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Hair Color/What happens when blonde hair dye fades?


QUESTION: I have brown hair and I got it dyed blonde at the salon. What color will my hair turn when it starts to fade? I can handle my hair going lighter, but will the fading turn it orange?

ANSWER: Hi Elsa,

If your brown hair was colored by using permanent dye, the fading issue depends on the level of color achieved. Mu guess is that it was lightened to the 6th or 7th level, and therefore at some point it will fade to a brassier tone. This is unavoidable since when you lighten the pigment of the natural hair, it exposes what is called "under tones". This what hair looks like by simply lightening it with an activator (peroxide is what you would call it), or before the actual color deposits the "dye load", that will eventually give it the tonality you desire.

The way color works is simple, it uses ammonia to lighten the hair's natural pigment and after 15/20 minutes it begins to deposit the color molecules which are inside your hair color product, and the activator permeates the dye service.

If your hair was lightened by using a lightening powder and an activating solution (Bleach), followed by a toner, it will also fade to a brassy (Orange) tone. There is no way to avoid this. This is why sometimes people will use a demi-permanent color to cover the brassy tones. A glaze can also be used, such as Redken's Shades EQ. This color works to put back the desired shade of blonde which has faded.

In ending, color fadage is always a bit of an issue, and we cannot get away from it. Chose a color product that is low in ammonia, (But NOT ammonia-FREE) and there will be less fadage since the product will not lift too much of the natural tones out of your hair. But in this case, your final results will not be a light blonde either. Sounds like a catch 22? It is.

The only thing to do, is to make sure that you keep up your color and you will be fine. BTW....there is no other alternative to going blonde from brown without fading to some sort of brassy tones, unless you "bleach " out the hair past the orange stage. All colors fade at some point and will reveal the undertones....sorry:(

Good Luck to you~!



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[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am pretty sure the stylist just bleached my hair and then toned it to get
an ash blonde. I'm not sure if she bleached it past the orange tones. Will using a toning shampoo a few times a week help avoid fading? Or will I inevitably have to go back to the salon eventually to get it recolored/re-bleached? And should I use a color safe shampoo and conditioner even if my hair is just bleached?

ANSWER: Hi Elsa,

Ok, we are getting closer to the root of the problem...LOL! This makes good sense now, and I see your concern, but it's all good. In order to get a beautiful blonde or golden tones, she would have had to bleach it past the orange level. She, also used a toner with an ash tone, to kill the unwanted orange tones.

Now, the answer for you is, YES, using toning shampoo once or twice a week will help to keep away from the brassy tones, but only if the lightening of the hair initially was a medium blonde or lighter. If she removed the bleach before it past that stage, all the toning in the world will not get rid of the orange in your hair.

Also, it IS IMPERATIVE that you use products which are friendly to color treated hair. Many of these shampoos have less sulfates in them, and help to maintain your blonde, rather than remove the color. At your local Sally's Beauty or any other establishment such us Wallmart, Wallgreen, CVS, Duane Reed, will have the shampoos you need. If you decide to purchase online, look at the following:

These are companies which I recommend because they all make their own hair color products, and so their products are geared for people like yourself. Anyway, don't get too crazy here, just enjoy your hair...and if you're ever in NYC, you can always look me up:)

All the best,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Okay so since I only have purple toner will it still do the same thing as the ash toner she used and keep my hair the color it is right now?
How do I know if she bleached passed the orange stage? So far I don't see any orange in my hair except a little at the ends, so does that mean she bleached it out?
Sorry for all of the questions, I just had a bad experience one time where the lady died my hair and it turned copper a week later so I'm just looking for some piece of mind and wanting to make sure my color is going to last without me having to make lots of trips to the salon.

Hi  Elsa,

Be careful....a purple toner might deposit a whole lot of violet tones in your hair. If anything add a quarter size to your shampoo and that will do it without any problems. If she did not bleach the hair out past the orange stage, you would see it, it is visible immediately.
Stay with the toning shampoos and if you must use a toner, go to any beauty supply. Since they can see your hair, they will be able to tell you exactly what you need.

I don't mind all the questions, this is why I do this...hopefully I am helping you:)

All the best


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The PsyCOLORgist


Ready to color your hair, and don't have a single clue on how to start? I will try my best to guide you in your new or old hair color venture, whether you are going to a professional or trying to do it yourself. If you are going to see a professional I can help by answering all questions regarding your initial consultation, what to say to your colorist, how to describe what your wishes are and well talk about realistic expectations. Everything starts with a good conversation; learn how to discuss hair color in terms which make sense to a colorist.


I started as a young assistant at Vidal Sassoon in 1982 and got the training that has always sustained me throughout my professional life. I first became involved in hair color in the mid 80s when I realized that my passion for painting was a vehicle understanding hair color. I joined the industry of hair color teaching and began a career as a platform artist in 1991. The next 25 years, took me across the USA and North America doing all hair shows, demonstrations on both hair cutting and hair coloring. I went from regional education, to national, eventually crossing into North America and being promoted as the USA Artistic Director for It&lyhairfashion, N.A. My hair salon is an award-winning destination for hair expertise, and I am proud to say that I have one of the most elite hair expert teams working for me.

Modern Salon Magazine Salon and Day Spa Westchester Magazine

Involved in hair shows and teaching professional hairdressers for over 25 years.

Awards and Honors
Best Hair Colorist of 2011 awarded by "Westchester Magazine" in New York. Featured in Modern Salon as one of the top national hair colorists.

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