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brassy tones on brown -Bad Clairol advice

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Category: Hair Talk
Forum Name: Hair Color
Forum Description: The tricks and tribulations of changing your hair color
Printed Date: April 24 2018 at 9:45pm

Topic: brassy tones on brown -Bad Clairol advice
Posted By: marie01
Subject: brassy tones on brown -Bad Clairol advice
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 6:10am
My natural hair is on the lighter side of a medium brown with a lot of gold and red undertones.  I loved my natural color but was getting gray hairs and semi perm wasn't covering so I went to Nice n Easy permanent.  I called the Clairol hotline and told the woman that I was wanting to match my natural color and cover the gray (mimimal amt, maybe 50 strands on my head). The woman suggested the color Natural Light Ash Brown.  I told her I thought this would be too light for me but she said with my undertones I needed an ash based color to avoid brassiness and that is was better to go too light than too dark since it's easier to correct.  She said to always go up one color lighter from what you think you should use since the colors come out darker.

My hair is long, to my bra strap in back and had a perm in it about 17 months ago.  I did a swatch test on a piece on the underside and a piece on the top of the back where it is drier.  The color looked like a match, no brassiness.  I also used Roux Porosity control since the ends of my hair are drier from the perm and being long. After I rinsed out the dye my hair looked brassy with a definite orange tinge.  It looks REALLY bad in sunlight. And to top it off it didn't cover the gray!

I called back the Clairol hotline and here's what she told me to do.  Tell me if this sounds right:  She said to get 2 boxes of Clairol Hydriece in the color Tawny Breeze, the same ash color level equivalent of the Nice n Easy I just used.  Mix it with 4 oz of shampoo.  Shampoo my hair, towel dry and apply the mixture for 20 minutes max, checking evey 5 minutes. Rinse and condition.  She claims this will not make my hair even more brassy since the mixture is a "toner".  She also said Nice n Easy bring out hightlight and the color was too light for my hair in the first place (even though this was THEIR suggestion) so it brought out the underlying red tones of my hair. The Hydrience is supposedly more  highly pigmented and will cover the gray and not be brassy. I asked if this would damage my hair since I just dyed it yesterday and she said no.

What do you all think?  Does this make sense?  Will I damage my hair more or risk worse brassiness? What is a toner anyway?  If it weren't for the brassy tones the underlying brown color would look nice. Any sugesstion would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

Posted By: Anubis493
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 9:39am
They are wanting you to do what is called the soap cap method. It turns the box color into a toner. A toner is used to blend with the "off" color on your head to produce a better more realistic color. You have to understand the color wheel here. A toner is usually the opposite color on the wheel. In theory it will cancel out any underlying "bad tones" in your  hair. I don't think semi color is hard on your hair and you are also diluting the mixture for the soap cap. I had this same trouble last year with my hair and got told to do the same thing. Although it did improve the color it didn't totally take out the brassy color. ( I think at home products just aren't as strong as salon stuff) I think they did advise you too light in the first place.  Loreal has some boxed kits that are just for brunettes that say no may want to call them and talk to them about what you've got....maybe their product would help cover up the brass in your brown.

Posted By: Rebekah
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 10:06am

Sometimes orange can be mistaken for red...try a strand test with this Miss Clairol shade at Sally's (moonhaze), it's a green base dye...see link below. - ml

You can try a soap cap with this color or try the 20 vol peroxide, and keep checking the color up to 45 min.  Sometimes the color is not left on long enough.  Color will turn out brassy on some people if not processed for 45 min. 

Good luck


Posted By: marie01
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 4:24pm
I'm not wanting my hair lighter.  Would the moonhaze shade lighten it? On my computer it looks light.  Will putting more color on my hair, whether it be the Miss Clairol or the Hydrience, which is a permanent color, damage it or does the shampoo dilute it enough?

I was going to use Clairol's version of the "no brassy for brunettes" color, but the woman at Clairol told me they are dark and made for ethnic hair.  The woman on the box was not ethnic and her hair color not real dark.  It looked like mine pre-dye job and I thought it would be a good match but I figured the woman knew a lot more than I did. Guess I figured wrong, LOL!

Posted By: Rebekah
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 5:28pm

"Would the moonhaze shade lighten it?"

I'm not certain.  You could try the chestnut brown, which is one shade lighter than your natural level.  I'm thinking it may be darker than you expect due to porosity or dryness of the hair.

"Will putting more color on my hair, whether it be the Miss Clairol or the Hydrience, which is a permanent color, damage it or does the shampoo dilute it enough?"

Honestly, everything damages hair. Miss Clairol can be purchased separately with 20 vol peroxide, and tried that way, or you can dilute it with shampoo.  Just make sure the shampoo is gentle and not drying.  "TEA-lauryl sulfate" in shampoos is very drying.  

"I was going to use Clairol's version of the "no brassy for brunettes""

I think Chestnut is a brass buster, but read the bottle to be sure. 

The only way to know what will happen is to buy some and strand test using 20 vol and the dye.  Then another strand test using 20 vol, the dye dye mixed with shampoo.  Hope this helps.

Good Luck!



Posted By: marie01
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 8:18pm
Rebekah - Thanks so much for the advice.  Glad you wished me luck.  I'm going to need it. If it weren't for the gray hairs starting I would never have dyed my hair in the first place.

Posted By: Rebekah
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 8:34pm

You know Miss Clairol also has a Grey Busters Collection.  If that color works for you.  You could always mix the green with a bit of the neutral.  Or just try the neutral (grey busters) to cover the grey.  In fact you could probably get away with just highlighting the grey with a grey buster color you like and blending it with the rest of the hair.  Just some ideas. 

