The ultimate answer to why blonde hair turns yellow or brassy

Hey guys! I’m here to fill you all in on a little secret. I’m here to tell you the answer to WHY your hair turns brassy or yellow! I have soo many new clients who come to see me and their number one complaint is B R A S S. And I’m going to be honest, I also have existing clients that complain about the same thing! I totally get it, brassy hair is not ideal. So… I know you all want to know why this happens! Are you ready for the answer!?!


Disclaimer: This guide is here to help you understand the science behind hair color and establish knowledge of your hair. This is NOT meant for you to do your hair at home, or bring this into your stylist and micromanage your service. Please don’t sit down in your stylists chair with a color chart like the one below telling them your natural color & what you think your underlying pigment is. We all have color charts in our salons & know how to find your natural color better than you can on your own, I promise. Its SO SO important to keep in mind that everyones hair is different and I could use the exact same formula, and exact same technique on the EXACT SAME type of “before photo” but everyone has a different history, hair type, and just hair in general :)

Blonde hair isn’t any different than red hair color fading, or brunettes fading. Fortunately I am so happy that I have SOO many clients who come back to me after 6 even up to 16 weeks after I’ve done their hair & still say how good it looks! THAT is one of the best compliments! I’ve even had clients cancel their appointments and push it out further because it still looks that good! I’ll get to HOW you can make this happen later!

First, notice how I’ve been referring to yellow and brassy separately? Thats because there is a difference between yellow hair and brassy hair! I often hear clients say, my hair looks brassy..when actually it’s just yellow.

Heres the breakdown and why it matters:

Brassy hair means O R A N G E! Think of bronze, copper, or gold.

Yellow hair is…well yellow, like the inside of a banana!

And heres why I’m breaking it down differently! Your hair SHOULD actually be fading yellow! And if able to be lifted light enough your hair should not look super orange or “brassy.” It’s important to learn the difference because that will either help prevent it from happening OR help you understand WHY it’s going to happen!

Here’s an example of clients who had “YELLOW” hair in their before photos:

Here’s an example of clients who had “BRASSY” hair in their before photos:


All of the before photos in the yellow stage are my returning clients, the brassy before’s are new clients! I wanted to show you these specific “yellow” blondes that consistently see me because even though their hair still looks good! There’s nothing wrong with your hair color fading, and honestly it’s just something that you have to live with unless you want to be in the salon every 4-6 weeks. It just happens & I’m here to tell you why!!

Let’s talk about brassy hair first, because this is something that we can try to prevent by lifting you light enough.

We’ll start with this chart below. The top of the chart is your underlying pigment, the bottom is your natural color. For example- if your natural color on the bottom of the chart is a level 6 or 7 your underlying pigment above that is pretty gold, right? This is inevitable. Every single person has this underlying warmth and when you lighten your hair you go through these stages! In order to prevent the brass you will see at a level 2-8, you must be able to lighten it to a 9 or above! Did a lightbulb just click?


Some people can lighten past that stage of warmth and some people can’t for the first few visits and sometimes they can’t ever get that light! For example, if your hair is a level 2-4 (especially with previous color on it) it is pretty unlikely that you will be able to get to a level 9 in one visit. And you will for sure have some underlying warmth.

Heres an example of a client who had level 2 natural hair with level 5 & 6 underlying brass. We broke up as much as we could in one visit & toned her hair as ashy as possible. I’ll fill you in on a secret. Some of her hair is GOING TO GET BRASSY BETWEEN THIS APPOINTMENT AND NEXT TIME SHE COMES IN!!! Will it look like the before photo? NO. But will it fade warm. YES. Why? Because her natural color is a level 3. Because she had previous brass. Because glazes fade. Because the underlying pigment is warm. Because we were not able to lighten every single piece of hair to a level 9 or 10.


Heres an example of a client with a natural level 4 that was lightened to a level 10. Will her hair fade brassy? Most likely. I would expect it to look like a level 8-9 at the top of this chart next time she comes in. Why? Because her natural color has underlying warmth. But the ends of her hair were lightned to a 10? YES, but all haircolor fades and so will hers. Will it fade to a level 5-6 on the top of the chart? No way! But it will still have a little bit of warmth to it. Because like we talked about earilier..everyones hair fades!


Want to know another secret? The lighter your hair the more porous it is, and the more your glaze is going to fade because porous hair doesn’t retain the moisture as well!

The short answer to why your hair fades brassy is unless your natural color is a level 7 (sometimes a level 6) or above I would expect to see more brassy tones in your hair when it fades. This has to do with the science behind hair color and is something that you just really can’t change no matter how ashy you make the toner or glaze!

Now let’s talk about why your hair color fades to yellow!

The answer won’t be as long, because its simple. If your hair color isn’t fading to yellow its completely FRIED. Like I’ve said over and over. Everyones hair fades. But why would it fade yellow even if its lightened past a level 10 and my natural color is a 8 and it looks SUPER ashy when I leave the salon? Toners don’t last forever, nothing does! They fade with each wash and having white blonde hair is HIGH MAINTENCE! You need to go into the salon every 4-6 weeks for at-least a glaze if you don’t want your hair color to fade.

Heres some ways to help prevent your hair from turning brassy or yellow!!

  • Use a blue based shampoo for brass and purple shampoo fo yellow- (BLUE CANCELS ORANGE AND PURPLE CANCELS YELLOW!)

  • Go in for a glaze 6 weeks after your appointment so your glaze doesn’t fade too much!

  • Try to lighten your hair past a level 8 if your hair can handle it! THIS WILL BE YOUR STYLISTS DECISION!

  • Use professional shampoo & conditioner

  • Invest in a shower filter!


Heres the final answer: EVERYONES hair turns yellow or brassy at some point Every single person’s hair will fade, no matter what. Nothing in hair color is completely permanent- just like tattoos fade! It’s important to keep this in mind and have realistic expectations! I hope you guys found this post helpful!