Every woman who has ever bleached her hair understands the struggle of brassiness. Whether you go for subtle highlights or all-over lightening, brassiness has a way of sneaking its way into bleached hair before you even realize what’s happening. These pesky bronze tones are totally natural. They start to appear when the warmer pigment of your natural hair starts to show through the cooler bleached color.
The normalcy of brassy blonde hair doesn’t make dealing with it any less frustrating. Brassiness muddles the pristine finish of your bleached hair and make its artificiality glaringly obvious. While bronze tones can be difficult to lift, there are some at-home methods you can use to safely restore your bleached hair’s cool finish between salon visits.
1. Go Cooler
Your blonde hair gets brassy when the bleach starts to lift and the blue molecules in your dye begin to fade. The yellow, orange, and red tones that appear are ghosts of your natural hair color revealing itself behind the bleach. Warm pigments are the first to show through bleach, hence the brassiness that plagues artificial blondes everywhere.
Stave off brassiness by choosing a cool-toned blonde for your hair. It is more difficult and will take longer for warm tones to show through cool blonde hair than a warmer shade of yellow blonde. If you prefer to keep some warmth in your color, ask your stylist for his/her recommendations for blonde shades that maintain a balance between warm and cool tones.
2. Get a Filter
Depending on where you live, the water you use to wash your hair might be causing or at least contributing to brassiness. Mineral deposits like chlorine and iron are present in the water in many areas.
When you wash your hair in mineral-rich water on a regular basis, the mineral deposits build up in your hair and fade the artificial color. This leads to more brass tones that develop more quickly. Buy a filter to put over your shower head to keep your hair-washing water mineral-free and preserve your bleached look. If you can’t get a filter, at least invest in a color-safe clarifying shampoo to reduce build-up and use it once or twice a week.
3. Hold Out Between Salon Visits
Running back to the salon every time you notice a tinge of yellow in your hair is not the best way to get rid of brassiness. The cost of frequent salon visits adds up quickly, especially with an expensive service like bleaching. Plus, getting your hair professionally bleached too often can be extremely damaging for your hair.
If you get your hair bleached on a regular basis, your strands are likely already pretty fragile. Re-bleaching too frequently just causes more damage that leads to dryness, breakage and hair loss. In fact, weakening your hair with excessive bleaching to get rid of brassiness just makes the problem worse. It becomes a frustrating vicious cycle of constant salon visits that never keep the brassiness away for long.
4. Keep Up With Touch Ups
While you shouldn’t cut your time between salon appointments too short, don’t go too long without a touch up either. If your hair is fully bleached, you should space out your salon visits every six to eight weeks. For highlights, you can wait two to three months between appointments.
When you go to the salon, don’t get all of your hair re-bleached. Instead, just get a touch-up for your roots and ask for toning everywhere else. The professional toner will help get rid of existing brassiness and make it easier for you to effectively keep bronze tones at bay until your next visit.
5. Use Purple Products
Purple shampoo and conditioners have special formulas infused with blue and purple pigment to correct brassy tones and restore a cool finish to your bleached hair. You don’t have to spend a fortune on purple hair products, either. Many affordable haircare brands offer inexpensive purple shampoo and conditioner formulas that are still high-quality and effective.
Go easy on the purple products if you want to get rid of brassiness but keep warm tones in your hair. The cool pigments in purple products can give your blonde hair a gray or blue tinge depending on how often you use it and how porous your hair is. Many women embrace this ultra-cool finish–it’s actually very trendy right now–but use purple shampoo and conditioner sparingly if you want to preserve warm tones.
6. Keep Your Hair Healthy
Healthy hair holds artificial pigment longer, so it will take longer for brass tones to show through your bleached hair if it’s strong and minimally damaged.
It’s important to keep up with a haircare routine to make sure your strands stay healthy and strong. Taking extra good care of your hair is especially essential if you bleach it regularly, since bleach is extremely damaging to hair and weakens it significantly. Combat bleach-induced dryness and keep your hair hydrated by using conditioner on a daily basis and a moisturizing hair mask once a week. Minimize heat damage by keeping your hair natural whenever possible. When you do use heated styling tools, keep them on a low heat setting and always apply a hair protectant first.
7. Use Sun Protection
Sunlight dries out your hair, which causes your hair dye to fade and leads to more visible brassiness. If you spend a lot of time soaking up sun rays, take extra measures to protect your hair before you head outside.
Of course, a hat provides the best protection for your hair since it covers the entire top of your head. If you don’t feel like sporting a hat, however, try applying zinc oxide or a natural oil instead. Massage zinc oxide into your scalp and the roots and crown of your hair that get the most sun exposure. Or, apply an oil–such as coconut or avocado oil–that has sun protective properties through your strands.
When brassy tones plague your artificial blonde hair, don’t give up hope or empty your wallet at a hair salon. Instead, preserve the purity of your bleached hair yourself just by adding a few simple steps to your haircare routine that help keep your strands strong, healthy, and brass-free.