Let me know how your hair turns out. 

I have problems with brass too and used Miss Clairol in Moongold.  It's a nice ashy golden color, go figure, green.  I noticed though when my color fades, and it's pretty quick, that it turns a bit brassy. 


Posted By: marie01
Date Posted: October 14 2005 at 11:49pm
Rebekah - I am totally ignorant when it comes to hair coloring.  When you say mix green with neutral do you mean the Grey Busters has a green color and a neutral?  How do I highlight just the greys when they are scattered not in one area like the temples the way some women have a grey pattern? Are the Grey Busters and Miss Clairol permanent colors?  I tried semi permanenet and my grey was too resistant and also for some reason no matter what semi perm color I picked it turn out very dark, even when I tried a light color (knowing the semi could not lighten, just deposit color).

Does Sally Beauty Supply sell a toner that I could apply to get rid of the orange/brassy look?  I also read to use blue correcting shampoo to tone down brassiness but when I did an online search all I saw was violet shampoo for toning the brassiness on blonde hair.

Posted By: Rebekah
Date Posted: October 15 2005 at 3:41pm

Miss Clairol has some grey busters...89N, 88N, 87N, 86N, 85N, 84N, 83N, 82N.  Range is from very light neutral blonde to dark neutral brown. See link below for swatches. -


What I'm thinking is that green tones down red, blue tones down orange, and the neutral helps to cut the grey down.  So I think by mixing these half and half you might find a color that cuts the brass and covers the grey.  Strand test to be sure though.  Nothing is so certain when it comes to coloring hair. 

Just curious, did the semi permanent color fade quickly?  Sometimes when you first color your hair, it's pretty dark, then it fades down to a more reasonable color, then it fades to be a bit brassy.  Touching up the hair once every 6 weeks usually helps keep the brassy look at bay.  Remember if using permanent color to only touch up the roots and simply rinsing the color out of your hair should touch up the ends and mid section.  If not, then you can put a semi or demi on the mid section and ends to "even" the color up.  Also there are toning mousse's that work quite well to touch up hair weekly while waiting to recolor new growth. 

Scroll down when you go to this link and you will see some swatches for Igora color toning mousse, expensive, but very well worth the money! -

I had a friend one time try using a demi, I think it was Clairol Compliments in an ash and it toned down the orange she had in her hair from doing highlights.  Maybe you could strand test a shade that would be close to your color in an ash. 

IMHO, you can get much better products from Sally Beauty than the drug store, although some have great success  from drugstore products.  I think the drugstore products just don't give the proper instructions.  For example if you really want a nice color, leave it on for 45 min...permanent I mean.  For the semi you really need to strand test and after 15 min keep checking to see if you have the color you want.  Anyway hope this helps and good luck! 


PS Do you have a pic of your hair you could post that might be helpful in determining what color your hair is and such?

Posted By: marie01
Date Posted: October 15 2005 at 8:52pm
The semi permanent I had in looked really dark so after a few days of washing it I got some Prell shampoo and washed and washed several times in a row for a few days and then applied a hot oil treatment for 2 days in a row.  That took most of it out.  I then tried a ligjher shade, did a swatch, still too dark .  I then went up several shades, knowing it would not lighten my natural hair, just make the grays a lighter shade than I would want. At this point I gave up and just started plucking the grays. That was a couple of years ago.  A few months ago I decided to give it another try with the semi perm and had the same problem on the test piece.  When I dyed my hair a few ago the test piece (underside of my hair) was STILL dark!

When I went to Sally's to buy the porosity control I glanced at the haircolor section but was so overwhelmed by the thought of mixing and not knowing if I was buyng the correct product or doing it right I decided I had better stick with the drugstore Clairol. They make it sound so foolproof and easy on the commercial and I took the bait like a dummy. I also think you have to have a cosmetologists licence in  my state to buy the professional hair color and perms from Sally's so whatever I find there I will have to order online from a beauty supply.

I'm glad you mentioned the touch up instructions.  The Clairol instructios say to put on roots for 25-45 min, then put on rest of the hair for 5 min.  I thought that seemed long and wondered if that would overprocess the hair and darken the ends. What you said makes a lot more sense.

We just bought a digital camera.  I will have my husband take some photos and see if we can fiure out how to post them.  Thanks SO MUCH for all your advice!!

Posted By: marie01
Date Posted: October 15 2005 at 8:58pm
Rebekah - A question about the toning mousse:  I check out the link you posted. Is this a permanent dye or will it wash out after a shampoo if I decide to try it and pick the wrong color? Does it cause any damage or contain ammonia or peroxide? Thanks again 

Posted By: Rebekah
Date Posted: October 15 2005 at 9:13pm

The toning mousse deposits color only just like a semi but doesn't last that long.  Maybe a week or two. 

About the permanent dyes and timing.  I used to leave my color on for 30 min. and I always got brass.  Now I leave it on for 45 min and it's a pretty color. 

I know what you mean about those commercials!  They make it look so easy.  I think they use conditioner on that one lady's hair.  The real stuff doesn't look anything like that! 

Will be looking for a picture! A good way to post is to go to and then have them host a pic for you.  Here's a pic of the back of my hair.  The ends are what is left of using L'Oreal Color Expert, box color.  A tad red, but not bad.  I have bleached heavy highlights in the rest of it.  It's a warm golden blonde. -


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