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How to Tone Brassy Hair: 4 Ways to the Perfect Color

What’s the secret to reversing brassy hair and getting the color you want? Follow these 4 expert tips.

Written by Danish Bodycare
How to Tone Brassy Hair

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Are you tired of dealing with brassy tones in your hair after a color treatment?

Fear not, you can combat this common issue and bring back the stunning color you were aiming for.

Brassy hair is an inevitable result of hair dyeing when you’re going for a blonde or lighter shade.

The good news is you don’t have to settle for that unwelcome yellow-orange hue. There are several techniques to help you tone down the brassiness.

Causes of Brassy Hair

When you lighten your hair, it strips away its natural color. This leaves the warm pigments underneath exposed, giving you the appearance of brassy hair.

Understanding what causes brassy tones is the first step in addressing the problem. This includes:

  • Different pigment layers
  • Oxidation
  • Minerals and harsh chemicals
  • Sun exposure and UV rays
  • Heat styling

Underlying Pigment

Hair color has different layers of pigment. When you remove the outermost layer, you reveal the undertones.

These warm tones, like red, orange, and yellow, may cause your hair to appear brassy.


Oxidation is a natural chemical process that happens when you expose your hair to air. As your hair color oxidizes, it can fade and become brassy.

This is most noticeable in blonde and light-toned hair.

Minerals and Harsh Chemicals

Minerals found in your water supply, like copper and iron, can cause brassy tones in your hair.

When these minerals build up on your hair shaft, they alter your hair color to a more yellow or orange shade.

Chlorine in swimming pools also strips your hair of its color and causes brassiness. So, be cautious when exposing your hair to such elements.

Sun Exposure and UV Rays

Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can fade your hair color and cause it to become brassy.

UV rays break down the color molecules in your hair and reveal those underlying warm tones.

Wear a hat or use a hair product containing UV protection to protect your hair from sun damage.

Heat Styling

Heat styling tools can damage your hair and make it more prone to brassiness.

The heat from hair dryers, curling irons, and straighteners weakens the hair cuticles. It causes them to lose color and reveal the warm undertones.

Use heat-protectant products to avoid brassy hair. Lower the heat settings or take breaks from using these tools.

How to Prevent Brassy Hair

How to Prevent Brassy Hair

There are various products and methods you can try to neutralize these unwanted hues.

  1. Get the right hair color for you
  2. Protect your hair against UV rays
  3. Use sulfate-free shampoos
  4. Avoid hot water and invest in a shower filter
  5. Explore heat-free hairstyles that suit you

1. Choosing the Right Hair Color

To prevent brassy hair, start by choosing the right hair color for your skin tone.

Consult a hairstylist who can help you select a hair color with cooler undertones. This minimizes the risk of brassiness.

Always follow the recommended processing time on the hair color product. Do not over-process your hair to avoid unwanted warm tones.

2. Protection from UV Rays

UV rays can fade your hair color and cause brassiness.

Use leave-in conditioners or sprays with UV protection to shield your hair from the sun.

You can also wear a hat or a sun-protective headscarf when outdoors for a longer period of time.

3. Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Sulfates in shampoos can strip your hair of its natural oils and color, leading to brassy tones.

Use sulfate-free shampoos and color-safe conditioners to preserve your hair color. These products are gentle on your hair, helping it maintain its moisture and vibrancy.

4. Water Quality and Shower Filters

Hard water and chlorine can also contribute to brassy hair.

To prevent this, invest in a shower filter to remove minerals and chlorine. This reduces unwanted brassy tones and keeps your hair color intact.

5. Heat-Free Hairstyles

Excessive use of flat irons and curling wands can damage your hair and make it more prone to brassiness.

Use heat-free hairstyles, such as braids, twists, or buns, to lessen heat damage.

Heat protectant sprays also guard against the high temperatures of your styling tools.

How to Tone Brassy Hair

How to Tone Brassy Hair

You can tone brassy hair away, at home, with these methods:

  1. Use a hair toner
  2. Use toning shampoo
  3. Get a gloss treatment
  4. Add blue shampoo to your hair care routine

1. Use Hair Toner on Brassy Hair

Hair toner is a product used to neutralize brassy tones in your hair. Apply an even amount of toner throughout your damp hair. Let it sit for the recommended time before rinsing it out.

