What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Purple Shampoo?

If you have naturally blonde or dyed blonde hair, chances are purple shampoo is a must-have product in your bathroom.

However, there are occasions when you cannot buy ready-made purple shampoo and have to resort to a purple shampoo substitute.

So, “What can I use if I don’t have purple shampoo?” you might ask. Easy enough, let’s have a look at the article below!

What Is Purple Shampoo and How Does It Work?

What is purple shampoo

Purple shampoo is a must-have for blonde hair
Purple shampoo is a must-have for blonde hair

Purple shampoo is used to remove the brassy undertones in your hair, which can be caused by several reasons including UV, heat, medications, salt, chlorine, environmental pollutants, and product buildup. 

It is specificially designed to neutralize the yellow-ish, brash strands that ruin the overall look of your head. For people with blonde or bright-colored hair, purple shampoo is simply life-saving.

Why is it that purple shampoo can do such a feat? A quick look at the color wheel will reveal how purple and yellow are the opposite of one another. When blended together, they will cancel each other out, getting rid of any garish pigments. 

What is the active ingredient in purple shampoo?

While several manufacturers manage to include botanical and veggie extracts that contain the color purple, most people will go for Acid Violet 43, an anthraquinone color or D&C Violet 2, a synthetic colorant. 

These two ingredients are powerful in treating hair brassiness, as a mere concentration of no more than 0.5% is enough to be put in purple shampoo. 

However, they still need to be handled with care and caution, since both of these additives are derived from petroleum jelly and can expose your skin to irritation if used incorrectly. That being said, when the concentration is at 0.3%, such ingredients do not cause much harm to the users. 

But this does not contradict the fact that purple shampoos can be harmful for your hair. Not only do they contain harsh chemicals that dry up the hair due to the discrepancy in pH levels, but they also strip the hair of its natural oil.

Hence, overusing purple shampoo can be the primary cause for dry and brittle hair, which explains the need to find alternatives.

If you are looking for what to use instead of purple shampoo to avoid these potentially dangerous ingredients, you can always count on safer substances such as henna and indigo, grape skin, gentian leaves, and even food colorants. 

When mixed with regular shampoo, such a combination will have the same effect on your hair.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Purple Shampoo

Manufactured purple shampoo is definitely the best when it comes to brassiness treatment. However, in case you do have access to these products, below are a few suggestions on how to tone hair without purple shampoo.

Using gentian violet dye

Gentian violet dye is an excellent ingredient for creating purple shampoo alternatives
Gentian violet dye is an excellent ingredient for creating purple shampoo alternatives

Gentian violet dye is extracted from gentian leaves, a herb mostly utilized in medicine. Thanks to its purple pigment, these botanical extracts can work wonders for your blonde hair.


  • A bottle of white regular shampoo. 
  • Gentian violet dye.

How to prepare

  • Step 1: Put 3-4 drops of gentian violet dye directly inside the bottle of shampoo.
  • Step 2: Stir the mixture gently until it reaches a shade of purple.
  • Step 3: Adjust the ratio if the mixture fails to become purple.

How to use it 

  • Step 1: Wash your hair thoroughly so it becomes wet and more absorbent towards the purple pigments.
  • Step 2: Put on a pair of gloves to avoid staining your hands. Apply the shampoo to your hair, especially in strands that you find particularly yellow-ish. Massage the hair and scalp gently for full absorption.
  • Step 3: Let the shampoo sit for around 3-5 minutes. Rinse your hair and make sure all the shampoo is washed away.

Using lemon

Lemon is filled with acid citric, which acts as a deterrent liquid that lightens the hair and illuminates your hair under direct sunlight. This chemical substance is more than ideal for getting rid of darker, warmer tones in your hair.


  • Fresh lemon juice.
  • A bottle of water.
  • A bottle of honey.

How to prepare

  • Step 1: Mix the lemon with water for a ratio of 1:3.  
  • Step 2: Stir the mixture for a few seconds before adding 2-3 drops of honey. This is because the enzyme in honey is capable of lightening your hair.
  • Step 3: Shake the liquid to make sure all ingredients are properly fused. 

How to use it 

  • Step 1: Make sure your hair is clean for easier absorption of color molecules from the purple toner. Wet it with warm water so that the cuticles are opened. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and spray it all over your head, especially on your roots and midshafts. If you feel like the toner does not spread evenly, you might use a comb to make sure the entire hair is soaked with the liquid.
  • Step 2: Let it sit for at least 2 hours. If possible, expose your hair to the sun for roughly 30 minutes. The UV rays can heighten the potency of lemon and honey, giving your hair a more natural look. 
  • Step 3: Wash your hair after the soaking time is over. Use a hair mask or color-correcting conditioner for moisturizing. Finish the procedure by washing your hair with cold water, which helps to close off the cuticles and let the hair keep its color for the longest time possible. 
Spraying your hair using purple toner is highly recommended to keep the color under control
Spraying your hair using purple toner is highly recommended to keep the color under control

Note: You can replace lemon with orange, grapefruit, limes, or any other type of citrus fruit. However, lemon is still the most effective. Also, lemon can suck out moisture from your hair, which causes hair breakage and brittleness. If you stick to this recipe, make sure to use it once a week only.

Using baking soda

The bleaching ability of baking soda means it can neutralize your hair color and lighten where the strands are darker than the rest. Purple food coloring increases the effectiveness of baking soda and helps you maintain your dyed hair.


  • A bottle of white regular shampoo. 
  • Baking soda.
  • Purple food coloring.
  • A glass of water. 

How to prepare

  • Step 1: Add 2-3 drops of purple food coloring, a glass of water, and a teaspoon of baking soda into your bottle of shampoo. 
  • Step 2: Adjust the dose and stir it until the texture turns purple. 

