How to Deal with Brassy Hair Color

If you dye your hair, particularly blonde, and you have red and golden (warm) undertones then you know that after sometime your beautiful color turns into a brass monkey. Brass is not typically a color women want, especially when they were seeking a cool and lighter color so here is your guide to brassy hair color for prevention, treatment, and understanding the basics of brassy hair colors.

What is ‘Brassy Hair’ Color?

Brassy hair is that dreaded orange and yellow tones that appear after the hair has been processed, dyed, and highlighted.


Mischa Barton’s brassy colored blonde hair.

Why Does Hair Turn Brassy?

Your hair color is made up of balanced molecules and when they are not in balance, such as when your hair dye begins to fade then the undertones of your color begin to show through and if you have warm undertones you will be left with a brassy color. The brassy color starts to happen when your color begins to fade. The reason women with darker hair tend to have more brassy color when it fades if because they generally have more warm undertones.


Hair level and hair pigment chart

Things that lift and fade color include:

  • Sulfate shampoos
  • Frequent shampooing
  • Weather conditions (sun, dry air, etc.)
  • Hair products
  • Mineral deposits (iron, copper, chlorine) from swimming pools, hot tubs, or hard water

It’s important that when you have your hair dyed, your stylist leaves the color on long enough for it to take full effect. When you are going lighter, a stylist tends to wash the dye out too soon because their timer says it’s been long enough or they fear damage,  but in order for the right tones of blonde to settle when you have warm pigments, it’s important that the hair color is left on for a longer time.

How to prevent brassy hair color

Use Purple Shampoo

If your blonde hair often looses it luster and turns brassy after a few weeks then turn to purple shampoo for help. The purple shampoo distributes purple pigment and neutralizes those brassy undertones by increasing cool undertones. This product is amazing for any blonde or women with light highlights. It will not only prevent the brassy color but also extend the life of your hair color.


Purple shampoo to prevent brassiness.

Use a Toner for Brassy Hair

Hair toner is used to cover tones in lightened hair and can last from 4-6 weeks. There are both permanent and semi-permanent toners, but if you have lightened hair and simply want to lighten and prevent brassy color then semi-permanent is recommended. You can also use an at-home brass banisher. You should use a toner that covers the underling pigments in your hair color:

  • Green toner neutralizes Red
  • Blue toner neutralizes Orange
  • Violet toner neutralizes Yellow

The before and after effect of hair toner on brown hair.

Don’t Lighten too Quickly

Another good tip is to only lighten one or two shades at a time. It can be frustrating waiting to become a blonde bombshell or get the platinum blonde highlights you desire but your hair color will look better in the longer run because when you go from dark to light quickly you are sure to have greater brassiness.


Ombre is a great way to go from brown to blonde.

Basic hair color care such as using a hair care shampoo, preventing damage from water minerals or weather conditioners, etc. will help prevent the brassiness but using these products and having a basic understanding of your hairs underlying pigments will keep you looking like a bombshell not a brassy blonde for a long time.