I've Tried So Many Purple Shampoos, but I Always Come Back to This Drugstore Staple

I've been platinum for 10 years, and this one has never done me dirty.

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Clairol Shimmer Lights Purple Shampoo
Photo: Courtesy

I've got platinum hair ownership down to a science in the form of a bell curve. As soon as you return from the salon, your head might be a bit tender, or the coloring might be a bit too extreme. Then you reach what I like to call Peak Platinum Happiness: the couple of weeks where the tone is exactly where you want it. Then there's the roller coaster ride down where you mess with purple shampoos, masks, and toners to fend off brassy and yellow colors until your next salon visit. And in my unofficial studies and tests, there's only one shampoo that's managed to extend the length of Peak Platinum Happiness.

Ten years of being platinum and much of my career writing about beauty products, I've had the pleasure of rigorously testing over 15 different purple shampoos. Yet Clairol's Shimmer Lights always seems to be waiting for me after I wrap up yet another test run.

Clairol Shimmer Lights 16 oz. Shampoo + 16 oz. Conditioner

Shop now: $22 (Originally $30), amazon.com

And as much as I adore and highly respect the recommendations from my colorists through the years, the most expensive salon brands and the most innovative formulas have never been able to compare to Clairol's Shimmer Lights shampoo. A family friend — and the first person to bleach my hair — once told me to purchase the bright violet bottle, and it's been in my shower caddy ever since.

There have been a few momentous times that the liquid purple gold saved my strands, including after a regrettable foray with an unfamiliar colorist who left me with warm, yellowy tresses (icy blondes' worst hair nightmare, really). That was almost completely fixed thanks to a few lathers with this formula.

Reviewers on Amazon have similar experiences. "I was at my wit's end — I had given up hope but Shimmer Lights is a game-changer," wrote one shopper who had also tried nearly every purple shampoo out there. "With just one use I noticed a significant difference."

It's also a trustworthy choice at the end of the bell curve when a salon visit is in order but you still want cool-toned hair up until the very end. A satisfied shopper who made a switch to platinum was recommended the shampoo after their hair started turning brassy and noted that "from the first use my color started coming back to the original color, even brighter."

The shampoo cleans well, too, and doesn't leave my hair feeling greasy. But understandably, it's not the most hydrating formula. But that's insignificant to me when it transforms my color so well — plus, that's why that's what things like Olaplex are for.

If you've set your sights on stretching out Peak Platinum Happiness, Clairol Shimmer Lights shampoo will help you. While it may be a surprising standout among more trendy and high-end options, it's a reliable standby I'll never go without.

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