This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.
So you decided to go platinum blonde on a whim and poured bleach and boxed dye all over your hair. You rinsed all the products out, all the while thinking of a great caption for your new profile picture with your new ’do.
But instead of getting sun-bleached locks like all those photos from Instagram and Pinterest, you wound up with Oompa-Loompa orange, blindingly brassy hair.
Don’t panic. We’ve all been there!
The great news is you don’t have to find a new colorist to fix a botched dye job; you can reach for a lightening shampoo instead!
This product can give your hair color a much-needed lift and allow you to achieve your desired shade with a few uses.
To help you choose the right shampoo for your needs, we’ve gone ahead and selected 9 of the best shampoos to lighten hair.
Read on as we discuss each product in detail and give you tips on how to use them to get the radiantly beautiful tresses you deserve!
Table of Contents
Why Use Hair Lightening Shampoos?
As the name suggests, a lightening shampoo lifts or lightens the color of your hair gradually. Let’s take a look at its most common uses.
Fixes bad dye jobs
Most lightening shampoos are typically used as a safer and less drastic fix for dye job disasters, helping brighten brassy, yellowish tones from dyed hair.
So before hitting the salon to fix undesirable results and risking dry, damaged hair from harsh bleaching products, you can use a shampoo of this kind instead.
By neutralizing unsightly tones and bringing out cooler shades in the overall color, it can help make your hair appear lighter and more natural-looking.
Refreshes faded hair color
Many bleach-blonde babes also use lightening shampoos to maintain the vibrance of their dyed blonde hues, highlights, or bleached locks.
Think of these products as color boosters! They help extend the time between salon appointments by refreshing faded color, which can result from exposure to environmental factors (think heat, water, and UV rays).
Brightens dull hair
Of course, the most common use of this product is a no-brainer. Natural blondes, brunette beauties, gray gals, and rainbow-haired folks can all use lightening shampoos to give their existing color/s a subtle lift and shine.
How to Choose a Shampoo for Lightening Hair
Not sure how to choose the right shampoos to lighten hair? We’ve got you covered!
Below is a quick guide to the features every high-quality lightening hair shampoo should possess.
Strong lightening power
It goes without saying that your choice of product should have a powerful brightening formula. That said, it’s crucial to steer clear of shampoos with hair lighteners that can dry out your strands and lead to damage.
Healthier yet equally potent natural lightening agents include honey, chamomile, and citrus extracts. All these ingredients offer color-lifting benefits and enhance hair health to boot.
Nourishing and moisturizing ingredients
Natural moisturizers like aloe vera and natural oils, such as avocado, argan, coconut, and jojoba, can counteract the lighteners’ (ideally minimal) drying effects on the hair.
Additionally, they pump your hair full of moisture and nutrients to help your strands hold onto pigments better, ensuring longer-lasting color.
Free of ammonia and peroxide
Stylists advise against getting lightening shampoos with ammonia and peroxide.
Both of these chemical compounds raise hair cuticles to let the lighteners penetrate the cortex of the hair shaft, resulting in dryness and damage.
Since dye already wreaks havoc on your hair, it’s best to choose color maintenance products — such as your lightening shampoo — with less harmful formulas.
Suited to your hair color
Most lightening shampoos are formulated for those with lighter hair colors, whether dyed or natural.
So if you’re looking to lift light brown shades, you’ll have to look for products specifically labeled as suitable for brown hair.
Keep in mind as well that there is currently no shampoo that bleaches hair. So even the most powerful lightening shampoos can’t transform brunettes into blondes. All they can do is lift your existing hair color a level or two lighter at most.
Unfortunately, lightening shampoos often have little to no effect on dark brown or black hair.
Also, take note that these shampoos work best on virgin or unprocessed hair simply because they have fewer products and pigments to go through.
But if you have dyed or processed hair, don’t worry. The best shampoos to lighten hair should be powerful enough to work on and make noticeable changes to your hair color, though the intensity of the results may vary.
Is Toning Shampoo a Hair Lightening Shampoo?
Toning shampoo or purple shampoo isn’t a lightener per se, but rather a toner or color corrector.
But because it offsets overly warm, brassy tones and turns yellow undertones into gray or platinum, it gives blonde hair the illusion of a lighter appearance.
However, it can’t do the same for darker locks. It can eliminate excess brassiness in lighter shades of brown, but it won’t lift the color.
9 Must-Try Shampoos to Lighten Hair
Ready to get lighter, more vibrant hair? Check out our rundown of the best hair lightening shampoos on the market below!
Take note that this list features both lightening and toning shampoos.
Called the holy grail of lightening products by an army of happy reviewers and expert colorists, this crowd favorite has undoubtedly earned the coveted title of the best lightening shampoo for blondes.
