Remove Brassy Orange-Yellow Tones From Your Hair

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

 

What Is Brassy Hair? 

It's a term used to describe unwanted warmth in hair, those dreaded yellow-orange tones that typically occur after hair has been chemically processed, dyed, highlighted, etc.


 What Causes Brassy Hair?

Brassiness occurs as your color begins to fade. To better understand what's happening let's take a look at the molecular level. Your hair color is a combination of molecules, when balanced they work in perfect harmony to create a beautifully toned head of hair. However, as color fades, an imbalance of color molecules are left in the hair's cortex. Ash or violet-blue molecules are lifted exposing the underlying pigment. Those warm tones are your underlying pigment shining through. Without the ashy violet-blue molecules to counteract the yellow-orange molecules, the warm hues become the dominant tone and color.

The causes are basically any element that has the ability to lift or fade hair color.
  • Shampoos with sulfates
  • Ocean water
  • Sun exposure
  • Products containing silicone or parabens
  • Mineral deposits from the shower or swimming pool
  • Multiple layers of dye
  • Chemical processes exposing underlying pigment

Generally, the darker the hair, the more challenging it is to lift the underlying pigment, making it more prone to brassiness. Find your underlying pigment on the color charts below. I'm a natural level 3 but highlighted to dark blonde, my underlying pigment is red through orange-gold, so I've had lots of practice fending off the brassy orange tones.




How To Fix Brassy Hair


Purple Shampoo
Deposits surface color to counteract unwanted warmth and brassiness, there are several brands on the market. Here are few I've used; Clairol Shimmerlights, John Frieda Sheer blonde Color Renew, Matrix So Silver (so far my favorite)... Next I plan to try Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Save Silver Shampoo.




Toner
Hair toner is a low peroxide deposit only color used to neutralize unwanted tones, such as orange and yellow in the hair. They work by canceling out colors opposite to them on the color wheel. (See color wheel below). The toner is mixed with either a 10 or 20 volume developer. The hydrogen peroxide is the activator in the developer, it allows the toner to penetrate and deposit dye molecules under the cuticle layer of your hair. It's not everlasting color though, in my experience they typically last as long as a semi-permanent color, demi-permanent if I'm lucky.


How To Choose A Toner
Examine the color wheel, the colors opposite each other, counteract each other. Know the underlying pigments you want to correct and then choose a toner with the base that will best counter that color.

Example:
Green neutralizes Red
Blue neutralizes Orange
Violet neutralizes Yellow





The Best Time To Apply Toner
The best time to apply toner is directly after bleaching. Simply rinse the bleach out of your hair, shampoo and towel dry until your hair is slightly damp. Then you're ready to tone, be sure to follow the directions for your brand of toner. It's important to watch the color and processing time, if left on too long, a toner can deposit too much color (especially on porous hair) leaving you with gray or lavender tinged hair.


Wella Color Charm Toners

Currently I use Wella Color Charm Toners in T14 or T18. I tone promptly after bleaching. But on occasion if it washes out too soon or fades entirely and purple shampoo just isn't cutting the warmth enough, I'll tone again to refresh the coolness. My root bleaching days are over though, as you may have seen in previous posts here and here. These days nothing touches my roots, I'm letting my virgin hair grow out and into a subtle low maintenance ombre effect. So as it stands now, I only have to fuss over the ends.






Wella offers 5 different toning shades in 3 color families, silver, ash and beige.

*Silver
T10 Pale Blonde (Violet-Blue Base)

*Ash
T14 Pale Ash Blonde  (Violet-Blue Base)
T18 Lightest Ash Blonde (Violet Base)

*Beige
T11 Lightest Beige Blonde (Gold-Violet Base)
T35 Beige Blonde (Gold-Violet Base)







I mix 1 part Wella Color Charm Toner with 2 parts 10 volume creme developer. Wella recommends using their 20 volume developer but I don't want the lift, I want deposit-only color. A friend who use to be a color correction specialist recommended I get a 0 volume and cut the 10 down to a 5 or even just use the 0 for deposit-only. But other sources mention going that low weakens the ability of the formula to penetrate the cuticle, making the color even more vulnerable to washing out faster. If you have any experiences, please share in the comments.



