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Nothing screams "bad at-home dye job" like orangey-red, brassy hair. Whether you were going for a warm auburn, a rich chestnut or a sunny blond shade, that neon-orange shade makes every day feel like a bad hair day. But just because your hair can turn brassy when you color at home doesn't mean it has to. If you choose the right color, you can skip the brass completely and get the results you really want.
Major changes in color are the most likely to leave your locks brassy, so if you're ready for a dramatic change, skip the DIY and see a professional. For home hair coloring, stick to a color that's no more than two shades darker or lighter than your current hair color. If you're determined to go for an extreme change at home, pick up a blue- or violet-tinted hair color base from a professional beauty shop and mix it with your color to reduce brassiness.
Hair with naturally red or golden undertones is more likely to turn brassy -- especially if you're going for a warm color that also contains red and cold. Brunettes may be most susceptible to this kind of brassiness since most brown hair has warm undertones, Lisa Evans, a colorist at Salon Mario Russo in Boston, explains in "Women's Health." Avoid turning your brown hair brassy by choosing a color that describes itself as "cool," "neutral" or "ash."
The Right Mix
To get the shade you want and avoid brassiness, be prepared to mix colors. If you want a warm brown shade, mix together a warm brown and a cooler or neutral shade, hair colorist Sharon Dorram recommends in "O, The Oprah Magazine." The neutral will prevent brassiness, while the warmer hue will give you the golden glow you're going for.
Colored hair can go brassy days or weeks after you color if you don't take proper care of it. Prevent your perfectly colored locks from going Bozo on you by using a shampoo with blue or purple tint and protecting your hair with spray-in hair sunscreen and a scarf or hat when you'll be out in the sun.