Key benefits: Gradually lightens blonde shades; lends shine to dull hair; safe on highlights
- Crafted with BlondeMend technology for stronger, brighter hair
- Contains chamomile and citrus extracts
- Free of ammonia and peroxide
For a sun-kissed, fresh-off-the-beach glow all year round, you can’t go wrong with this shampoo!
It’s all in the name. The John Frieda Go Blonder is the best shampoo to make your hair blonder, brighter, bolder!
Chamomile and lemon peel extracts are the main players in its carefully crafted formula, harnessing their combined powers to achieve maximum brightening.
The brand’s signature BlondeMend technology also moisturizes and strengthens hair with powerhouse ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin, castor oil, and grape and sunflower seed extracts.
Loyal users — including a few brunettes! — claim that regular use makes a noticeable difference in the vibrance of their hair.
Why go for harsh, expensive bleaching treatments when you can get this extra-lightening, ultra-nourishing shampoo?
Key benefits: Makes hair lighter and shinier; softens dry strands; improves scalp health
- Brightening and strengthening formula that works on blonde and brunette hair
- Provides protection against damage
- Free of ammonia and peroxide
Looking for a shampoo to lighten brunette hair? Your search ends here!
Blondes need not have all the fun. With the Manzanilla Grisi Gold Extra Lightening Shampoo, you can get a shampoo that lightens brown hair and keeps it healthy at the same time!
The secret to its potency? A high concentration of chamomile extract.
As the second most abundant ingredient in this shampoo’s nutrient-packed recipe, chamomile works to brighten, soften, and revitalize dull, brittle strands.
It also repairs damage and protects against breakage caused by frequent coloring sessions.
What’s more, this shampoo cleanses and nourishes the scalp to give you gorgeously radiant hair from root to tip!
A standout in the hair-lightening game, this shampoo increases the brightness of blonde, gray, and silver hues by up to 80%.
Key benefits: Lightens hair; gets rid of brassy tones; fights excess oil
- Acts as a toning and brightening shampoo
- Designed for color protection
- Free of ammonia, peroxide, and parabens
The best lightening shampoo for dyed hair!
Specially formulated for optimal color maintenance, Kenra Brightening Shampoo helps extend the life span of your dye job to keep it looking fresh longer!
Among its many benefits include its advanced brightening technology and superior toning abilities, which remove all traces of unwanted warmth from your color-treated hair and give it a nice, natural-looking lift.
As a bonus, this toning shampoo also controls oil and grease buildup to let you go longer between washes and prevent quicker fading.
Works best on color-treated blonde, gray, and silver hair.
Bid adieu to dull tresses and say hello to a radiant, voluminous mane!
Key benefits: Brightens and moisturizes hair; delivers powerful cleansing; prevents hair fall and breakage
- Packed with natural brightening ingredients
- Cleansing, moisturizing, and nourishing formula
- Free of ammonia and peroxide
Satisfied users say it’s the best shampoo to lighten blonde hair in darker shades.
Not a single ingredient in the Tio Nacho Natural Lightening and Volumizing Shampoo goes to waste.
Chamomile is used for its unparalleled brightening properties, while royal jelly and botanical extracts like aloe and jojoba deliver superior moisturization.
Because frequent dyeing and bleaching can lead to thin, brittle hair, it also wields the strengthening and growth-boosting capabilities of rosemary, peppermint, ginseng, and wheat for stronger, healthier tresses.
Can’t get those pesky yellowish tones to stop peeking out of your otherwise flawless strands? Get the Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo, one of the best lightening shampoos for blonde hair, to bring the sparkle back to your dyed locks!
Key benefits: Neutralizes orange and yellow tones to lighten hair; moisturizes hair; refreshes color
- Toning, brightening, and moisturizing properties
- Contains UV filters to protect against fading
- Vegan, paraben-, and SLS sulfate-free
Every bleached blonde’s best-kept secret!
From being out in the sun to showering with hard water, the list of reasons why unsightly tones pop up on light hair seems endless. Luckily, there’s the Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo to keep brassiness at bay!
Using violet pigments, it neutralizes warm tones and enhances cooler tones like ash and silver to restore your desired shade and lightness. Plenty of users say they saw visible results with just one wash!
Works best on color-treated blonde, gray, and silver hair.
In lieu of harsh chemicals, this brightening shampoo opts for gentle natural ingredients to brighten and bring out the best in blonde hues.
Key benefits: Intensifies blonde shades; delivers deep cleansing; hydrates hair
- Exceptional brightening and color-enhancing effect
- Works on natural, dyed, and highlighted hair
- Free of peroxide, ammonia, parabens, and artificial dyes
An excellent shampoo for lightening hair that won’t harm your delicate strands? Yes, please!
Want to save up on another expensive touch-up at the salon? Searching for healthier ways to give your naturally blonde hair a little shine boost? Either way, reach for the Intea Chamomile Brightening Shampoo!