I have much more to share but we'll save it for another post.
xoxo,
Christine



You Might Also Like

73 comments

  1. hi, this post is very interesting, expecially for me that I have tinted hair, my base color is the third of first line, with some thread most clear, maybe the second of same line (in the second table). unfortunately in italy there are the same brands, but there aren't the same products.
    I use biologic products for my hair, and I produce some of them myself, it's my hobby! now I'm change also my hair tint routine, I'm trying a select henne', this's only the second application and, for now, the hair aren't become green!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ugh I HATE when my blonde goes brassy!! I love being a blonde but the maintenance is brutal LOL! Purple shampoos and toners are a MUST!
    xo
    My online beauty store: http://beautybymissash.blogspot.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks girls! I always love hearing what you're all up to with your hair. Thanks MissAsh for the store link, that's awesome, if you're on YouTube let me know! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. A little tip, use Wella Color Touch instead of color charm, because color Touch is a semi-permanent color and is a real toner, whereas color charm is a regular permanent color with ammonia. Wella Color Touch comes with its own 1.9 volume developer and has amazing shades and is ammonia free. 10 volume peroxide is way too much for toning. When you tone something down no ammonia needed. I think you can find it on Amazon or in beauty supplies. I hope it helps! Love your videos.

    ReplyDelete
  5. thank you so very much for your detailed information. I am a natural blonde and have had dyed black hair for 5 years. I bleached it and it turned yellow and orange. Using the t14 and the 10 developer it is now back to my natural blonde with amazing highlights. You are a life saver!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You can make your own toner that doesn't contain harsh chemicals, at least that's what I do then use a purple shampoo like you mentioned, I love that Schwartzkopf shampoo btw! :) not try to be spammy but I wrote a post on how I made the toner. http://chloeshere.blogspot.ie/2013/07/how-to-make-toner-for-blonde-hair.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much for all this wonderful information, great post! x

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are seriously awesome! Thank you so much lifesaver!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I tried to lighten my hair to blonde using ion cream lightener and it turned my a red orange yellow. So will the T-14 with 10 volume developer be strong enough to lift it to a nice light brown blonde shade? My hair was really red before I dyed with a light brown and light ash brown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just had this happen. I wanted to add some tone to my bleached lights and they turned out orange red. I strand tested with the T-18 and it did nothing to my orange red hair so i rebleached it with a bleach that lift up to 4 tones instead of the quick blue bleach and used a 20 developer for a slow and more gentle process. My hair is naturally dark brown.

      Delete
  10. I am a dark brown, I have basically the same question as just above. Soo, I should say I was a dark brown. I had virgim hair and purchased loreal hi lift gold brown, it went pretty orangey in my opinion looks nothing like the box of course. My question is, these toners, are they just for blonde issues of brassiness. If I were to use one, would it go blonde or darker? I am having such a hard time with this. Obviously I have no background in this and I read these blogs and have no idea what the volumes and toners and levels mean.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you!!! I had a little bit of a hair emergency when my highlights on my dyed brown hair turned very orange. I just assumed because my natural color is light, that the highlights would be no prob. I was wrong. Too warm/brassy/orangey for me, I tried the purple shampoo with no luck. Then your blog made me realize I need BLUE to fix this! Hello t10 and t14! I wasn't sure which to use, so I did t14 first (perfect for my mid to ends) and left that on damp hair for 7 min. Then rinsed and roots were still orangey so I mixed a little t10 and put that on just roots for another 5-10 min. Rinsed and sooo much better! It's still a bit warm for me, but looks MUCH MUCH better! ThAnk you sooo much!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You can only tone on level so if you want a blonde close to platinum you have to lift your hair to a yellow or pale yellow before you can achieve the look. Blonding is a process that takes time! Its not healthy for your hair to go from dark to light in one setting. Keep deep conditioning it inbetween lightening and toing. I like its a 10. They have stuff at sallys called miracle 7 that works pretty well too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pink So Foxy, I love your hair! I need so serious help, I just used L'oreal Ferai absolute platinum very platinum, and I am also a natural brown number 3 and now my hair is just a weird color, rosy gold almost and my roots and ends are different colors because i had color that dragged and then i died it brown, and well its a mess, would you strip the color or just do some more bleaching to reach an ashy blonde?

