The life of a bottle blonde is not an easy one. Between the brassiness, brittle ends, and seemingly Sisyphean task of root touch-ups, maintaining your ideal shade is no mean feat. As Elle Woods once cautioned, not everyone can handle it.
The best shampoo for your blonde hair will ultimately depend on what your primary concerns are. Bleach and its ilk can be harsh on the hair, as most lighteners on the market have to open the outer cuticle of the hair in order to lift it. This opening of the cuticle, especially when done repeatedly, allows moisture to escape from the hair, making it fragile and more prone to breakage. Product buildup, sun exposure and hard water can all cause your colour to become dull or yellow in tone, and heat styling can further exacerbate this damage.
So whether you’re hoping to shift brassiness or to care for your (bleached) natural curls, we asked five experts for their recommendations for the best shampoo for blonde hair.
Best overall blonde shampoo
If you’re looking for an all-rounder that can help improve manageability whilst also shielding your colour, Olaplex Shampoo is your best bet, according to FOUR colour director Maleeka Robb. The USP with Olaplex is their patented “bond repair” technology: When you colour your hair, you break down the disulfide bonds, which leads to brittleness, split ends, and dull colour. Olaplex were the first to create a formula that could actively repair these bonds, thus improving the health of the hair. “It gives you such wonderful, healthy hair without feeling tacky or coated,” said Robb. “It actually helps repair the hair where it’s been bleached or heat-styled, and it also has a nice amount of lather so your hair feels wonderfully clean,” she explained, adding that she’d seen it work wonders on some clients in the salon who’d had at-home bleaching disasters. The Olaplex No.3 Hair Mask is also a firm favourite with a number of stylists, like the Bird House’s Ash Fritzler and David Mallet’s Dhiran Mistry. Fritzler said, “It’s so versatile, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who feels like their hair is compromised in any way.” It’s also suitable for all hair types, from Caucasian to Afro.
Best blonde shampoo for curly hair
Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Shampoo is the pick of Vogue features assistant (and newly minted blonde) Amel Mukhtar. “When you have Afro hair, which is fine and delicate, you have to be very careful with what you use in your hair. When you’ve bleached it, you have to be that careful times ten,” explained Mukhtar. “I was actually recommended this shampoo by Charlotte herself, as she was the only person I trusted to safely highlight my hair. She used it on me in the salon, and it felt so creamy and my hair still felt so soft afterwards that I’ve been using it ever since.” Manketti oil is a highly emollient nut oil that helps condition and protect delicate, curly hair. “It’s incredibly hydrating which is exactly what I need and always find lacking in shampoos – I went no-poo for years for that reason,” explained Mukhtar. “Plus, it smells so bomb!”
Best vegan shampoo for blonde hair
This pH-balanced, sulfate-free shampoo also has the benefit of being totally vegan and cruelty-free. It’s the top choice of (occasionally bleach-blonde) perfumer Maya Njie, who said, “My favourite shampoo is Dizziak Hydration Wash. I love it because it leaves my hair feeling really moisturised and soft. My daughter also uses it when her hair is tricky to untangle and it makes it much easier. We have two different hair types and it gives great results on both of us. And it smells divine!” As well as hydrating the hair, Dizziak Hydration Wash also offers a thorough cleanse that’s perfect for anyone who also uses a lot of styling products or is more of an infrequent hair washer. It has quinoa protein to add shine and elasticity to the hair, while aloe vera extract is soothing and can help lift away buildup on the scalp.
Best shampoo for platinum blondes
Platinum and very light ashy blondes are the tones most prone to discolouration, as any slight brassiness or tinge of yellow looks much more obvious on the almost white canvas of these shades. April Pattara, master colourist at Salon 64, suggested Fanola No Yellow: “It does have a slightly alarming purple colour when you pump it out, but it’s brilliant at cleaning up very light blondes and making them brighter, fresher and more platinum in tone,” she said, noting that it might make your hands slightly purple in the shower, but that it will rinse off with water. “Lots of shade-caring or brightening shampoos can really dry out the hair, but this is a brilliant toning shampoo that’s still really conditioning.”
Best shampoo for balayaged blondes
If you have scattered lighter sections throughout your hair, you’ll need a shampoo that can care for each and every tone you have. Jasmin Allen, senior colour master at Errol Douglas, suggested Kerastase Reflection Bain Chromatique. “This is a true radiance shampoo, and helps to add shine and dimension to the hair. Lighter hair doesn’t usually reflect light very well, but this shampoo has rice bran oil to add a lovely luminous shine,” she explained. Greater luminosity will help to really pick out those babylights or balayage throughout the hair, while the sulfate-free formula and UV filters help stop colour fade. “It maintains the colour brilliantly while also leaving the hair feeling very nourished and supple,” added Allen, who also suggested a cold rinse (if you can bear it) to maximise shine.
Best blonde shampoo for brassiness
Usually a result of hard water, UV damage, and product buildup, it used to be that only in-salon toning treatments could solve brassiness, but as Allen explained, a good purple shampoo can do the trick brilliantly. “Moroccanoil Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo has a very deep violet pigment to counteract yellow and orange tones, and even though it’s a professional-strength formula, it’s totally safe to use at home,” she confirmed, adding that you can always mix it with a little water and then apply it if you’re nervous. “My top tip is to work it from the roots to the ends, but do your hairline last as that’s the most porous area. You can leave it on for up to five minutes if you want more of an intense result. It’s not drying at all, and has argan oil to help condition the hair from the inside out.”
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