Bullet-Point Summary: Getting Rid of Brassy, Orange or Yellow Hair:
- Hair that is too brassy (see pictures below) needs to be lifted more with lightener until all the yellow and orange has been lifted out, then toned with a good quality toner.
- Follow the 3 Step technique explained below: Lift with Lightener, Tone with Toner, Finish with Purple Shampoo & Mask.
- If you have lightened to level 9 or 10, use Ugly Duckling's no-lift toners with 20 Vol developer.
- They will neutralize the brassiness and yellowness inside 20 minutes.
- If you have lightened the hair to level 7 or 8, use Ugly Duckling's intense toners with 20 Vol developer.
- They contain an extra booster to get rid of excess yellow and they lift the hair by a level in addition to toning.
- If you are not willing to use lightener or toner, it is possible to tone down brassy hair by using dark ash blonde products and ash additives.
- However, you will need to go a level down. For example, you would need to go from a blonde to a dark ash blonde.
- All these points are explained, with step by step instructions, in this article.
What is Brassy Hair?
- Brassy hair is hair that looks yellowish or orange.
- Basically, hair is "brassy" because it has not been lifted enough - the darker the blonde, the more "brassy" it will look.
- In the image below, you can see that the hair at level 7/8 is more brassy and more orange than the hair at level 9/10.
Image Supplied by Ugly Duckling Stylist Hon G.
2.Why does my client's hair turn brassy when I bleach or lift?
A little bit of color theory:
- Hair has a natural undercoat, or secondary pigment, which becomes visible when you lighten it or even if you stay in the sun for very long.
- When you lighten hair to a dark brown color, you get a red undercoat or tone.
- When you lighten hair to a medium brown color, you get an orange undercoat or tone.
- When you light hair to a blonde hair color, you get a yellow undercoat or tone.
- This table below illustrates the undercoats which occur at every hair level.
- These undercoats often represent a challenge for colorists and their customers as generally speaking these undercoats are not very attractive nor desired by clients.
3. How do I Get Rid of Brassy Hair?
You can get rid of any brassiness provided you follow the right techniques. Basically, there are 3 steps:
STEP ONE: Use a Quality Lightener & Lift the Hair to Level 10
- First, you need to lift the brassy parts up to a very pale yellow color (Level 10).
- Look at the picture below to see what Level 10 looks like.
- For this, we would advise you to use a quality bleach and developer.
- We recommend Brilliant Blondexx with Bond Protect. It's gentle and it lifts up to 7 levels, avoiding breakage.
- Not all bleaches work the same and for this reason we do not recommend that you use any beauty store bleach.
- Make your mix with 20 Vol Developer for the root area and 20 or 30 Vol for the lengths depending on how brassy it is.
- Aim to saturate the hair really well and rinse when the hair gets to level 10.
- When the hair has reached level 10, rinse.
Hair Color Levels
STEP TWO: Tone with the Right Toner
- Toners provide the color neutralization which allow you to get rid of any remaining yellowness and brassiness.
- Ugly Duckling toners are very fast acting, and allow you to get ash blonde, platinum blonde, pearl blonde or silver blonde results.
- If your hair is lifted to a level 9 or 10, use No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V, No-Lift Silver Blonde Toner 10B.
- If your hair is lifted to a level 7 or 8, use Intense Pearl Blonde 100V or Intense Silver Blonde 100B
- If your hair is level 6 or below, it is highly recommended that you lift with an Ugly Duckling lightener, then tone.
- You can also color instead of tone for a fuller and more deep color result.
- For example, you can color grey: Silver Grey or Smoky Blue Grey
- You can also go for a blue-based ash blonde color result: either Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1B or Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1B
- For all of the above results, the better you pre-lighten the hair, the better will be the final result.
- These colors are all shown below.
- The recommended mix for toner is 1:2
- The recommended mix for a color is 1:1
- Aim for a good product saturation
- Leave on for 10-20 minutes or more, according to the intensity of color result required.
|Intense Pearl Blonde 100V||Intense Silver Blonde 100B||No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V||No-Lift Silver Blonde Toner 10B|
|Silver Grey||Smoky Blue Grey||Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1B||Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1B|
STEP THREE: Finish with Purple Shampoo & Mask
- Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo and Mask are low pH sulfate-free products that will help close the cuticle after coloring.
- They will also tone and condition the hair.
- They contain intense purple pigments which will neutralize any remaining yellowness or brassiness in the hair.
- For best results, use plenty of product and massage in very thoroughly. The more these products are in contact with your hair, the more they will transfer those pigments.
- With the purple mask, leave on for 10 minutes under a plastic cap and, if possible, some gentle heat.
- You can use both products regularly after coloring to keep the hair from turning yellow or brassy again.
Real Life Examples
- Mag Sam came in with a very brassy regrowth, as you can see below.
- However, her ends, which had been colored many times before, were pretty light (although still brassy).
- This is a very very common case.
- We applied Ugly Duckling Brilliant Blonde Lightener with 20 Vol developer just to the regrowth area.
- In just 10 minutes we succeeded in lifting this area all the way up to a level 10 blonde.
- We rinsed.
- Next, we applied Intense Pearl Blonde 100V with 20 Vol to the whole head
- We processed around 15 minutes.
- We rinsed.
- We applied Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo.
- We rinsed again.
