How do you keep your blonde bright?

Spring Beauty Favorites

I’ve switched on and off between doing my own color and going to see a stylist to have it done. I have a great stylist here that I love but it’s hard to find the time to make an appointment! I fear that’s going to get more and more difficult with kids and life schedules, so I’m grateful that I manage to do it on my own!

My background is in cosmetology. I did hair for about 10 years before I closed my studio to stay home with my boys and work solely on the blog. I’m licensed (still) and will keep my license indefinitely! I can’t recommend home hair color because there is a lot of science and factors involved in coloring one’s hair that someone who is not licensed wouldn’t know. So while I do it myself, I can’t necessarily recommend it!

For a brief moment I went brunette shortly after I got married. It was a spur of the moment decision and I switched back to blonde pretty shortly thereafter. Since then, I’ve been a pretty wide range of blonde, from darker blonde with balayage to bright, heavily highlighted blonde. Most recently I’ve settled into a bright, light blonde that I’m really enjoying!

I’ve gotten a few questions about how I keep my blonde bright so I thought I’d share some tips here.

When I lighten my hair, I only use bleach but I follow it up with a gloss (also known as a toner) with violet and neutral/blue tones in it. It’s not as much as a color-depositing toner since it’s quite sheer but has the cooler/violet tones in it to counteract any brassy or warm tones.

It’s normal for hair to go through different color stages as your stylist is lightening it. The darker, richer brown you have to start with, the more color stages it will go through to get to a light, icy blonde. Conversely, if you have naturally light hair, you may find that you don’t have to deal with brassiness or warmth that other women do when their lighten their hair.

Beyond finding a stylist that knows how light to make your blonde, and what toner to use to cut through any warmth, you can also find some color depositing or correcting shampoo, conditioner or treatments to use at home to help! This is particularly helpful if you have well water since the minerals and things in well water tend to show up on blonde hair more quickly than if you use city water.

one, two, three, four, five

I typically use a toning gloss on my hair to keep it on the cooler side and cut out any brassiness, but that’s a service that is typically only performed in a salon. The good news is you can sort of do this for yourself using a purple or blue based shampoo and conditioner, or treatment mask.

I tried the Pravana The Perfect Blonde Purple Toning Masque and loved it. LOVED IT. It made a big difference in how bright and cool my blonde looked and also made my hair feel super soft and healthy. The rest of the bunch are highly rated products that you can find at Sephora or Ulta, so look into those if you need something to cut out warmth in blonde hair!


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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 05.21.18

A couple of my friends have blonde hair, and I never knew it took so much maintenance! Respect! 🙂

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Allie says · 05.21.18

First of all, thank you for queuing up so many posts for right after you had Emily. It must have been so much work and I really appreciate it! Second, thank you for the great at home tips. I used to be so disappointed when my hair didn’t look exactly like it did when I left the salon a week later, but now I’ve embraced at home maintenance and it makes such a difference! xAllie

Marianna Lucas says · 05.21.18

I have seen people try these methods, and they really work! A fun giveaway just went live on my blog for some statement jewelry pieces, y’all go check it out!

Cassie says · 05.21.18

I’m interested, could any of this apply to brunettes as well? I have naturally neutral toned brown hair that I color to cover grays. The brunette color my stylist uses seems to fade to a reddish hue over time. Would a blue toned product cut the ruddiness of the color like to does for blondes?

Lindsay says · 05.21.18

Monat has a brunette product out right now that keeps your hair from doing that

Jess C. says · 05.21.18

I started using Shimmer Lights by Clairol a week or more ago after Kate did an instastory about the purple shampoo and it has helped my brunette hair that is highlighted in a TREMENDOUS way! The highlighted sections and the sections that were glazed and not lifted all are staying cool after going ruddy and brassy a week after my hair appointment. I’m SO glad I tried it! I know it’s not on the list of products she listed, but it was only $9 at my local store and I had seen reviews online so it was a decent risk to start with.

