Dyeing your hair at home can be a difficult process, especially those first few times. Aside from how messy it can get, reaching the back of your head and distributing hair dye evenly often comes with a lot of trial and, unfortunately, error. And when you’re bleaching your strands there could be many fails, including you ending up with unwanted, brassy hair full of unflattering orange tones.
Whether you used bleach in an attempt to lighten dark tresses into a beautiful blonde shade or have fallen victim to faded red hair dye, knowing what color covers orange hair can certainly come in handy. Just like when you learned about the color wheel in elementary school, certain hair colors can be used for toning and color-correcting orange hair. Below, we’re detailing everything you need to know about how to fix brassy hair so you can move past your mane mishap and get to the hue you intended to sport.
What Is Brassy Hair?
Brassy hair sports unwanted warm tones that often appear yellowish or orange in hue. When hair is lightened, the pigment is stripped or reduced. Initially, this will result in a bright, cool hue or allow your hair to accept the color hair dye you apply after. But over time, the cooler undertones in the hair or hair dye will fade, allowing these pesky warm tones to come to the surface.
Brassiness in hair is very different from warm-toned blonde hair as it boasts an unnaturally-looking yellow tone that often appears dull.
How to Prevent Brassy, Orange Hair
Preventing your hair from becoming brassy in the first place will save you time and money trying to fix it. Here are some ways you can avoid the orange brass tones that come along with going blonde or lightening your hair.
1. Use the Right Cleansing SystemAside from switching to a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, you should always look for a system made for color-treated hair once you bleach or dye your tresses. If you’re not using products made to protect your color, they could be stripping your hue, fading those cool tones a lot faster than you’d like, which can lead to brassy hair. L’Oréal Paris makes many shampoos for color-treated hair, all with corresponding conditioners, and they’re sulfate free so you don't have to worry about harsh cleansers or salts breaking down your color.
2. Protect Your Hair from UV Rays
As much as we love laying out in the sun after enduring months of bitter winter temperatures, it’s just as bad for the hair as it is for the skin. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can dry out your hair, leading it to sport dull, brassy tones and they can also cause discoloration. It’s not the type of sun-kissed look you’re going for and it’ll make your hair look unnatural and noticeably colored instead of bright and shiny.
3. Skip the Hot Tools
We can’t stress enough how much wearing heat-free hairstyles will benefit the health of your hair in many ways. In this instance, skipping the blow dryer, flatiron or curling wand can help extend the color of your hair and prevent hair brassiness. Heat — artificial or otherwise — can cause your strands to dry out quickly and fade your hair color so it’s best to avoid applying heat to your hair to keep those brassy tones away.
How to Fix Orange Hair
Sometimes you’re past the point of prevention and just need a remedy. When fixing orange hair, it all comes down to color theory. You’ll need to know what color cancels out the orange in order to neutralize those brassy, warm tones. Here’s what you need to know.
What Color Covers Orange Hair?As it turns out, you can use a blonde hair dye to neutralize your orange hair — the secret is to look for a shade that’s ashy. Ashy, cool undertones are the key to canceling out the warm, unflattering orange tones that currently adorn your strands.
Try the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Medium Ash Blonde. Just keep in mind that the level of brassiness can impact whether or not you're able to cover it completely. In the case that you can’t, you might need to schedule an appointment with your colorist.
For those with brunette hair, you can nip brassiness in the bud with a neutral color, such as L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color in Medium Brown.
How to Use Toner for Orange Hair
Aside from actual hair dye, you can also use hair toner to neutralize brassy tones. There are five popular options that can help with this.
1. In-Salon Toner
The most instantaneous, foolproof way to tone orange hair is by heading to the salon for a toning session. This is an especially good option if you’re dealing with an unsightly, bright orange hair color. Your colorist can mix a special formula of bleach and toner to lighten and neutralize your specific shade of orange hair all at once.
2. Hair Gloss
If your hair isn’t horribly riddled with orange, a hair gloss can (and should!) be used for toning your hair. While this won’t work on a bright orange mane, it can be an effective solution for those looking to get rid of brassy, orange warmth.
Reach for the L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One-Step In Shower Toning Gloss for a quick at-home treatment. The paraben- and ammonia-free formula helps to enhance color and tone while boosting shine and conditioning the hair. You can choose from the options for blonde hair or red hair to ward off those rusty hues.
3. Blue Shampoo
If you’re a brunette who attempted to go blonde, a blue shampoo will be your best friend. As you can probably imagine, blue shampoo has blue pigments in it to help neutralize orange and red tones. Wash your hair with it a few times a week when you want to get rid of brassy, orange hair.
4. Purple Shampoo
Chances are you’re familiar with purple shampoo by now. If your hair is on the yellowish, orange end of the spectrum, purple shampoo will fix it. Like blue shampoo, purple shampoo is another at-home option with color pigments that’s formulated to neutralize brassy yellow and orange tones in color-treated hair. It’s primarily used to tone highlights, blonde, or silver (or lightened) color-treated hair.
Try using the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Shampoo in conjunction with the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Conditioner. This system works to hydrate strands and neutralize brassy tones in blonde, bleached, highlighted and silver hair. Apply the shampoo and follow with the conditioner two to three times a week or when hair looks orange.
5. Hair Mask
Keep your colored hair smooth with a hair mask specially formulated for color-treated hair, such as the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Signature Masque, Color Care Hair Mask. Made without sulfates, parabens or other harsh chemicals, this nourishing vegan hair mask helps revitalize dyed, damaged hair, restore smoothness, enhance shine and prevent your color from fading with a UV filter. After shampooing, distribute the mask through your strands and leave it in for up to five minutes before rinsing.
If you have blonde hair, you can also use the EverPure Sulfate-Free Anti-Brass Purple Mask Treatment. This ultra-pigmented purple hair mask infused with hibiscus reverses stubborn brass and deeply nourishes dry, colored hair.
Orange hair can be beautiful if it’s the look you’re going for. But if your shade turns into an undesirable hue, remember that you have options to help fix it. And next time, be sure to consult with the L’Oréal Paris Hair Color Concierge to talk to live experts and access online resources and tools before you color your hair. You can even set up a one-on-one video consultation with a professional colorist so that you can color with confidence.
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