Today, I wanna talk about a sensitive subject for any of my gals lightening their hair: brassy, yellow, orange hair. Why does it happen? Why is it that when I leave the salon my hair is white, but within a few weeks it’s yellow again? Am I doing something wrong?
First, we have to talk about the chemistry behind lifting pigment from the hair. See, you can’t just put a blonde color on your hair and expect for your hair to become blonde.
Blonding requires first bleaching the pigment out of your hair.
Think about it like you would crayons or markers. If you’re coloring on brown paper, you can’t put yellow crayon on it and expect to see vibrant color. It will look murky or muddy, and not yellow. The same concept is true for your hair. Coloring hair is actually removing and adding different amounts of red, blue and yellow pigment to create the perfect shade for you!
As another example, think of a black shirt or material: when you splash bleach on it, what happens? You get tiny reddish orange spots! If you keep adding more and more bleach, the orange spots will continue to get lighter until they are white. But at that point, the material is nearly disintegrated. This is EXACTLY what can happen to your hair!
That’s why when a stylist says it’s going to take multiple sessions or one HUGE appointment to reach your hair goals! It’s not us pumping you for extra services or money; it’s us wanting to help you reach your goals while maintaining the integrity of each strand of hair! Unless you want to leave the salon with your hair on the floor!
WHY is my hair BRASSY?
Now let's dig into the visible spectrum of color for a minute. It may not seem like it, but all of the pigment in hair is composed of the 3 primary colors- yellow, red, and blue. Each strand of hair contains different ratios of these pigments, resulting in the perceived color.
For instance, people with brown and black hair have more blue pigment in their strands. Someone with blonde hair, like me, has more yellow (if not mostly yellow) pigment in their hair. These ratios all depend on how dark or light your hair is, and no two people’s hair is the same!
When a stylist lightens (bleaches) your hair, these pigment molecules are removed, with the blue coming out first, followed by red, then the yellow to create a “white” strand of hair. While this sounds easy peasy lemon squeezy, it’s not as simple as following a prescribed recipe, and it’s incredibly damaging to your hair! Usually, unless you’re seeking to FRY your hair off, you can only lift about two or three levels at a time, all depending on technique, formulation of products, and condition of the hair prior to service.
I just PULL WARM!!!
As you begin lifting the hair, you naturally expose the underlying pigments. There is no way to completely strip these pigments. No one person’s hair just “pulls warm,” everyone’s hair pulls warm! This warmness is caused by those red and yellow pigments remaining in the hair once the bleach has deactivated. This is why we TONE your hair after lightening! If you have very dark hair, you will typically lift to a very orange color during the first session. During follow-up sessions, after a safe amount of time has passed, you can bust through that brass to achieve a truly ashy tone. Blondes usually don’t see much of an orangey undertone following bleaching, but we can struggle with cartoon character YELLOW tones! I can tone my hair white as snow and within 6 weeks, the underlying yellow pigment shines through again. Candidly, I’ve decided to embrace my warmth in favor of healthier hair.
What does the toner do?
Toners are demi-permanent glosses that change the hair from the raw lift color to the desired tonal result. Toners can be warm, neutral, or cool (see photo below). These icy-white colors that you see are all created through the use of toners! Following lightening, the raw color of the hair will often be light yellow like the inside of a banana. The toner acts to deposit the desired amounts of blue, yellow, and red to get the icy, cool-toned blonde that we love so much.
As the toner fades and escapes the cuticle, the hair reverts to its yellowish/orange raw-lift color. There really isn’t anything you can do to prevent this, and permanent toners don’t really exist. However, there are things you can do to slow the degradation of your hair color! Toners and hair color, in general, can be affected by any of the following: hard water, non color-safe shampoo/conditioner, heat styling, apple cider vinegar, overexposure to the sun or other environmental factors, over-washing, frequency of wetting, & the type of post-shampoo care products used!
Tips for Toners
Ultimately, if you want to keep your hair as icy as possible, it’s best to get a touch up every 3 months with a toner in between. The longer you go between appointments, the brassier your hair will be. Hair that is closer to the scalp uses heat from the head to safely lighten the hair! I also highly recommend the Malibu Crystal Gel Treatments, they remove any mineral buildup & left over toner from the hair to make it as bright as possible!
Hi There! I'm Ashley and welcome to The Sunkissed Hair Co. Blog! Here you'll find the latest tips and tricks to achieve your dream hair! After all, hair is the crown we never take off! Read more about SHCo Here!
-WHY is my hair BRASSY?
- Why You Should Wash Your Hair Less
- Dry Shampoo & What's Best for YOU!
- Dry Shampoo Brand Reviews
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- The Ultimate Guide to Healthy CURLS!
- Not Washing Your Hair
- Dehydrated Hair Tips
- Beach Wave Curls Made Easy
- Determine Your Hair Type
- Get the Perfect Blowout