- You can see that we got her hair to an ultra white blonde result - no brassiness whatsoever!
- We really recommend that you follow this technique if you wish to deal with your brassiness.
WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF MAG'S MAKEOVER HERE:
- Brilliant Blonde Lightener on Regrowth
- 100V Intense Pearl Blonde Toner
- Purple Shampoo
- Randa has dark hair (level 4) but she always colors her hair blonde.
- Elona had to apply Brilliant Blonde and lift her roots right up.
- Thanks to Brilliant Blonde, which is made for dark bases, she got the regrowth right up to a very pale yellow
- Elona then used Pearl Blonde Toner 10V
- The result was a stunning Pearl Blonde result - with zero brassiness!
WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF RANDA'S MAKEOVER HERE:
- Brilliant Blonde Lightener
- 10V Intense Pearl Blonde Toner
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BRASSY HAIR
How do I tone down yellow hair? Will dark ash blonde cover yellow and brassy hair?
- Yes you can do that.
- If you want to tone down yellow hair without using lightener or toner, you should use Ugly Duckling's blue based ash blonde colors (anything ending in "1b").
- Blue cancels out yellow on the color wheel.
- Because they are blue based, they are particularly effective at neutralizing any yellowness in the hair.
- Cold Ash Blonde 7.1b and Dark Cold Ash Blonde 6.1b are the colors we recommend for this.
- For extra strong "yellow killing", squeeze in some Ash Blue Additive.
- Just mix these colors with 20 Vol developer and apply to tone down yellow hair.
- The shades are shown below. Click on them to learn more!
|7.1b Cold Ash Blonde||6.1b Dark Cold Ash Blonde||Ash Blue Additive|
How do I tone down orange hair? Will dark ash blonde cover orange and brassy hair?
- If the hair is orange, and you don't want to lift the orange out with a lightener, then you can consider going for Ugly Duckling ash colors, which are some of the strongest ashes on the market.
- Use Ugly Duckling's regular ash blonde colors (anything ending in .1)
- These ash colors are green based, and green cancels out orange on the color wheel.
- These colors are particularly effective at neutralizing any orange in the hair.
- Ash Blonde 7.1and Dark Blonde 6.1 and Light Deep Ash Brown 5.11 are the ideal go-to colors for toning down orange hair.
- For extra strong "orange killing", squeeze in some Ash Grey Additive.
- Once again, please note you will not be able to go lighter. You will need to go down a tone with this technique to cover up your yellow without lifting.
- Just mix these colors with 20 Vol developer and apply to tone down orange hair.
- The shades are shown below. Click on them to learn more!
|7.1 Ash Blonde||6.1 Dark Ash Blonde||5.11 Light Deep Ash Brown||Ash Grey Additive|
How do you take orange hair to blonde?
An example of orange hair:
If the hair is orange, it basically means one of the following:
- You rinsed too soon
- You did not apply bleach sufficiently well (you did not saturate the hair)
- You used an inferior quality of bleach
- Some combination of the above!
Basically, if you have orange hair like this, you really need to start again and do the 3 step process as explained above: Lift, Tone and Finish.
Once again, not all bleaches work the same way. We would suggest you use one of Ugly Duckling's bleaches. They do work better than most & will give you the lift you require - without compromising hair integrity..
- Make sure that you saturate really well, and do NOT RINSE the hair too soon.
- Use 30 Vol for very dark hair, 20 hair for medium blonde hair and the root area.
- Don't be afraid of adding in fresh mix during the processing time if you can see that parts are not lifting.
- If after 30 minutes the hair is still orange, rinse and re-apply, with 20 Vol instead of 30 Vol.
- All hair lifts through orange, through yellow and all the way to pale yellow level 10. Be patient!
WATCH VIDEO SHOWING ORANGE HAIR TRANSFORMED TO BLONDE:
Hair color by @hairfactorynyc
I'm really scared about bleaching & I don't want to use lightener! How do I get rid of brassy hair without lightener?
- If you use a good quality bleach, such as an Ugly Duckling bleach and you follow the steps indicated, trust us, you will not damage your hair!
- However, if you are dead against using a bleach, there is a work-around.
- It will work when the hair is not too dark - at least level 7 and above.
- Look at the chart above on hair color levels to remind yourself what level 7 looks like.
- You can use either of Ugly Duckling's high lift toners, either Intense Pearl Blonde 100V or Intense Silver Blonde 100B.
- These our Ugly Duckling's fastest acting toners and they are the strongest toners in the market.
- They contain special boosters which get rid of extra yellow and lift up the hair.
- Use them with 20 or 30 Vol if the hair is really really brassy.
- Apply to the brassy areas.
- Let it process until it gets as light as possible.
- Ideally, it should be at least level 9 (see picture of hair color levels above)
- This should allow you to achieve an acceptable or even good ash blonde hair color result - provided your hair is not too dark or brassy!
I don't want to use toner! How do I get rid of brassy hair without toner?
- Just use our bleach, then purple shampoo and mask.
- Lift with Brilliant Blondexx. Make sure you get it all the way to level 10 - see the picture at the top of the page to see what level 10 looks like.
- Then use our purple shampoo and purple mask. It will give a good toning result.
- Note that in general we prefer to recommend these products as maintenance products rather than as toners.
- But they do contain a lot of purple pigments and they will do the job well if you don't have our regular toners handy.