Jessica Cormier
Updated on February 03, 2022

When you color your hair brown or blonde, you might not like the warmth that comes through your hair color. Going for a cool-toned look, it’s important to have an at-home care routine that will help you neutralize brassy tones and keep your color free of unwanted orange shades.

If this sounds like something you struggle with, find out more about what a blue shampoo is and how to use it properly to avoid having a green hair mishap.

What Does Blue Shampoo Do?

Blue shampoo is a toning shampoo that contains blue pigments. The latter deposit onto the hair with each wash, neutralizing any warm underlying pigments. If you have red or orange tones in your hair, blue toner will not give you a blue tint: because blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel, blue pigments will do corrective coloring, neutralizing orange and keeping your hair color cool.

Blue Shampoo Results for Highlighted Hair

Instagram /

Who Should Use Blue Shampoo?

Blue shampoo should be used on lightened and highlighted brown hair and is ideal for anyone trying to maintain a perfect caramel, dirty blonde, and ash brown color. It can also be used on natural brunettes but the effect might not be as drastic.

Cool Ash Brown Hairstyle on Asian Girl

Instagram / @hairby_gloria

Here is a color science behind it. Each hair color has a variety of underlying warm pigments that always come through when the hair is being lightened to a new hair level. Medium to light shades of brown hair naturally contain warm undertones such as red and orange, and they almost always come through when going through a color process. In this case, you will most likely benefit from a blue shampoo that will help you reach or maintain the desired brunette hair color.

Dimensional Brown Hair Color

Instagram / @esbeautyco

For highlighted and blonde hair, the results of using a blue pigment may be different and, potentially, less appealing. It is not recommended for golden or yellow-based blondes because blue shampoo can add a green tint to the hair. Remember, when yellow and blue mix, it creates a green color – a hair color mistake that is very difficult to correct. Thus, when your hair is highlighted to yellow, you should be very careful with blue toners and blue shampoos.

If your hair is highlighted to a pale yellow or almost white blonde, a blue shampoo can give it a slight blue tint. Thus, when you seek an icy blonde color, it is key to use a silver blue toner instead of a blue one. It will neutralize the underlying red and orange pigments in your hair and enhance the icy tones.

Blue Shampoo vs Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo and blue shampoo work in a similar way, canceling brassy tones in your hair color. Because purple and yellow are opposites on the color wheel, violet pigments cancel out brassy yellow tones, which makes it great for making blonde hair more neutral. However, the purple shampoo will not work as well for caramel highlights or ash brown hair, as brassy orange is best neutralized by blue pigments.

Caramel Balayage on Brown Hair

Instagram / @hairbyamybee

5 Best Blue Shampoos to Choose

If blue shampoo sounds like something you would benefit from using, look into purchasing one of our favorite ones:

  1. Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo protects the vibrancy of brunette hair, gently color-correcting the unwanted brassy orange hues.
  2. Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo

    Instagram / @joico.mysg

  3. Matrix Brass Off deposits blue-violet pigments ensuring flawless results for lightened and highlighted brunettes.
  4. Matrix Brass Off Blue Shampoo

    Instagram / @matrix

  5. DevaCurl No-Poo Blue Anti-Brass Zero Lather Curl Cleanser is a conditioning color-deposing cleanser designed to neutralize brassy tones in lightened and highlighted curly hair.
  6. Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Shampoo is a popular sulfate-free shampoo for maintaining cool brunette color, which is also great for brunettes covering their grays.
  7. Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Shampoo and Conditioner is a blue treatment shampoo and conditioner based on blue tansy oil that tones down all brunette undertones while soothing and strengthening the color-treated strands.
  8. Not Your Mother's Triple Threat Treatment for Brunettes

    Instagram / @notyourmothers

How to Use a Blue Shampoo?

Whatever your desired look is, most toners are demi-permanent colors. Thus, a color stays looking its freshest for up to 3 weeks, and you can expect to see warm tones coming back through towards this time. Of course, that depends on how often you shampoo your hair, how much you are exposed to the sun, and the quality of your water. If you want to avoid the warm tones, invest in a blue shampoo to use in between hair appointments at home.

You likely won’t need to start using a blue shampoo until week 3; however, feel free to add it to your hair care routine whenever you notice a lot of unwanted brassy tones coming through your strands. Once you feel it is time to start incorporating it into your hair care routine on a regular basis, use it up to two times a week, which is generally enough to see the tonal change in your hair.

It is important to keep in mind that blue shampoos are technically considered a temporary hair color. They are more drying than regular shampoos and should be used with caution. Using blue shampoo as a primary cleanser is only recommended for extremely cool desired tones and should only be used in combination with a good-quality moisturizing conditioner.

For best results, make sure to saturate your strands with blue shampoo and allow it to fully soak into the hair for at least five minutes. Then rinse and repeat the process once again. Shampooing twice will allow your hair to feel cleaner: the first shampoo strips away just the top layer of oil and debris, while that second shampoo gets all the excess oil and products.

Brassy color can be a challenge to combat, but it doesn’t have to be. Add a toning shampoo to your hair care routine and watch your hair color pop with a new intensity!

Blue Shampoo Results for Highlighted HairCool Ash Brown Hairstyle on Asian GirlDimensional Brown Hair ColorCaramel Balayage on Brown HairJoico Color Balance Blue ShampooMatrix Brass Off Blue ShampooBlue Shampoo for Color Treated or Highlighted Curly HairRedken Toning Shampoo for Brown HairNot Your Mother's Triple Threat Treatment for BrunettesHighlighted Brown Hair Before and After Using a Blue Toner