How to use it 

  • Step 1: Wet your hair with warm water. Apply the shampoo to your hair and rub it gently. 
  • Step 2: Let the shampoo sit for around 4-5 minutes before rinsing it with cool water. 
  • Step 3: Conditioning your hair using moisturizing products.

Note: Baking soda can suck up moisture from your hair, so try not to abuse this substance and keep your hair deeply conditioned. 

Using hollyhock

The final color of the fibers in hollyhock tends to be blue and lavender. The concentration of such dark colored pigments provides an excellent option to remove brassy hair strands.


  • Hollyhock extractions.
  • A cup of water.
  • A few spoons of cider vinegar.

How to prepare

  • Step 1: Combine all the ingredients altogether. Boil the mixture and stir it until everything becomes a thick, dense paste.
  • Step 2: Wait until the mixture cools down. 

How to use it 

  • Step 1: Wet your clean hair with warm water so that the cuticles are opened for full absorption. Gently massage the paste into your hair strands and scalp, then leave it on for roughly 10 minutes.
  • Step 2: Wash the hair carefully with cool water. Repeat the process once a week if you want to retain hair color without compromising the moisture in your hair.

Using cider vinegar

SImilar to lemon, cider vinegar is full of acid citric – a deterrent liquid that helps to remove yellow-ish undertones on your hair. 


  • Cider vinegar. 
  • Water.

How to prepare

  • Step 1: Combine cider vinegar and water with a ratio of 2:1. Stir the liquid carefully to make sure both of these substances are properly mixed.

How to use it 

  • Step 1: Wet your clean hair with warm water so that the cuticles are opened for full absorption. Spray the liquid to your hair strands, especially where the warm undertones prove to be more visible. Do not forget to massage the shafts and scalp.
  • Step 2: Leave it on for roughly 15 minutes. Then proceed to wash your hair with cool water. Make sure the liquid is removed from your head completely.

Note: If overused, this recipe can lead to hair dryness and hair loss. Thus, you should not exceed the recommended frequency, which is twice a week. For precautions, always apply conditioner to your hair for more moisture.

Using food coloring

Food coloring contains artificial pigments, which can infiltrate the hair shafts and get rid of warmer undertones.


  • Blue or purple food coloring.
  • A bottle of white shampoo without sulfate. 

How to prepare

  • Step 1: Drop a few drops of food coloring into the bottle of shampoo.
  • Step 2: Stir the mixture until the shampoo turns blue-ish. 

How to use it 

  • Step 1: Use the purple shampoo made from food coloring exactly the same as you use manufactured purple shampoo. Wash your hair with warm water and wait for the pigments to work their way through the shaft for 5-15 minutes depending on your hair types.
  • Step 2: Wash off the residue using cool water for better color retainment. 

Pros and Cons of Using DIY Purple Shampoo Compared to Purple Shampoo

DIY purple shampoo has its own pros and cons
DIY purple shampoo has its own pros and cons

The most obvious advantages of this DIY purple shampoo are its low cost and green ingredients. If you cannot afford expensive purple shampoo or develop a bad reaction to its chemical substances, these mixtures definitely work for you. 

Another benefit is that you can freely adjust the formula to fit your needs. For example, if you want to moisturize the hair, combining a moisturizing shampoo with purple dye will suffice.

On the other hand, DIY purple shampoo is not as potent as manufactured ones. For the brassy undertones to disappear completely, you are likely to increase the soaking time and washing frequency. 

That is not to mention how the result varies from one person to another. Since there is no clear instruction, you will have to experiment vigorously until you find out how much natural purple dye is needed, how often you have to tone your hair, etc. 

Needless to say, it can be time-consuming and confusing for a lot of people. 

How To Prevent Brassy Hair?

Taking care of your dyed hair and protecting it against getting brassy is no easy task. However, if you follow these instructions, chances are you will be able to have flawless-looking, soft, and smooth hair. 

  • Shield your hair from UV rays: Direct exposure to the sun can bring out the warmer tones of your hair and make it dry up. If you have to go out, use a UV-protectant spray or wear a hat to minimize the impact. 
  • Find the right purple shampoo and conditioners: Using color-correcting products keeps your hair in its optimal condition and cancels any brassy undertones from the start. Avoid products that have derivatives of ammonia and bleaching agents so as not to cause unwanted warm tones. 
  • Keep the washing frequency to a minimum: Washing your hair too often leads to color fading, revealing yellow-ish tones underneath. If you want your hair to stay bright and shiny, try not to wash it more than twice a week.
  • Avoid heat styling: Exposure to high temperatures leads to damaged and brittle hair. If you absolutely have to heat style, use a heat protection spray beforehand. 
  • Use cool water when washing your hair: Cool water helps to close off the hair cuticles, preventing the pigments from getting out. It also keeps your hair and scalp hydrated, thus minimizing the chances of dehyration.
  • Opt for vegetable-based food: Having lots of nuts, fruits and greens enables you to nourish your hair by giving them the much-needed minerals. 
  • Avoid chlorine: Chlorine can dehydrate your hair, making it more susceptible to dryness and hair loss. If you are a frequent pool swimmer, do not forget to bring along a swimming cap and apply hair conditioner to your hair before joining the pool.
Chlorinated pools can worsen your hair’s conditions
Chlorinated pools can worsen your hair’s conditions


What can I use if I don’t have purple shampoo? Well, you have the answers now!

With the help of some botanical or even cooking ingredients, creating DIY purple shampoo has never been easier. Should you find these tips and tricks helpful, do not hesitate to share them with others! 


I am Jessica Coles, a hairstyling and trends expert who also holds a master's degree in cosmetology. I am one of the leading hair care experts who has been offering support round the clock.

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