    ReplyDelete
  14. PLEASE HELP .... hi, basically i have highlighted hair near enough blonde now all over but have some orangy tints on the end and i have just bought jerome russell platinum toner to try take the orangey tints away but am a little scared of what it will do Any ideas? xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for going so in-depth with this information. There isn't a whole lot on the internet besides suggestions to go to a professional. That's sound advice (regarding most things probably) but it's good to get some education on how a professional might approach your hair. It's good to hear there are some at-home products that can do what you're looking for too and it really helps that you've laid out the basics of how and why. My dark brown hair turned out more orange than light brown and I was going to just see if it'd fade over time but I think a good purple shampoo could help. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi my daughter had really red hair and let her friend bleach her hair blonde but has turned really orange at the ends but lighter on top how can she fix this x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's going to need to re bleach then add toner.

      Delete
    2. Ur gna need to apply a lil more bleach to her hair from where the darker starts down to end. Cover and use heat. After that then u use a toner

      Delete
  17. Can i use a toner on my hair without bleaching my hair first?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not really. A toner is used to tone the hair. It will not lighten you hair it just corrects the colour.

      Delete
    2. Can I use toner to correct bleached and colored hair? I'm a natural 3 (on the chart). I bleached and colored ash blonde, but orange is coming through. Should I bleach again then tone, or just tone without bleaching?

      Delete
    3. You can "tone" with a Demi permanent blue based color.

      Delete
  18. HELP! I recently had the ombre look done to my dark brown hair and am probably a level 2 so my hair has lots of underlying red and orange. It started turning brassy the week after so I went back and she put more toner on it which was like a blue/violet color but now my ombre looks darker and is starting to turn orange again! She said if it turns brassy to come back and she will put more toner on it but I don't want my ombre to be darker I just don't want it to be brassy orange! I wanted it to be a level 8 blond. What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for this informative post! I used to get my hair highlighted professionally, but gave it up due to cost when I returned to grad school. My natural color is about a 5/6 and I've been lightening it using Loreal 8A. It always comes out way brassier than I like. Yesterday I colored with the 8A and added some Ardell red/gold corrector, but it didn't seem to help. Today I used the Color Charm T14 with 20 vol developer and it is much better! Still a little more gold than I like toward the roots. The bottom part of my hair, where it has been colored the most, is pretty close to the perfect color, then it very gradually gets a little more gold toward the roots. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Ellen, which Loreal color did you use out of interest ?

      Delete
  20. Thanks so much for this! My hair was super brassy/orange after 2 bleaching sessions and I wasn't sure what to do!
    Kristel Karisse
    PrettyPhilosophie.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. That information about choosing what color to go for your toner is really useful. It does make perfect sense to choose a color that directly counteracts the color that you don't want to achieve for your hair. It's so seemingly simple, but not everyone gets it right.

    Sadie Montgomery @ Hoshall's Salon & Spa

    ReplyDelete
  22. I bleached my hair to dye it pink but now there's a orange color in my pink. Can I use a purple toner?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you solve your problem? I'd like to know the result

      Delete
    2. I have the same problem as well considering I also have pink hair. Just use a violet/ blue violet toner. It dilutes the color a bit so use it before you need to touch up the dye, otherwise you will ruin whatever color you had just recently added into your hair. Just helping out any fellow pinkies!!!

      Delete
  23. I use purple shampoo to tone down the brassy in my bleached blonde hair. It works pretty good but turns my hair pink in some spots. I only leave it on for less than 2 minutes. Do you know why this happens? im scared to use a toner on my hair. i normally dont have to use a toner because it gets light enough. but on occasion i will get that yellowish brassy tone i cant stand. can you go wrong with wella toners? do they work really good. Im looking for the ashy blonde tone. like Cara Loren's hair color.

    ReplyDelete
  24. if i was to show you a photo oy my hair would you be able to advise me what i need to correct it please x
    thank you caroline from nomorefrizzyhairdays blog

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi. Could you please help me, I went to saloon "colorist" and ruin my color hair. She changed from level 6 to 3/4 . I did color correction by myself and I use semipermanent color, I got close 6 then I use 8NG/30 vol. and my color went blonde light but brassy-pink. Instead that color don't lift color I did almost 4level. I have been to correct because I want medium blonde but ash not gold I am using wella product this moment I used8N/9N/25 vol. it's nice but brassy and red tones. I like your hair because it's blonde but not gold which it my goal. Can you suggest some to take the warm color with red tones that I have. Also I used wella additive 050 to neutralize the red but it did not works. Maybe I need more? I am thinking to use 9A I want your color just I little dark. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi I bleached my hair blonde it came out yellow orange and brassy I toned it. It didn't work I used be gone brass its now yellow and a little brassy can I use my t14 toner to take out the yellow and brass will it work please help me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This worked for me! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSox-qmS0LY

      It's toner using temporary purple hair dye. You "water it down" with conditioner and leave on for about 3 minutes.

