What does brassy hair look like? 5 professional tips to recognize it

  • If your hair looks more orange or yellowish in some areas, it’s most likely brassy.
  • You’ll notice your hair coarser, more difficult to comb, and with less vitality when it’s brassy.
  • A change of look, aggressive treatments, or starting a new daily activity may have turned your hair brassy.
  • I’ll give you 5 tips to recognize if your hair is brassy and 5 tips to prevent it.


before and after

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Recognizing brassy hair is easy when you’re a professionally trained stylist.

However, you too can learn how to diagnose this problem with the 5 tips you’ll find in this article.


Plus,  knowing why your hair is brassy will help you prevent it. 

Are you wondering if your hair is brassy?


These 5 tips will help you determine it like a real pro.


  • Has your hair changed its color?

You may notice your hair is a bit orange or yellowish in some areas. This color change may become more or less visible.


  • Have you recently dyed or bleached your hair?

Brassy hair usually occurs when you use chemicals to change the color.


  • Do you use a lot of heat tools to style your hair?

If you’re abusing your flat iron and blow dryer, chances are your hair is brassy.


  • Have you started doing outdoor sports or swimming?

Unbelievably, virgin hair can also turn orange, especially if you go swimming.


  • Does your hair feel rougher or have dry ends? Does it tangle easily? Is it difficult to comb? Has it lost its softness and movement?


 If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, your hair is probably brassy. 


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Let’s take a look at these 5 signs one by one to know for sure if your hair is brassy or not.

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1- Has your hair changed color?

toning brassy hair

Is your hair changing color?


It doesn’t matter if your hair is colored or virgin. Hair oxidizes in both cases.

How can you tell?


It’s simple. Hair starts to show tones that are too warm.

 You can easily recognize if your hair is oxidized when some areas look worn or faded. 


For example, if your hair is dark blonde, but some areas have copper or orange tones that are different from the color you had before, it’s probably oxidized.

Keep in mind that virgin and dark hair oxidizes less than processed hair. And naturally or colored black hair will unlikely oxidize.

On the other hand, hair with a light brown base can oxidize because it releases the warm tones more quickly.


So, now you know that if your hair has some areas that are too warm, it’s probably oxidized, especially if it’s colored other than black.


2- Did you color or bleach your hair recently?

brassy hair

As I said before, though all hair types can oxidize,  colored or bleached hair oxidizes more frequently than virgin hair. 

One hair dye color lasts approximately 23 washes. So, do the math!

Once the hair dye starts to wash out, the warm tones come out.


If you haven’t touched up your hair color in a while, it’ll probably look worn and oxidized.

The same thing happens when your hair is bleached. After a while, the bleaching levels come out.

So, if you’ve had blonde highlights and you notice they’ve turned yellowish, don’t hesitate: your hair is oxidized.


3- How much heat does your hair receive?

Excessive heat from flat irons and blow-dryers without the correct hair protection accelerates the oxidation process of color-treated hair.

As I said in the previous tip, colored or bleached hair oxidizes a little faster than hair that is not colored or bleached.

How can you tell if your hair is oxidized?


If it is,  it looks a lot lighter, especially in the areas where you usually use the flat iron or the curling iron. 

You’ll notice that the ends and sides of your hair are lighter with warm tones.


So, now you know. If you’re using the flat iron or curling iron frequently, your hair is probably oxidized.


4- Have you started playing an outdoor sport?

fragile and weak

Practicing outdoor sports or swimming exposes your hair to oxidation.

Sun, water, and excessive washing will wear out your hair color. Then, warm tones will start to appear.


 Swimming is one of the sports that oxidizes hair the most. It can make it look faded  and overly coppery or yellow.

Even greenish tones mixed with orange ones can appear.


The brassy color depends on the natural color or the color of the hair dye you use.

For example, if you have brown hair, you may see reddish-orange tones or intense coppery tones.


On the other hand, if you have dark blonde or golden blonde hair, you’ll see lighter copper or yellow-orange tones.

In the case of blonde tones, the yellow tones will light up your hair.

Remember that warm colors come out in brassy hair.


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5- Do you notice your hair rougher, without its natural movement, and difficult to style?

The first sign that shows that the hair is brassy is getting warm tones and color changes.

Other characteristics can indicate that your hair is brassy.


 For example, if your hair is rough, has dry ends, and lacks vitality and shine. Alternatively, if it tangles too much and you have a hard time combing it. 

Losing the natural movement can also be a sign that your hair is brassy.


As you can see, just a few tips can help you determine like a pro if your hair is brassy or not.

You have to analyze the condition of your hair, the treatments you’ve had, and the changes in your daily activities.


If your answer to two or more of the 5 tips I gave you is “yes”, your hair is brassy.

However, don’t worry!


Brassy hair has a solution and it’s much easier than you think.

Below are a few tips that will help you prevent your hair from oxidizing again.


5 tips to prevent oxidation of your hair


  • Use specific shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair.

These products are less aggressive than non-specific products. Also, they’re designed to preserve the color.

Nowadays, toning shampoos are easy to find and affordable. They neutralize unwanted tones.


 If your hair tends to oxidize towards brassy tones, use a blue shampoo. If your hair tends to oxidize towards yellow, use a purple shampoo. 

In any case, it is always a good idea to ask your hairdresser about these products.


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red undertones

  • Protect your hair from the sun.

Use a hat or hair sunscreen to protect your hair from the sun.


  • Don’t wash your hair every day.

Washing it every other day is more than enough.


  • Use a heat protectant.

If you use a curling iron, flat iron, or hair dryer, use a heat protectant.


  • Protect your hair with a nourishing or moisturizing mask.

Remember that moisturized hair retains color better and oxidizes less.

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