Skip to main content
Top Ten

Tone It Down: How to Prevent and Fix Brassy Hair

Leigh Maneri
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Leigh Maneri's profile
model with blonde hair I Dermstore Blog

For those of us who color our hair, brass can be a real pain in the...wallet. The goal is to have your cool blonde or brunette tones stay exactly how they look when you walk out of the salon, right? But often those warm tones seep in, and before you know it, you’re looking orange as the sun, ready to head back to the chair for a touchup. Well, it turns out there’s a way to combat brassiness and hold your color for longer. We turned to Alexandra K. of Crush Salon in Los Angeles to give us the 411 on how to fix brassy hair.

What Causes Brassy Hair

First, consider why brassiness starts in the first place. “It’s caused by harsh chemicals—like ammonia found in hair color—exposing your underlying pigment,” Alexandra says. Your underlying pigment is the base color beneath the tones that meld together to form your more obvious natural hair color. For example, very dark brunettes actually have a red underlying pigment. When choosing hair color, your colorist is no doubt taking this into consideration. If warm tones are lurking in your underlying pigment, he or she needs to know how to expertly break that base.

Preventing Brassy Hair

In order to prevent your hair color from turning brassy, Alexandra recommends a low-pH or ammonia-free hair color along with a proper color formulation recommended by a professional. Chances are if you’re repeatedly encountering brassiness soon after a color, your colorist should try a different product—or you should try a different colorist. But do note, if you’re highlighting or lightening darker brunette locks, you may need to put in the work for extra upkeep. Alexandra recommends turning down the heat on styling tools and staying away from UV rays. “Wearing a hat and using a leave-in sun protection spray will protect hair from the sun,” she says.

Products That Lessen Brassiness

There are a handful of products that help to stave off brassiness after color treatment, and it all starts in the shower. “Be sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo (or hair care products designed for color-treated hair) to maintain your more ashy tones and keep the hair from turning brassy,” Alexandra says. With the right colorist, smart color choices and innovative color-protectant products, preventing and removing brassiness can be a breeze. Here are our top picks to help you get started:

    Leigh Maneri
    Writer and expert
    View Leigh Maneri's profile

    Leigh Maneri is a marketing strategist who lives at the beach but lives for the mountains. Embracing the motto "always go," she is completely at home in a tent with her scrappy brown terrier mix. Leigh seeks natural products and foods to best fuel a life of adventure.