5 blue shampoos that keep my lightened brown hair from looking brassy

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Matrix InstagramTo all the blue shampoos I've loved before, the Fanola No Orange Shampoo ($13.75 on Amazon) is one of my favorites.

  • Blue shampoos can help keep brassy tones out of dark hair that's been lightened to various shades of brown. It acts as a toner to cool down the warm hues that pop up naturally after lightening your hair.
  • I've dyed my hair several shades of brown (and blonde!), and have found that Fanola No Orange Shampoo has one of the strongest formulas, banishing brassiness on the spot and keeping my brunette hair looking cool both literally and figuratively.
  • Here's why I love it, along with some others I've used and would still recommend.

Blondes have been swearing up and down about the miracle of purple shampoo to keep brassiness at bay. Now, brunettes finally have a miracle product to call their own - blue shampoo.

First, the basics - what is blue shampoo? "Blue shampoo contains blue-violet pigments that are deposited into the hair when you shampoo," explains Jamielynn De Leon, owner of Rogue House Salon in the East Village. "It neutralizes the brassy tones that occur when lightened hair oxidizes." In layman's terms, it keeps your lightened brown hair from turning that pesky orange-red hue.

While blue shampoo is recommended for color-treated brown hair, natural brunettes can also benefit from its unique formula. "A natural brunette can use a blue shampoo even if their hair isn't [dyed]," says De Leon. "If their hair picks up natural pigment from the [sun's rays], it can turn their hair brassy as well. It's a good idea to balance everything out with a blue shampoo."

As someone who's dyed her hair brown (and blonde) multiple times, I've tried my fair share of blue shampoos to find the one that suits my needs, hair type, and budget. Here are five that I've tried and would recommend.

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Fanola No Orange Shampoo

Fanola No Orange Shampoo
Fanola No Orange Shampoo, $13.75, available at Amazon

Honestly, this is my favorite pick of the bunch because the formula helps lock in the cooler hues of my dye job longer than any other shampoo I've tried.

Fanola is especially effective when maintaining on all-over dye jobs, like mine. Just make sure that you blend it through every inch of your hair, or you may end up with uneven toning — yeah, it's that strong.

My biggest piece of advice though is to wear gloves. Fanola's formula is not for the faint of heart — or bare hands. I made this rookie mistake when I was in a bit of a rush one day and forgot my plastic gloves. Your hands will not only be left with an alien-esque purple-blue tint, but the color will also linger around your nail beds and cuticles.

Everything will wash off after some time, but save yourself from my mistake and just remember to wear plastic gloves before using.

dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo

dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo
dpHUE Cool Brunette Shampoo, $26, available at Sephora

The deep-blue pigments in dpHUE's formula work to neutralize unwanted red, orange tones in my wavy, dyed hair while silk proteins soften and prevent breakage. Best of all, it's a use-as-needed shampoo, so I can still use my favorite everyday shampoo and switch to dpHUE when I start noticing a few brassy strands pop up.

The biggest con is that at $26 for an 8.5-ounce bottle, this kind of result doesn't come cheap. I will say this though — while my wallet doesn't not appreciate the hefty price, my hair loves the results whenever I use it.



Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo
Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo, $16.99, available at Ulta

With more than 340 5-star reviews on Amazon, it's hard to ignore this shampoo from Joico. The fan favorite contains tone-correcting pigments that latch onto hair fibers and stays attached even through multiple washes.

I had zero qualms about Joico's shampoo when I had highlighted brown hair. However, when I took the plunge to all-over lightened hair, I didn't see the same results.

Brassy sections kept popping up a few areas, which was something I never saw when I had highlighted hair. In my experience, this shampoo is great for partially dyed or highlighted hair, but doesn't deliver the same results for all-over dyed hair. If your dye job falls in the latter, I'd recommend any of the stronger, more potent formulas like the Fanola No Orange Shampoo.

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo

Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo
Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo, $48, available at Nordstrom

After being a dedicated Aveda user for many years, I was super stoked to discover that there was a shampoo for my newly-lightened hair.

With its plant-based ingredients, this shampoo has a gentler approach to removing brassiness; it uses ylang ylang, lemon, eucalyptus, and other pure botanical essences in its formula.

However, I found this soothing blend a little too gentle when it came to taming brassy tones. Sure, it smelled heavenly and left my hair playfully soft, but warm caramel and yellow strands were still popping up despite my daily use of this shampoo.

You might have a different experience with it depending on how light your hair is and your natural texture, but for me, I realized I needed to sacrifice to a few natural ingredients in order to find one that really delivered the results I was looking for.

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo
Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo, $26, available at Ulta

This professional salon shampoo utilizes balancing blue-violet pigments to neutralize brassy tones while adding in cooler tones. I was pretty excited to try this shampoo because I had heard many great things about Matrix. The brand is constantly associated with salons and pro results, so at $14 a bottle, it really is a bargain for such a specialty shampoo.

The downside to this shampoo, however, is that it left my scalp a little dry and my hair lost quite a bit of its softness. Of course, this is from personal experience and everyone's hair reacts differently to certain products, but given my extensive dyeing history and testing of blue shampoos, I wouldn't be surprised if my hair just decided to rebel on this shampoo.

I ended up doubling down on my deep conditioner, which eventually fixed the dryness problem. Color-wise, this shampoo did manage to keep the brassiness away from my hair, so it's kind of a double-edged sword.

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