How To Remove Brassy Tones From Brown Hair

Delve into the nuances of hair coloring to learn to neutralize unsightly undertones.

Reviewed by Ghanima Abdullah, Cosmetologist
By Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

What is more irritating than yellow, red, and orange streaks ruining your highlighted hair within no time? If you can relate to it, it is time for you to remove brassy tones from brown hair.

Of course, you probably feel you wasted time and money in getting the highlights done. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not limited to a few women and is common worldwide. But the good news is you can completely avoid brassiness in brown hair by taking a few measures. This article guides you through tackling brassy tones if you are a brunette.

Why Does Brown Hair Turn Brassy?

Brassiness is common in color-treated brown hair. Before dyeing, the hair is usually bleached with ammonia and peroxide to lift or oxidize the melanin pigments. After bleaching, the artificial pigments in the hair color are deposited into the shafts.

However, sometimes, bleaches cannot oxidize all the melanin pigments in the strands, and eventually, the original hair pigments start revealing themselves through the artificial color pigments. That’s when your hair develops a warm tone.

The result? Brassy brown hair!

The intensity of the brassy tones depends on your natural hair color. Light brown hair develops a warm yellow tone, while reddish-orange hair develops deeper brassy strokes.

In a nutshell, the brassy tones are caused by the melanin overpowering the hair dye in your strands.

Don’t be sad thinking that your money and color are both washed down the drain. You can easily remove brassy tones from brown hair.

All About Removing Brassy Tones From Brown Hair

You can try these remedies to fix brassy brown hair at home:

1. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Remove brassy tones from brown hair with apple cider vinegar

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Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV, is commonly used as a post-shampoo hair rinse due to its perceived medicinal and hair benefits. It is said to balance the scalp pH and add a natural shine to the hair. People also use it to maintain and preserve their hair color.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ACV
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil (optional)

Process

  1. Mix the ACV, water, and essential oil.
  2. Rinse your hair with the solution after shampooing.
  3. Leave it on for about 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse off with cool water.

2. Apply Baking Soda

Remove brassy tones from brown hair with baking soda

Shutterstock

The application of baking soda to the hair had started off the “no-poo” trend. This method is not scientifically backed. However, many people use it to avoid frequent hair washes and prevent color fading. It helps to remove dirt and excess oil. However, excess use of baking soda can sensitize the scalp and cause brittle and dry hair.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1-2 pumps of any sulfate-free shampoo
  • 2-3 drops of blue or purple food dye

Process

  1. Combine the shampoo, dye, and baking soda to make a homogenous mixture.
  2. Massage your hair with the mixture.
  3. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse it off.
  4. Finish it off with a conditioner.

3. Tea And Lemon Juice Toner

This is a DIY brassy brown hair toner. Using this toner 3-5 times a week may help prevent brassy tones.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 4 scoops of chamomile tea
  • Juice of a medium-sized lemon

Process

  1. Steep the tea in hot water for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Strain it and mix lemon juice.
  3. Use the mixture as a post-shampoo rinse. Leave it on for 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with cool water.

4. Use A Blue Or Purple Shampoo

Woman removing brassy tones from brown hair with purple shampoo

Shutterstock

Blue or purple shampoo neutralizes the warm brassy, and yellow tones to restore your hair color. The cool colors like blue and purple are on the opposite spectrum of warm colors like red and orange. They neutralize the effect of the warm shades seen in brassy brown hair. To use a purple or blue shampoo:

  1. Wet your hair.
  2. Apply a coin-sized amount of blue or purple shampoo to your hair. Coat all strands well.
  3. Leave it on for not more than 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse off the shampoo and apply conditioner.
Stylecraze Says
You can also apply a purple hair mask to tone down the brassy tones in your brown hair.

5. Use A Hair Toner And Conditioner

Hair toners are color correctors that eliminate the yellow, red, and orange undertones in your brown hair. Some toners may deposit pigments directly onto the hair follicles, while others have activators to penetrate the hair and leave behind a semi-permanent effect.

Hair toning products for brown and brassy hair must be diluted with shampoo or conditioner before application. You can also purchase a toner-enriched shampoo, conditioner, glaze, or gloss.

The following section lists a few measures to take to prevent the recurrence of brassiness. Scroll down for more information.

Ways To Prevent Brassiness In Brown Hair

1. Switch Your Hair Products

Regular shampoos and conditioners fade the hair color faster. Always use color-safe hair products to prevent fading and brassiness.

2. Avoid Excessive Heat Treatment

Woman preventing brassy tones from brown hair by stopping use of blow dryer

Shutterstock

Excessive exposure to heat styling tools like blow dryers and hair straighteners or curlers on high heat can fade the hair color and cause brassiness. If you cannot avoid using them, coat the hair strands with a heat protectant before styling. Also, limit the usage of heat styling tools and try to air dry your hair.

3. Limit Sun Exposure

Woman preventing brassy tones from brown hair by limiting sun exposure

Shutterstock

Protect your hair from the UV rays, as they can alter your hair color and cause brassiness. Cover your head when you step out in the sun. Use a UV protection hair spray.

4. Use A Neutral Hair Dye

Use a neutral dye to achieve the same effect as blue and purple shampoos. Neutral dark and medium brown hair dyes contain a blend of blue and green dyes to neutralize red, yellow, and orange tones. They also refresh the hair color and impart an envious sheen and glow to your hair.

5. Limit Washing Your Hair

The more you wash your hair, the quicker the color will fade. Wash your hair not more than twice a week to prevent brassiness. Use only lukewarm or room temperature water as hot water can fade the hair color.

6. Avoid Swimming

It is because chlorine exposure can damage your hair. Chlorine has an abrasive effect that may roughen your hair and fade the color. Avoid taking a dip at the beach, as saltwater will have the same damaging effect. If you want to swim, cover your head properly to prevent water exposure.

Stylecraze Says
The butterfly pea flower is a natural alternative to reduce the brassy tones of brown hair. Boil the flowers in water for 15 minutes and mix this water with your shampoo.

Your brown hair can get brassy when the bleaching agent in the hair dye does not remove melanin from the strands effectively. Light brown hair takes on warm yellow hues, while reddish-orange hair takes on deeper brassy tones. You can remove brassy tones from brown hair with ingredients from your pantry, such as lemon juice and tea, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda. You could also use purple shampoo, hair toner, and toning conditioner. There are some additional tips mentioned above to keep your hair brassy tone-free. Follow these tips to keep your hair color looking fresh and vibrant. You can also head over to your nearest trusty hair salon to correct those brassy tones.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of brassy hair fast?

The best way to get rid of and prevent brassy hair quickly is using a purple shampoo. You can also use toner to eliminate the brassy tones from your hair.

Will peroxide get rid of brassy hair?

Peroxide helps in preventing brassy hair after bleaching. After bleaching, stylists suggest mixing a little bit of hydrogen peroxide with your toner to reduce the chances of your hair turning brassy.

Key Takeaways

  • Original hair pigments that are not entirely oxidized by bleaching agents show up as brassy tones
  • You can remove these brassy tones with apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or chamomile tea with lemon juice.
  • You can also try blue or purple shampoos, and hair toners and conditioners.
  • Keep your tresses from gaining a brassy hue by avoiding heat, using the right hair products, and more.

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author
Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She... more

Ghanima Abdullah

(Cosmetologist)
A cosmetologist from Chicago, IL, Ghanima lives in the Caribbean. As a beauty consultant and stylist, she has been in... more

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