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Thread: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

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    ReMember Tabitha's Avatar
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    Default Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    As the title says, I have ashy darkish brunette hair. Last year I had lowlights put in but the stylist persuaded me that I "needed" some highlights "to make it look more natural".

    These to my unhappy eye look custardy yellow. I have about 1 year's regrowth and I don't want any more colouring done to my hair until I have a lot more of my natural colour round my face, to judge the effect. So re-doing lowlights isn't an option. Joico K-Pak Chelating helps tone it down (we have hard ironrich water) but not enough.

    When I had white-blonde hair decades ago I used Schwartzkopf purple shampoo to keep it from going brassy. I know the colour-wheel opposite theory (blue vs orange, purple vs yellow)

    Does anybody know what this kind of shampoo/conditioner would do to (a) my custard yellow highlights but also (b) to my naturally cool ashy brown hair - which is also lighter/redder towards the ends, as happens to most people.


    Here are a couple of pics to illustrate but in sunlight, it looks much worse:

    Hair about a month ago blowdried straight-ish:



    Older pic, shorter & with bunwaves, but shows the yellow:

    Last edited by Lexy; July 6th, 2011 at 05:15 PM.

    GRD, 3 March 2007

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    Member iris's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    I've had good experiences with two purple toners - one by manic panic, I think it's called virgin snow, and one by guhl, to get rid of those kinds of tones (my hair is lighter than yours though). They're very similar products; this is what the guhl looks like over here, maybe you can get it in the UK, too - it's sold in run-of-the-mill drugstores over here, where the deep treatments are.

    They're more like a deep treatment than a conditioner, if that makes sense - the effects last longer, you don't have to reapply every time you wash. That means you can also just apply them to the areas where you want the toner to go. The coloring stuff in them is the same as what is used in the purple/blue shampoos and conditioners, but there's a bit more of it, the color is a little stronger, and it lasts longer.

    For me, I only had to use them a few times, then the color just stuck. That often happens with highlighted hair, if it's just been damaged enough but not too much, there's some room in the hair's structure for those kinds of color molecules to get stuck. I hope that makes sense.

    In any case, I'd use something like that, because you can just put it where you need it and don't need to worry about it affecting your overall color like you do with shampoo and conditioner. I don't think that blue/purple shampoo/conditioner would do a lot to your overall color, it would probably show up at most in the sunshine as a subtle cast of some sort, but you know, just in case. When I used blue shampoos I did feel they made my whites look too gray over time (I try to pass off my whites as blond highlights - not sure that that works but I didn't like the gray cast the blue shampoo gave to them). But I don't know if you have grays.

    ETA: If you can't find those toners, you can also just mix some blue/purple deposit-only dye (manic panic, stargazer etc) with a lot of deep treatment - that does the same thing. Blue has a stronger effect than purple, so you need to use less of it/mix more deep treatment in or you end up with blue/green tones (which is way worse than a bit of brass - way, way worse). Maybe start with something like a 1:20 or 1:30 ratio? I've done it and it worked, but I don't remember the ratio I used. I do remember that you need to dilute the heck out of the pure rainbow deposit-only colors to use them this way, they have a lot of pigment.
    Last edited by iris; July 6th, 2011 at 06:19 PM.
    Grew out my henna (February 2007 - August 2009)

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    ~BleachedGuru~ justgreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    Hi Tabitha!

    Have you tried chelating? I noticed you said you have iron rich water. We do too and I have to chelate every now and then. I think I use a cheapo, Suave Chelating. And then I do a final rinse with about 12 ounces of distilled water, sluicing the hard water off the hair before the minerals have a chance to adhere. It works pretty well for me, with the platinum blonde highlights.

    ETA: I always use the distilled water after every wash.
    Your hair is lovely!! And it grows so fast, I am so jealous!
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    ReMember Tabitha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    Thanks Lexy for changing the title for me!
    Quote Originally Posted by iris View Post
    I've had good experiences with two purple toners - one by manic panic, I think it's called virgin snow, and one by guhl, to get rid of those kinds of tones (my hair is lighter than yours though). They're very similar products; this is what the guhl looks like over here, maybe you can get it in the UK, too - it's sold in run-of-the-mill drugstores over here, where the deep treatments are.