      Delete
  27. I have light brown hair and dyed it a light auburn. I love the red but it's a bit coppery. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi, remember ladies when lightening your hair do not use a box color. The box only contains a 20 developer. That's why your hair is turning yellow/brassy. If you insist on doing your own hair and you want to lighten it then go to Sally's..pick your color and make sure your developer is at least a 30, preferably 40.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what I did to do my roots and still got the yellow orange tones., I am going to do the T14 tonight to correct and remove those tones

      Delete
    2. There are box colors such as Loreal Les Blondisemes that has 30v developer. It can take a level 5 to a level 8 or 9.

      Delete
  29. What is your favorite purple shampoo? Is it still MATRIX So Silver?

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have orange gold hair after bleaching a week ago and I hate it I brought a wella charm toner t14 and t18 will this take out that orange gold color???

    ReplyDelete
  31. i dyed my sisters hair last night into an ombre. we used a highlighting box, thought it'd work best. her color came out a brassy red not exactly what we wanted how can we tone that out??

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi ive recently gone from jet black to blonde it's looks fab and I love it but still got a few orangey tones to it, ive been using fudge purple shampoo and red ken blonde toner conditioner but can still see those brassy tones, regarding colours I always use koleston so was wondering what colour I would use as a toner from this range?

    ReplyDelete
  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Help Please! I tried dying my hair from black to light brown so I bleached it but the bleach didnt lighten up the ends like I wanted so now they're a redish brown and then after I bleached it I applied the light golden brown hair dye it looked pretty decent but I can still see the orange and yellow tones nd the ends still look redish brown. I even applied purple shampoo but it didnt do much help now Idk what to do

    ReplyDelete
  35. I know this is an old post, but I'm having trouble!!! I've used the wella t18, and it works beautifully, I use it with a 10 volume... it washes out the next day. I use wen shampoo, and have goldwell and shimmer lights toning shampoos... not all at once, just saying I have toning shampoos and gentle hair cleanser, but still the tone fades, washes out, call it what you will, I call it infuriating and any help or advice would be so greatly appreciate by myself and my scalp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have found for myself and my daughter the WEN is a terrible cleansing product it completely damaged my 12 yr old daughter's never chemically treated hair made her natural color come out her hair was bleached on ends got all brittle and breaking. Had to cut off 5 inches of her hair and she even got rashes on scalp i do NOT recommend WEN.

      Delete
  36. Love this article. I bleached my hair 3xs from a dark brown to a blonde...I toned it with T18 & T11 and it almost lpoked the same but it toned it down a lil. I'm trying to go platinum. I realized by your info on the color wheel and toner info I should of used T10 violet blue toner to cancel out the yellow orange in my hair. THANK YOU! You were very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have also used the shimmer lights purple shampoo the generic brand. Now I know I need to re tone it with T10 & 20 developer.

      Delete
  37. I bleached my hair and ended up with yellow/orange hair. Then I bought Shimmer Lights and Wella 20 volume developer and T18 toner. I think it evened out the orangeness and made it more uniform throughout my hair but it isn't any less orange. I think I should've used a different toner, a blue based toner (i guess i'm color blind, I thought my hair looked more yellow than orange but I was wrong.) I'll keep washing with purple shampoo and hope it fades. Worst case I'll try and dye it with a dark blonde (ash) dye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try using just 5/10 volume for depositing... It didn't tone like you wanted because it was too high of a developer and it lifted...if it's not orange than yellow I'd use either T-10 or
      T-14...

