Home » Hair Care

How to Remove Brassy Tones from Brown Hair (The Ultimate Guide)

Brassy tones are a common problem for those that lighten from a dark brown to a light brown or dye their hair a darker brown. These unwanted light tones can be frustrating, but fortunately, they can be fixed.

If you have wondered how to remove brassy tones from brown hair, we have everything you need to get it back to its ideal tone. 

What Causes Brown Hair to Turn Brassy?

brown hair with brassy tones

If you’ve ever lightened your hair color or had highlights added, you may have noticed that your hair takes on unwanted light colors, typically with orange or red tones.

The process of fixing brassy brown hair starts with understanding why they appear in the first place. Hair turns brassy for different reasons, depending on what you have done to your hair.

  • When you lighten or bleach your hair, essentially removing color from each strand, the bleaching agent does not remove color evenly.
  • While it removes most of the melanin in your hair, it doesn’t remove the orange tones underneath. This is why hair turns orange when it is bleached.
  • Even if you don’t bleach your hair all the way to blonde, all kinds of lightning have the same effect. 
  • If you dye your hair brown and don’t lighten it, you might notice that it turns brassy over time. This is because warmer colors tend to stay in your hair longer than cool-toned colors. As such, even if you got your hair to the perfect shade when you dyed it a few months in, your ends will likely fade into a more orange color.

Essentially, brown hair turns brassy because red colors emerge during bleaching and stick around longer when you dye your hair. 

How to Remove Brassy Tones from Brown Hair?

using color depositing products to remove brassy tones from brown hair

While brassy tones are a frustratingly common issue, there are many solutions to help you bring your hair back to your desired tone. These are the tried-and-true methods for reducing brassiness in brown hair.

1. Toning Treatment

When choosing a toner to remove brassy tones from brown hair, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your hair and the desired outcome. Here are a few toners commonly used for brown hair:

  1. Purple Toner: Purple toners are effective in neutralizing yellow and orange tones in brown hair. How long you have to leave the toner on yellow hair depends on various factors. They work by counteracting the warm undertones, leaving a cooler, more ashy appearance. Purple toners are suitable for light to medium brown hair with brassy or warm undertones.
  2. Blue Toner: Blue toners are beneficial for canceling out orange and red tones in brown hair. They are particularly useful for darker shades of brown hair that tend to develop reddish or coppery brassiness. Blue toners help achieve a cooler, more balanced brown hue.
  3. Ash Toner: Ash toners contain a combination of cool-toned shades, usually a mix of purple and blue. They are ideal for brown hair that has a strong reddish or orange undertone. Ash toners can help neutralize the warm tones, resulting in a more neutral or ashier brown shade.
  4. Demi-permanent Toner: Demi-permanent toners are semi-permanent hair color products that deposit color onto the hair shaft without lifting the natural color. They are available in various shades, including those specifically formulated to eliminate brassy tones. Demi-permanent toners provide longer-lasting results compared to temporary toning treatments.

2. Blue Shampoo and Conditioner

how to use blue shampoo to remove brassy tones from brown hair

One of the best ways to remove brassy tones is to use a color shampoo or conditioner. Color depositing products coat your hair using a small amount of color corrector.

By coating your hair in the opposite color to your brassiness- typically, people use blue and purple- you can reduce the appearance of brassy tones.

Purple shampoo is more commonly used to counteract yellow and brassy tones in light hair colors such as blondes or light brown hair.

The blue shampoo is best for neutralizing brassiness in brunettes because it is directly across the color wheel from red and orange, which are the most common unwanted colors that appear in brown hair.

