How to Tone Brassy Yellow and Orange Hair


 Kiss that Brassy Yellow Orange Hair good-bye!

So I’ll try my best to not speak in a language most won’t understand. The most asked questions I get from my readers and followers is how to tone brassy yellow and orange hair. In order to understand hair chemistry you must understand the color wheel. The color wheel can never be reinvented, let me repeat! “The color wheel can never, ever, be reinvented.” That’s a given. Once you understand the color wheel you will understand how to cancel out any unwanted brassy or orange tones even red tones from your freshly bleached out hair.

The Color Wheel

So this is one of the best picked out color wheel I grabbed from google image which I’m going to use as a guide and a visual aide for my readers. In order for anyone to understand color chemistry they must understand the color wheel. This is basic hair coloring 101.

Color Wheel

Now lets take a look at the color wheel and pin point yellow for brassy and orange for orange hair. If you look across from yellow, there’s violet and across from orange, there’s blue. These are the color toner that you’ll need in order to cancel out that brassy yellow and bright orange hair. They neutralized each other making them complementary colors. When we speak of the color wheel in hair language we are technically talking about the hues. A great example for that would be Instagram filters. The filters on Instagram does not alter the color of the photo but instead mask it in order to either corrected, enhanced or brightened up the photos complexion and that’s exactly what a toner does to the hair. That’s how the color wheel work!So if you have yellow brassy hair, in order to cancel out that yellow hair you will have to apply a violet toner; however, if your hair is orange you will need a blue toner.  This is why it’s so important to learn the color wheel in order to formulate, mix and customize your toner to correct any unwanted tones.

If you have orange hair and tossed on an ash (violet) toner it will tone the hair to a warm caramel but won’t cancel out that warm orange undertone. If you have yellow brassy hair and toss on blue, chances are you’ll be stuck with green hair.  One thing you want to determine is if the hair is yellow, orange-yellow, orange or red-orange. Once you are able to determine which bracket the hair fall into you’ll be better off formulating or buying the correct toner.

What exactly are toners?

Toners are not consider color therefore it does not work on hair that are darker than bleached out orange hair. Its technically use for double processing and achieving blonde hair.  Toners are use for correcting and neutralizing brassy yellow and unwanted orange tones. Unlike permanent, demi or box dye colors you’ll have to watch the toner while its processing in your hair to avoid the color from toning your hair too ash, violet or to purple.  Toners, unlike colors will give your hair a sheer finished tint.

Formulating Formulas


Formulating takes a lot of knowledge and practices in order to perfect your color mixing skills. A lot of it has to do with the products and what brand you’re using. I have my share of trials and errors and I’m still learning. Have you ever heard of that one quote by Aristotle;

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
― AristotleThe Nicomachean Ethics

Its only true that we learn as we go and making mistakes is all apart of growing. You mix and match colors and if it doesn’t look right? No big deal you try again and you know not to do it next time. The positive outcome from all of this is you learn something new! Being able to properly evaluate the hair and then properly formulate your formula will most often promises results.  If the hair is orange and yellow you would want to mix equal parts of both violet and blue together to a 1:1 ratio of 6 or 10 volume developer.  If its more orange and a little yellow you will mix more blue toner with a small amount of violet to amount to 1 ratio to 1 ratio developer, and of course orange and red hair will require a mix of green and blue toners. Imprecise mixing will cause for inaccurate results. To get precise measurements invest into a scale. The color wheel chart is pretty much a guide used to properly cancel out unwanted hues from the hair.

How to maintain it?

Color treated hair comes with a very heavy maintenance job especially blonde hair. One of the best tools to keep in your beauty product cabinet is purple or blue shampoo. This will keep the hair looking great and fresh for at least three weeks to a month or more depending on how you care for your hair. One little trick I like to do is invent my own customized blue or purple shampoo especially if the shampoo available on retail isn’t cutting it for me.  I mix a permanent ash or pearl color with equal parts of developer to 2 parts shampoo and pour it into a travel size shampoo bottle just enough to last me a week and 3 wash. It’s true that the product may have oxidize already causing for the molecule to expand preventing the color to properly penetrate the hair, but its fine since I only want the product to stain my hair and keep my hair fresh and tone until my next touch up; however, if you want to avoid extreme chemical from both permanent dye and developer get direct dye instead. It may require more careful mixing to avoid turning your hair purple or blue. Remember to use only sulfate free shampoo since sulfate is one of the number one factor ingredients known for fading colors from color treated hair.

Basic Hair Coloring 101

These are very basic hair coloring knowledge but its the foundation that paves the path to achieving great cool tones and the first step to understanding hair chemistry and how color works.

XOXO your Skin Care  and Beauty Expert, ST

4 thoughts on “How to Tone Brassy Yellow and Orange Hair

  1. Thanks so much girl! I’ve been coloring my own hair off and on for over 10 years and never really understood the color wheel!! I’m super excited to share that knowledge! Thanks again and keep doing your thing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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