What causes brassiness in hair?
Brassiness in hair is caused by a buildup of red and gold undertones. This can happen for a few different reasons:
- Using hair dye without proper toning
- Over-bleaching or lightening hair
- Sun exposure fading hair color
- Hard water minerals depositing metals in hair
- Product buildup on color-treated hair
When the outer hair cuticle layers are damaged or stripped away through chemical processing, sun exposure, or even just the normal wear and tear of daily life, it reveals the warm pigments under the natural hair color. This is what causes the unwanted brassy, orange, or red tones.
What are the best ways to fix brassiness fast?
Here are some of the fastest options for removing brassiness from hair:
Use an anti-brass shampoo and conditioner
Anti-brass hair products are formulated to neutralize reddish and orange tones. They contain blue and violet pigments to cancel out the brassiness and restore a cool, ashy color.
Some popular options:
– Fanola No Orange Shampoo
– Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo
– Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo
– Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo
Using an anti-brass shampoo once or twice a week can help keep brassiness at bay between color appointments.
Get a toner gloss treatment
A toner gloss is a glaze applied at the shampoo bowl after lightening or coloring hair. It deposits sheer pigments that neutralize brassiness and condition hair.
This is an ideal quick fix right after you’ve lightened your hair and notice some unwanted warm tones. Most salons offer toner gloss services starting at around $30.
The results only last 1-2 weeks, so you’ll need to maintain the tone at home until your next salon visit.
Use a toner or color-depositing mask
For a quick toning session at home, you can use a mask or deep conditioner designed to deposit color. Some good options:
– Celeb Luxury Viral Colorwash in Platinum
– Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Toning Masque
– OLD recommendations… Punky Colour Depositing Mask in Violet Dream
– Joico Color Balance Blue Conditioner
These products impart color while conditioning hair, knocking out brass in 10-30 minutes depending on the product. For best results, apply heat with a blow dryer or processing cap.
The colour deposit will fade after several washes but can be a quick fix in a pinch.
Try a purple or blue toner
Toners designed for blond or silver hair have an anti-yellow effect. Look for toners in shades like pale blue or violet – these will cancel unwanted warm, brassy tones.
Sally Beauty, Clairol, and Wella all make toners designed to neutralize brassiness. To use, mix the toner with the developer according to the instructions, apply it thoroughly to clean, dry hair, wait 5-15 minutes, and rinse.
These single-use toners provide more long-lasting results than shampoos or masks. The color should last 3-5 weeks, gradually fading over time.
How can I prevent brassiness in the first place?
While it’s common to deal with some brassiness especially right after lightening hair, there are ways to prevent or minimize it:
- Avoid over-processing hair when bleaching or coloring – only lighten as much as needed
- Use Olaplex or similar bonding treatments during chemical services
- Ask your colorist to customize toner to your hair’s undertones
- Rinse hair with cool or lukewarm water to avoid cuticle damage
- Use sulfate-free, color-safe shampoos and conditioners
- Limit use of hot tools like curling irons and flat irons
- Rinse hair after swimming to remove chlorine
- Wear a hat when outdoors to protect color from sun
Being gentle with hair during and after chemical processing allows the cuticle to stay sealed and keeps undertones from becoming overexposed.
It also helps to have your colorist apply a customized toner matched to your hair after lightening. This prevents brassiness from developing right off the bat.
What ingredients help fight brassiness?
Certain ingredients actively neutralize reddish-orange undertones to keep hair color cool and pure. Here are some of the best ones to look for:
Violet is located opposite orange on the color wheel, so it cancels out any unwanted warmth. Violet toners and color deposits are great for combating brassiness.
Blue naturally neutralizes orange tones and helps counteract the yellowness that causes brassiness. Blue-hued shampoos and conditioners can be used preventively.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea contains antioxidants that battle free radical damage from things like sunlight and pollution. This helps prevent brassiness by keeping hair color sealed in and protected.
Proteins like wheat, oat, and rice protein deeply condition hair and rebuild areas of cuticle damage. This restores hair’s protective outer layer to minimize color fading.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV has clarifying properties that remove buildup without stripping hair. This keeps cool undertones from being clouded by accumulated minerals and metals.
What ingredients should you avoid?
Just as important as using the right ingredients is avoiding these that can worsen brassiness:
- Sulfates – These harsh detergents strip color faster
- Chlorine – Frequent swimming exposes hair to metals
- Sun – UV rays speed up fading of hair color
- Salt – Ocean water can pull color from hair, revealing brassiness
- Hard water minerals – Calcium and magnesium oxidize to yellowish tones
Being mindful of sun and chlorine exposure, rinsing after swimming, and using gentle color-safe products without sulfates will keep your color vibrant for longer.
Does vitamin C help remove brassiness from hair?
Yes, vitamin C is an effective way to remove brassiness and clarifies discolored tones from hair. Crush up vitamin C tablets into a fine powder and mix with hot water and a bit of clarifying shampoo to make a thick paste. Apply this to damp hair and allow it to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing – be sure to shampoo again after to remove all traces of the vitamin C treatment.
The acidic vitamin C works to lift and remove metals, minerals, and buildup that cause brassiness in hair. It’s an easy at-home fix in between dye jobs.
Can you use purple shampoo on brassy hair the same day as coloring it?
It’s best to wait 2-3 days after having your hair colored to use purple shampoo. The pigments can interfere with the toner your colorist applied and cause uneven results.
Purple shampoo is meant to be used for maintenance between salon visits. Using it too soon after coloring hair can lead to splotchy, bluish tones in your highlights. Allow the salon toner to sit for a few days before incorporating purple shampoo into your routine.
How long does it take for purple shampoo to work?
Most purple shampoos need to be left on the hair for 5-10 minutes to effectively neutralize brassiness. For more stubborn brass tones, you can extend this up to 15 minutes.
The longer the shampoo is left on wet hair, the more it will deposit the purple pigment and neutralize unwanted warmth.
Sometimes it takes a few consistent washes for the purple shampoo to make a noticeable difference. But you should see the results after 2-3 uses if left on for 10+ minutes each time.
Getting rid of brassy undertones quickly is possible with the right products and techniques. Using a clarifying treatment, toner, or purple shampoo can help remove the brass in a single use.
To keep it from returning, incorporate blue and violet toning products into your regular routine, protect hair from environmental damage, and avoid over-processing with bleach or dye. With some minor adjustments, you can keep your hair color looking fresh, shiny, and free of brassiness.