why is my blonde hair changing colors

Why Is My Blonde Hair Changing Colors?

Keep Your Blonde Hair on Point!

Whether you are a natural blonde, colored your hair blonde, or have blonde hair extensions, maintaining the perfect blonde tone can be tricky. A few weeks after you leave the salon, you may notice your blonde tresses have become dull or changed tone. Although this may be annoying, it is quite normal. Understanding the science of hair will help you get your gorgeous locks back to their vibrant color in no time.

Mineral Salts

A common culprit for your unrecognizable hair color is mineral salts. Mineral deposits are buildups of natural, inorganic solids like copper and iron on the scalp and hair shaft. When mineral deposits come in contact with the proteins in your hair, they can chemically react to create dull, brittle, discolored tresses. This chemical reaction affects both natural blondes and color-treated blondes, although color-treated blondes are more susceptible.

How Did Minerals Get Into My Hair?

Mineral deposits live in pool water and your hard tap water. Every time you hop in the shower, you are exposing your hair to mineral deposits. An easy way to test your water for minerals is with dish soap. Fill a cup with water, and put one drop of dish soap in into the water. If the soap sinks to the bottom with no bubbles, then your water is not hard and has a neutral Ph balance. If the water starts to bubble as the soap travels downward, then you may have hard water. Everyone’s tap water has a different mineral intensity based on location. Constant exposure to minerals in hard tap water will result in the build-up, causing the minerals to react with the hair.

How To Prevent Mineral Build-Up

The best way to avoid mineral build up is by tackling the source. Purchase a filter for your shower head to eliminate the bulk of minerals. If you cannot make this investment right away, you can wash your hair with distilled water from the bottle. To minimize the effects of hard water on your hair, prep your hair with a pre-shampoo treatment or hot oil treatment. One easy DIY pre-shampoo / hot oil treatment is an olive oil mask. An olive oil mask is the most straightforward pre-shampoo treatment yet very useful due to high levels of vitamin e. Apply Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your hair and leave it for 20 minutes before you shampoo. For a deep hot-oil treatment sit under a hooded dryer for 10 minutes before shampooing. This treatment will increase moisture and elasticity in your hair, preventing mineral deposits from clinging to your hair shaft.

Brassy Hair

If you are a natural brunette and you have transitioned to blonde, you may notice an orange tone to your hair a few weeks after your last salon visit. All dark hair has an NRP of orange. NRP stands for Natural Remaining Pigment and describes the naturally occurring pigment left in the hair after a color lifting process.

Why Is My Hair Orange and Brassy?

To understand this, let's look at the hair at a microscopic level. During the process of bleaching, your stylist will soak the hair with oxidizing agents that dilute melanin. Melanin is the naturally occurring pigment in the hair that gives it its color. At this stage, the melanin in your hair has been reduced allowing the artificial pigment to deposit into the hair shaft. The orange/brassy tone comes when hair is at a level 3-5. These levels leave NRP of red-orange that is not removed by bleach. To achieve a more appealing color, your stylist may formulate a toner to neutralize the orange tone. According to color theory, opposite colors neutralize each other. In this case, a blue pigment can be used to offset the brassy tone. Elements like sulfate shampoo, ocean water, and sun exposure can remove the toner pigment and cause your hair to become orange again.

How To Prevent Brassy Hair

Blonde hair is very porous, so it can be hard to keep the pigment inside the cortex. I know it can be hard to avoid things like sun exposure and even sulfate shampoo, so check out some of these remedies for your brassy hair:

Purple Shampoo

Now that you understand the basic color theory, its time to put that knowledge to work! To remove an orange/brassy tone from blonde hair, use purple shampoo. During the shampoo process, hair absorbs small amounts of pigments to cancel out the orange undertones. The light purple deposit will counteract brassiness over time. Here’s an example: When I first lightened my hair, it was very yellow. I hated this color! I looked like a Crayola marker. After a few purple shampoo washes, I now have a more neutral level 7 hair color.

How To Use Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo is very concentrated and tends to be drying to your already porous strands, so be sure to deep condition after using purple shampoo. Simply apply a generous amount of purple shampoo to your hair and let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing it out. Be sure to thoroughly rinse out this shampoo to prevent dryness. After rinsing, you may condition as usual.

Here is a list of some popular purple shampoos:

• Clairol Shimmer Lights • JOICO Color Endure Violet Shampoo • Goldwell Anti-Brassiness Shampoo • Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo (also has a matching blue conditioner) • Redken Blonde Idol Shampoo • Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde Shampoo

Tone Your Blonde 

Toning your blonde hair helps to neutralize those pesky oranges and brassy tones, giving a more natural look. To tone my hair extensions, I used Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo. Clairol Shimmer Lights Shampoo is the cheapest purple shampoo on the market, and although it is useful in altering the tone of your hair, it is very drying. I would recommend one of the gentler purple shampoos, merely because they contain buffers that prevent your hair from drying out as much. If you can afford it, I always recommend using products from higher-end brands like Redken, Aveda, or Paul Mitchell because they will be more gentle on your hair than drugstore dupes. Toning is an important factor in relieving your hair from these harsh tones!

Blondes Do Have More Fun!

All in all, blonde hair is a journey! Being a blonde is tons of fun as long as it is well maintained. You cannot be impatient during the blonding process. Whatever you do to your precious tresses, be sure to put the health and integrity of your strands first! Struggled with brassy hair or looking to overcome it? If so, share your tips, comments, and questions below!
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