Brassy orange hair can be common in the aftermath of hair colour treatment.
There is nothing wrong with dying your hair as long as you have a proper understanding of exactly how to do it without depositing any warm tone. So, if you are planning to lighten your locks or have already bleached them, this article will teach you how to prevent it from turning brass.
Or if your hair has already turned brass, we’ll show you how to recover it from that state. Once you know what brassy hair is and why you get it, it will be much easier for you to prevent it.
The best way to neutralize your orange hair is by using toner, while you can also opt for at-home solutions. There are also a number of proven products in the market that can help you colour correct your brassy hair quite effectively.
What is Brassy Hair
Precisely, brassy is the salon term for the pesky warm tones that often show up after lightening or highlighting the naturally dark hair.
When you bleach your hair to light brown or colour it blonde or platinum, you oxidize its natural pigment in order to make room for the new ones. Doing this can lead to the over-abundance of warmth in the hair if no proper care is taken afterwards. Consequently, the ugly brassy strands become remarkably visible.
Brassiness is, indeed, the biggest enemy of any hair colour treatment. However, it is essential to differentiate this from the warm hues to colour correct your locks. Typically, the mid-section and the ends of your hair shafts get warmed up by the sunlight while the areas near the roots remain unaffected.
So, when the warmer tones are evident at the roots of the hair where cooler and lighter tones are expected, this means that it is brassy.
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Why Does Hair Turn Brassy After Dying?
Natural hair gets its colour from its underlying pigment called melanin. The level of melanin determines how hard the bleach needs to work in order to dilute it, in the process, and remove the natural warmth of the hair. The deeper the melanin, the harder it is to lighten your hair colour. So, bleach is used to take the melanin off the brown-black hair in order to lighten it.
When lightening dark hair, some colour treatments may comprise bleaching as the mandatory initial step. Usually, a mixture of ammonia and peroxide is used as a bleaching agent.
The hair is soaked and left for it to oxidize the strands, this is so that the dark colour is lifted effectively and the bleached hair gets to the right shade. It then results in a colour imbalance in the hair, as the warm undertones do not get bleached out fully and, therefore, reveal themselves sooner or later. In turn, this can cause the hair to turn brassy.
Exploring the international colour chart will help you know more about the undertones of different types of natural hair and the shades that they are likely to end up as after getting dyed.
How to Prevent Your Dyed Hair from Getting Brassy
Bleached hair tends to get brassy with time. Nevertheless, it is much easier to take preventive measures rather than scrambling to figure out how to get rid of that brass. Furthermore, there are ways to get back to the cooler tones back into your hair.
So, here is what you can do to avoid it.
Choose the Right Shade
Skip warmer shades of lighter colours and go for ones that have a perfect balance of cooler tones. Due to the presence of larger molecules of pigment, they counteract brassiness and stay in place for long.
Apply Colour Strategically
Minimise the chances of turning yourself into an orange-head by being strategic with the application technique. Choosing highlights-lowlights (individual strands) is always better than all-over colouring (single process) for this purpose.
Seal in Your Colour
As soon as you oxidise your hair to turn it lighter, apply a sheer glaze on it. This will prevent discolouration for 4-6 more weeks by locking the freshly applied colour in your locks.
Prevent Hair Damage
Follow up your hair colour treatment with a bond-protecting service for protecting your strands from the damages of bleaching.
Tip: Strong and healthy hair is always less susceptible to brassiness. So take care of your hair!
Condition It Deeply
Another great way to keep your hair healthy and preserve its colour is conditioning it deeply right after processing it. A clear and hydrating gloss will do all the trick for you.
Use a Shower Filter
Do not let hard water turn your mane dry and brassy by depositing colour-tainting minerals (iron, chlorine, etc.) onto it. Make use of a shower filter to prevent such build-ups.
Steer Clear of Sunlight
When exposed to direct sunlight and air, freshly bleached hair can get warmed and oxidized naturally, thereby revealing the undertones. Hence, resisting the urge of soaking up sun rays as much as possible!
