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Pre-lightened Hair Level 10 - Very pale yellow

How To Get Rid of Brassy, Yellow or Orange Hair: 3 Steps You Need to Follow to Lift & Tone Your Hair

1. 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.

Brassy Hair In Need of Bleaching & Toning

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. 

Hair Color Levels

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.
  • 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

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 you are looking for an intense ultra white blonde look, and this is a first toning application with Ugly Duckling toners, use Intense Pearl Blonde 100V or Intense Silver Blonde 100B 
  • If you have previously lifted your hair and are looking for a lighter, refresh toning application only, tone with No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V, No-Lift Silver Blonde Toner 10B.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Rinse.

Intense Pearl Blonde Intense Pearl Blonde 100V Intense Silver Blonde Intense Silver Blonde 100B Pearl Blonde No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V Silver Blonde No-Lift Silver Blonde Toner 10B
Silver Grey Silver Grey Smoky Blue Grey Smoky Blue Grey Extra Cold Ash Blonde (Blue Based) Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1B Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 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

BEFORE

  • 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.

Brassy Hair Before Bleaching

AFTER BLEACHING

  • 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.

Pre-Lightened Hair - Level 10

AFTER TONING

  • 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.

After Bleaching & Toning

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF MAG'S MAKEOVER HERE:

Products Used:

  • Brilliant Blonde Lightener on Regrowth
  • 100V Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 
  • Developer 
  • Purple Shampoo

RANDA

  • 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!

Hair Toned with Pearl Blonde Toner 10V. Hair Color by Elona Taki

Pearl Blonde Toner - Fights Brass

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF RANDA'S MAKEOVER HERE:

Products Used:

  • Brilliant Blonde Lightener 
  • 10V Intense Pearl Blonde Toner
  • Developer 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BRASSY HAIR

How do you tone down yellow hair?

  • If the hair is yellow, then 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 7.1b Cold Ash Blonde Dark Cold Ash Blonde 6.1b 6.1b Dark Cold Ash Blonde ash blue additive Ash Blue Additive

How do you get rid of orange hair? How do you tone down orange hair?

  • Once again, a reminder: hair is orange because it has not been lifted enough.
  • A good stylist would always lift orange hair up, take it all the way to a very pale yellow & then tone it.
  • However, if the hair is orange, and you are not willing or able to lift it any more, then you can consider going for a tone-down color as a compromise.
  • When choosing your tone-down color, we would recommend you use ash colors which will help neutralize orange.
  • In particular, you should 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 "yellow killing", squeeze in some Ash Grey Additive.
  • 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 7.1 Ash Blonde 6.1 Dark Ash Blonde 6.1 Dark Ash Blonde 5.11 Light Ash Brown 5.11 Light Deep Ash Brown Ash Grey Additive Ash Grey Additive

How do you take orange hair to blonde?

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!

We would suggest you use one of Ugly Duckling's bleaches.

  • As the videos above show, they work on any type of hair, and they can lift to the pale yellow level 10 without difficulty.
  • Make sure once again 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 applying 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!

I don't want to use toner! How do I get rid of brassy hair without it?

  • 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.

I don't want to use bleach!! How do I get rid of brassy hair without it?

  • There is a work-around, and it will work when the hair is not too dark - level 6 and above.
  • Use any of Ugly Duckling's high lift colors, ideally with 30 Vol in place of bleach. Apply to the brassy areas.
  • Let it process 30 - 40 minutes, or until it gets as light as possible.
  • Ideally, it should be at least level 8 (see picture of hair color levels above)
  • Rinse.
  • Now, do a second application, with one of our intense toners, using 20 Vol this time.
  • 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!