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How to Cover Orange Hair - 2 Different Ways


Did you know that there are 2 ways to deal with orange hair?

In this blog, we will go through these 2 different ways.

First Way: You can lift out the orange fully and then tone the hair blonde with a violet-based toner.

Second Way: You can cover and tone down the orange hair using blue-based ash blonde colors., combined with ash additives if necessary.

Today, will go show you how to successfully execute these 2 ways. 

First Way: Lift Out Orange Hair & Take it to Pearl Blonde - Watch Video:

Note: If the result is too purple for you, you can just skip the Purple Grey and use only the Pearl Blonde toner instead

Hair by Ashley Betancourt

Products Used:

Brilliant Blondexx Lightener

Purple Grey and Pearl Blonde Toner 10V

Brilliant Blondexx Shampoo & Mask for after.

Second Way: Tone Down Orange Hair using Blue Based Ash Blonde Dyes - Watch Video:

Video by Elona Taki

Products Used:

Ugly Duckling Brilliant Blondexx to lighten & lift

Ugly Duckling 4AA for the shadow root

Ugly Duckling Cold (Blue Based) Ash Blonde 7.1b 

Blue Based Ash Blonde Dyes are only made by Ugly Duckling.

Why is my client’s hair turning orange when I dye it?

We sometimes hear stylists say:

"My client's hair turned orange because of the well water."

"My clients hair pulls orange when you dye or lift it. I guess she's got bad hair"

But these comments are simply not true. It's not the well water. It's not about "pulling orange."

In order to understand what the true reason is, we need to understand the way color works on your hair or your client's hair.

Let's do that now.

Basic Color Theory

Underlying pigments

This chart shows you the undercoats you get at each hair level

All hair has a tendency to produce a secondary pigment  when you start bleaching it. 

Colorists sometimes refer to this as the  "underlying pigment", "secondary pigment". or "undercoat."

The exact color of this secondary pigment or undercoat will depend on the level that the hair is at right now.

As you can see in the chart above, hair that is at level 5 will inevitably produce an underlying pigment of pure orange.

Hair at level 6-7 will produce an underlying pigment of orangish-yellow or yellowish-orange.

So it's very simple. Your client's hair is orange because you did not lift it enough!

You basically lifted it only to level 6/7.

Why are my client's roots orange but not the rest of the hair?

Orange near the root area

This model's hair is more orange nearer the root area

If you think about this one, it's obvious enough.

The lengths have typically been lightened and dyed several times in the course of their history.

So they are not level 6/7, they are much lighter.

But the new growth is the area which can be very dark...brown or dark brown depending on the client's natural hair base.

Think what happens when you make the ultimate newbie hair colorist's mistake of applying toner to dark hair before lifting it up properly first.

It goes from level 4/5 straight to around level 6/7 - the perfect level to have a really nasty orange color!

What is the solution for orange hair?

There are basically 2 possible solutions.

The best thing by far to do when you've got orange hair is to lighten it some more using bleach.

Do that and all your problems go away.

Sometimes people are reluctant to use bleach, and all too often this is because they have had a bad previous experience with bleaches in the past.

But invariably this bad experience is related to the quality of bleach used.

Not all bleaches are the same.

We do suggest you use our Brilliant Blondexx with Bond Protect. It's the only lightener on the market with this level of protection.

At the same time, it lifts really well. And that's important.

It means you don't have to use anything stronger than 20 Vol to lift our orange hair.

Good news for your client's hair!

Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Bleach

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach with Bond Protect. Use with 20 Vol to get rid of orange.

First Way: Bleaching Orange Hair Up to Level 10 & Then Tone.

This is really the best solution & one we recommend for all clients looking to get their hair blonde.

Take the hair all the way up to level 9 or 10 by using a very good quality bleach. Lift properly!

As you do this, the undercoat will naturally change from orange to yellow to pale yellow.

