How To Combat Brassy Hair

Alle Connell

Much as we loved Kim K’s new platinum hair, when the first pictures of her at Paris Fashion Week surfaced, we asked ourselves “Is it just us, or is her blonde a little on the brassy side?”

Kim Kardashian Blonde 2015

Images: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty.

As anyone who’s made a dramatic hair color change will attest, those insidious yellow, orange and reddish undertones can creep up on the best of us. Brassiness can all but ruin a fabulous new lookbut luckily you don’t have to live with it. Read on to learn what causes those brassy shades to show up in your lovely locks, as well as the best products with which to deal with them.

Brassiness: or, “What The Heck Happened To My Hair?!”
When you chemically process your hairbleaching, coloring, highlightingthe pigment present in your hair is lifted, and new color molecules are deposited. The natural pigment responsible for your hair’s color is generally red through yellow, so to counter that, color processes deposit green, blue and violet into each strand. Brassiness occurs when those cool-toned molecules wear away or are stripped out, leaving the warm-toned pigment behind. And this doesn’t just happen to blonde shades, though those are the most visible example; all dyed hair can be subject to the dreaded brass effect.

Naturally thick, dark hairlike Kim’sis very difficult to lift pigment from, so brassiness is often a fact of life. Other factors that contribute to those dreaded yellow-orange tones include minerals present in your water (shower, ocean and swimming pool all included), certain shampoos (especially ones with sulfates), UV exposure, previous hair dye jobs and overuse of styling products.

Fighting The Brassiness Battle.
We knowit sounds like everything causes your color to change for the worse. Such is the price we pay for beauty. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to counter brassy hair, and many of them are really easy!

1. Protect your hair from the elements.
The minerals in water are murder on colored hair. If you can, avoid getting your hair wet too oftenuse a shower cap unless you’re washing it, pull it up if you’re going swimming (or hide it under a swim cap) and wear a wide-brimmed hat if you’re out in the sun. We’re not saying that you should permanently hide your gorgeous hair under a bushel, but you should take care of your locks. Look at great color as an investment, and protect it accordingly.

2. Be smart about shampoo.
Sulfate-free only, please. We love Bumble and Bumble’s Color Minded Shampoo ($31), which is not only amazing on color, it also helps fight product buildup and leaves our hair shiny and so, so soft.

3. Use a toning shampoo.
Shampoos and conditioners that deposit violet and blue molecules are your army’s reinforcements in the fight against brass. These colored products can be really scary to use at first, but don’t worry, they’re not going to turn you give you Leela-purple locks unless you leave them sit for a long, long time. Our favorite is Daddy-O Shampoo by LUSH ($19.95), which eliminates yellow and orange tones while also nurturing our hair. Bonus: it also smells fantastic.

(Editor’s tip: Start out slow with these products. Begin by shampooing with them once a week, and if you don’t see results, up your frequency. If your hair gets too cool-toned, stop using them for a while. The best thing about these results is that they’re largely temporary.)

4. Tone, tone, tone.
If all else fails, or you’re a Kardashian and you REALLY need icy-silver hair in a hurry, head back to your colorist for some additional toning. It’s not a great idea to do this yourself, as professionals will be able to gage whether you need color deposited or more pigment lifted from your lovely locks. The good news: professional toning takes a relatively short amount of time, and you’ll be able to see serious results immediatelyplus, if you aren’t happy, your hair wizard is right there to make changes!

So if you’re planning a big hair change, rememberonly YOU can say no to brassiness! Fight the good fight, everyone, and may the colored hair odds be ever in your favor.

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