Kristin Kneupper says · 05.21.18

YES!!! I used this one too Jess after seeing Kate’s InstaStory… but on my blonde and it worked so well!! AND for NINE bucks, yes please!!

Michelle Baker says · 05.21.18

How often do you need to use the masque and shampoo by Pravana? I lightening my brown hair with blond highlights and they start to look brassy after a couple of weeks, so I’d like this to brighten it again. Thanks for the informarion.
By the way, your precious baby Emily is beautiful. Thank you for sharing pictures and videos of your family. You are all filled with such joy! Blessings on all of you. 💕

Jess C. says · 05.21.18

I’ve been doing it every day on brunette with highlights – I am anxious to see if you get any feedback on this question because I have been wondering the same thing.

Sandie says · 05.21.18

Good tips! Have you tried the Framesi Dynamic Blonde shampoo? Its amazing and brunettes can use it to cut brassiness too.
They also make a conditioner and serum designed to mend lightened hair. Its ahmazing!

Seychelles Kuhl says · 05.21.18

Thank you for that informative stuff on brassy blond… where do you purchase this product at.

Alyssa says · 05.21.18

I was JUST thinking about this. Thank you for sharing your tips. I’m going to go pick up that Pravana mask today.

Kelly says · 05.21.18

So happy to see this post. I constantly battle gold tones! UGH! My stylist calls me blonderexic. I just love my blonde!!!!

Sam says · 05.21.18

I’m naturally a dark brunette and my stylist recommended using a purple shampoo when I got dark blonde highlights and a balayage. I used it about once a week and I loved the brightness it brought back to my hair!

Susan says · 05.21.18

I’ve been having trouble lately getting a hairstylist to make me a cool blonde. I always walk away with a golden blonde. What words do I use to help her understand what I want to achieve? I’ve used icy, platinum & cool. I am so frustrated! Is it time to find another stylist? Your hair is beautiful and wish I could find someone near me that can help me achieve that color.

Felicity says · 05.21.18

I have an appointment to put blonde back into my hair on Friday! I’ve never really had an issue with brassy colours because I go straight into using purple shampoo. However, I’ve grown up with a sister as a stylist and my dad as a barber so I’ve used Joico products for as long as I can remember. I didn’t even know they carried a purple shampoo (I usually use Clairol) so thank you for sharing it! I cannot wait to try it!

Felicity |

Liz says · 05.21.18

I love the Joico shampoo you linked to above. I’ve noticed a big difference in my highlighted brunette hair ever since my stylist recommended it. I always get compliments that day after using!

Sara Baysinger says · 05.21.18

I’ve been using that Pravana shampoo also and I love it. I’ll have to try the conditioner, I’m using the It’s a 10 five min blonde mask, and I really like that as well. I wanted to ask you if you have ever used Goldwells New Blonde toner? It’s THE best I’ve found. ( I too used to do hair and quit to stay home). Anyways, just wondering your thoughts!

Krystal says · 05.21.18

How often do you use the purple pravana shampoo? I’ve used it and it’s very strong compared to others that I’ve tried. I don’t want to overuse it but I don’t know what a good shampoo to use otherwise would be for blonde hair.

Christy says · 05.21.18

How do you determine whether to use purple shampoo, purple conditioner, or both?

Lisa says · 05.21.18

Thank you for this post can you please share the name and color of the toner you use so I can ask my stylist about it? Thank you

Jackie says · 05.21.18

Love your color! I am a hairstylist and have been looking for a new sheer toner. What toner do you use? Great summer shade!

Rae says · 05.21.18

I’m not blonde, but it made me smile to see “my boys” and think how fun it will be for you to write “my boys and girl” in future posts 🙂 Hope your enjoying your maternity leave and thanks for all the great content while you’re off!

Joanna says · 05.21.18

Thank you!! This is a constant struggle. I just bought the Joico shampoo/conditioner yesterday at Ulta and also another product called Keracolor, a coloring cleansing conditioner in Platinum that is supposed to pull out brassiness, but now I want to try this mask. Again, thank you, great info!!!!

