Give your orange hair nightmare the perfect fairy tale ending it deserves.
So, you were trying to go for lighter locks, finally fulfilling that dream of having golden blonde sun-kissed hair. You decided to give home hair dyeing a shot – only to end up with brassy-toned, orange hair. Yikes!
DIY hair dye sessions have gotten the best of just about all of us. No matter how many helpful hints we've followed or countless TikTok tutorials we've watched, it seems as though sometimes, our hair has a mind of its own and wants to avoid cooperating with our plans.
Don't panic though, as we've put together some easy-to-follow tips and tricks you can try to avoid brassy hair color and to get the hair color you want from the comfort of your home.
So, why did my hair turn orange?
Your hair can turn orange and brassy when dyeing due to a few different reasons, depending on the starting color of your hair and the type of dye used. Let's take a closer look.
If you have dark brown to black hair
If you're someone with a darker hair color and have chosen a permanent color that is more than two shades lighter than your natural color, chances are that your hair will come out with a brassy orange color – and there's science behind it.
Put simply, all hair contains melanin (the natural pigment responsible for the lightness or darkness of your hair). These underlying pigments give your rich brown and ebony strands depth and dimension. In dark-colored hair, red and orange colors are usually the most prominent pigments.
Permanent color generally can only lighten two shades, so using anything lighter will only expose the underlying pigment without covering it. It's super frustrating, but there are ways to fix it!
If you have blonde hair
Even if you're rocking a lighter shade already, your blonde hair color isn't automatically in the clear from those unwanted tones or orange or yellow.
You might develop brassy tones for several reasons if you have blonde locks. Factors like the quality of your water, sun exposure, going for a swim in a chlorinated pool and even certain hair products can all play a role. But don't stress, as there are ways to help combat those orange tones and get your blonde shade looking its best again.
How can I fix my orange hair color at home?
Luckily, fixing orange hair and brassy tones at home is completely doable, especially if you don't have the time to visit a salon and cry for help from a skilled hair colorist. Here's a list of some expert tips you can follow.
1. Tone it up with blue or purple shampoo
You'll either need a blue or purple toning shampoo that helps neutralize brassiness to reveal the lighter hair color you're aiming for.
The key trick here is figuring out which hair toner to use. It's simply a matter of color theory – using complementary colors (pairs of colors that contrast each other) will cancel out unwanted warm tones. If unsure, you can always use a hair color wheel to help you decide. All you need to do is look at the current shade of your hair and locate the color directly opposite it on the color wheel.
Purple toning shampoo: If your hair has yellow tones, you'll need a purple toner. It contains violet pigments that help neutralize the yellow undertone, giving your hair an even color. If you have lighter-colored hair, then purple toning shampoo is the one for you.
Blue toning shampoo: If your hair has more orange undertones, you'll need a blue toning shampoo to keep brassiness at bay. Blue toner consists of blue pigments, which help to neutralize orange tones. So if you have dark hair and have attempted to go blonde (only to end up with orange hair), then a blue shampoo is your best friend.
Some of our tried and tested favorites include salon professional toning shampoos such as Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo and Conditioner. You could use them as you normally would a shampoo and conditioner or apply them to dry hair as a mask. It's also worth keeping them as part of your hair care routine (for example, using the shampoo every second week for regular toning sessions) to prevent the brassiness from re-emerging.
The bottom line: If you have yellow tones (usually for blonde hair), use purple shampoo. If you're dealing with orange tones (usually brunette hair), go for blue shampoo.
2. Use a dark ash or dark cool blonde demi-permanent color
While this might seem like going entirely against your goals if you were trying to lighten your hair color, dyeing your hair darker might be the best solution for your hair health. Dark hair color can help cover up unwanted tones.
Natural Instincts is a great choice since it won’t continue to lighten the hair but will instead add tone to help neutralize the orangey tones. The key here is to do a strand test first! This way you can figure out the correct timing you’ll need to get the best result. You may also need to adjust the shade to lighter or darker if you aren’t satisfied with your strand test. Don’t worry, though, if you need some extra guidance, call our Clairol Hotline at 1-800-CLAIROL and they can talk you through the process.
3. Go for a hair gloss
If you're looking for a gentler alternative, getting a hair gloss is the way to go.
Hair glossing is a semi-permanent hair treatment you can do at home with minimal skills. It reduces unwanted brassiness and orange tones and adds a megawatt shine to your hair. Using hair gloss is also a great way to bring your hair color back to life improving its overall health and softness.
Consider our Color Gloss Up range to keep your color fresh, condition deeply, and add shine – all in one simple step. Packed with rich conditioners, including shea butter and argan oil, you can get the gloss and smoothness you're dreaming of from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is to choose a hair gloss depending on your desired hair color. Play It Cool Blonde is a great choice for too much yellow.
Remember that a hair gloss will not be as effective if you have bright orange or yellow hair. If that's the case, use one of the options mentioned earlier for better alternative.
If you do get a hair gloss done, you can repeat the process every few weeks to maintain the desired tone and shine. Cutting down on using styling products (such as hair creams and sprays) and heat styling tools can also help keep your hair feeling glossy for longer. However, as hair gloss is not a permanent dye, the treatment will fade with each wash.
How can I prevent my hair from going orange?
There’s no absolute way to be sure that your hair won’t turn orange again, but there are things you can do to keep it in check.
- • Do a quick strand test: Doing a strand test is an easy and safe way to check that you love your new hair color before you color your whole head.
- • Strictly follow your box hair color instructions: There's a reason why hair coloring instructions exist! Make sure to stick to the recommended timings especially when bleaching, as the product needs to be left on your hair strands long enough to lighten it to the desired blonde.
- • Use a color-protecting shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask: This is especially important if you color your hair frequently as they help enhance your hair color-treated hair and keep it healthy.
- • Protect your hair from direct sun: The UV rays from the sun can bring out different tones and colors in your hair. To stop your hair from going brassy, avoid exposing your hair for long lengths of time in direct sunlight.
- • Keep away from ocean or pool water: Seawater and chlorine may oxidize your hair and turn it into a color you don't want. When going for a swim, try not to dip your hair fully in the water or, wear a swimming cap (glam, we know!) so that you can protect your hair color.
Hair coloring mishaps can happen to the best of us, but fortunately, there are options to help fix them. Follow our simple at-home solutions and expert tips, and say goodbye to those brassy, harsh orange tones and brassy colors in no time.
Still, looking for a helping hand to achieve your blonde hair dreams? Check out our blog, where we've put together some top tips and blonde hair color inspos to make going blonde easy!