No one wants their hair color to look brassy. The general rule of thumb is the lighter you make your hair, the more likely it is to turn brassy since the process used to lighten hair opens the cuticle, allowing it to be more susceptible to damaging factors that can alter the color. While brassiness is hard to avoid, it isn’t impossible to avert. Brassy color can arise from a variety of causes:
The sun is the number-one offender for brassy color, as it causes color to fade. That is why you should always keep color-treated locks protected from the sun. A scarf or wide-brimmed hat is an easy, chic way to preserve your color.
No matter how diligent you are in caring for your color there’s one element that can’t be controlled: oxidation. “Hair oxidizes because of oxygen in the air, coupled with products (as well as the sun, oxygen, minerals and water),” says celebrity stylist Christophe. “When the two fuse together the color fades. Think of how metal rusts when it is exposed to outside environmental factors for a prolonged period of time.”
If your water is hard and laden with heavy metals and minerals it can alter your color due to chemical reactions between the color molecules and the chemicals in the water. At home water softeners and filtration systems can help.
Salt, Heat and Sweat
Salt, heat and sweat dry out hair and roughen the cuticle, giving color molecules an easy way to escape from the hair shaft.
Using The Wrong Products
According to celebrity colorist Elie Jahanbigloo of Juan Juan Salon in Beverly Hills and Brentwood, CA, using the wrong products—like clarifying shampoos and those with sulfates and alcohol—can lead to brassy strands since they strip away the color.
Chlorine can be to blame for brassy hair. “It causes a chemical reaction that counteracts with the actual tone of the color. Most of the time, it leads the hair to appear dull and dry looking,” says Jahanbigloo.