DG says · 05.21.18

Another great choice for purple shampoos is Fanola—I have put it on dry hair and left it for 15 minutes to help tone down the brassiness.
There are a lot of videos on youtube about this product and it is not too pricey on Amazon (way cheaper than what I paid for it in a salon!!) .

Elizabeth says · 05.21.18

How often should I use the purple shampoo?

Christen says · 05.21.18

I use the Kristin Ess purple shampoo and conditioner at Target and really only do it every few weeks (if I do any more I will get white/blonde in spots!) but it adds so much dimension to my balayage!

Jnet says · 05.22.18

When I was platinum blonde, shimmer lights was THE best shampoo. I never bought the conditioner, the shampoo was enough, I only wash my hair about every 5-7 days so I used it every time I washed. And I left it on for as long as possible. Worked better than anything else I tried, even better than the fancy purple conditioner my stylist sold me (IGK instafamous).

Amanda - Life at Cloverhill says · 05.22.18

Thanks for this! I find my usual blonde highlights are getting so brassy lately. We’re on well water, but I’m also pregnant and taking iron supplements which made my hair go brassy last time too.

I have that mask and love it, but I found it’s not cutting it these days for the time between toner treatment at my hair stylists. How long do you keep it on? I usually do what the bottle says (5 minutes while I’m in the shower), but the lady at the shop said you can apply it on your hair, wrap it in a plastic bag and leave it in longer? Have you ever tried this? Thanks!

Anna says · 05.22.18

With the Pravana being a mask, do you use it in addition to the purple shampoo/conditioner? Or does it take the place of one or the other?

em says · 05.22.18

question- i’m a natural blonde, but looking to lighten my hair a bit and get rid of some brassiness. will these products work on me even though i don’t have color treated hair? or do they only interact with the coloring agents?

Jill says · 05.22.18

How often do you suggest washing with the purple shampoo? Every wash? If I get toning done at the salon, should that be enough to keep it cool until my next highlight, or is it likely both toner and purple shampoo is needed? Thanks so much!

Amy says · 05.23.18

Will this work on naturally blonde hair? My hair tends to get darker in the winter as I spend less time outside and sometimes ends up looking a little dull and brassy. Would a product like this help?

Lauren says · 05.24.18

Love your blog. You’re giving me some inspo for mine! I’m a hairdresser too, in Australia. I stock Australian brands and love the Delorenzo silver shampoo and Nak platinum blonde shampoo 🙂

Katie says · 05.26.18

Your hair colour is beautiful <3 I'm slowly transitioning to blonde at the moment, but really struggling with the brassiness! I've got hard water as well, and that apparently makes it fade faster as well? It's definitely tough to maintain!

Katie |

Meg Castleberry says · 05.28.18

I am LOVING the new Matrix Brass Off line, that shampoo is highly pigmented, but the mask is where it’s at. You can actually end up ashy if you leave it on longer than a few minutes.

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parishioner says · 05.31.18

Removing warmth from blonde hair…

Hmm. I was a strawberry blonde when I was young, and now I have golden hair which is my own. I’m half Celtic. All this talk of removing brassy tones makes me wonder when it became fashionable. Blonde hair comes in wheat/white tones, and gold/red tones. Naturally. If you don’t want “yellow” or warmth in your hair, that’s your prerogative, but some of us have it naturally, and it’s not a defect.

You look great, but so do women with gold hair…

Green hair from copper in the water, however, is NOT a great look. (Yellow + Blue = Green 🙁

May that never happen to you…

Rebecca says · 06.02.18

Did you highlight your hair during your 1st trimester with Emily? Wondering what your thoughts were about the safety of doing that during pregnancy. Currently expecting our 3rd and hoping it’s ok to get some highlights… I’m about 12 weeks along. Thanks!!

Meagan Castleberry says · 06.02.18

Hi Rebecca,

I know I’m not Kate, but I thought I’d reply. Highlights never touch your scalp or come in contact with your skin, I highlighted with my own pregnancy 17 years ago without issue. As always, talk to your doctor. 🙂

And congratulations!!!

