Discover our favourite purple-tinged shampoos, conditioners and masks to keep light-coloured tresses bright

If you have blonde or grey hair, your hairdresser might have recommended you add a specialized shampoo or conditioner to your regimen. And, the first time you used it, you may have got a shock! Shades range from pale lilac to deep indigo, but they’re always distinctly purple–so much so that they can leave your bathroom (and white towels) looking like you’ve gotten into a terrible fight with Barney the dinosaur.

The reason for the distinctive colour? It’s high school art class: violet is at the opposite shade of the colour wheel from yellow, so it cancels it out. “Whether your hair is naturally grey or dyed blonde or white, the colour changes over time, from sun exposure or environmental damage,” explains Krysten Ashley, a colourist, stylist and national guest artist for Goldwell Canada. “This can expose some of the yellow tone, and the purple tones it back. There’s violet pigment in the shampoonothing that will colour the hair, but just enough to neutralise.”

Ashley says that most of these products aren’t meant for daily use. “With some, if you use them every day, your hair will be purple, though with the Goldwell ones, you won’t get that.” She suggests once a week instead, and then using a different product targeted at your main concern, whether it’s frizz or lack of volume. “Use it when your hair feels brassy, usually not more than once a week, but if you’re out in the sunshine on the beach, maybe every day for a whilestay in tune with what your hair is doing.”

If you want to go from dyed to grey hair, she cautions that it might not be quick. “You need realistic goals. The average hair growth is about six inches a year so if your hair is halfway down your back it’s going to take years to get it all to your natural shade.” That said, there are colour correcting treatments you can do along the way, lifting out dye and adding toners and semi-permanent colour. “It is still maintenance though. You need to come to the salon every six to 12 weeks.” And there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The transition plan will be affected by how much or little grey you start with, and whether you want to be fully natural or play around with colour.  Ashley says: “With colour we can do so many different things, the goal is always ‘you-but-better;’ finding a way to make you sparkle.”

1. AG Hair Sterling Silver Mask

AGAGAn intense purple colour, you’ll want to make sure this is fully rinsed away so you don’t stain your pristine white towels. It contains shea butter and Abyssinian oil to add shine and moisture so it’s excellent on curly hair. Apply once a week or as needed after shampooing in place of conditioner, and leave for up to five minutes.
Available online

2. Biolage Colorlast Purple Shampoo

BiolageBiolageThis vegan, paraben-free formulation has fig and orchid extracts and a fruity floral scent. The colour is more intense than some, so the brand suggests wearing gloves to massage it in if you find your fingernails are turning purple. 
Available online

3. Goldwell Dualsenses Silver Shampoo

GoldwellGoldwellSome shampoos aimed at grey hair can be drying, but not this one, which is a pale lilac shade. Light but moisturizing, it is aimed at hair that’s white, grey or cool blonde.
Available online

4. Kerastase Cicaplasme Hair Serum

KerastaseKerastaseEven styling products can now include colour-correcting pigments. This heat-protective serum can be used on wet hair before blow-drying, or you can also use it on dry locks to tame frizz. There’s a third application method too: It serves as an overnight treatment that is meant to help repair damage. Ingredients include hyaluronic acid, plus the brand’s Cicaplasme, which is said to help repair split ends.
Available online

5. Kevin Murphy Cool Angel Shine Treatment

Kevin MurphyKevin MurphyYou get a gentle toning effect with this treatment from the Aussie “skin care for hair” brand. There’s no colour build-up, so you can use it daily if you want, and it’s suitable for brunettes who feel their hair has taken on an orange-y tone.
Available online 

6. Oribe-1 Silverati Conditioner

OribeOribeThis is meant to treat both yellowness and signs of hair aging like dryness, brittleness and dullness, thanks to a combination of blue and silver pigments, antioxidants, conditioning ingredients and plant protein to strengthen hair.
Available online 

7. Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Shampoo

PureologyPureologyThis contains astaxanthin, an extremely potent antioxidant, plus purple orchid pigments to tone down the brassiness, and keravis, a protein complex that’s supposed to reduce hair breakage. The gorgeous scent showcases a blend of pear, rose and sandalwood.
Available online