During one of my restless phases, I decided I wanted burgundy hair. When I saw the color of my hair after I rinsed off the dye, I knew I would regret it. Yes, it was purplish as it should be, but it turned progressively red as the days went by. I had no choice but to grin and bear it until the time when it was safe enough to color my hair again.
What is Brassy Hair?
Brassy hair is that carrot color you got when you aimed for light brown, that corn hair instead of silky blond, and yes, my red hair instead of burgundy. It is basically any warmer color than what you intended. It commonly happens when you bleach or dye your hair to a lighter shade.
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How Do You Get Brassy Hair?
Melanin, our natural hair pigment, is located in the cortex, the hair’s second layer. Non-permanent dye coats the hair strands with color.
Permanent dye penetrates the hair cuticle (first layer of the hair) and enters the cortex.
Dyeing our hair with lighter color strips the cortex of its natural pigments so that the pigments from the dye can bond with our hair.
Brassy hair results when the stripping process does not completely remove the pigments from the cortex.
If you color your hair regularly or use many products in your hair, the chemical build-up can also make your hair brassy. Continued use of hair-care products with sulfates can damage the hair and also result in brassy tones.
Chlorine is another chemical that can cause brittle and damaged hair. Excessive sun exposure can also make your hair color fade faster, resulting in a dry hay hue.
How Do You Get Rid of Brassy Hair Fast?
Fret not; your bad hair days are not without a solution. You need only to neutralize your hair dye to remove the brassy-ness of your locks.
Do you need to go to a salon to do this? Not necessarily. Thankfully, there are things you can do at home to lessen the harshness of your brassy hair.
What home remedies get rid of brassy hair? Compiled here are some common solutions that you can try, using products and ingredients that you can easily buy at an affordable price.
1. Use Neutralizing Shampoo/Conditioner
Before buying a neutralizing shampoo or conditioner, you first refer to a color wheel. Find your tone in the color wheel, then identify the color on the opposite side (complementary colors). That should be the color of your neutralizing shampoo. The principle of the wheel is that opposite colors cancel each other.
If your undertones are yellow, use violet/purple shampoo. If your tones are orange, use blue shampoo. If your hair is red, use green shampoo, and so forth.
Wet your hair with warm water to open up the cuticles. Apply shampoo/conditioner and leave on for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse the hair with cold water to close the cuticles, sealing in moisture.
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2. Use Hair Mask
As with the neutralizing shampoo, choose a mask color that will cancel the warm undertones of your brassy hair. Use it after shampoo. Leave it on for about 5 minutes, rinse and towel dry your hair.
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3. Darken Your Hair
Dye your hair with a darker color. Choose a dye closest to your natural hair color or a color that could cover your brassy hair effectively.
The blue-black dye is very effective in neutralizing all colors of brassy hair. Yes, that’s right, ALL COLORS. (You can throw away that color wheel now.) Just mix a small amount of the dye with your favorite shampoo (Use as much as you like). Apply to your hair and rinse as you would normally do.
4. Use a Toner
How can I tone down my brassy hair?
A trip to your favorite salon for a neutralizing treatment is the easiest solution for your brassy hair troubles. However, be prepared to pay the price.
Toners can fix brassy hair quickly, but the store-bought variety is usually expensive, and their chemical contents can further aggravate your brassy hair. Home-made toners are a gentler alternative to your hair, scalp, and wallet.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Toner
Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. Apply the mixture after shampoo and conditioning. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off. Do this once a week only if you use hair care products heavily to remove chemical build-up. Otherwise, do it once a month. Frequent use of ACV can lead to dry, itchy scalp and worsen your brassy hair due to its acidity.
Baking Soda Toner
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a sulfate-free shampoo. Add water until you get the consistency that you want. You may add a pinch of food coloring. (Refer to the color wheel for the neutralizing color appropriate for your warm tones.) Massage into your hair and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse.
Baking soda acts as a lightening agent, removing the remaining pigments in the cortex. It also works as a clarifying treatment that washes off oil and mineral build-up from hair care products.
Lemon Honey Toner
Lemon is another lightening agent.
Mix ¼ cup of lemon juice with ¾ cup of water. Add 2 tablespoons of honey. Put the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until completely mixed. Spray on your hair and leave it on for 2 hours. It is best to wait out those 2 hours under the sunlight to boost the lightening properties of lemon.
Herbal Tea Toners
Teas are gentle toners, so you must use them repeatedly until you get the tone you want. You can use green tea, oolong tea, or chamomile tea.
Steep the tea bags in hot water. You may opt to leave the steeped tea overnight for a darker color. Apply the tea to your hair, leave it for 30 minutes, and rinse with cool water. Or, you can spray it on your hair and leave it on all day.
Tips to Avoid Brassy Hair
Prevention is always better than cure. Brassy hair does not just happen overnight. Sometimes it is caused by an accumulation of incorrect hair care practices that we may or may not be aware of.
- As much as possible, use hair care products with natural ingredients to minimize mineral or chemical build-up.
- Protect your hair from prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Avoid frequent dyeing, bleaching, and other hair treatments that weaken the hair and reduce scalp moisture.
- Wash your hair with filtered water or use a water softener. The minerals in hard water can make your hair brassy.
- Shampoo less, condition more.
- Avoid salt and pool water.
Sometimes, we need some sort of physical change to break the monotony of our daily grind. One of the easiest ways to achieve that is by preening our hair. Newly colored or treated hair is fabulous initially, but as the treatments fade, we often have to deal with brassy hair.
Reviving our locks need not always cost us a limb. Fortunately, there are many homemade solutions that require simple ingredients that we can easily avail.