Bailey says · 06.04.18

How often do you use the purple shampoo? I am a blonde as well and am always looking for a way to get the yellow out of my hair. Thank you!

Jill says · 06.08.18

Love this post Kate! Can I ask a couple of follow up questions? How often do you use it, do you follow up with regular shampoo (or is this all that is needed for the wash), and how much do you use and leave it in?


Kate says · 06.08.18

I used it about once a week, and with regular shampoo! And amount depends on how long or thick your hair is!

Leslie Louden says · 06.16.18

Do you use the violet shampoo and conditioner daily? I haven’t used this type of product so I’m not aware if it can be overdone. Please advise, and thank you!!

Caitlin says · 07.10.18

Would you say do the shampoo or conditioner if you were only going to do one purple product?

Laura says · 07.10.18

Hi Kate! I saw in your IG story (I think after this was posted) that you got Amika’s Bust Your Brass shampoo and conditioner. What did you think of it?

Kate says · 07.11.18

I like it! It’s not as strong of a toning as Pravana brand but it makes my hair feel really great!

elizabeth says · 07.26.18

Hi Kate! I’m a natural blonde but I feel like my hair has gotten a weird shade from swimming in the pool so much this summer. Do these purple shampoos help with this?

Stephannie Hurt says · 10.22.18

I purchased the Pravana shampoo and spray and I noticed that they have Panthenol in them both. I was always told that you shouldn’t use anything that has that as it coats the hair and can cause breakage. I have thin and very fine hair already so I need all the hair I can get. I did notice that my hair was really soft after using these products. Should I be worried about the Panthenol?

Emma Anderson says · 10.26.18

Hi Kate, I’m curious, would this have any effect on naturally blonde hair? I’ve had platinum blonde my whole life, but as I’m getting older it is slowly starting to darken. I’m not ready to commit to coloring my hair, but am curious if this would do anything for natural blondes. Thanks! – Emma

Kate says · 10.27.18

It doesn’t necessarily *lighten* the hair, it more cools it down to a more icy, platinum shade versus anything warm/golden.

Emily says · 10.29.18

I saw on Instagram that you bought the Redkin Purple Shampoo. Did you like it?? Do you use gloves when you use purple shampoo?

Morgan Gunder says · 04.02.19

Can you tell me the exact toner you use? I want to request from my stylist to get it! I love your blonde. From your current hair color or this! I have the pravana but my stylist usually takes my blonde a little too dark with the toner she has. Please and THANK YOU!

Jessica says · 04.11.19

I have been so curious, Kate! Is there such a thing as using the purple shampoos/masques too often? I LOVE the results I get from both the Amika Bust your Brass shampoo and the Pravana toning masque! Those two products have made a HUGE difference in keeping my highlights cool and bright in between coloring appointments!! 😍
Can I use them every wash? I try not to wash every day, but I need to every other! Just wondering if there are any ill effects from using the purple shampoo as often as I’d like? ❤️ Thanks for your tips on this! I have well water and have struggled with brassy hair for way too many years! These products are amazing!! 🙌🏼

Kate says · 04.11.19

I would say use them until you notice your hair having a purple hue 😉

Jessica says · 04.11.19

Awesome!!! Thanks so much, Kate! 💕

Dana says · 10.29.19

Hi Kate,
I have always had naturally blonde hair. As I’ve gotten older, my hair just looked more ash and bland. I have been highlighting my hair now for awhile and the stylist never has put a toner. Recently I went to a new salon and she put on a toner. It was too warm. I feel like now I’m in a toner nightmare. What color of toner should I use?? Is there a way to know? I don’t like the warm toner, it makes my hair look too strawberry blond and my skin look too pink! The cooler one is ok, but sometimes looks gray….Do you have advice on how to know what type of toner??

Purple Shampoo says · 02.26.20

My favorite purple shampoo has got to be Fanola No Yellow. It removes ALL brassyness and yellow tones and leaves you with a nice, bright platinum blonde. Highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet!!

Talia says · 03.10.22

Hi, is there a fragrance-free option? Thanks!