Once you get your client to a level 9/10, you are in a good place to tone or re-color your client's hair.

How do I bleach orange hair?

Apply a good quality bleach, saturating the hair really really well and lift up the hair to level 10.

The reason stylists sometimes fail to get enough lift is that they are using a poor quality bleach.

We would really suggest that you use Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Bleach.

It has Bond Protect built in and will protect the hair. It also has excellent lifting properties and is guaranteed to lift out the orange.

20 or 30 Vol developer is always enough to lift out orange using Brilliant Blondexx.

So you won't compromise your client's hair as you lift.

When it has reached level 10, there will be no orange and minimal, minimal traces of very pale yellow.

Once you get it there, you are ready to re-color or tone.

Hair Lightening levels

As you lift hair lighter with bleach, you get rid of all the orange.

Once you have Bleached, Tone

Once you have bleached really well, you are now in a position to tone. 

Hopefully, the hair is now at or approaching level 10. Meaning that the undercoat is now yellow, not orange.

So at this stage you can use a violet (purple) or blue based toner depending on your exact preference of final color result.

Purple based will tend to give you a pearly, platinum blonde result.

Blue based will give you a silver white blonde result.

Here are some cream-based permanent toners we would suggest:

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V - violet based

Intense Silver Blonde 100B - blue based

No-lift Pearl Blonde 10V - violet based

No-lift Silver Blonde 10B - blue based

Blue Based Extra Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b - blue based

Extra light Cool Blonde 10.2 - intense violet based 

Alternatively, you can also use Ugly Duckling's ammonia-free liquid gloss toners:

Blondify Natural Ash Blonde 010A

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Ugly Duckling's toners and blonding colors are very intensely pigmented and you need to watch as the color is processing.

Be ready to rinse once done.

Generally speaking, around 20 minutes of processing time is enough.

After Toning, Condition with Purple Shampoo & Mask

Purple Shampoo & Mask

Ugly Duckling's Purple Shampoo & Mask - a great way of getting rid of the last traces of yellow 

Ugly Duckling's Purple Protect Shampoo and Mask.

These are low pH products (meaning that they are acidic, meaning they close the hair cuticle).

They are also packed with purple products as well as organic conditioners.

Your client's hair will be toned and also conditioned.

Second Way: Toning Down Orange Hair

Hair Color Wheel

So what happens if you simply don't want to bleach?

You just want to cover and tone down the orange hair in front of you.

Well, the good news is you can do that! 

But there is one caveat: you won't be able to get hair white blonde in this way. 

But you will be able to get rid of the orange!

Refer to the color wheel above.

As you can see from the color wheel, the color opposite to orange it on the color wheel is blue, as well as blue-green.

So the way to neutralize the orange would therefore be to use blue-based colors.

Also, for very orange hair, you can add in some ash (which is simply the colorist's way of saying blue-green).

This way you will be able neutralize your orange.

But, as we said before, you will not get to white blonde.

You would need to settle for a medium blonde color instead.

Which colors do I need to use to tone down my orange hair?

Ugly Duckling has a range of blue based ash blonde colors which are designed specifically for this. 

We would that recommend you use the following in particular:

6.1b, a blue based dark ash blonde 

7.1b, cold ash blonde 

And when the orange is really really strong, remember what we said about ash, AKA blue-green?

You would need to reinforce your blue based blonde colors with some ash blue additive.

Around an inch squeezed out of the ash blue additive added to a tube of  the 6.1b and 7.1b will do this.

This will help you cover the orange.

You will get a nice dark ash or medium blonde this way.

7.1b Light Cold Ash Blonde 6.1b Cold Dark Ash Blonde Ash Blue Additive

Watch a successful tone-down orange operation here - Video:

Hair by Elona Taki

Products Used:

Brilliant Blondexx to lighten

4AA for root area

Light Cold Ash Blonde 8.1b Blue Based Ash Blonde

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.



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