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A complete guide to toning blonde at home to get rid of brassiness

Discover Clairol's ultimate guide to toning your blonde at home.

Are you noticing brassy tones in your blonde hair? Brassy hair with orange or yellow tones is every blonde's nightmare. Whether you're a natural blonde or someone that dyes their hair, unwanted tones can appear either way. 

The good news is there are plenty of ways you can eliminate orange tones and brassy shades. By taking special care of your blonde hair and investing in good hair toner products, you can say 'adieu' to brass and 'bonjour' to vibrant, healthy-looking blonde locks. 

Keep reading to discover our top tips for toning blonde hair at home. 

What is brassy hair?

Brassy hair refers to unwanted warm tones in hair that typically emerge on dark hair that's been bleached. But it can also occur for those who are naturally blonde and in those with highlighted hair or darker hair that's been dyed lighter.

In blonde hair colours, brass usually shows up in yellow or sometimes gold tones. In brunette hair, brassiness is presented by orange or red tones in the hair. Anyone can experience brassy hair, but those with colour-treated hair are more prone to this due to the nature of lighter hair and bleaching.

Why does blonde hair go brassy?

When you dye your hair blonde, your natural hair colour is lifted. This allows for underlying warmth in your hair to become more visible. Everyone has some level of warmth in their natural hair (your skin tone will help you indicate just how much warmth). The removal of your natural colour will make the warm yellow, orange or red tones in your hair more visible — especially if the bleaching process does not remove the underlying pigments entirely.

Brassiness can be a common side effect of lightening your hair, but natural blondes can also experience this if their hair has suffered heat or sun damage, for example. Whatever your circumstances, plenty of toning products and care tips are available to prevent brass from appearing. 

How can I fix brassiness?

So now you know what causes brassiness, the next and most important question is how do you fix it? There are multiple at-home toning treatments you can try (and they don't involve making your own apple cider vinegar rinse!). Explore some of these solutions for toning hair to keep brass at bay: 

Use a hair toner

An easy way to neutralize brassy tones is with a hair toner. Blonde It Up Crystal Glow Toner is our top choice for colour-treated blondes, bleached blondes and natural light blondes who are noticing yellow tones in their hair. 

The no-ammonia formula boosts your blonde with gorgeous pearlescent tones and a sheer veil of colour that lasts up to three weeks. Try a blonde shade like Luminous Pearl and Radiant Opal or an expressive tone like Rose Quartz for something bold, bright and beautiful!

Always do an allergy and strand test before using hair colouring products to dye or tone hair. Follow the instructions on the leaflet for the best results. 

Use a purple shampoo

Whether you're rocking platinum blonde, ash blonde, silver or another shade of blonde, purple shampoo is a must-have product for keeping your shade crisp and cool in between colour touch-ups. 

Purple shampoo works by the concept of colour theory. On the colour wheel, purple is opposite yellow. That means the violet pigments in purple toning shampoos can neutralise unwanted yellow hair. Similarly, blue is the opposite of orange on the colour wheel. So those with orange pigments in their brown hair should add a blue shampoo to their hair care routine to banish brass. 

Here's the entire colour wheel, explained: 

In blonde hair, yellow tones are neutralised by purple pigments.

In brown hair, orange tones are neutralised by blue pigments.

In reddish-brown hair, orange and red tones are neutralised by green pigments.

How often should you use purple shampoo?

The answer to this question really depends on the results you're after. If you've got a warm golden blonde or caramel hair colour, using purple shampoo and a toning conditioner treatment biweekly should be enough to keep brass at bay and those golden undertones shimmering. 

If your shade is a cooler tone of blonde, like platinum or ash, you probably don't want to see any warm tones in your tresses. A weekly purple shampoo regimen should do the trick if that's the case. We recommend alternating between a purple shampoo toning treatment and colour protection shampoo to keep your colour vibrant and free from unwanted pigments. 

How long should you leave purple shampoo in your hair

Every purple shampoo processing time is different, so it's always best to check the label and follow the packet instructions to avoid mishaps. You don't want to get purple (or blue hair) unintentionally!

To use our tried and tested Shimmer Lights Purple Shampoo for blonde and silver hair, simply lather the shampoo onto wet hair, rinse and repeat. Leave the second lather on for 3-5 minutes for extra brightening and follow up with the Shimmer Lights Purple Conditioner. Stubborn brassiness be gone!

How can I prevent brassiness and dull hair?

Toning your hair with at-home toning treatments will help eliminate brassiness, but there are other measures you should consider to keep your colour looking vibrant and free from unwanted undertones. Keep these top three tips in mind: 

1. Protect hair from the sun and chemicals

Everyone loves a sunny holiday. Sun, sea and sand = bliss. 

But these elements aren't exactly a vacation for your hair — especially if your hair has been colour-treated. Excessive sun exposure can be very damaging to colour-treated blonde hair, which is more vulnerable to the sun than any other hair colour. 

Chlorine is also a problem for hair as it strips its essential oils, leaving locks dry and more likely to turn brassy. Of course, we're not suggesting you avoid the sun and swimming pools. What sort of holiday would that be!?

Instead, try some of these tricks to keep your colour looking fresh and vibrant: 

  • Use hair SPF or heat protectant spray to protect your strands from high UV. 
  • Saturate your hair in clean water before going into a swimming pool to stop your hair from soaking up lots of chlorinated water. 
  • Wear a swim cap if you enjoy swimming regularly. 

2. Use a shower filter to protect your hair

Most people are aware of the impact chlorine can have on your hair, but it's not as widely known that taking a shower can also be detrimental to your colour. This is because hard water - water that has a high mineral content - can be harsh on your tresses due to certain components like calcium salts and carbonate. Washing your hair frequently in hard water can lead to dry hair and colour fading. 

How hard your water is depends on geography. Some areas in the UK have harder or softer water than others. If your water is hard, it's worth considering purchasing a shower filter to remove the minerals that make your water this way.

3. Avoid using hot water to wash your hair

Another top tip for washing your hair is to use lukewarm or cold water. Hot water lifts the outer hair cuticle which is one of the most common causes of hair colour fading. We know cold water showers aren't always the most pleasant, but trust us, your blonde hair colour with thank you. 

With these tips and tricks, you can keep your blonde hair looking beautifully bright and brass-free. 

Dyeing your hair blonde for the first time? Learn how to avoid getting orange hair colour (it happens) with our colour-correcting guide

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