When it comes to talking about unwanted or unintentional changes to hair color, blondes often get all the attention. And for good reason: professionally colored blonde hair can be prone to fading. Yellow and brassy undertones can also become an issue particularly in cooler, icy blonde shades. But color fading and brassiness can be an issue for brunettes, too. So with that in mind, brunettes, this one’s for you—here’s everything you need to know about banishing brass. Spoiler alert: A blue shampoo just might be your BFF.
WHY DO BRASSY RED AND ORANGE TONES APPEAR IN BROWN HAIR?
Unfortunately, it’s just a simple matter of hair color chemistry. “When you lighten brown hair, be that with highlights or balayage, you’re bleaching it and removing the color,” explains Redken Artist Celene Dupuis. “That exposes orange undertones which can ultimately end up creating that unwanted brassy hair effect,” she adds. And, even if you don’t lighten your hair but simply color it to richen or darken your base hair color, as that color fades, it can start to leave behind orange undertones, notes Dupuis. Whether you’re dealing with brassy or orange undertones, your best option is a color-depositing, blue toning shampoo. Yes, blue shampoo. Stay with us here…
WHAT DOES BLUE SHAMPOO DO TO BROWN HAIR AND HOW DOES IT HELP PREVENT BRASSINESS?
It all goes back to the basic principles of the color wheel; blue and green fall directly opposite from red and orange, which means that the cooler blue and green tones will neutralize and counteract the warmer ones, says Dupuis. And what that means for your brown hair with highlights is that blue shampoo is the best way to knock out the brassy, red, and orange tones. Blondes have had options for a while—there are plenty of purple shampoos to combat yellowing—but the choices for brunettes have been limited until now, notes Dupuis. Enter Redken Color Extend Brownlights. Color Extend Brownlights is a color-depositing, blue-toning shampoo and conditioner that neutralizes unwanted orange and brassy tones in brunette hair. For color-treated brunettes, it can be used immediately after a color service, and Dupuis also advises using it daily as maintenance. Also nice: It works well on non-colored hair, helping to keep your natural brunette hue cool and free of any brassy undertones.
HOW CAN I MAKE HIGHLIGHTS LAST LONGER ON MY BROWN HAIR?
Along with using a blue shampoo and conditioner, your best bet is to talk with your colorist before your hair color service, suggests Dupuis. “If you always have issues with brassy undertones in your brown hair, tell your stylist. He or she can adjust the way they mix up the hair color accordingly to help prevent brassy tones from appearing,” she says. Another fast fix: Come into the salon for a demi-permanent Shades EQ gloss service in between highlight appointments. “This toning service is another way to quickly and easily counteract the warm, brassy tones and really put the life back in your color, while still being totally gentle and easy on the hair,” says Dupuis.