The Best Blue Shampoos for Color Correcting Brown Hair, According to Experts 

Like purple shampoo but for brunettes. 

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Woman with brunette hair outdoors against a blue sky
Photo: Pexels/Caroline Veronez

Even if you're not a blonde, chances are you know that purple shampoo is key to neutralizing brassy tones in blonde hair. Brunette hair has a similar color-correcting counterpart that is more under-the-radar: blue shampoo.

According to celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger, the best blue shampoos will "deposit blue-toned pigment into hair strands, neutralizing unwanted brassy tones for color-treated brown hair." She explains, "It rids hair of overly warm orange tones, leaving a much cooler, rich, and vibrant hue." While blue shampoos are most commonly used and ideal for color-treated, lightened, and or highlighted brunettes, they can also be used on natural brown hair—though you should expect less dramatic results. Lastly, Hershberger tells Health, "[Blue shampoo] nourishes strands for silky smooth, manageable hair that extends the life of your brunette shade in between salon visits."

If it helps to think of your hair care routine like your skincare routine, New York City-based colorist Ariel Hauck compares it to "a toner that you're using in your shower."

How to use a blue shampoo

Hershberger recommends thinking of blue shampoo as more of a treatment than an everyday product. "It can be very drying, so I recommend using it just once a week for the desired effect. On other wash days, use a hydrating, color-safe shampoo to keep hair healthy and nourished," she says. Additionally, you should apply a color-correcting shampoo differently than traditional shampoo—instead of focusing on the scalp and roots, work a blue shampoo through your strands evenly from roots to ends.

What to look for in a blue shampoo

Hair expert Hershberger says, "When incorporating a blue shampoo into your hair routine, be sure to look for hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, avocado oil, or shea butter. While blue shampoo is great for getting rid of brassiness, it isn't the most hydrating, so it's important to look for products with that extra boost of moisture. I suggest avoiding blue shampoos that contain sulfates since they are notorious for stripping the hair, leaving strands parched, brittle and unhealthy."

Hauck advises always consulting a colorist or professional before choosing a blue shampoo. "Some blue shampoos are strong while some are weak," Hauck says. "If you pick one that is too strong, use it too long, or on hair that isn't warm enough, it could do the opposite of what you are trying to achieve."

The best blue shampoos, according to hairstylists:

Best Overall: Matrix Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo
Amazon

Matrix's blue shampoo offering is potentially the fan-favorite in the category, with over 17,000 five-star ratings on Amazon alone. A combination of neutralizing pigments and vitamin E work in tandem to nourish hair while removing any brassy tones. Use every other day or as needed to maintain your ideal hair color. And if your strands seem like they need an extra color-correcting boost, allow the shampoo to sit for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing it out. There is also a corresponding conditioner and hair mask.

Best Sustainable Choice: Eva NYC Brass to Sass Brunette Shampoo

Eva NYC Brass to Sass Brunette Shampoo
Amazon

Eva NYC has a great blue shampoo, formulated with spirulina and juniper berry, that is not only effective but sustainable. According to Harley K, colorist at Treehouse Social Club, the shampoo is "great for balancing out unwanted brassy tones" for freshly dyed hair, but it also adds luster back into natural brunette hair.

Best for Subtlety: dpHue Cool Brunette Shampoo

dpHue Cool Brunette Shampoo
Sephora

When your hair needs extra TLC, dpHue makes both a blue shampoo and conditioner. The dpHue shampoo is versatile—it can be used as any other shampoo or you can leave it in your hair for 5 minutes for an amplified effect. Juliana Ohlmeyer, New York-based colorist at Bassia Bassia, says, "Generally dpHue is great because they have a lot of solutions." The Cool Brunette range is "relatively more sheer but good for people who want to maintain a neutral but overly cool brunette," she adds.

Best for Dry Hair: Fanola No Orange Shampoo

Fanola No Orange Shampoo
Amazon

Fanola has a drugstore price, but Harley describes it as "salon quality when it comes to color-depositing shampoos." The star quality of Fanola's No Orange Shampoo is that "it has low pH levels [5–5.5] which are close to hair's natural pH [4.5–5.5]. This is helpful for clients that experience dryness because of processed hair as it ensures to keep the hair cuticle sealed." Ohlmeyer does advise using caution with these product, however, since it is relatively strong

Best Deal: Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Shampoo and Conditioner Duo Pack

Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Shampoo and Conditioner Duo Pack
Amazon

Like dpHue, Not Your Mother's also makes a blue shampoo and conditioner set, though this one is aimed specifically at curly, coarse, natural, or color-treated brunette hair. The hero ingredient is blue tansy oil, which—although known and named for its blue color—is used for other hair-health benefits, according to Ohlmeyer. "Blue tansy is able to go into the follicle of the hair to restore and strengthen strands, which is part of what makes this set so nourishing."

According to reviewers, you should stick to buying and using both the shampoo and conditioner (after rinsing out the shampoo, many experienced dry hair). Otherwise, reviewers are content with its ability to neutralize orange and brassy tones while nourishing and repairing the hair from the damage of dyeing it. The $16 price is for both the shampoo and the conditioner which works out to only $8 a bottle so this really is the best bang for your buck.

Honorable Mention: Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask

Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask
Dermstore

A treatment and not a shampoo, Christophe Robin's Variation Mask deserves an honorable mention for those seeking a vibrant, cool brunette tone. Ohlmeyer says this mask is the last word when it comes to correcting brunette hair color. "Not only is it a super moisturizing and nourishing mask, but it also keep[s] the vibrancy of the brunette—the pigment in the ash brown is really good for controlling orange tones and restoring the texture from the drying effects of hair coloring." Christophe Robin has a reputation for being one of the more expensive hair care brands, but the pocket-sized mask is a great way to experiment with the product before making the $53 investment for the full size.

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