How to Get Rid of Brassy Hair
If you have dyed blonde hair, you know that it doesn't remain that beautiful natural color after you leave the salon. From the very first time you shampoo your new color, it's already starting to fade and your hair is beginning to change color. It only takes a few washes before your hair loses its salon look and you're left with brassy hair.
Luckily, getting rid of brassy hair is a process that is quick, simple, and can be accomplished at home without any major hair coloring skill. With a little knowledge, brassy hair can be a thing of the past and your blonde hair will look great every single day.
What causes brassy blonde hair?
Hair is more than one color, even though it may look like it's only the one shade. Hidden beneath the color you see in the mirror, there are a variety of warm tones contributing to the appearance of your hair, giving it depth and the darkness it needs to look the way it looks.
The cool tones that also contribute to the shade are the reason why your hair looks like a balanced natural shade. These tones balance out the warmth to form the color you actually see when you look in the mirror.
If you're not a natural blonde and have to bleach your hair to become blonde, you're susceptible to brassy hair because of the way your hair is lightened and toned. Dark hair that is lightened with bleach is progressively lightened, revealing warm tones ranging from deep red all the way down to a pale banana yellow. Once it reaches a yellow color, it can be toned blonde with a dye to balance out that yellow base tone and form a natural blonde color.
As with all hair dyes, blonde shades can and do fade. The main difference here however is that instead of seeing your color get lighter as it would if you dyed it with a darker dye, brassy hair occurs. As your blonde dye fades, the cool tones wash out of your hair, causing more yellow, gold, and copper tones to become visible in your color once this balance is thrown off. Fixing brassy hair requires you to add these cool tones back in.
How to tone brassy hair
When you tone brassy hair, what you're really doing is adding more cool tone to your hair. This balances out the color by neutralizing yellow and copper tones that cause brassy hair. In order to do this, you need to use a colored preparation like a hair dye or temporary rinse. Your options include:
- Permanent blonde hair dye
- Semi-permanent mousse
- Temporary rinses
- Color refresher shampoo
As you will have worked out by now, permanent hair dyes aren't really permanent to the full extent of the word. Whilst the majority of the dye remains in the hair over the long term, the fading that occurs can leave your blonde hair looking unnatural.
You can use another permanent dye to get rid of brassy hair, with the caveat that this should only be done every 6 weeks or so. Hair dye is damaging, and permanent dyes should only be used to tone brassy hair when your color has significantly faded over time.
A good time to use a permanent dye is right after you bleach and tone your regrowth, which you would regularly do every 6 - 8 weeks or so depending on how fast your hair grows. When you apply the color to your bleached roots to tone them, mix up more of the shade and apply it to your mid-lengths and ends for the last 10 minutes of development time.
This allows your brassy hair to be toned, whilst giving you the convenience of applying the dye when you perform your regrowth application. Using the dye on your lengths for the last 10 minutes of development cuts down on damage to keep your hair healthier and shinier over time without compromising on the color.
Semi-permanent mousse is one of the single best ways to tone brassy hair as it doesn't damage the hair like permanent dyes, and can be used in the shower after you shampoo your hair. The entire application can take around 5 minutes depending on which product you use, and your brassy hair is taken back to the color it was dyed in the salon.
One of the best color mousses for blonde hair is Schwarzkopf Igora's Expert Mousse. For light blonde hair when you're trying to maintain a platinum or silver shade, use their 9-5.1 mousse for 5 minutes after you shampoo your hair. If your hair is darker and needs a stronger tone, as is the case with medium blondes and darker, you can use their 8.1 mousse to get rid of brassy hair.
These mousses can be used as often as necessary and they smell great and condition your hair as they work. You may find you only need to use them once a week or even less, or you may use them after every shampoo if you want to maintain an ash or silver tone. The best part though, is that they won't damage your hair and you don't need to devote lots of time to mixing up and applying a dye. For 5 minutes longer in the shower, you can get rid of brassy hair and step out with salon blonde hair again.
Temporary rinses are another product that can be used in the shower after shampooing your hair. One such rinse that many people are familiar with is Roux's Fanci-Full rinses. These products have been used for years to temporarily change the color of hair.
To use a temporary rinse, squirt the product over your hair, concentrating on areas of really brassy hair and massage it in thoroughly. You can rinse it out after a few minutes or leave it for longer if you want more toning to occur.
The benefit of these products is that you can use them in the shower rather than take time out of your schedule to apply a dye and wait for it to develop, but semi-permanent mousses are superior. A semi-permanent mousse lasts longer and is an easier consistency to apply evenly, whereas a temporary rinse vanishes after you shampoo your hair again.
Neutralizing brassy hair
Color refresher shampoo
Color refresher shampoo is your absolute best friend if you have brassy hair. These shampoos contain color pigment that can tone your hair and eliminate brassy tones. The best part is, you just use the shampoo in place of your regular shampoo and they take no extra effort to use.
Before you choose a color refresher shampoo, have a look at your brassy hair and try to visualize the tones that are contributing to it. Some people will notice they have mostly yellow tones, whereas other people notice more copper in their color. A quick rule of thumb is that darker blondes tend to have more copper tones when they turn brassy, and lighter blondes reveal more yellow.
Once you have determined whether it is primarily yellow, copper, or a combination of both tones contributing to your brassy hair, you can choose a color refresher shampoo to tone your hair. Violet tones neutralize yellow, and blue tones neutralize copper. Whether you choose a violet shampoo or silver shampoo (blue), depends on what tones you need to neutralize. If in doubt, use a color refresher shampoo that contains both violet and blue tones.
- Choosing a blonde shampoo
If you need help to choose the right shampoo for your brassy hair, this is an outline of some of the absolute best shampoos, how to use them, and what tones are present in their formula.
When your blonde hair starts to look brassy, it can be disheartening. Brassy hair can look downright horrible on you if you have a cool skin tone or pale complexion. Luckily fixing brassy hair is as easy as replacing your shampoo with a color refresher or adding a colored mousse to your shower routine. Getting rid of brassy hair is easy and your hair will look like you've just stepped out of the salon.
Do you need more assistance to get rid of brassy hair and keep your blonde hair toned? Leave a comment for tailored advice and share your insight with other readers.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.