“Why is my hair yellow?”
Blonde friends, unite.
This is the complaint I hear most often in my majority-blondes salon chair over at The Hair Standard. I also hear it in my own head, as I have issues with brassy hair, too.
…as do most chemically lightened clients.
There are ways to combat it, sure. I’ll tell you those, but first, lets make full use of my domain fee so I can tell you WHY it happens to better help you SOLVE the problem.
Think of the last time you got your hair done. Your stylist either used foils, or balayaged your hair. Then, remember? You sat. You took some Snapchat filtered selfies, you caught up on texts, you scrolled through memes, or maybe flipped through a magazine.
While you were sitting, the ammonia (or chemically identical “non-ammonia” ingredient) in your color, foils or not, heat dryer or not, made the cuticle on your hair swell. The bleach went into the middle of your hair strand, removing pigment. Then, the cuticle goes back down.
Not 100%, though. After a color process, your cuticle never, ever is completely closed. It’s still slightly open, leaving room for minerals from water and residue from product to get trapped. (Think of it like dirt that get stuck under your fingernail.)
That’s why suuuuper chemically processed hair (ie, box color to bleached to red to blonde again, etc) fades the fastest and takes color the fastest. The cuticle is blown wide open.
This is also why most people avoid getting their hair done at hair schools. I mean, JK.
How can I avoid brassy hair?
Over time, your hair color WILL change a bit, but you CAN control the degree of yellowing.
Most effective way? Wash your hair less often. Toner won’t rinse out as quickly, and mineral water won’t affect it.
Consider a soft water filter if you don’t already have one. No matter how pure your blonde is when you leave the salon, yellow, brassy, dull blonde hair will absolutely, 100% plague you if you live in a place with mineral-heavy water (like here, Las Vegas), and do not have a soft water filter in your home.
Use a purple shampoo.
Use a CLARIFYING shampoo. Sometimes, my clients get cray with purple shampoo. It’s possible to over-tone, making your blonde a little muddy if it’s toned and toned and toned. (This my own Achilles heel.) Before toning again, use a clarifying shampoo to rid your hair of build up. It won’t make your hair soft (heads up!), but it WILL give you a fresh slate to start over without making your hair muddy.
Use professional hair products, both cleansing and styling…if you’re blonde. That’s a conversation for a different post, but here’s the gist: there are often pigments and waxes in cheaper products that not only dull hair, but cause build up on hair strands. I’ve had several clients who’s hair absolutely does not hold toner because of all the waxy residue. Cue prayers at the hair bowl on my end.
If brassy hair is a terrible, life altering, reoccurring issue that drives you nuts, talk to your stylist about the possibility of your hair being over-porous. Have you had years of color? Recent hair color overhauls? Box color in the last three years? If so, your cuticle may be unable to hold color/toner because it’s wiiiide open. A chemical treatment, like a split-end mender or even Brazilian Blowout, can help that. Both services will chemically seal down the outside of your hair shaft. (That’s the hairstylist’s big secret. Sure, it’s supposed to tame curly/frizzy hair, but most of us have used it after being dark and going blonde to help with breakage. I’ve even used it on several girls’ I’ve worked with extensions to extend the life a little longer when the ends get fuzzy.)
Make an appointment. Sometimes brassy hair is inevitable and just means you’re due for an appointment, and your stylist can always help you! I know this place The Hair Standard that has an impressive amount of hair magicians.