PSA to Brunettes: Blue Shampoo Is Everything You Need

During winter break of my freshman year, I thought I was so cool after getting my hair colored for the very first time. Seriously, I had never even touched a box of dye. (I used Sun-In once, but let’s pretend I didn’t.) I cut off several inches, did some balayage, and took a lot of selfies. Looking back, my hair really didn’t look all that different.

As a brunette, it’s normal to start off slowly on your journey to blonde hair. I started off with simple, minimal balayage, then moved up to a slightly lighter shade overall with a bit more blonde. It was a dramatic enough change for me to feel like a whole new woman, but subtle enough that I honestly don’t notice much of a difference in pictures.

One key difference I noticed: my hair got brassy about two months into this round of balayage. It’s frustrating having brassy hair as a brunette, because TikTok kept telling me to put purple shampoo in my hair. All of the girls in the videos were already blonde and ended up with almost platinum hair, so I asked my stylist for her thoughts instead. Word of advice: trust the professionals before TikTok.

My stylist’s suggestion

My stylist recommended using blue shampoo, not purple, for brunettes—yes, even brunettes who are trying to get to blonde. She specifically shared her love for the Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo ($14, Ulta Beauty) and the Matrix Total Results Brass Off Custom Neutralization Hair Mask ($24, Ulta Beauty).



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In the same way that you use color correctors for blemishes or dark under-eyes, colored shampoo helps neutralize your hair’s brassy pigments. When you look at a color wheel, you can see that blue is across from orange, while purple is across from yellow. Blonde hair typically turns a bit yellow with time, which is why purple shampoo works so well for neutralizing and cooling excess warmth. Blue shampoo has that same power for brunettes, eliminating those annoying, orange undertones.

How to use blue shampoo

I would highly recommend getting a pair of gloves when using these products, unless you just really love blue hands and nails. After using it for several months now, I can confirm blue shampoo is the move for brunettes.

Using blue shampoo is tricky. It’s not the same process as that clear, lathering shampoo you use so effortlessly. Colored shampoo requires a bit (okay, a lot) more effort. Like I said, I would highly suggest using gloves to minimize at least some of the mess. Be ready to have blue everywhere. Unlike your usual shampoo, you’ll want to evenly coat your hair with blue shampoo, not just focusing on your scalp. Lather it up, and then be sure to really give some extra love to the rinsing step, unless blue streaks are your thing.

Ideally, you could use blue shampoo every other wash. For me, that would be every four days, since I wash my hair every other day. However, I have really fine hair, so I probably only use colored shampoo two or three times a month. If you have fine hair, you might take the pigments more easily, so use a light hand your first wash.

A college budget doesn’t really work with the idea of getting expensive balayage done every three or so months, which is why I only go twice a year. At-home maintenance doesn’t mean using risky products, though. I still regularly use blue shampoo, even though I’m now blonde, because my brown roots are much stronger.

Since starting to color my hair, I’ve started seriously taking care of it. As soon as I notice my hair getting a little brassy, and I have the patience, I turn to my little blue bottle of joy.

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