You might already be aware, that when dying your hair to lighten it, you run the risk of your hair color turning “brassy”. But what is brassy hair? Why does this happen? And what hair types does this happen to? This issue happens to people with all hair types, however, the one thing that ties potential brassiness into the equation when dying your hair comes from lightening your hair with artificial pigments.
When Dying Your Hair Goes Wrong
Dealing with brassy hair color corrections are notorious at being difficult to adjust. It can be so disheartening when you get excited about a new hairstyle for a special occasion, a wedding, or a new chapter in your life, and slowly but surely the unwanted color and tones in your hair begin to creep in. Understanding what brassy hair is and what causes this unwanted transformation is how you can begin to prevent this from happening in the future.
First let’s start with the most important questions before diving into the causes, treatment, and preventative tips.
What is Brassy Hair?
Brassy tones in hair are typically considered “warm tones” that show up after a dye job. There are variations of brassiness depending on your particular hair type, this does not only happen to people with dark hair or blonde hair. This unfortunately can happen to anyone who is looking to lighten their hair color from their natural shade, whether it is black, brown, or blonde. This means you might find your hair has turned either orange, yellow, or red and just looks…off. Some orange, yellow, or red tones might appear brighter or stronger depending on your hair color.
When Does Brassiness in Hair Happen?
This usually happens when transitioning from a darker hair color to a lighter color, such as blonde or platinum. Brassy tones can also appear when transitioning to a lighter brown color. Alternatively, if you have naturally blonde hair, you might have considered “lifting” your natural color to appear more vibrant with more dimension. Unfortunately, brassiness can also happen if not executed properly. This phenomenon can happen with full hair dye jobs, balayage, or even hair that has only been highlighted.
What Causes Brassiness?
The cause of brassiness in hair can come from a few different factors. When dying or lifting your hair color, it is always recommended by hair stylists that you go to someone who is experienced in this particular skill set to avoid unwanted tones.
Not every hair stylist has the proper training to execute dye jobs that lighten dark or blonde hair. Keep in mind, dying your hair yourself is very risky and using box dye at home is not always recommended as you might not know if your natural hair already has brassy undertones, or requires additional steps in order to achieve the results you are looking for.
Let’s look at some other causes that could affect your overall hair color. When going through the process of lightening your hair color, it is important to remember that depending on your hair color, the process of how this is done will greatly affect the outcome.
The major cause of brassiness in darker hair is when the bleaching mix used, typically ammonia and peroxide, and the process of oxidation is not followed through properly or your hair does not easily let go of the black pigments during bleaching.
The black pigments in darker hair, also known as melanin, need to be stripped away in order for your hair to accept the artificial color correctly. If dark pigments are still left over after the bleaching process, this will end up causing your hair to turn brassy when the dye is placed over top.
However, if you have blonde hair and are looking to either lighten or lift to achieve a more vibrant color, the yellow pigments in your hair are also considered warm tones that also need to be stripped away in order to achieve the lighter look you’re going for.
How Can I Prevent Brassy Hair?
Here are six tips to help prevent brassy hair:
-Prevention tips can include some or all of the following. Firstly, going to a professional who can recommend low-pH or ammonia-free hair color that will help you reach your desired results is a must. Understanding that a professional hair stylist will be able to provide you with the color formula uniquely fitting your hair will be a huge factor in avoiding brassiness.
-Unfortunately, the next tip might be a pain, especially if you are planning on a new hairstyle during the sunny summer months or for a vacation. However, avoiding long exposure to direct sunlight as well as chlorine from pools is a great way to prevent this from happening.
-Consider using sulfate free shampoo and other color protectant products during your styling routine as another preventative measure to ward of brassiness. Heat brings out the warm tones in your hair, so using products that protect your hair from heat damage and finishing off your shower with cold water can help decrease the chances of brassy hair.
-When choosing your new hairstyle, always consult with your hair stylist first if the permanent color you’re choosing is a good fit for your particular hair type. This might mean that instead of choosing one all over color, it might be best to use multiple colors and work them into the hair as highlights and lowlights.
-After you have finished your dye job, it could help to ask for a glaze to help prevent unwanted tones and to lock in the fresh new color you have chosen. While this will need to be reapplied after one to two months, it is a great way to protect your new hair color.
-Hydrate your hair. Use conditioner to keep your hair healthy and soft. The less hydrated your hair is the more chance there is your hair will not hold your new hair color as best as it could. And if you use products to increase the shine of your hair, or deep-conditioning treatments, make sure they are made to be used to protect artificial pigments and avoid brassiness.
If you have already encountered the effects of brassy hair after your dye job, there are a few way that you can combat this issue with the following treatment tips.
One of the most popular treatment tips to treat brassy hair is to use purple shampoo. Again, regardless of whether you are a brunette or blonde, purple shampoo has an effective violet toning pigment that stays on the top layer of the hair and helps maintain your artificial pigment and decrease the chances of brassiness.
Treatment Tips to Try at Home
Finally, if you are looking for another way to treat brassy hair at home, using vinegar could be your answer. This is considered to be a more natural way to combat brassiness. 1 part vinegar and two parts water, how much you use depends on how long or short your hair is.
Mix only these two ingredients together and use a spray bottle to apply directly after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair thoroughly. Sit with the vinegar until its fully soaked into your roots and every inch of your hair for a few minutes. Then you wash away with only luke warm water. This will get rid of the brassiness naturally!
Final Tips to Remember
Hopefully these preventive tips can help you avoid brassy hair altogether! Always consult with a professional hair stylist before undergoing lightening your hair.
Make sure you stylist is equipped to provide you with the best formulations of bleaching and color treatments, and of course avoid direct sunlight and chlorine during the summer months.
Dying your hair does require maintenance, so in order to maintain a beautiful and brass-free hairstyle, purchase the products that will help you do so!