    They're more like a deep treatment than a conditioner, if that makes sense - the effects last longer, you don't have to reapply every time you wash. That means you can also just apply them to the areas where you want the toner to go. The coloring stuff in them is the same as what is used in the purple/blue shampoos and conditioners, but there's a bit more of it, the color is a little stronger, and it lasts longer.

    For me, I only had to use them a few times, then the color just stuck. That often happens with highlighted hair, if it's just been damaged enough but not too much, there's some room in the hair's structure for those kinds of color molecules to get stuck. I hope that makes sense.

    In any case, I'd use something like that, because you can just put it where you need it and don't need to worry about it affecting your overall color like you do with shampoo and conditioner. I don't think that blue/purple shampoo/conditioner would do a lot to your overall color, it would probably show up at most in the sunshine as a subtle cast of some sort, but you know, just in case. When I used blue shampoos I did feel they made my whites look too gray over time (I try to pass off my whites as blond highlights - not sure that that works but I didn't like the gray cast the blue shampoo gave to them). But I don't know if you have grays.

    ETA: If you can't find those toners, you can also just mix some blue/purple deposit-only dye (manic panic, stargazer etc) with a lot of deep treatment - that does the same thing. Blue has a stronger effect than purple, so you need to use less of it/mix more deep treatment in or you end up with blue/green tones (which is way worse than a bit of brass - way, way worse). Maybe start with something like a 1:20 or 1:30 ratio? I've done it and it worked, but I don't remember the ratio I used. I do remember that you need to dilute the heck out of the pure rainbow deposit-only colors to use them this way, they have a lot of pigment.
    Thanks for all that really useful info Iris, it's great to hear from someone whose hair is similar to mine, rather than light blonde!

    I've never seen Guhl here but I've heard the younger UKers talk about Manic Panic and I can get the Virgin Snow quite easily online so I'll give that a go. There's an "Amplified" version which might be good. It would be great if I could use something intermittently so that the rest of the time I could carry on using the products which suit my hair.

    I do alas have greys, or rather, pure whites. That was one thing the lowlights used to address although I had them mostly because I felt my natural colour was so drab. And of course they're mainly around the front hairline and on the crown. But I don't go out in sunshine much

    About 30 years ago I used "black henna" and did end up with dark green hair, fortunately I was a student at the time and my friends thought it was quite cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by justgreen View Post
    Hi Tabitha!

    Have you tried chelating? I noticed you said you have iron rich water. We do too and I have to chelate every now and then. I think I use a cheapo, Suave Chelating. And then I do a final rinse with about 12 ounces of distilled water, sluicing the hard water off the hair before the minerals have a chance to adhere. It works pretty well for me, with the platinum blonde highlights.

    ETA: I always use the distilled water after every wash.
    Your hair is lovely!! And it grows so fast, I am so jealous!
    Hi Justy! thanks for the compliment. It's amazing how fast hair will grow if you just don't cut it, simple neglect here. Referencing the "Hair Cheating" thread, this is it blowdried, if I let it airdry I get a mess of woolly wurls with no shine.

    Yes I do use the Joico K-Pak Chelating shampoo about once a month, it's a bit harsh to use more often (I wash about every 4-5 days, whenever my scalp says Hey). I use Brita jug-filtered water for the final rinse, would distilled be even better?

    The chelating works quite well to tone down the orange (so it must be deposits) but this still leaves an underlying brassy yellow which I think is just the base colour left in the hair after some of my natural colour was lifted out, but not enough for a pale blond. I have a neutral to cool complexion and my natural hair colour is a cool ashy brunette so yellow tones just look wronggggggg. So if something like Manic Panic every so often could cool that down to an ashier colour, I would be pretty happy.

    GRD, 3 March 2007

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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    Ah, piggy feels your pain! And piggy also suspects that your pain can probably be healed in a similar fashion as mine was (^(oo)^)v

    I suspect that at your colour level, you won't really get visible results from Virgin Snow or other toning products that are meant for platinum-type blondes. In order to successfully reduce unwanted colour tones, the level of your opposite "toning" colour needs to be about the same as the level of the colour youre trying to cancel out.

