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How to fix brassy hair colour

Updated February 21, 2017

When hair with red and golden undertones is chemically lightened, it can turn an unflattering brassy shade if you or the stylist did not lift the hair tone enough or if your natural hair colour is a deep shade and you were trying to lighten it substantially in one process. Many people are more successful in avoiding brassy tones if they lift their hair colour in stages, using a highlighting process instead of an overall colour lift. When you end up with brassy hair, there are some techniques to reduce the orange appearance.

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  1. Call your stylist if you had your hair professionally done and ask for a free fix. Most salons will apply a neutralising toner if you are unhappy with the colour.

  2. Purchase a blue-tone shampoo and conditioner to counter the harsh yellow and rust tones in your hair. This is the safest way to tone down the brassy colour, and if your hair is not in great shape, it may be the only way to correct it without further damaging the hair shaft. Find these shampoos and conditioners in the colour-care section of the shampoo aisle; they may state that they remove yellow tints from white, silver or platinum hair. You may also purchase them online.

  3. Apply an ash toner to your hair. A toner is a deposit-only hair colour treatment that does not lift your colour. Choose a shade that is the same colour or slightly lighter than your hair. The package will specify toner and should contain the word "ash" in the colour. For example, if your hair is now a light brown with brassy tones, apply a light ash brown toner.

  4. Lift your hair colour or highlights further the next time you lighten your hair. Wait at least one month to keep from overprocessing your hair, then highlight it or bleach it again. This time check the hair strands and leave the bleach on a little longer if the strand has a rust tone. Brassy colour is a result of not allowing the hair to lift past the rust colour to a lighter shade of blonde.

  5. Tip

    Go light a little at a time. Trying to lift a whole head of hair can result in damaged hair. Instead, ask your stylist to apply highlights once a month, and your hair colour will gradually get lighter without taking on a brassy tone.


    Don't apply another chemical process right after the one that turned your hair brassy. You may severely damage your hair.

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Things You'll Need

  • Blue shampoo and conditioner
  • Ash toner

About the Author

Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

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