How to Fix Brassy Blonde Hair Color With Semi Permanent Color

Semipermanent hair dyes tone down unwanted brassiness.

Photo: Marili Forastieri/Photodisc/Getty Images

If your blonde strands have gone from sunny to straw-colored, you need to tone down the brassiness. Sun damage, chemicals from your shower, and too much heat styling add warmth to your hair, which can leave your tresses with a distinct orange tint. To turn back the clock to your fresh-from-the-salon hue, just apply the easiest toner to find: semipermanent hair dye.

Get Nerdy About It

Think of semipermanent dyes as personal trainers. They want to tone your hair, but they don't do invasive surgery to force it. While permanent dyes open your hair cuticles to inject color directly into your strands, semipermanents just coat your strands with color. They don't have harsh chemicals, such as the irritant ammonia (the one with the super-strong smell) that forces your hair shafts open. This means they can't lighten your hue, so don't expect a major overhaul; but they can darken or shift your hair color. And that's what makes them excellent toners.

Shades That Zap Brass

Just like those brass instruments in the orchestra, brassy hair is gold-orange in color. To cancel out that too-warm shade, you need an opposite color: ash. A box of cool ash blonde semipermanent dye will tint your tresses to tone down warmth, leaving your hair looking natural again. The best part? Once you use semipermanent dye, you don't have to worry about major brass attacks returning for several weeks, as semipermanent dyes contain little to no peroxide -- the ingredient that turns hair brass as it oxidizes.

Apply With Confidence

Coating your strands with semipermanent dye is a cinch. Wash your hair and let it dry before applying, so product buildup and natural oils don't interfere with your hair's ability to grab the color. (This is a different process than dyeing with permanent dye, which does better with oily hair!) Tie up the top half of your hair and apply the dye to your lower strands, then let out of the rest of your locks and coat them, too. Leave the dye on for the recommended time. Don't be tempted to short-change your hair on the dye time, or the dye might not have a chance to stick to your strands. Rinse thoroughly and follow with a deep conditioning treatment.


Semipermanent dyes boost your hair's thickness and act as hair conditioners. The result? A glossy shine that looks and feels totally healthy. And if you're worried about your blonde hair dye fading or getting stale, that added shine makes color appear truer -- just like it's fresh from the salon.

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