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  • Writer's pictureBrittaney Rigaud

Battle of the Brass

I hear it ALL the time. "My hair just gets so brassy." Yes, it does. It's an eternal battle, but I can help you understand why it happens and how to minimize its power over your hair. And just in case "brass' isn't a term you're familiar with, it means orangey/gold/red tones in the hair that makes it look "wamer" than desired.

Colored hair is going to fade to brass. Sorry, but its true.

Let's talk brunettes first. Dark hair has gold, red, and orange tones in it always, even if it's never been colored. These warm tones are what gives dark hair its pigment. When dark hair is lightened, the bleach has to lift through red and orange to get to gold. It's possible to neutralize the warm tones with a glaze and produce a neutral or cool tone to the prelightened hair, but that glaze will only last from 4 to 6 weeks. Once the glaze has faded, the warmth will show back up again.

If brunettes aren't highlighted, but a permanent color is applied to cover grey hair, the pigment in the color requires warmth to give it depth. The hair cuticle is lifted slightly to allow the color to deposit onto the hair shaft and cover the grey. Once that color starts to fade, the red and orange underlying pigments become exposed, making hair feel "brassy".

If a brunette has natural hair and already dislikes the warm tones in her hair, an all over semi permanent glaze can be applied all over her hair. This can neutralize the warm tones and add a lot of shine. But fading happens in this scenario too - once again exposing underlying warm pigments eventually.

So what's a brunette to do to battle the brass? GLAZE! Every 4 -6 weeks! The strongest weapon in your arsenal is a stylist who knows how to bring the ash! Your stylist should know how to mix a magic formula to cut that brass, but there's nothing he/she can do about fading. It's up to you to schedule consistently to keep your color looking fresh. Use professional products too, to help protect that color you love. I love Redken's All Soft Mega Shampoo and condioner for brunettes. It could be a little heavy if you tend to feel oily, so start with a small bottle to try it out first. Redken's Color Extend Magnetics is a great option for those who do get oily faster.

Now it's the blondes turn. Blondes vs. Brass - the eternal battle. SO MANY things contribute to the brass because blonde hair is lighter and shows everything.

Well water can deposit orange iron into blonde hair and make it brassy. Chlorine can make it green! The solution to both issues is a clarifying shampoo. I recommend Redken's Clean Maniac Hair Cleansing Cream at home at least once a week. And if that's not enough, contact your stylist for an in salon clarifying treatment.

Bleach not being processed long enough and staying at an orange or gold level will make blondes feel brassy. Sometimes foils are taken out too soon and not given enough time to lift to pale yellow. Or if blondes have painted highlights, the bleach only got to a warm level and stopped lifting. (This is common with hair painting. It takes about 3 times to get to pale blonde).

A stylist can mix a magic ash toner for blondes too to neutralize or cancel out those unwanted brassy tones. But sometimes ashy makes blondes feel darker. So another option is to use purple shampoo/conditioner at home to keep the brass at bay. I recommend Redken's Color Extend Blondage shampoo and conditioner for most blondes in between hair appointments.

This post could go on and on because it's just scratched the surface. But there's a few tips to get you started. Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have! I love to help people win the battle of brass!

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