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That sun-kissed mane took a turn for the worse and you wound up with a day-glo disaster. But have no fear! You're not the first wannabe blondie to hit the panic button at the sight of too-bright tresses. Orange can happen when your locks don't lift enough during the dyeing process or just because you went a little too Goldilocks when picking your color. But with the right goo and a little color know-how you can put the blonde back in your 'do and send that brassy on permanent holiday.
Hit your local beauty supply store for a bottle of toner. Purple is truly a girl's best friend when it comes to banishing orange-y/gold tones, so grab a toner with a violet undertone. To really shift that gold into neutral, look for a color that is slightly darker than your current shade (but hold the tangerine, natch!). Toner is subtle, so what you'll probably end up with is a cross between your current shade and the shade on the front of the bottle.
Slip those gloves on and mix that toner with a little developer to get your goo. The exact recipe will vary according to the brand, but it's usually a 1-1 ratio. Follow the directions on the bottle, just to be sure.
Paint your dry locks with the color concoction. Go all over your head, starting at the roots and working your way down to the ends. Don't just slap it on with your hands either -- use that brush! According to Lori Goddard-Clark in her book, "The Hair Color Mix Book: More Than 150 Recipes for Salon-Perfect Color at Home," the brush will help rough up the cuticle and make the toner penetrate better. And don't freak out if the color is bright purple or blue -- there's still a blondie under all that blueberry!
Set that timer for 10 minutes. Sure, the box says 30 to 45, but you'll want to keep an eagle eye on those locks to make sure that orange isn't sliding straight into blue-haired granny territory. To check your progress, wipe a strand clean with a rag and then mosey over to a window and inspect the color under natural light.
Rinse that orange right out of your 'do! When you've rinsed completely, you can follow up with a little shampoo and a deep-conditioning treatment. As a semi-permanent color, toner won't last forever, so you'll want to take care to protect those pretty blonde locks by washing in warm (not hot!) water and using color-safe products.
Lather up once a week with some purple-tinted shampoo. The purple tint neutralizes red and gold tones and helps keep brassiness at bay.
While toner can be just the right medicine for a blonde gone bad, it doesn't always have the chops to cut through a serious color mishap. If you simply can't shake the brass, it may be time to turn it over to the pros at your favorite salon.