Follow the instructions on the product packaging to ensure optimal results. Consult a professional hairstylist for personalized advice.

While this is the best way for many, there are ways to get rid of brassy hair without toner.

2. Color-Correcting with Purple Shampoo

Swap out your regular shampoo with purple shampoo.

Purple shampoo banishes yellow-orange tones in blonde hair. It works by depositing cool violet pigments that counteract warm hues.

Apply it to wet hair and massage it in, focusing on the areas with the most brassiness. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Use once or twice a week.

3. Gloss Treatments

A gloss treatment is a semi-permanent hair color option. It refreshes and tones your hair. It also adds shine and smoothness while neutralizing unwanted tones.

You can get a gloss treatment at a salon or use an at-home kit. To use a gloss treatment at home, follow the instructions that come with the product.

Apply an even amount of the treatment to damp hair, wait the recommended time, and then rinse it out.

4. Blue Shampoo for Dark Hair

Blue shampoo is like purple shampoo but formulated for dark hair with brassy tones. It contains blue pigments that counteract the orange and red tones found in dark hair.

To use blue shampoo, follow the same steps as using purple shampoo. Swap it out with your regular shampoo once or twice a week, apply it to wet hair, massage it in, and rinse after a few minutes.

Maintenance Tips for Brassy Hair

How do you combat brassy hair and regain your confidence in your hair color?

  • Understand how color theory applies to your shade
  • Invest in quality hair care products
  • Use a demi-permanent toner

Color Theory and Color Wheel

To understand how to tone brassy hair, you need to learn about color theory and the color wheel. The color wheel has 12 colors:

  • 3 primary colors: Red, blue, and yellow
  • 3 secondary colors: Orange, green, and violet
  • 6 tertiary colors: Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Violet

When you want to neutralize a color, look for its opposite on the wheel. For example, if your hair looks too yellow, use a violet toner to cancel out the yellow tones.

Hair Care Products

Choose a shampoo and conditioner designed for color-treated hair. They will help to prolong the life of your toner and keep your hair healthy.

  • Purple Shampoo
  • Blue Shampoo
  • Deep Conditioner

Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo is a must-have product for blonde or highlighted hair. It has violet pigments that neutralize yellow tones that give hair a cooler shade.

Use it once or twice a week, depending on the level of brassiness.

Blue Shampoo

If your hair has more orange tones, use a blue shampoo instead. It has blue pigments that counteract the orange hue.

Deep Conditioner

Color-treated hair tends to be dry and damaged. Add a deep conditioner into your hair care routine once a week to help nourish and repair your hair.

Demi-Permanent Toners

Demi-permanent toners are a useful way to maintain the desired hair color. They usually last between 12 and 24 washes.

Look for a demi-permanent toner with the opposite undertone of your brassy hair. For example:

  • If your hair appears too yellow or gold, choose a violet-based toner.
  • If your hair appears too orange, select a blue-based toner.
  • If your hair appears too red, pick a green-based toner.

Follow the instructions on the package. Always perform a patch test before applying the product to your entire head.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Best Way to Remove Brassiness in Hair?

Shampoos containing blue pigments are effective in neutralizing orange tones. Look for a blue toning shampoo formulated for brunette or dark blonde hair. Use it once or twice a week to help maintain a more neutral color.

How Can I Tone Brassy Hair to Achieve an Ash Look?

You can achieve an ash look using a toning shampoo or hair toner with a green or purple pigment. These colors work to neutralize the yellow and orange hues in your hair. Use it on a regular basis to maintain the desired ash tone.

How Do You Tone Brassy Hair at Home?

A popular home remedy for fixing brassy hues is using a vinegar rinse. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water and pour it over your hair after shampooing. This helps, but the results may vary and be less effective than a toning shampoo.

How Do You Tone Brassy Hair Fast?

For a quick fix, use a purple or blue toning shampoo or hair toner. These products help tone brassy hair fast by neutralizing unwanted warm tones. Always follow the instructions on the packaging for the best results.

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Danish Bodycare

The Danish Bodycare editorial staff consists of beauty experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, and models with years of experience in the personal care space.