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Why should blondes have all the fun? In this case, we’re talking color-preserving shampoos. Purple shampoo has long been hailed as a miracle product for blondes, keeping their hue looking fresh and vibrant while preventing brassiness. Well, it turns out that brunettes have their own counterpart: blue shampoo. And the best blue shampoos for brunettes have similar perks. Read on for all the details.

How does blue shampoo work?

“When brunette hair is bleached or lifted, it’s primarily the darker pigments that are removed while the lighter/warmer pigments mostly remain — aka the yellow/orange/red tones,” explains Amy Davis, Scientist, Research & Development at John Frieda Hair Care. “When stylists highlight or lighten hair, they typically use a product that also contains toning pigments to counteract brassiness, making hair look fresh and bright.”

However, Davis explains that over time and with continued washing, these cooler toning pigments wash out of the hair, leaving it looking brassy. The best blue shampoos will deposit cool tones back in the hair, counteracting the unwanted warm brassy tones. That’s because blue is the opposite of orange on the color wheel, so they essentially cancel each other out.

“For brunettes who are looking for more neutral, cooler, or ashier tones, blue shampoos can help offset the warmer tones that appear in brunette hair as it fades,” Davis says.

What is the best way to apply blue shampoo? 

Each formula is a little different, so be sure to always read the instructions first. Davis suggests starting by squeezing out any excess water from the hair before applying the blue shampoo. Then, gently massage the blue shampoo into your wet hair. Lather and rinse well. If you want more intense results, and to better fight brassiness in dark brown hair, leave the shampoo on your hair for two to three minutes.

Also, be warned: “Blue dyes are notorious for staining skin,” Davis says. “So, it is always important to clean up hands with soap and water immediately after applying blue shampoo. If you see any on bathroom surfaces, wipe those away before they dry.” 

The best blue shampoos

Now that you know the ins and outs of them, these are the best blue shampoos to try:

best blue shampoo john frieda

John Frieda Blue Crush Blue Shampoo ($12; ulta.com)

“Our blue shampoo utilizes a patent-pending color penetration technology and a unique blend of dyes to deliver cool, ashy tones to the hair, for all over, even color-deposition and toning with staying power,” Davis says. “It can combat even the most stubborn warm, orange tones in your hair, keeping your hair color looking vibrant and fresh—like you just left the salon!”

matrix best blue shampoo

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Blue Shampoo for Brunettes ($20; ulta.com)

Designed for brunettes who lighten their hair, this color depositing blue shampoo neutralizes brassy tones with blue-violet pigments. It leaves cool tones behind and can be left on for two to three minutes for extra toning.

dp hue blue shampoo

dpHue Cool Brunette Shampoo ($26; sephora.com)

In addition to blue pigments that neutralize unwanted orange, red and brassy tones, the formula is also spiked with silk proteins to deliver softness and help prevent breakage.

best blue shampoo not your mothers

Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Shampoo ($9; ulta.com)

As one of the best blue shampoos for orange hair, it will knock those unwanted tones right out, whether you color your locks or they’re au naturel. Formulated with blue tansy oil, it fights brass while gently cleansing.

aveda best blue shampoo

Aveda Blue Malva Color Shampoo ($53; amazon.com)

As usual, Aveda taps the power of plants—specifically ylang ylang, lemon, and eucalyptus—to neutralize brassy tones in all hair colors, even gray hair. Whose locks couldn’t use a little more silvery brightness?

eva best blue shampoo

Eva NYC Brass to Sass Brunette Shampoo ($13; target.com)

It only takes one wash for this bright blue toning shampoo to neutralize red and orange tones, courtesy of blue tansy. There’s also spirulina to provide essential fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamin A for healthier hair.

devacurl blue shampoo

DevaCurl No-Poo Blue Anti-Brass Zero Lather Curl Cleanser ($28; ulta.com)

As the best blue shampoo for curly hair, the non-lathering wash does it all: Cuts brass, fights frizz, defines curls and delivers hydration.

joico best blue shampoo

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo ($39; ulta.com)

The ingredient list reads like a dream team to restore hair in all the right ways. There are blue pigments that neutralize brassiness and orange tones, green tea extract and UV absorbers to prevent fade and color change, and the brand’s Smartrelease Technology that continuously releases arginine, keratin, and rosehip oil to strengthen and repair hair.

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