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6 Ways to Prevent Brown Hair From Becoming Brassy Hair

The right products can help to keep these unwanted orange tones at bay.
February 03, 2023

If you’ve ever been blonde, whether that be with highlights, blonde balayage or a full hair  transformation then you probably know a thing or two about brassy hair color. Brassy hair has an abundance of unwanted orange tones that dull your color. It’s common for blondes but brunettes can also deal with brassiness and it happens as a result of bleaching or lightening. But luckily, brassy brown hair color doesn’t require a trip to the salon or a hair care professional to fix — all you need is a toning shampoo. Keep reading to learn more about why brown hair gets brassy, plus six tips to help you get rid of warm, brassy tones in brown hair.

What Is Brassy Brown Hair?

Brassy brown hair happens in color-treated brown hair and refers to the orange and red undertones that appear in the base color over time. When hair is lightened, the pigments are stripped, which leads to these unwanted warm tones that come to the surface.

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Why Does Brown Hair Turn Brassy?

Color-treated brown hair becomes brassy as a byproduct of hair bleaching. The keyword is color-treated because when hair is lightened, the melanin that gives your hair color a darker hue is stripped, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information. This exposes orange tones, which become more noticeable with time, giving you brassy color.

How to Prevent Brassiness in Brown Hair

If you’re taking the time and effort to color your hair, at a salon or with an at-home hair color kit, it’s very important that you add the proper practices and products to your routine to preserve your color. Here are our six tips to help prevent unwanted brass in color-treated brown hair.

1. Switch to Products for Color-Treated Hair

It’s true that shampoo and conditioner aren’t one size fits all. Look for a system of hair care products that are safe for color-treated hair, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Shampoo, pH Balanced and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing Conditioner, pH Balanced. This glossing system is infused with nourishing argan oil and helps to cleanse hair without stripping color, leaving it silky, shiny and smooth. 

It also includes a weekly, in-shower glossing treatment, the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Glossing In Shower Acidic Glaze, which is used after shampoo and before you apply conditioner to keep your color vibrant.

2. Reduce Sun Exposure

While you surely know how important it is to protect your skin from the sun by wearing a broad-spectrum SPF daily, you may not be aware that it’s just as essential to protect your hair color from the sun. That’s right, UV rays can affect your color, causing premature fading and dullness. If you know that you’re going to be spending a prolonged period of time in the sun, make sure to shield your hair by wearing a hat. 

Another tip is to swap out your standard hairspray for one with a UV filter, like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold with UV filter for Color-Treated Hair. It’s specially designed for color-treated hair and it’s humidity resistant.

3. Step Away From the Heat Tools

Heat from the sun isn’t the only kind that’ll wreak havoc on your hair color. Heat styling with blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons can negatively impact your color, leading to premature fading and dullness. Along with that, hot tools can also contribute to hair damage like breakage and split ends. 

Instead of risking your color (and the integrity of your hair), consider this your opportunity to go au natural with your routine. There are many heat-free hairstyles, like overnight braids and casual updos, that can give your mane a gorgeous style without heat.

4. Use a Neutral-Toned Hair Dye

The color you choose for your hair can play a role in keeping brass at bay. Warm shades of brown with golden and red notes are going to make brassiness more noticeable because these shades already have warm tones. So it’s a good idea to use a neutral or cool-toned hair dye to counteract the brass.

The L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color in Dark Ash Brown is an ashy, brown hue and the L’Oréal Paris Féria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color in Cool Medium Brown is a cool-toned mushroom brown hue. These two brown hair colors have blue and green undertones that shield natural red and copper underlying pigments in dark base colors.

5. Use a Glossing Treatment

A hair gloss, like the L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss is the perfect product to rid your hair of brass and faded tones — all in the comfort of your bathroom. In as little as five minutes, it enhances hair color and tone, boosts shine and deeply conditions. Use it once a week and say goodbye to your dreaded salon maintenance trips (and the hefty price tags).  

6. Try a Blue Or Purple Toning Shampoo

Blue sits across from orange on the color wheel so brunettes with unwanted orange tones should look for a toning shampoo specifically designed to help fix brassiness in brown hair, like blue shampoo. While blue shampoo is a great fix for brunettes, it can be a bit difficult to find. 

Another option that has a similar end result is actually purple shampoo, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Brass Toning Shampoo. Blondes use purple because purple sits across from yellow on the color week, thus neutralizing those tones in the hair but it can also work for brunettes. After one wash you’ll notice less warm tones without any adverse effects on your brunette color. Use this purple shampoo as needed and be sure to pair it with the corresponding, L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Toning Purple Conditioner

What Is the Best Toner for Brassy Brown Hair?

The best toner for brassy brown hair would be one with cool-toned pigments to neutralize the warm tones. If you’re looking for a toner you can use at home, try the aforementioned L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss in the shade Cool Brunette, an ashy tone that will enhance your color while canceling out any warmth in your hair.

What Does Brassy Brown Hair Look Like?

Brassy brown hair looks lackluster and faded with overwhelming red and orange tones. It’s a result of bleaching brown hair, and while you may leave the salon with an ash-brown hue, brass slowly overwhelms your hair color with time. 

Next: Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It?

Photo Credit: Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris

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