Infused with a rich chamomile extract, this product brings out the blondest of blondes in your hair, giving it a light, sunlit look. It refreshes highlights and all-over coloring without the use of harmful ingredients.
Best of all, it cleanses your scalp and hydrates hair like your trusty ol’ shampoo!
Bring your dream shade to life without the hassle or expense. Use this shampoo and experience visibly brighter, more beautiful hair.
Key benefits: Eliminates overly warm tones; lightens blonde, silver, and gray hair colors; prevents dullness
- Ultimate solution for brassy colors
- Revives color and restores vibrance in just a few washes
- Free of ammonia and peroxide
Salon-level brightening results with at-home hair care!
PRO:VOKE Touch of Silver ranks highly among the best blonde hair lightening shampoos, and for good reason.
Designed to remove brassy tones from light hair, it brightens your hair color and gives your tresses a luminous glow that lasts.
Whether it’s to keep your platinum blonde icy cool or balance out a too-bright strawberry blonde, this toning shampoo can help you achieve your ideal shade in as little as two to three washes.
Even better, it also revitalizes white, silver, and gray hair!
Works best on color-treated blonde, silver, and gray hair.
Discover the brilliance of strong, healthy, moisturized blonde hair with this product.
Key benefits: Makes lightened hair stronger and brighter; fights brittleness; gets rid of dirt and oil
- Combination of natural ingredients for ultimate cleansing and lightening
- Improves hydration and strength
- Free of ammonia, peroxide, and SLS sulfates
Another heavy hitter in the hair lightening shampoo for blondes category!
Life as a blonde truly is better with the Joico Blonde Life Brightening Shampoo! Everything you need for lighter, healthier hair is here.
This shampoo is formulated with brass neutralizers that banish yellow or orange tones, keeping your blonde hues bright and fresh for up to eight weeks.
A unique blend of arginine, monoi oil, and tamanu oil also work together to hydrate each strand, combat frizz, and increase strength.
Plus, this shampoo also contains gentle cleansers that bust excess oil and produce a luscious lather for an altogether satisfying experience!
A go-to product for busy blondes, this dry shampoo helps revive your hair color between washes and leaves your tresses clean and fragrant.
Key benefits: Prevents fading and dullness; counteracts brassy tones; protects dyed hair against UV damage
- Formulated to bring out and emphasize light tones
- Fights oil and odor
- Free of ammonia, peroxide, and irritants
Refresh your color on the go!
With the subtle lightening effects of the Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Light Tones, you can give your blonde locks a quick touch-up — even when you’re too busy for a shower!
This toning spray contains violet undertones that diminish brassiness and refresh color, giving new life to lackluster strands.
Its formula is also infused with argan oil to shield your hair against quick color fading from UV exposure.
The best part? This shampoo absorbs grease and odor, so your hair looks and feels fresh all day long!
Works best on color-treated blonde hair.
How to Use a Lightening Shampoo
Lather, rinse, repeat — you can use lightening shampoo the way you would your regular shampoo!
But to make the most out of each use and prevent damage to your hair, keep the following tips in mind.
- Massage the product gently into wet strands to avoid excess friction and rinse it out with cold water.
- Follow it up with a conditioner to moisturize your hair.
- Avoid letting the product sit on your hair for longer than necessary.
- Use your lightening shampoo only once or twice a week.
More FAQs About Lightening Hair
How can I lighten my hair without bleach?
Aside from using certain shampoos to lighten your hair color, here are a few other bleach-free brightening and color-stripping methods:
- Add lemon juice to your conditioner.
- Soak your strands in freshly brewed chamomile tea for 15 minutes.
- Combine four parts honey with one part water and leave the mixture on your hair for 45 minutes before rinsing.
- Mix apple cider vinegar with water with a 1:1 ratio and spray the mixture onto your hair.
- Create a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to your hair. For more visible results, use hydrogen peroxide instead of water.
Take note that many of these ingredients can be drying, so proceed with caution.
How do I lighten my black hair?
Because lightening shampoos and toning shampoos may not work effectively on naturally black hair, dyed black hair, and dark brown hair, you may need to get two to four rounds of bleaching to lift your hair color successfully.
You can also opt for a bleach bath if you really prefer to lighten hair with shampoo.
To avoid damaging your strands, it’s best to get your hair bleached and dyed by a professional.
Achieve Your Dream Color With the Best Shampoos to Lighten Hair
Whether from a catastrophic DIY coloring session or a disappointing salon appointment, we’ve all experienced major letdowns from a not-as-advertised, less-than-picture-perfect color.
Luckily, you don’t have to tough it out and avoid all human contact until you can get to a new salon. You can lift your color and achieve a more natural look with a shampoo that lightens hair!
Feel free to choose one from our list above to get started. Now you can shampoo your way to brighter tresses!