The chlorinated water of swimming pools is extremely bad for your dyed hair as it causes dryness as well as brassiness. So, if you want your hair colour to stay put, try to stay away from swimming.
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How to Use Toner to Get the Brass Out of Your Hair
You can tone your hair right after getting it processed to keep unwanted warmth away. A toner is a demi-permanent colour-depositing product, which is used to colour correct lightened hair for achieving a personalised finish. Acting like a topcoat it creates a very light, translucent layer of dye on your mane. Whilst helping to alter its hue without commitment, fix annoying undertones, it helps to increase its shine simultaneously.
Unlike peroxide hair colours, the toner darkens hair slightly and fades in a few weeks.
Selection of a Toner
The right selection of toner is of utmost importance for making your bleached hair look brass-less and following the international colour chart will help you in it.
According to the theory of toning, only the opposite colour can tone your hair and neutralize its awful warmth.
So, you must use a purple-blue toner to offset the orange underlying pigment and get rid of the lingering brassiness.
Tip: Ensure that your hair has reached the right level of lightness (light ginger colour) so that your toner gives you the best possible outcomes in terms of fixing the orange undertone.
Application of the Toner
Once you find the right toner for your hair, mix it with a volume of 10 or 20 developers (peroxide) in a plastic bowl.
Blend well and apply the concoction to the orange patches of your hair by using an applicator brush.
Leave it for 45 minutes and then, rinse with a sulphate-free toning shampoo.
Tip: Beginners should always start with a volume 10 developer as it is less damaging to freshly coloured locks.
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How to Naturally Fix Brassy Hair At Home
Wanting to skip a salon visit after a colour treatment and fix your orange-tinted hair at home? Well, you can easily prepare DIY toning solutions at home with simple kitchen ingredients! Simply use them for even the most stubborn brassy hair.
Food Dye Rinse
Make your own chemical-free toner by combining 3-4 drops of red and 10 drops of blue food dyes with 2(1/2) cups of distilled white vinegar. After regular hair cleansing routine, apply it uniformly to your bleached hair and rinse out after 10-15 seconds to find zero traces of brass.
Homemade Natural Toner
Pour a few drops of a vegetable-based blue or purple dye into a good quality sulphate-free conditioner and your homemade natural toner is ready. Apply it to your orange bits and wait an hour to allow it to neutralize the warmth completely.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
This is one of the most popular ways to get rid of the bright underlying pigment from your coloured hair naturally.
Apply coconut oil to your hair and leave it overnight. Next morning, wash it with your go-to shampoo and conditioner.
Now you should blend 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of blue food dye with a cup of water. Rinse your hair with this mixture thoroughly.
For the optimal results, use it fortnightly.
How to Do an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse YouTube Tutorial
Apple Cider Vinegar and Hollyhocks Rinse
Prepare a thick portion by heating 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 oz. of hollyhocks in a cup of boiling water. Once this cools down, massage your hair with it and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing out. Doing this will colour correct your hair easily.
Tip: Go slow with food dyes as too much of them can actually give your hair green or blue overtones.
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The Best Products to Reverse the Brassiness from Dyed Hair
If you are neither a frequent salon visitor, then try these brass-banishing products to fight orange hair. Find below the options that you can choose from.
The effects of toning do not last more than 4-6 weeks and the hair can turn orange again. So, include it in your regular hair care routine after colour treatment.
Colour-Correcting Shampoo & Conditioner
Find a sulphate-free washing formula that is exclusively made to colour correct locks. It should contain the right pigments to neutralize the orange tone in your hair. Make sure that you apply it at least once every week.
If you have patchy orange tone throughout your hair, using a box dye might be your best option. Just pick one that is suitable for cancelling out the underlying pigment in your hair.
Section out your locks and cover them evenly with a generous amount of dye by following the directions carefully. The results will surprise you.
There you go! No more brass, only gorgeous colour.
To learn more about how to get the best hair colour, click here to read our article on ‘Colourful Hair: Everything You Need to Know Before Dying Your Hair a Bright Colour.’