Helping Cool Blondes Stand Up To Brass

Processed blondies know exactly how frustrating brass is – and we don’t mean the metal, though that’s where the reference comes from. If you regularly bleach, dye or highlight your hair a cool blonde, it seems that almost overnight the color can turn a warm, orange-y tone that is not at all what you started with. Commonly referred to as “brassy,” this is something you want to avoid though it is really hard to, particularly if you’re not taking preventative steps.

Marilyn NEVER let her blonde go brass

We were finally tired of dealing with it ourselves and decided to explore some product offerings that would truly cut down on the brass creep-in, or at least slow its speed. There are plenty of drug-store products that claim to maintain blonde tones, but since we’ve tried many of those with little luck, we targeted the more professional-grade products (as well as a few drugstore finds that the pros recommend.) What we kept hearing from professionals was to try “purple shampoo.” We gathered up as many purple products as we could and tested just what kind of effect that particular color did for blondes.

Especially now that spring is nearing (it’s a pleasant 55 degrees outside our windows today), more women are going to start peppering blonde back into their hair for summer. There’s no better time to start using purple products than right after you get your first-of-the-season blonde update. These are some of our favorites, which use the color to enhance cool tones and cut back on brass.


Although Alterna’s new Caviar line boasts itself as an “anti-aging” formulation, it has a special line for blondes that’s completely paraben-free. The Anti-Aging Caviar Blonde Shampoo, Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner provide nourishment and moisture with Seasilk™, which is a combination of marine botanicals. “Utilizing optical brighteners that bring out blonde highlights and revive shine, combined with violet tones, these products brighten, neutralize and diffuse dark, brassy hair colors which often plague blondes,” said Michael Shaun Corby, the global creative director at Alterna. The products also include the proprietary Color Hold complex which uses plant melanin to protect hair from the environment as well as Alterna’s Enzymetherapy which targets enzymes that help transform ingredients into structures that can easily be absorbed by troubled hair surfaces. The products, which we found to be effective and quite luxurious in their look and feel, can be found at Fred Segal and through the company’s website,

Goldwell products are a favorite of many stylists we know, and the company’s new ColorGlow IQ proves to be one too. Both, the Brilliant Contrast Shampoo and Bright Shine Conditioner Cool Blonde use violet tones to prevent the fading of blond. Both also use the ScanGloss System & Color Protect Comples to retain color’s vibrancy and brilliance.

Available at Amazon.

A true dose of purple product that’s somewhat surprisingly dark when you first pour it in your hand, Phyto’s newly reformulated shampoo, Phytargent is the real deal when it comes to cutting down the brass. The new formula adds three tinctorial plant extracts to enhance natural highlights. Cornflower extract softens, walnut leaf, rhatay root and broom enhance natural highlights, violet pigment neutralizes yellows and a color fixative reinforces color adhesion; all to yield a much more immediately noticeable result. Found at Amazon, Phyto is a BN favorite that’s always worth the extra dime.

Sexy Hair
A brand we aren’t too familiar with came to us with its Violet Mood Color Depositing Shampoo and Conditioner and we were happy to try it. The new products claim to revitalize blonde, grey and silver hair by gently depositing color and neutralizing oxidation to enhance color clarity. As with all of these products, we’re still testing, but so far so good. We like the packaging too – always a plus when you’re sorting through similar sorts of hair products. You can find these in 25 countries, in authorized beauty salons and at Sleekhair.

The new Colorist Collection from L’Oreal Professional is a restage of the company’s Artec, the original hair color maintenance system it launched, and includes a set of products just for cool blondes. The line of products has undergone a makeover to deliver improved formulas to counter color fading. The technology in the line combines natural botanicals, apricot kernel oil, fruit extract and keratin bonding dyes that adhere to the hair. For blondes, the collection offers a White Violet formulation which maintains the brightness of gray, white and pale blonde. Remember, like all the other products we’re talking about here, this is for those of us who do NOT want a warm blonde tone. Available at Sleekhair.


Found at Sally Beauty Supply centers everywhere, Clairol’s Shimmer Lights are a budget-friendly option for those of us whose pockets are really suffering. Despite its low price point, pros recommend this as one of the best products to cut down on brassiness as it uses a concentrated violet tonality that balances blonde tones and neutralizes brass. These products are protein-enriched and, after testing, had us agreeing with the pros that it’s a true trick of the trade.