Here’s how you can get rid of brassiness in brown hair using a purple or blue shampoo:

  • You need a special shampoo to fix this – either purple or blue. If you have a light brown brassy hair use purple shampoo. For dark brown brassy hair use a blue shampoo.
  • Make sure your hair is fully wet, you can do this in the shower.
  • Take a bit of the shampoo and rub it in your hair. Start from the top and go to the bottom. Rub it in good, all over your hair and scalp.
  • Now you need to wait a few minutes. you should leave it in your hair for about 3 to 5 minutes. This is enough time for the shampoo to neutralize the brassy tones. Be careful not to wait too long or your hair might turn purple or blue!
  • Rinse out all the shampoo with warm water. Make sure you get it all out.
  • After rinsing, use a conditioner that’s good for your hair type. This helps keep your hair healthy. Rub the conditioner in the middle and ends of your hair, not the roots. Wait a few minutes, then rinse it out.
  • How often you do this depends on how brassy your hair is and what the shampoo bottle says. Usually, it’s once or twice a week.

This process helps neutralize the orange or yellow tones that make your hair look brassy. If you follow these steps, your hair should start looking better!

3. Re-Dyeing

If it has been several weeks since you dyed your hair, you can also dye it again. Re-dying your hair will help restore the balance of color.

Keep in mind that most manufacturers don’t recommend using dye several weeks in a row since it can damage your hair.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

If you prefer to stay away from additional dye and shampoo and want a more natural method to neutralize brassy tones, you can add apple cider vinegar to your routine.

To do this, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your hair after you finish shampooing and conditioning.

5. Baking Soda

using baking soda to remove brassy tones from brown hair

Another natural method to get rid of brassy tones is baking soda. Baking soda is an exfoliant and will remove some of the buildups that cause brassy tones.

You can mix the baking soda with water or apple cider vinegar and use it as a shampoo.

How To Prevent Brown Hair from Turning Brassy?

ways to prevent brown hair from turning brassy

One of the biggest keys to achieving the perfect hair color is preventing damage to your color in the first place.

Protecting your hair color- is essential to maintaining the perfect shade of brown. Follow these tips to prevent your brown hair from turning brassy.

  1. Protect your hair from heat: One of the most considerable damages to hair and hair color is heat. Try to avoid using blow dryers, straighteners, and curlers when you can. If you want to continue using these tools, always use a heat protectant to keep your hair safe.
  2. Color-safe shampoo: Sulfate-heavy, traditional shampoos are not designed to protect your color. Color-safe shampoos are the best way to ensure your color doesn’t fade and stays as fresh as the day you dyed it.
  3. Avoid the sun: It’s not always possible or practical to stay inside for your hair, but UV rays can damage your color. Try to wear a hat or put your hair up when you spend extended periods outside.
  4. Choose a different dye: Many dark hair dyes use red and orange undertones. If your hair is consistently turning brassy, try choosing a different dye for your next refresh. Dyes with cool or neutral undertones are less likely to turn brassy over time.
  5. Add a shower filter: It’s possible that part of the damage to your hair color is coming from your water at home. Many home water systems have minerals and chlorine in the water, which can build up and change your hair color over time.
  6. Avoid the pool: Chlorine is a major contributor to unwanted hair color changes. Avoid chlorine pools if you can, and consider using a shower cap if you can’t.

So, How Can You Remove Brassy Tones from Brown Hair?

The best way to remove brassy tones from brown hair is to use a color-correcting shampoo or treatment. The blue shampoo will cancel out the brassy tones while color-refreshing treatments will fix the ratio of warm and cool tones in your hair. 


These are the most commonly asked questions about reducing brassy tones in brown hair.

Can I remove the brassy tone from my brown hair naturally?

These are some natural ways to remove brassy tones from your hair:
– Baking soda
– Lemon juice
– Apple cider vinegar
– Chamomile tea

What color cancels out brassy brown hair?

Blue color, such as in blue shampoo, is the best way to cancel out brassy brown hair. 

How long will it take to remove the brassy tones from my hair?

Generally, it takes 2 weeks (3-4 washes) with purple or blue shampoo to remove brassiness from brown hair. However, it can vary depending on the brassiness level.

Photo of author

Claudia Riordan

Claudia, a hairstylist and senior editor at hairdohairstyle.com, has been featured in Elle and Vogue. With years in hairstyling and color, she's your go-to for hair advice and trends.