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How to fix orange hair?

Serena Piper
Hi there I bleached my hair at home yesterday. It went an orange color… I tried using a clarifying shampoo. It has now gone more brassy. Any ideas of what I can do?

You’ve tried to lighten your locks and ended up with the so-called ‘orange bleached hair’, something brassy and in-between brown and blonde. I agree that orange is not the most appealing color, especially when it shows up in your hair instead of the desired shade of blonde. If you are looking for effective remedies to fix your orange hair, read on! Below there are simple practical tips to get rid of orange hair so you can regain your confidence as you go about your duties. In other words, here is everything you need to know about orange hair and ways to quickly solve this problem.

Why Does Hair Turn Orange and Brassy: Main Causes

Your first thought is ‘Why did my hair turn orange?’ The main reason that you may find yourself with orange hair after bleaching is because it was insufficiently lightened and failed to reach the right shade of blonde.

Many people who have tried lightening their hair only to come out with a brassy orange color are usually brunettes. Dark hair has many strong underlying red and orange pigments that give your hair depth and volume. So, if you fail to sufficiently bleach those pigments out, you end up with an unsightly brassy-orange mess. Remember: going from brunette to blonde hair sometimes takes years! Don’t expect to become a bright blonde after just 1 bleaching process, sorry for the truth.

At the same time, even blondes may develop a brassy orange shade after the bleaching process if they have a buildup of chemicals and minerals in hair. You may also experience brassiness if you’ve spent a significant amount of time in a chlorinated pool or salty water.

Apart from removing pigments, bleaching also removes protein from the hair. If you over-bleach your hair, the process will remove too much of the hair’s pigment and protein, causing fading of the color. Healthy hair can hold in color, but over-bleached hair rinses the color right out. You must first repigment your hair, which means putting back what you removed in the first place.

3 Ways to Fix Orange Hair

When bleaching turns out the way you did not expect, you can either 1) tone the orange color out, 2) dye it a bit darker, or 3) lighten it up some more. Here are some in-salon and DIY tips on how to fix orange hair using one of the mentioned approaches.

1. Toning the Orange Out

When you decide to fix your bright orange mane, you need a toner for orange hair color. Toning helps neutralize the unflattering orange (brassy) shade into a cooler light brown or blonde shade. However, you’ll need to find the best toner to accomplish the job. So, what toner to choose, a purple or a blue one?

If your attempt to bleach your hair resulted in a more yellow color than expected, you need a purple toner. Purple shampoo can also be used as a toner to help neutralize the yellowness.

What Does Purple Shampoo Do? Purple shampoo works by dispensing pigments to adjust hair tone to a cooler shade. You may wonder why purple color is used. Purple is directly opposite to yellow on the color wheel; thus, it works to counteract and neutralize yellow tones and keep brass under control while refreshing your hair color.

Purple shampoo is NOT the same as toner! Toner is kind of like shape-shifting. The base hair remains the same underneath while the outward appearance takes on a new shade. After a while, the toner fades out and the original base hair comes back. @haleycator

How long to leave purple shampoo in? Gently massage some purple shampoo onto your scalp and hair until it forms a rich lather. Make sure to follow instructions on the product to determine how long your shampoo should sit. Usually, it’s about 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. If your hair turns completely orange, you’ll need to use a blue toner or blue shampoo.

What does blue shampoo do? Blue shampoo contains blue-violet pigments that merge with the hair, toning down warm hair colors into cooler ones while removing brassiness.

How often to use a purple/blue shampoo for orange hair? If you want to keep that fresh-from-the-salon feeling, then you should use it about once a week. This will remove the unwanted tones from your hair that was colored at home or at the salon and faded with time (yes, even the most expensive colorings need some at-home maintenance).

Purple shampoo is usually used by blondes, while blue shampoo is used more often by brunettes. If you are looking for sulfate-free blue and purple shampoos and conditioners, just know that they exist too. Google and buy.

What about a DIY purple hair toner? Take some amount of white conditioner (it may be a cheap one), a bit of ammonia and peroxide-free semi-permanent blue or purple hair color (e.g. Manic Panic paste), mix, apply and rinse (don’t shampoo!). Another option is to add a bit of food coloring or the well-known Kool-Aid or to mix 1:4 indigo powder and conditioner.

What if you are afraid of doing anything with your bright copper bleached hair? Go for a pro toning session. A skilled hair colorist will apply a stronger ammonia-based toner, or possibly mix bleach with toner, everything depends on your hair texture, the condition of your hair, and that specific tone of orange you’ve ended up with.

2. Dyeing Orange Hair

If you are completely dissatisfied with the result of your bleaching, e.g., your hair turned brassy with patches of yellow and orange in it, it’s best just to dye it darker. What color covers orange hair? Choose a hair dye that’s either close to your natural hair color or darker to cover the yellow or orange tones.

Faded red hair dye may be one more reason why your hair turned orange. Especially if it was a light red or fiery red dye. Color fading happens in 2-4 weeks. Semi-permanent dye will even fade the same week you used it. If you want to be a redhead – just re-dye your faded red hair and maintain the color right (use a red color depositing shampoo, do in-salon red hair color masks). Bored by your red hair color? Bleaching is the only possible way to come out of red.

3. Lightening Orange Hair

Not ready to go darker and still want to be blonder? Try to lighten your hair into a warmer shade to get the tone you’re looking for. It’s best to wait a while, a week or two. Once your hair’s natural moisture balance is restored, try again to achieve that flattering look. Your hair will appear yellow. Then you can choose to use an ash blonde dye kit (and that is the answer to a very popular question if it is possible to fix orange hair with box dye, – YES, but with ashy tones or a hair color darker than your orange) to achieve a cooler shade of blonde. You can also tone down the brassy orange color using purple shampoo as described above. The post-bleaching treatment includes a good pampering hair mask for blonde hair.

How to Fix Orange Roots?

Orange roots are not a disaster, as you have various options at your disposal to restore your hair in no time. You must first test how healthy your hair is before choosing the best method to fix your orange or brassy roots. If your hair shows any sign of damage (it’s brittle, frizzy, with not enough elasticity), it’s best to refrain from using bleach, hair dyes, or strong toners to prevent further damage.

The most well-known ways to fix orange roots are dyeing them darker, bleaching them once again (for healthy hair), toning them with purple/blue toner, using a hair color remover, or applying natural lightening cures, for example, a 1:1 mix of honey and conditioner.

Hair Masks for Orange Hair

To neutralize the orange tone in your hair, you may use some store-bought blue (Fanola, Redken) or purple (Brite, Bold Uniq, Revcare, Blondewood Labs, etc.) hair masks, or prepare natural homemade masks. They brighten up your hair, give it a cooler silver or ashy look. Homemade hair masks for orange hair include the ones with the same ingredients mentioned in the section about homemade shampoos and conditioners. You may also try a DIY hair mask with blue spirulina, or with blue butterfly pea powder.

Now you know that if the bleaching process went wrong at some point during your beauty routine at home and you found yourself with orange hair, it’s OK. You are not alone, that happens. Taking the steps described in this article will help cancel brassy orange hair. Only reapply more bleach if your hair is healthy enough; otherwise, just employ other safer methods of fixing orange hair. Of course, the best option is to contact a skilled hair colorist. If it’s impossible, you have to become the best hair colorist for yourself!

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