No Extra Cash for a Tone? These Shampoos Have You Covered

One of most important parts of maintaining color-treated hair is getting it toned. Toners are used as neutralizers, they get rid of the unwanted shades and amp up the desired ones. They can help cool down warm, brassy shades that occur over the time after getting your hair colored. On the flip side, they only last about eight weeks at most and can ring up a hefty price tag if you’re seeing your stylist on the reg.

For us girls livin’ on a budget, a good alternative is a toning shampoo and/or conditioner. Seattle based stylist Mary Cartier is a long-time balayage/colorist queen. “Purple shampoo is made to cancel out yellow tones that blonde hair turns to once the toner fades out and blue is [shampoo] is made to cancel out orange hair that dark ‘blonde hair’ turns to when the toner fades out,” she explained. Mary also suggests using a purple shampoo once or twice a week for a few minutes each time. The blonder you are, the faster your hair will tone.

Toning shampoos are great to keep your color fresh for as long as possible in between salon visits, but be careful not to use them before you need to. Aleksey Bishop, an LA based stylist behind a number of Miley Cyrus's killer looks in the past year – namely her 2018 Vogue Easter shoot – told Her Campus how he keeps his clients' hair looking toned and fresh. "I tell people to try to go as long as they can without using it [purple shampoo] after getting their color done," Aleksey said in a phone interview. "I suggest waiting until you see those [yellow] tones before using it, because if you use it too soon it can kind of make it start to look dingy gray."

  1. 1. Cool Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner

    dpHUE, ulta.com, $26; shop now

    Aleksey suggests using the dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo and conditioner. "I like it for how pigmented it is," he said. "It's the most most moisturizing purple shampoo for how pigmented it is." He also loves the conditioner for how well it detangles the hair after using the shampoo. 

    For brunettes, dpHUE also makes a blue shampoo. "Purple takes out yellow or that kind of brassiness in a blonde, but blue will take out brass or orange or red in a brunette," Aleksey said. "So, if I have a client that's blonde, I would reccommend the dpHUE purple shampoo and conditioner, but if they're a brunette, I would reccommend the blue." 

    The dpHUE shampoo, purple or blue, is best used every other time you wash. "If you use it every single shampoo in a row, it will start to dull out your hair a little bit."

    The conditioner, however, can be used every day. "The conditoner is purple, but it's not as purple as the shampoo, so that is something that you coul use just as a regular conditoner."

  2. 2. Blue Malva Color Conditioner

    AVEDA, aveda.com, $23; shop now

    This conditioner is a two-birds-with-one-stone sort of wonder. Mary Cartier loves it because “it’s a mixture of purple and blue, so it’s strongly pigmented and could cool down both blondes and oranges. It also conditions the hair and doesn’t leave feeling dry like most [toning] shampoos.” If your shampoo is giving you crunchy hair, you might want to say hi to your new bestie, Malva.

  3. 3. Total Results So Silver Shampoo

    Matrix, ulta.com, $14; shop now

    University of Alaska Fairbanks student, Meagan Olsen says she uses a combination of Matrix’s So Silver shampoo and conditioner. “I always try to use at least one or the other every time I shower.” Meagan uses Matrix to combat yellow tones and keep her color lasting longer. “It won’t turn your hair silver after one use, but it prolongs the [silver tone] effect.”

  4. 4. Shimmer Lights Shampoo and Conditioner for Blonde & Sliver

    Clairol, sallybeauty.com, $13; shop now

    If you are looking for something that might just turn your hair silver after one use, opt for Shimmer Lights. Okay, it won’t actually turn your hair silver, but leave it in for about 15 minutes during your shower and you will come out looking like you just spent $45 on a single tone at the salon.

    A Shimmer Lights shampoo and conditioner duo is a great place to start if you have never delved into the world of purple shampoos. They are one of the most affordable options, but also one of the most effective. Be sure to follow up with a conditioner because these can be pretty drying. Hint: be very careful with this stuff, it will stain your bathroom purple if you’re not careful!

  5. 5. Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo

    AMIKA, sephora.com, $20; shop now

    Amika Bust Your Brass is a great option if you’re seeking something less harsh on your hair without sulfates or parabens. It also is fortified with vitamins A, D, E and B. Bust Your Brass is a pigmented cool blonde shampoo and fights warm tones in just one wash, but leaves your hair smooth—not lifeless.

  6. 6. Color Assure Long Lasting Vibrancy Assure Shampoo

    Nexxus, target.com, $12; shop now

    This shampoo is infused with a whole lot of keratin, the protein your hair loves. It balances out brassy tones and protects the fresh, healthy look you get when stepping out of the salon.

  7. 7. Blonde Platinum Blonde Shampoo

    Paul Mitchell, ulta.com, $15; shop now

    Paul Mitchell Blonde Platinum Blonde Shampoo treats unwanted warm, brassiness, but also softens as it works its magic, which is rare in a toning shampoo. It hydrates and adds shine while it “brings out the best in blonde, white and silver hair.”

  8. 8. Goldwell Purple Shampoo

    Goldwell, amazon.com, $29; shop now

    Goldwell Purple shampoo is best for banishing yellowy tones in blonde hair. It removes alkaline, a substance that causes the cuticle to open and can damage your hair. This shampoo works to keep your color looking new in between salon appointments.

Toning is a step you simply can't skip when it comes to maintaining the perfect shade. A simple shampoo or conditioner will save you a ton of money, while also keeping your cool, ashy hue, without breaking the bank. Whether you're sick of yellowing blondes or warm brass, there's an option for your specific needs!