8 Ways to Correct and Avoid Brassy Hair


by Stacey Kole

What is Brassy Hair?

Of all the dreaded hair woes, brassiness ranks high on the list. Brassy hair rears its ugly head, especially when tresses are not properly treated after coloring. Brassy hair is caused by an overabundance of warm pigments in your hair. For example, when platinum blonde hair becomes too yellow or when golden highlights turn reddish-gold or orange.
When you lighten your hair, your natural hair color is lifted to make room for the new color. Because all hair has some measure of underlying warmth, the removal of your natural hue makes yellow, orange or red tones more evident, unless steps are taken to mitigate it. To extend the color of your blonde hair and help your hair stay a cooler shade of blonde, you’ll need to get rid of brass. Better yet, use preventative measures as your brassy blonde hair fix.

1. Choose the Best Blonde for You

Instead of going with a single-process all-over blonde color, have your colorist work in highlights and lowlights versus coloring every strand. This minimizes the potential for a whole head of brassiness. Remember, the closer your hair's final color is to its natural color, the less room there is for the color to turn. We recommend that you don’t lighten your hair beyond two shades from your natural color.

2. Protect Your Blonde from UV Rays

Exposing your hair to excessive sun exposure can dry out your hair and fade your blonde color. When your hair is exposed to oxygen and UV rays, your hair's underlying warm tones are revealed, and — before you know it — brassiness abounds. If you can't stay out of the sun, try wearing a hat to protect your locks or a UV-protectant spray to avoid unwelcome brassiness.

3. Shower with Cool Water to Prevent Fading

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but rinsing your hair with cool water is better for preserving your color. Instead of pumping up the heat, use a cool rinse to close the cuticle cells. This has the added benefit of locking in moisture and helps the cuticle to lay more smoothly and appear glossier and shinier.

4. Protect Your Hair From Chlorinated Pools

Chlorine is not your hair’s friend. This chemical is notorious for stripping your hair of natural oils and leaving it dry and brittle. The more damaged the hair becomes, the more susceptible it is to turning brassy. To counteract this problem, try dousing your hair with bottled water before jumping in the pool. Your hair will soak up any sort of moisture, so give it clean, non-chemically altered water first before you swim. When you’re finished in the pool, shampoo and condition your hair immediately to undo the potential damage. Better yet, try to stick to saltwater pools if it's an option.

5. Use a Color-Correcting Purple Shampoo

Yellow and violet are opposites on the color wheel, so purple is used to cancel out overly warm, brassy tones. Invest in a purple shampoo to help crush brassy tones for a cooler, brighter blonde.

6. Try a Color-Refreshing Gloss

Ask your stylist to use a sheer glaze on your freshly colored blonde hair to lock in the tone and prevent fading or discoloration. Doing so can seal in your color for an extra four to six weeks. For refreshing your color at home, try a color-refreshing gloss to neutralize brassy blonde hair and reveal a brighter blonde.

7. Shower Smart to Avoid Brassiness

High mineral levels in water can cause hair to turn brassy. Hard water deposits color-tainting minerals onto your tresses while simultaneously locking out moisture. Consider cutting back on the amount of time you wash your hair weekly, and if your water is particularly hard, you may wish to invest in a water filter that sifts out the minerals. Worried your hair will look dirty? A bun or braid paired with a spritz of dry shampoo should do the trick.

8. Deep Condition for Shiny, Healthy-Looking Hair

It may seem simple, but the more healthy, soft, and supple your locks are, the less likely your color will fade or turn. This can be accomplished by using a deep conditioning hair treatment. After treating your blonde locks to a hair mask, seal your style with a hydrating, shine-infusing gloss. Just be sure that the gloss is either clear or properly pigmented to cancel out brassiness.

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