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Argh! How to Fix Brassy Tones in Your Hair

Argh! How to Fix Brassy Tones in Your Hair

Sadie Upwall Sadie Upwall
5 minute read

When your hair color takes a turn toward the yellow or penny-hued side – and that is NOT the look you were going for – it CAN be fixed! Fix your brassy tones with our step by step video and custom hair kit.

Solution 1:  Wash with a Purple Shampoo

Violet-toned shampoos and conditioners, like Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde, help to balance out orange or yellow tones in the hair since they sit opposite of orange on the color wheel. They will cancel out some of the brassy or orange tones that are present.

Paul Mitchell - Platinum Blonde Shampoo

Paul Mitchell - Platinum Blonde Shampoo


Formulated with a touch of violet tint to cancel brassiness, Paul Mitchell’s Platinum Blonde Shampoo™ is the perfect cleanser for blonde, white, and silver-toned hair. Features & Benefits:• Color-enhancing formula banishes brassiness• Softens strands and adds natural radiance and shine• Added conditioners, extracts,… read more

Solution 2: Use Toner

Toner (also known as demi-permanent color, glazes, and glosses) is one of the best-kept secrets in the fight against brassy hair color. Toners help to counteract unwanted color. Toning incorporates the basic color principle that ‘opposite shades cancel each other out. ' Toning is usually done in a salon, although there are at-home options available if you cannot make it to your favorite beauty parlorToner works to basically tone down the current shade of your hair. Remember, in order for the toner to work successfully, the base color of your hair has to be correct.

A toner helps to limit brassiness in the hair but it won't correct the shade of your base.  If the base color is too brassy, to begin with, toner won’t really do much for you. If you need to lighten your hair first, try using bleaching shampoo. Watch the 3 Step Brassy Fix Video below for the how-to on a bleaching shampoo.

Keep in mind that using a toner acts as a temporary quick fix. Don’t be too surprised if orange or yellow tones start to creep back up on you in a few weeks as your hair color fades. Remember that clear toners or glosses will not typically soften or correct brassy color but rather just add shine to your hair!

Wella ColorCharm - Permanent Liquid Hair Toner

Wella ColorCharm - Permanent Liquid Hair Toner


Take control after lightening and bid brassiness goodbye. Achieve just the right shade to suit your look with Wella Color Charm Permanent Liquid Toner, for use with Color Charm 20 Volume Cream Developer. For use correcting or neutralizing unwanted warmth… read more

Watch the Brassy Hair Fix It How-To below for step-by-step instructions!

brassy tones hair kit

Solution 3:  Add Lowlights

Lowlights will help to keep some variation in the hair by darkening some of the pieces that may have become too light or brightly colored for your liking. When your color has taken a turn for the worst, lowlights may just be your saving grace. To reverse the look of orange tones, a darker color can be added back into the hair. Darker blonde shades will cool the hair without darkening it too much and the results can be beautiful! Unless you're already pretty experienced, this brassy hair fix is best done at your favorite salon.

Why does dark hair turn orange when we color it?

If your natural color is dark and you want to lighten it without turning orange, you can! The trick becomes, how to lighten it without getting an unwanted ghastly copper tone. The most likely reason why dark hair turns orange is because the hair is over-sensitized (previously damaged from either chemicals or life) and lightened incorrectly. This is especially the case with highlighting. If the lightening agent (the color or bleach) is not chosen correctly, or not left on long enough the hair is not lightened past the point of removing the yellow or orange pigment, those pigments are exposed and it looks ‘brassy”.

Of course, I am a huge fan of the Salon Experience but for those of you who are braving the waters of Home Hair color here are my tips and tricks of the trade:

Try and stay within 2 shades of your natural hair color - For the most natural-looking results, it’s best not to lighten too much too quickly. Especially when going from very dark to very light your chances of going brassy is greater.

Add in Cool Tones - Dark hair has a tendency to turn orange because the undertones of dark hair are red and orange. A good colorist will use the right formula for your hair and correct the undertones by balancing them out with cooler shades then your color should not turn orange. At home, it may be a little more difficult to choose the correct tones to help balance your brassiness. If you don’t have a basic knowledge of chemistry or the color wheel stay away from the drug store and instead visit a professional beauty supply to purchase your color so that you are able to get a professional recommendation.

Bring in Back-Up - Consider using a color gloss in a cool tone to finish off your color and cool down any remaining warmth you may not want. Be certain and use a shampoo and conditioner that will preserve your color. It really DOES make a difference in the wear and tear of your desired color. Also, pick up a toning shampoo or conditioner! Alternate it with your color care shampoo. This will keep your brassy tones cool and calm.

If you're ready to get started on that beautiful blonde you were hoping for, click the button below to see the products we love for brassy hair fixes at home.

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