Here’s How to Tone Brassy Hair Color

Written by Allison

Tone your brassy hair color the easy way (you can thank us in the comments section)

Lightening things up for summer? Something just feels right about adding a faux sun kissed glow to everything from your hair to your cheekbones. But, if you are lightening up your hair for summer you’ve got to be prepared for the ultimate enemy to blonde: brassiness. You’ll have a hard time stopping brassiness from setting in so keep reading to learn how to tone brassy hair color.

See that warm yellowish tint to the lightened hair? That’s brassiness in a nutshell. Any orange or yellow coming through is what you’d generally call brassy hair color. Especially with the popularity of the silvery white hair trends, brassiness is the enemy. Any bit of warmth takes away from that fashionable gunmetal gray shade you may be going for. Or, if you aren’t going for a trendy grey hair color, too much warmth in your hair can clash against your skin tone.

We had a quick chat with Tina Malhotra, a stylist at L’Appartement Salon in NYC, all about how to tone brassy hair color, both in salon and at home.

Brassy hair got us like

So first up, it’s probably good to know why bleached hair gets brassy, right? Malhotra said that warm tones sneak in when your lightened hair is exposed to oxygen, which is pretty much inevitable. Brassy tones will develop over time so it’s important to stay proactive to protect against color change. But, if you do let it slip, serious brassiness can be taken care of in salon.

“Typically, brassiness can be toned in a salon with a gloss treatment, to rebalance golden tones and remove unwanted reddish or orangish color.” She doesn’t recommend trying to whole hog tone your hair at home, unless you are opting to go the preventative route with toning shampoos or conditioners.

In fact, it’s what Malhotra does herself. “As a brunette with balayage highlights, I live by my purple shampoo once a week. It really works! It helps me keep the tone under control and prevent brassiness before it even becomes a problem.”

She recommends being choosy about your purple shampoo. It will make a big difference in the overall color of your hair. “For example,” she says “sometimes a blonde likes warmth and golden tones, and sometimes a brunette likes ashy, cool tones with minimal warmth.”

Rock that buttery blonde

But desired tone isn’t the only thing to combat with (unless your goal is eventually pink ombre hair). Your natural hair color plays an important roll in the color of your brassy hair. Malhotra says, “Brassiness in blondes can look more yellow or orange, and brassiness in brunettes appears reddish orange. The underlying pigment in brunette hair contains more red, so the red is more exposed as the highlights oxidize.”

READ MORE: Styling Tips for Cute Bob Hairstyles

Blondes will do well with your standard purple shampoo because it’s directly opposite on the color wheel to yellow and orange. But, for brunettes that can have a red tone creep through Malhotra suggests a different color to combat the brass. “In brunettes, a green-based or even a violet or pearl can help cancel out brass depending on desired level of ashiness.”

Beware of leaving on your blue shampoo for too long

We’re big fans of the Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo and Conditioner for once-natural-brunettes. Which is most of us, right? It has both purple and blue tones to cancel out yellows and orange in the shampoo. The conditioner, on the other hand won’t deposit color. That means it’s safe to leave on your hair as long as you do normally.

For natural blondes, on the other hand, we have two suggestions. For the really icy cool look use the Matrix Total Results Color Care So Silver Shampoo once or twice a week. If you want to keep the bulk of the brass away but don’t want to go silvery, try the Catwalk Fashionista Blonds and Highlights Shampoo and Conditioner just once a week.

Love this article? For more beauty, style, travel, and trending topics check out The Luxury Spot on Facebook. Like us and we’ll love you back!

About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

Leave a Comment