Whether you’ve fully embraced your gray hair, are in the middle of growing it out or are still coloring your locks and worry that if you go gray, your hair will look blah, we found the solution to maintaining a gorgeous mane: Blue shampoo. It’s easy to use, just one lather and rinse can change the tone of your hair and best of all, it’s an inexpensive fix that will save you a trip to the salon when your color has lost its vibrance. Here, blue shampoo before and after photos along with hair pro explanations as to how it can help your hair shine.

What is blue shampoo?

woman hand holding up blue shampoo
FotoDuets/ Getty Images

Even if you’re new to the world of blue shampoo, you’ve probably heard of purple shampoo, its older, trendier cousin. The popularity of silver hair in recent years among both older women embracing their natural color and younger women choosing a platinum silver look has made purple shampoo a staple product among beauty bloggers and influencers online. So what’s the difference between the two? How do you know which one is right for you? 

According to Minneapolis hairstylist Nell Knutson, the answer lies not in what color you want your hair to be, but in what tone you’re hoping to eliminate from it. By washing your hair in rich purple or blue pigment, it neutralizes unwanted warm tones that lie on the opposite side of the color wheel. Purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel, while blue is opposite orange. So the best way to determine which type of shampoo is right for you is by taking a close look at your strands and identifying which tone is coming through that you want to get rid of.

For example, if your blonde highlights are starting to look more yellow than you’d like, purple shampoo is going to be your new best friend. On the other hand, where blue shampoo really shines? If you’re trying to ease your naturally warm-toned brunette locks into a cooler salt-and-pepper look, if you have silver strands or salt and pepper hair, the blue can cancel out brassy looking grays to help your overall color look clean, bright and shiny.

How to use blue shampoo

One thing to note, blue shampoo isn’t meant to be used daily. Lake Orion, Michigan-based colorist Grace Rogers, recommends using it once a week or as needed. “Start off with one wash, and leave it on for about three minutes,” Rogers explains. “See where that gets you, and from there you can leave it on for up to five minutes to get more cancellation of unwanted tones.” 

And the first time you try out a new blue shampoo, you should consider diluting it with your regular shampoo to minimize any adverse reactions and get a good idea of how it will look on your hair before fully committing. Be sure to follow up your blue shampoo treatment with a high-quality hydrating conditioner to thoroughly moisturize your strands and your scalp.

One we like: Not Your Mother’s Triple Threat Brunette Blue Treatment Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $16.94)

Blue shampoo before and after photos

Luckily for you, if you’ve never used blue shampoo or are curious how it works, silver-hair hued influencers have taken to social media to showcase their results:

1. It sharpens up salt and pepper hair

Here, X user @gigistylist demonstrates a blue shampoo before and after and how the blue tones not only erased any brassiness but also helps whites look sharp!

Twitter user @gigistylist demonstrates blue shampoo on her silver mane

2. It helps gray hair shine

TikTok user @elisaberrinigomez posted photos blue shampoo before and after photos of her salt and pepper hair.

Before, her hair was a bit faded and lackluster with some brassy strands mixed in with the white strands. She simply applied the blue shampoo and left in on for 30 minutes before rinsing,

After, you can see that the brassy tones have been eliminated and her overall look is more elevated and cohesive.

TikTok user @elisaberrinigomez
TikTok user @elisaberrinigomez shows hair after using blue shampoo.

3. It polishes silvers

Blue shampoo is particularly great for removing orange tones from darker hair, as demonstrated by TikTok user @leonacarlosbermud:

Her before and after photos clearly show how using blue shampoo removed the dulling orange tones from her locks and gave her an icier blonde. We recommend evaluating your skin tone and natural coloring to determine whether you look better in warm or cool tones. (Click through to learn how to find your skin undertone.)

4. It helps blend grays with other colors

TikTok user @Patty_Goes_Gray has accumulated 24.8k followers by documenting her journey embracing her gray hair. In this particular video, she demonstrates how she uses blue shampoo to eliminate the orange tones in her hair and keep her gray-to-brunette ombre bob chic and cool-toned.

We particularly love Patty’s approach because she isn’t dying her hair at all anymore — the top half is gray, while the bottom half is natural brunette — and she’s simply letting the gray come in naturally as she ages. Plus, she’s saving a lot of money with this approach — blue shampoo is a lot less expensive than regular trips to the salon. (Click through for more on going gray gracefully.)

TikTok user @Patty_Goes_Gray demonstrates how she uses blue shampoo to eliminate the orange tones in her hair and keep her gray-to-brunette ombre bob chic and cool-toned.
TikTok user @Patty_Goes_Gray demonstrates how she uses blue shampoo to eliminate the orange tones in her hair and keep her gray-to-brunette ombre bob chic and cool-toned.

5. It gives growing-in-grays some edge

In this video from TikTok user @rhondaprince, you can see how after using blue shampoo, her hair has an ashier look to it, and the warmer orange tones in her brown strands have been dramatically toned down.

You can also see that the blue shampoo has left a bluish pearlescent tint on her hair.

Final thoughts on blue shampoo

Whether you’re taking your first steps to embrace your gray strands or just want a way to maintain your platinum locks in between touch-up appointments, blue shampoo will get the job done. It’s cost-effective and only takes 3-7 minutes once or twice a month — if only all beauty hacks could be this easy!

For more ways to look gorgeous with grays, click through these stories:

The Easy Steps To Going Gray Gracefully: Celebrity Stylists & Real Women Weigh In

11 Grey-Haired Actresses Who Prove Grey Can Be Absolutely Gorgeous!

Pro Secrets to Brighten Gray Hair At Home — How to Make It Soft and Shiny Fast