5 Super Effective Ways to Keep Your Color-Treated Hair From Turning Brassy

Photo Credits: ShutterStock | Model Used for Illustrative Purpose Only

If there’s one thing anyone with lightened hair knows, it’s that it’s really hard to keep your tresses from getting a yellowy, orange tinge. Whenever you lighten your hair, the process removes some of the darker, natural color in order to deposit the new, lighter color. Once your color is lifted, underlying gold or red tones can begin to peek through. Here are five surefire ways to keep that brassy look from ruining your locks.

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If the cause is hard water, use a smart shower filter to prevent chemical buildup.

Color-treated hair often absorbs the buildup of heavy minerals found in water (think calcium, chlorine and magnesium), which can ruin its vibrancy. “These deposits can trigger hair color to fade, giving blonds a brassy or muddy hue, and cause highlights to disappear in as little as a few weeks,” says celebrity stylist Riawna Capri. The Raindrops Showerhead ($120) uses a six-step filtration system to eliminate harmful minerals from the water so your color continues to look its best. 


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If the cause is underlying warm tones, try a shampoo that color-corrects.

Over time, as the lightness in your hair fades, the coolness washes out, bringing more of a gold or copper shade to the surface. Purple shampoos can cancel out those warm tones. “Purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel, which is why it cools down the brassiness,” Capri says. To revive highlighted hair, Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo ($15) deposits a blue-violet pigment to neutralize any orange tones th˜t arise in colored-treated hair. 


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If the cause is fading color due to the sun, opt for a gloss to perk up your color.

When chemically lightened hair is exposed to the sun, water or air, it can break down the same way a pipe can begin to rust. “Oxidation is the number-one cause of fading color,” says Matrix celebrity hairstylist George Papanikolas. “When your color is exposed to the elements, it oxidizes and becomes brassy.” To prevent this from happening, apply a semipermanent gloss like dpHUE Color Boosting GLOSS + Deep Conditioning Treatment ($30) once a week. 


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If the cause is porous hair, a color-depositing hair mask may be the solution.

To brighten up your hair, either bleach or color has to penetrate the inner cortex of each strand. This causes hair to become porous, vulnerable and damaged, and the deposited color can easily escape and “turn.” Treat your hair to a weekly mask, like Orlando Pita Play Ampli-Tint Color Depositing Hair Mask ($30), which contains violet colors to take down brassy tones, opal extracts to add extra shine and amino acids for a dose of much-needed moisture. 


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If the cause is color that wasn’t lifted enough, your colorist can adjust your shade.

If dark hair isn’t lightened just right, it can look orange or red. “When you have dark hair and go superlight, you can end up with brassy tones,” says Papanikolas. If your hair is prone to picking up these tones, ask your colorist to tweak the color formula. “Keep your base within one or two shades of your natural color,” adds Papanikolas, who performed the color-correction shown here. “Lift the highlights to the desired tone instead of using a toner, which can cause them to fade quickly.”


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