      Delete
  38. This post was great... I went from a level 3 to a full blonde in 3 days.... I'm surprised my hair didn't fall out or get damaged. I did two color strips to my hair so I could see where my old blonde had been then did a bleach bath to those ends where the blonde was. Then I proceeded in bleaching my regrowth but my hair was an awful orangey yellow color so I did a t14 toner but my hair still has some yellow so I'm gonna throw in a t14 to cut that out.. thanks for this post it helped alot

    ReplyDelete
  39. Yesterday i got my hair bleached to create the ombre look but this is the second time and it turned brassy orange yellow. Will this process work even if its not done right after bleaching?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi! I have a 5 natural level and put a 7ash ash on my hair and now I have copper hair! Help! What do I do? And what do I do next time so this doesn't happen? Any help would be appreciated :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I just recently tried dying my hair back blonde in order to dye it a smokey pink later on. Before hand, I tried dying my hair burgundy but it didn't turn out right. Twice. One burgundy turned Ronald McDonald red, the other a dark brown looking color. When bleaching, I tried a bleach/frosting kit. As well as peroxide and household bleach. Yes, I know. VERY stupid idea. I paid for it with multiple chemical burns and orangrle/blonde/yellow hair. Mainly orange. It's been a couple days since I did this and I was wondering what I could possibly do to fix it. I really wanna go smokey pink. But I'm kind of scared to bleach it again and spend even more money.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Heelloooo, Help needed asap, as planning on a trip to the warehouse today (emergency!) I tried tinting my hair blonde and the roots are orange, I tried a purple shampoo and didn't touch it. I stripped it last night and the roots are still orange and the rest a brighter blonde =0( I have decided to just go and buy a crazy colour! Will a red/dark pink handle ontop of orange roots? my hair has always taken colour good in the past and I don't want to bleach it! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi, i have bleached (platinum) hair. i wanted to retouch up my roots myself to save money. my roots as brown. after bleaching my roots have went orange. would you say a T10 would be best to use to get it to platinum? also is there any other makes of toner that could be used other than Weller??

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi i jus bleached my hair on wednesday how long do i need to wait til i can put toner in it

    ReplyDelete
  45. Bleached my hair for the second time know this time about purple shampoo, will my hair react differently to purple shampoo? I have been searching the internet and found great articles like https://www.mapleholistics.com/blog/purple-shampoo/ which I think you may enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  46. how do I tone hair that has blonde,brassy, highlights with brown roots. the women at Sally's suggested Wella T10. I would like to us T10 and T18 to achieve a platinum blonde.Advice please.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi! My natural hair color is 4. I had highlights put in back in March. I decided that I would touch up my roots (because I started to notice some white hair growing in.)I bought Loreal experte color and highlight in ash blonde. I did the all over color and my hair was ok. Then when I added the highlights it turned my hair a yellow/orange but only the top and my bangs. So I did some research and went to Sallys and bought a 20 developer and Wella T18. It did tone it down some but I'm still noticing some brassiness. I realized afterwards that my hair should have been towel dried and it was completely dry. Does that make a difference? Should my next plan be to use the T18 again or should I use something not so ashey? What would happen if I just colored over it a light brown? Or should I completely strip my hair and start over? Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi I have medium brown hair naturally. I coloured my hair a very dark brown about 6 months ago (box color). About a month ago I went to aveda to lighten my hair for summer and had an ash blonde balayage / sombre done. It isn't quite as light as I hope and certainly not ashy -- more brassy. Since I have virgin roots (which the aveda bleach ad toner never went on)--now about 2-3 inches...I am not sure what to do.

    Should I use the T14 toner with a level 10 developer? Should I avoid getting it on my roots? I don't mind if they go lighter I just don't want the roots to be lighter than the rest!

    ReplyDelete
  49. So I was auburn brown kept underneath dark. Bleached the top icy blue from sallys used I think the 30 volume left in for 25 min. When I rinsed out looked pinkish color which the lady at Sallys said it would. So in think took my well with a 20 volume I believe the well was t14 and left it in for 30 min. Ugh my hair is very yellow roots almost white with a tint of orange. I don't want to re bleach being I did it Friday.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi Christine,I have originally black hair and bleached once to orange. Can I use jerome russell (punky colour) platinum toner with 20 developer to make ash colour? What colour do you think I will get? Should I get demi-permanent blue colour instead??

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi, Thanks for your information it is great. Could you tell me please which toner is good for brassy colour from l'oreal.Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
  52. Nice post!

    Also here is a great offer from ArganLife to grow hair long and strong! Click to know about BUY 1 ARGAN GET 1 FOR FREE OFFER
    ORDER NOW!

    ReplyDelete