    My suggestion would be to mix a bit of light-medium cool-toned purple deposit-only dye into your favourite conditioner, then apply to dry hair 20-30 minutes prior to each wash. Then just follow your normal routine, substituting the tinted conditioner for your normal one. Something like Special Effects Wildflower would be just the thing - deep enough to counteract the yellow tones in your highlighted bits, but too light to show up over your base colour and lowlights. It's probably best to start with quite a small dye/conditioner ratio - a little bit of dye goes a long way, in my admittedly limited experience (^(oo)^)
    I'm a little piggy! (^(oo)^)v

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    Last of the Brunnen-G kwaniesiam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    A toning shampoo won't produce the lasting results you're looking for. I'd suggest a non-damaging deposit only dye like Elumen in a shade close to your natural color all over to cover them up and not affect the color you have much. Elumen fades over time so any slight change to your natural color will fade out
    Your neighborhood LHC-friendly hair stylist Anyone is always free to PM me if they have any questions they think I might be able to help with, hair or otherwise!

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    ReMember Tabitha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    Quote Originally Posted by luxepiggy View Post
    Ah, piggy feels your pain! And piggy also suspects that your pain can probably be healed in a similar fashion as mine was (^(oo)^)v

    I suspect that at your colour level, you won't really get visible results from Virgin Snow or other toning products that are meant for platinum-type blondes. In order to successfully reduce unwanted colour tones, the level of your opposite "toning" colour needs to be about the same as the level of the colour youre trying to cancel out.

    My suggestion would be to mix a bit of light-medium cool-toned purple deposit-only dye into your favourite conditioner, then apply to dry hair 20-30 minutes prior to each wash. Then just follow your normal routine, substituting the tinted conditioner for your normal one. Something like Special Effects Wildflower would be just the thing - deep enough to counteract the yellow tones in your highlighted bits, but too light to show up over your base colour and lowlights. It's probably best to start with quite a small dye/conditioner ratio - a little bit of dye goes a long way, in my admittedly limited experience (^(oo)^)
    Thanks Piggy! The bolded part makes complete sense.

    I had already hastily ordered some Virgin Snow Amplified last night so that's already on the way to me: I'll give it a try but if it doesn't have a strong enough effect, I'll step up to the Special Effects and try the Wildflower glaze you suggest. It seems to be readily available here in the UK.

    I have no experience at all with this kind of product as (ever since the green hair incident) I've relied on salon colorists so the idea of being able to dial up the colour/conditioner ratio gradually is reassuring and it sounds easy to do without help.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwaniesiam View Post
    A toning shampoo won't produce the lasting results you're looking for. I'd suggest a non-damaging deposit only dye like Elumen in a shade close to your natural color all over to cover them up and not affect the color you have much. Elumen fades over time so any slight change to your natural color will fade out
    Thanks kwanie! I'd feel more comfortable just trying to neutralise the yellow at the moment, but I'll bear your suggestion in mind if the above suggestions don't tone down the custard any If I ended up with hilights that are an ashy kind of taupe, that would be a good enough result.

    I'm pretty nervous about anything that calls itself a "dye" and don't have anyone to help with application, plus the Elumen system seems a bit complicated as regards shade selection, levels etc as well as pricey. (Sorry, reading back, that all sounds as if I'm being really negative ).

    GRD, 3 March 2007

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    ReMember Tabitha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    The Manic Panic Amplified Virgin Snow is alarmingly violet! I need to work up the courage for this

    Here's a pic of my hair in dull daylight, I took it today to show a fork but it demonstrates my colour remarkably well. Not flatteringly at all. I washed with chelating shampoo a couple of days ago.


    GRD, 3 March 2007

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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    I know this doesn't help how you see it, but I think your colors are quite pretty. I hope you find a solution that satisfies.

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    Default Re: Would blue shampoo help brassy hilights in brown hair?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tabitha View Post
    The Manic Panic Amplified Virgin Snow is alarmingly violet! I need to work up the courage for this

    Here's a pic of my hair in dull daylight, I took it today to show a fork but it demonstrates my colour remarkably well. Not flatteringly at all. I washed with chelating shampoo a couple of days ago.
    LOL!! Alarmingly violet! Tee hee. I'm so easily amused (^(oo)^)
    I'm a little piggy! (^(oo)^)v

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