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Why Is Brassy Hair Bad? And… Is It Always?


Aiming for that solid gold or sterling silver dye? Getting constantly frustrated when those pesky yellow undertones creep up on you? Meet brassy hair, the bane of every light-colored hairstyle. 

Brassy hair makes its appearance when your hair gains more warm tones than would be necessary from a variety of post-dye factors, therefore altering your original dye with a brass-like look. Often mistaken for your hair’s natural tendency towards warm or gold tones, a common hair myth has been created – people have started associating naturally golden strands with the unfortunate side effects of brassy hair. 

And because of this unfortunate misunderstanding, there are people who look incredible with such colors, but avoid them in fear of having their hair called 'brassy.' Thankfully, we are here to clear up the confusion once and for all. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself from brassy hair: 

  • How to Spot Brassy Hair
  • Why Does Hair Turn Brassy?
  • Keeping Your Blonde Hair-Do Brass-Free

How to Spot Brassy Hair

The greatest distinction between having brassy hair and just having warm-toned hair is found in its placement. If the warm colors are placed towards the middle and ends of your hair, it will look natural and pleasing, but if they are found towards the roots, it will give your hair a rather unnatural look. This is the type of brassiness that you want to run away from. 

Our roots are usually cool-toned. If you take a look in the sun at natural brunettes and blondes, you will instantly notice that the roots are cooler and possibly darker, while the rest of the hair bounces off the light with its warmer colors. 

Another instance where warm tones are not wanted is when people go for a concentrated light blonde dye or even a white dye. When this kind of colored hair is uncared for, yellow and orange patches can appear, causing an aesthetically unpleasant effect, because of the contrast between the cool blonde and warm yellows and oranges. 

Why Does Hair Turn Brassy?

If you dyed your hair blonde, you have probably seen how much work is involved in taking care of it. Keeping both the scalp and the hair follicles healthy is a challenge in and of itself, but added on top of that comes the struggle of fixing the yellow streaks that appear seemingly out of nowhere. But, in reality, discovering undesired warm tones in your post-dye light blonde hair is not uncommon at all, and it is quite simple to understand why it happens too. 

Toner Fade-Out

One of the main reasons why blonde hair turns brassy is the fact that the toner eventually fades. When you bleach your hair, you might notice that it does not lift directly to the desired color, but to yellows and oranges, which is a very common occurrence.

Seeing as all hair has some kind of warm tones in it, once it has been stripped of any color, the warm tones are the ones that remain. This is why your stylist will use a toner to get rid of that unwanted 'brassiness.' However, after a few washes, the toner is bound to stop working, and that’s when the brassy look makes its appearance.

Naturally Brassy Undertones 

As mentioned before, all hair has some kind of warm undertones, and oftentimes they fight against the bleach, eventually winning the battle. 

Of course, this mostly happens to people who are not naturally blonde; but if you are one of them and still suffer from yellow rebel streaks, you might want to start protecting your hair from surrounding air pollution, unfiltered water from your shower, or any residual chemicals found in public pools. All of these can contribute to the accentuation of naturally brassy undertones.

Unfiltered Shower Water 

The minerals and contaminants found in the unfiltered water that we shower with have been proven to be highly damaging for our health. That damage can greatly affect both your skin and your hair, being a potential cause for the brassy discoloration you might struggle with. For this reason, you might want to consider getting a shower filter installed for a softer and cleaner washing experience. 

Residual Chlorine  

If a natural blonde has to protect their hair from all these external factors, people with bleached hair must pay extra attention. The residual chlorine found in public pools is an aggressive chemical for your hair, attacking it and making it susceptible to all kinds of damage, including stripping away the bleach or the nurturing products used to maintain it. 

Keeping Your Blonde Hair-Do Brass-Free 

As we’ve already established, it’s best to start protecting your hair from harsh chemicals and minerals by avoiding dipping it in the pool, keeping it protected, or by filtering your water. Beyond this tried and true advice, we have even more solutions for preventing and fixing those warm tones that ruin the appearance of your beautiful hair:

Avoid Washing Your Hair Daily 

Washing your hair daily is not something you want to do, especially after bleaching and stripping it of its natural oils. If you're going to keep your color for as long as possible, you should try to wash your hair only two times a week. You might find it hard at first, but trust us when we say that it’s for the best. When your hair starts getting a little greasy, do not be shy and give it a spritz of that dry shampoo. 

Additionally, before washing your hair, try applying a cold-pressed oil mix to it for at least 30 minutes before shampooing, or overnight, for the best results. This will ensure that your hair maintains its natural shine without the unwanted brassiness that would ensue without the added protection. 

Condition and Then Condition Again  

We have mentioned the dangers of chlorine, now let's see how to actually save your hair from it. 

If you can’t keep your hair out of the water, you should at least wet your hair beforehand with tap water so that you grant it an extra layer of protection. In doing so, your hair will have already soaked all the water it could, so the chlorine won’t do as much damage. 

When you go back home, you should shampoo and condition your hair with the most nourishing products on hand, such as our Moroccan Argan Oil blend. After that, go one step further and use a deep conditioning treatment full of nutritious oils for extra hydration. After all, moisture is the one saving your blonde hair’s appearance!

Cold Water Rinse 

Hot water is never going to help keep the integrity of your hair, instead harming it further due to the added heat. When you take a bath, all of your pores open up, including those on your scalp, which is why you need to give your hair a final cold rinse to help close the hair follicle and lock in moisture in your hair shaft, giving your hair a shiny final touch. 

Beloved Purple Shampoo 

When you decide to go lighter, purple shampoo (and possibly blue one as well) will be your best friend. It’s simple color theory: on the color wheel, yellow and purple are on opposite sides. These complementary colors neutralize each other, which is why purple shampoo is best for yellow tones, while blue shampoo is adequate for orange streaks. It's the safest way to get rid of the brassiness invading your hair color immediately.  

Marius Capra

Charismatic copywriter, intrepid linguist, and advertising aficionado. To make a long story short, writing has always been both my greatest passion, and the one thing that would always bring me comfort - whether it was in the form of short stories, poetry, or academic writing. I love to write because I live to express myself as authentically as I can, and I am a firm believer in the fact that words can always do you justice… if you choose the right ones of course.

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