue shampoo the same way you use regular shampoos. You do not have to wash your hair separately before using a blue shampoo.
The only difference here is that you have to apply the blue shampoo on your roots AND the ends of your hair. Doing so will ensure the blue pigment coats hair effectively.
Step 2: Massage Shampoo In And Let It Sit On Hair
Another difference between regular shampoos and a blue shampoo is that you need to leave blue shampoos on hair for some time before washing it off. Think of it as a shampoo cum hair mask.
Most blue shampoos have different instructions regarding this, but I generally keep the blue shampoo on my hair between 5-10 minutes.
This time also depends on the porosity of your hair. People who have high porosity hair can leave blue shampoos on for just 3-5 minutes and it will still work just fine.
These hair types absorb pigments quicker than others due to the placement of the cuticles on hair strands.
However, low porosity hair doesn’t allow pigments (or for that matter anything) to penetrate cuticles easily. So I suggest giving it more time if you have such a hair type.
Pro Tip: Use warm water to wet your hair to slightly open up your cuticles before applying blue shampoo. This will ensure the pigments penetrate the strands of hair more efficiently.
Step 3: Rinse It Off With Cool Water
After you’ve left the blue shampoo on for the designated period, it’s time to rinse it off!
Here’s another great hair hack for you! Remember when I said you should wash your hair with warm water first to open up the cuticles? Well, it’s time to do the opposite now.
Rinse your hair with cool water to wash off the shampoo. This will close hair cuticles and leave hair smoother and frizz-free.
Step 4: Follow It Up With Blue Conditioner If Needed
Now comes the conditioning part! While it’s completely okay to use your regular conditioner on your hair after washing it with blue shampoo, you can also try a blue conditioner.
Yes. Blue conditioners exist as well!
These are color-depositing conditioners that add blue pigment to your hair to remove brassiness similar to blue shampoos.
However, only go for blue conditioners if you have a lot of orange-coppery tones on hair and need a strong toner to remove them.
Using too much blue shampoo and conditioner can actually leave your hair looking blue.
How Often To Use Blue Shampoo
If you go on Youtube or Tiktok you’ll find tons of videos of people who have inadvertently dyed their hair blue while trying to use a blue shampoo.
And while this is rare, it can happen if you use blue shampoo too often.
If you have dark brown or brunette-toned hair I’d suggest using a blue shampoo only 2-3 times a week.
And if you have light, bleached blonde hair then reduce this number to just once a week.
There is a greater chance of blue pigment being deposited on lighter hair shades.
Also blonde-haired folks can try using a regular shampoo and going for a blue conditioner instead. This will reduce the amount of blue pigment that’s deposited on hair.
Related: How To Use Purple Shampoo
Is Blue Shampoo Bad For Your Hair
No blue shampoos aren’t bad for your hair. However, you need to be careful to select the right blue shampoo for your hair.
Just like with regular shampoos try avoiding blue shampoos with harsh surfactant ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate.
It can be hard to find blue shampoos or other toning shampoos that are sulfate-free as they are created to be strong enough to remove brassy or yellow undertones from hair.
But there are a few milder ones in the market, my favorite one being the Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo which is SLS and SLES-free. It also uses Malva extracts for the blue pigments and not artificial dye, so that is also a plus in my opinion.
What Is Blue Shampoo Used For?
Blue shampoo works on the principle of color theory. In the color wheel, blue is opposite to orange. So adding blue pigments to your tresses can reduce the orange and coppery undertones.
A blue shampoo is used to reduce the brassiness and coppery undertones from your hair by neutralizing the warm pigments.
Blue shampoo is often used by colorists after bleaching hair so that the brassiness is removed from blonde hair.
But nowadays women are using it as a way to reduce the reddish undertones in brown hair as well as a cooler ash shade of hair is in trend.
How Is Blue Shampoo Different From Purple Shampoo
As the name itself suggests, blue shampoos contain blue pigments and purple shampoos contain purple pigments. But if you’re wondering why, it’s all in the color wheel.
You see, blue is opposite red in the color wheel, so if you use a blue shampoo on dyed hair that contains orange and red pigments (auburn, ginger, etc.), the blue pigments will neutralize the red tones and make hair appear “cooler” and more ashy.
And as purple is opposite yellow in the color wheel, it helps neutralize golden and yellowish tones (golden blonde, yellow blonde, yellowish-grey hair, etc.), making hair appear more “platinum” and silvery in it’s tone.
So to sum it up, blue shampoos are used mostly on brunette hair to remove red pigments and make hair color more ashy while purple shampoos are used on blonde hair to remove golden pigments making it silvery and platinum.
FAQs About Blue Shampoos
If you have any more queries about blue shampoos and how to use them on your brown/bleached, brassy hair, here are some frequently asked questions that I’ve tried answering for your benefit. Take a look!
What is the best blue shampoo for my hair?
If you have brown hair and want to remove the warm undertones then I recommend using the John Frieda Blue Crush Blue Shampoo for Brunettes. It not only removes warm undertones to give you a cooler brunette hair color but also leaves tresses shiny. However, if you want to remove orange, brassy tones from blonde hair then go for Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo instead.
How long should you leave blue shampoo in your hair?
You should leave blue shampoos on hair for enough time to let the blue color pigments penetrate hair strands. I suggest leaving it anywhere between 5-10 minutes depending on the porosity of your hair.
Do you wash your hair before using blue shampoo?
No you do not have to wash your hair before using a blue shampoo. Most blue shampoos come with surfactants (both of the sulfate and non-sulfate variety) and can cleanse hair very effectively. In fact, this is the one edge blue shampoos have over blue hair toners as it is sort of a 2-in-1 product.
How long does it take blue shampoo to work?
When you’re using the shampoo, you should leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it. But the effect of the blue shampoo should be almost instantaneous. However, if you have really stubborn brassiness you should use the blue shampoo for at least 6-8 weeks to get rid of brassiness completely.
Does blue shampoo take out orange?
Yes, blue shampoos helps fix orange tones in hair as it contains blue-colored pigments. These pigments can neutralize orange tones as they are opposite in the color wheel.
Can I use regular conditioner after blue shampoo?
Yes, you can totally use a regular conditioner after using a blue shampoo depending on your hair’s needs. But if you want to tone your hair twice over, you should try using a blue conditioner along with the blue conditioner. Look for one that is free of silicones and matches your hair’s moisturization needs.
Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?
The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.
Final Thoughts About Using Blue Shampoos
Blue shampoos come in handy if you want to reduce warm undertones from either bleached blonde hair or brunette hair.
Using a blue shampoo can get rid of orangish undertones on bleached hair, leaving it a bright shade of platinum.
On brown hair, blue shampoos reduce reddish undertones giving you a cool brunette hair color.
These shampoos are often confused with purple shampoos but the two have different purposes.
A purple shampoo is used to remove yellow undertones from hair.
You can also use a blue hair toner instead of blue shampoos but hair toners are generally stronger in pigments compared to shampoos so I don’t advise doing it at home, especially if you just want to neutralize warm tones from hair.