Close up of a dollop of purple shampoo.

What is Purple Shampoo?

Purple shampoo is a tinted shampoo specifically produced for people with blonde to white or gray hair for toning or covering yellowing hair that can be caused by heat damage, mineral buildup, sun damage, chlorine damage and other environmental toxins, chemicals, and pollutants. It is available in almost any store, salon, or beauty supply.

What is Blue Shampoo?

Blue shampoo is a tinted shampoo specifically produced for people with darker colors of hair like medium blonde to dark brown that have a brassy hue to their locks. It is available in most beauty supply and some salons depending on what salon brands they carry.

(By the way, you can get tinted conditioners as well so I will say shampoo but the ingredient for the dye is the same in the conditioner.)


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Color wheel to demonstrate the opposite colors to yellow (purple), orange (blue), and green (red).Why Purple or Blue?

First, a basic grasp of the color wheel is helpful. A color wheel is an artist tool to help us with blending hues and understanding what is complimentary, clashing, or blending. A basic color wheel is first made up of primary colors red, blue, yellow, and then secondary colors, which are the mixes of the color beside it, orange, purple, green. Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are considered complimentary to each other.

Purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel, so it helps cover or conceal yellow tones. Blue is opposite orange on the color wheel so it helps cover or conceal oranges. You mix orange and blue and you get brown. You may have heard your hair stylist use the term ash, which is the green that cancels out red tones in your hair, because green is opposite red.



Where did putting purple, violet or blue on your hair come from?

Back in the day, older women were dubbed “blue haired” because they would go to the salon and have a tint put on their hair called bluing. Eventually these tints were anything from pink (think pink ladies) to dark violet giving that intense purplish hue to their silver hair.

There even used to be a blue tint you could put in your washing machine, to tint your white clothes blue so they appeared a whiter white; also called ‘bluing.’

Juicy Couture ad image of five women with pastel suits on each with different tints of hair from brown to yellow, pink, green and blue.

Juicy Couture Ad 2006


What is in purple shampoo?

It actually contains a dye. Known mainly as Ext. D&C Violet 2, the ‘ext.’ means external use only and ‘d&c’ means safe for drugs and cosmetics. It is generally considered safe as most dyes are concerned, but it cannot get into any mucous membrane, so it cannot be used for lipstick or eye makeup. In addition, it is ranked as a moderate skin irritant. It is made from petroleum and the coal tar industry. That all said because it takes a tiny drop to tint an entire bottle of product, this may cause negligible issue for most.

What is in blue shampoo?

Also a dye, it is made with FD&C Blue No. 1, in this case ‘f’ is for food and ‘d&c’ are drugs and cosmetics. Aside from color, the primary difference here is Blue dye is ingestible. It is still made from petroleum just as Violet 2 is, but Blue 1 is considered by the FDA to be safe for mucous membranes and can be used for eye makeup, lipstick, and food and medicine coloring. There is an interesting study that now proves that maybe FD&C Blue No. 1 may not be as safe as once thought; even on the skin, it was found to absorb through damaged skin or mucous membranes. Why does this matter? The dye was found to inhibit cell respiration, and that creates a cell malfunction. Blue dyes have been linked to allergies, asthma, and even ADHD. This is not to scare you, because they make up a very tiny percentage of toning shampoo, but it is worthy of note.

Close up of a dollop of purple shampoo.Should you use purple shampoo?

It depends on several things, for general discoloration caused by buildup you do not NEED purple shampoo. You can remove it with QuickSilverHair Clay and regular clarification. If you have a full head of silver hair, or blonde hair that is yellowing you can try purple shampoo to help with combating the problem temporarily. If you have skin allergies, buyer beware, it has a moderate potential to cause skin irritation and reactions. For me, most of them make me itch, and others find them to be drying for the hair and scalp. If you have more permanent causes of yellowing, you may still need purple shampoo, until the discolored hair is eventually trimmed off.


Which leads to the next question:

Are there any natural purple shampoos?

Yes. Blue Malva is nature’s blue/violet dye. Blue Malva is a flower in the Malvaceae or Mallow family. Used as an herbal remedy it is usually used for digestive issues because it coats and soothes the stomach and digestive system, it is an anti-inflammatory, and also an expectorant so it naturally soothes the throat and relieves coughing.

How did mallows find their way into hair products, exactly?

Because mallows are a mild astringent, with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties it can be used as a remedy for conditions ranging from boils, wounds, rashes, eczema, bites to acne, and the purple mallows make a beautiful natural non-toxic dye.

There are a couple of products made with Blue Malva:

Shikai Color Reflect Platinum Shampoo

Aveda’s Blue Malva Color Shampoo (available in Aveda Salon’s).

The downside to the Shikai is it is very drying.  Aveda still has violet dye in it; because blue malva is a botanical and doesn’t have any holding power on its own.


What I found: Loma Beauty Violet Shampoo & Conditioner

Loma Beauty is a line of Organic Based Hair Care…and I am in LOVE!!! For a multitude of reasons.

These are the first violet shampoo and conditioner I have tried on my fine, low porosity, and dye resistant hair in six years that actually made a toning difference I could see, and I didn’t have a reaction of some kind to them.

No itchy or irritated scalp.

No synthetic fragrance, it is scented with natural essential oil blends which doesn’t bother me in the least.

They both contain a shampoo soluble silicone, and I have seen no issues, thus far, so I am not worried. The shampoo is sulfate-free but contains a chelating ingredient, which makes me think it might be helping remove mineral buildup as well as toning. The conditioner had me “ooing and awing” at the slip and softness of my hair.

Majorly impressed. And, as you can see in my after photo, the curls are sooooooo happy!!! Bonus points!!!

I love these products so much, I became a brand ambassador (affiliate) for Loma Beauty. A full post of my favorite products will be coming up soon. Sign up for my emails to get the notification.

> Loma Violet Shampoo

> Loma Violet Conditioner

Get 20% off with Coupon Code QSH20 (on Loma’s website only)


Loma Purple Shampoo and Conditioner
Joli after Loma Violet Shampoo and Conditioner

Homemade Purple Shampoo: Adventures in My Garden Making Natural Purple Tint

This summer I had my first crop of hollyhocks. As a child, we had them growing wild around our home. Each year my dad and I would take tape measures and Dark red hollyhockssee how tall they would get. I noticed a couple of years ago that a neighbor down the road had them in their garden; so I gave it a shot to see if I could get them to grow.

Growing hollyhocks is not difficult but it does take patience, they take two years from seed to flower. I planted several seeds in my raised bed on the south side of my yard last year. I ended up having these fantastic double blossom hollyhocks this year. Part of growing them is plucking off the dried bit of flower after it is done showing. Then the next blossoms have room to bloom above the finished blooms.

You may be wondering why I am telling you all this, but this spring I was asked by a silver sister if I had any plans on adding a purple shampoo to my QuickSilverHair line. I actually have put a lot of thought into this, even while I was developing the clay mix. While the QuickSilverHair Clay works to remove build up and some minerals that cause yellowing on our lovely silver hair, it doesn’t work for sun damage, heat damage and other more permanent yellowing problems.

Anyway, while I was in the researching phase of what was used in natural purple shampoos or other possible herbal rinses that could be made. I had made an elderberry tea that had me scared my hair would end up pink…so that was out. I looked at the ingredients of Shikai Color Reflect Platinum Shampoo at the grocery store one day and realized it was Blue Malva that was being used. I started hunting for blue malva dried flowers at my distributors, and for some strange reason everyone was out of stock or it had been discontinued. What’s a hair magician to do?

Anyway, back to the hollyhock blossoms, I was just starting to pull the spent blooms off the hollyhocks when one afternoon we got a nice drenching rainstorm. I noticed there were many spent blossoms and started pulling them off, this was the first time I had done this while they were wet. As my hand filled up, I noticed my skin was turning purple… I continued collecting them and grabbed a white t-shirt to see if I could create a floral dyed shirt.  I was inspired by this beautiful artist, Cara Marie, to try my own version.

As it turns out, it did dye the fabric, but mostly rinsed out in the first wash, except the purple flowers  had dyed the garment blue. When I pulled the t-shirt from the dryer, I was onto something. This led me to collect all the spent blossoms and dry them…fancy right…in a wine box even.

Wine Box of Hollyhocks drying


They do tend to get lots of tiny critters so I left the box outside so the critters would take a hike. Once my hollyhocks stopped showing for the year, I let the remainder of blossoms completely dry out.

Then I did a little herbal research on hollyhocks as herbal remedies: did they have any healing properties and could they be used safely on the skin? As luck would have it, hollyhocks are of the mallow family, which is the same family of flowers the blue malva …and here we come full circle. I started digging deeper and hollyhocks can be used the same way for teas and skin tonics as blue malva flowers. You may remember from earlier in this post that mallows are a mild astringent, with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties they can be used as a remedy for conditions ranging from boils, wounds, rashes, eczema, bites to acne. Marshmallow root, is derived from the root of mallows and is widely used in the curly girl community for what we call ‘slip’, meaning it helps with detangling and curl control. The flower also has been used for centuries for detangling and conditioning hair, in addition to being used as a fabric and hair dye.

Collage of making Purple Hollyhock Tinture

Purple Hollyhock Tinture

First, I collected a small jar full of dried flowers and packed them in pretty tight. I filled the jar with cold filtered alkalized water, I put the lid on the jar, and let the cold tea brew for 24 hours. The next day I strained out the flowers with a bit of cheesecloth and collected the tea. I boiled the tea for ten minutes to kill off any mold or bacteria so I could keep the tea for a few days of experimenting.

Next, I made a tinted conditioner. I used this for conditioning that day rather than my normal conditioner. However, upon rinsing the conditioner out, I also rinsed out the tint. Really, no noticeable difference in my hair color, except it was very soft and detangled.

On the next wash, I took a hair applicator bottle and filled it with the remainder of my hollyhock tea. After I had washed, conditioned, and rinsed, I poured the tea directly on my hair, rinsed my skin, and put my leave-in in.

This worked quite well. I had a noticeable darkening of my white hair, and my silver hair looked shiny and silvery. It did wash out on the next wash but this would be a perfect leave-in rinse for any special occasion where you might be photographed. I would definitely recommend this tea for anyone on the more silver and salt and pepper side of the gray hair color range.

Before & After Purple Hollyhock Tinture






Photo of Joli Campbell


I hope you found this post educational and helpful.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.

As always it is about so much more than the hair.








P.S. If you liked this post you may want to read more on Why Grey Hair Turns Yellow.

Why Does Grey Hair Turn Yellow? Featured image

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