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/ September 2, 2014

HELP – My Hair Came Out Too Red! | How to Fix too Red or Brassy Hair in 3 Easy Steps

If you’ve ever tried a new at-home hair color formula and it’s come out way too red, your first thought was probably “now what do I do?” I have been there! While it’s probably not what you wanted to see when you colored your hair, it happens and can be fixed.

You don’t have to be a redhead to have this issue.  Almost every person who has colored their hair has had it come out too brassy or just a little off.

Thankfully, this 3-step method is a fairly easy fix, won’t cause any more chemical damage, and is affordable.

Below is my exact routine for getting my hair color less red. I was so happy with the results, so I hope this method helps you too!


Step 1 |  Strip – Clarifying Shampoo

Make sure whichever shampoo you choose actually HAS sulfate in it.  Many color safe shampoos don’t have sulfate, but you want this to help fade the red.  This one is affordable and will help to strip the color.   

Put it on your hair when your hair is still dryThis is super important, because applying the shampoo on dry hair will help pull more of fresh color from your hair. 

Rub it in just as if you were in the shower and make sure you bring it evenly from roots to ends.  Leave it on for a minimum of five minutes, then hop in the shower, add water, and rinse. 

You can do this “shampoo bath” every day or every other day, until you feel like your hair has stripped enough of the red out.

Step 2 |  Tone – Toning Shampoo

Each color on the color wheel has an opposite color.  For red, the opposite shade is green.  For orange (think brassy) the opposite shade is purple or blue.  By putting a toner with the opposite color in your hair, you can neutralize the brassiness or red tones. 

I can not find a good green toning shampoo.  So I made my own and loved the results.

To make your own toning shampoo: put 4-6 drops of this high quality green food dye into a hydrating shampoo.  Mix thoroughly with a q-tip and apply to your wet hair, leave on for a few minutes, then rinse and condition as normal.

You can always increase the amount of drops you add the next time you shampoo, but it’s always better to start small and build.  I know making your own toning shampoo can be a bit scary the first time, but try and trust the process!

For hair that is too brassy, you can use this orange toning shampoo

You can see in the photo below, the green shampoo helps tone down the reddish colors and neutralizes the color. In the “after,” there are still some reddish tones, but the brown tone is more visible. The results are really subtle and natural looking, in the best way.

These before-and-after results were only after one round of green shampoo. You can do this green shampoo combo as often as you’d like, but you might only need to do it once or twice.

Step 3 | Hydrate

Steps 1-2 are drying because of all the shampooing (but still not as drying as highlights or bleaching) so I do recommend using a protein mask and a hydrating mask on different days after you shampoo.

This one with Keratin transforms my hair back to silk when my hair is feeling brittle after coloring and it’s only $8! I’ve purchased this mask four times for myself and twice for friends.

For deep conditioning, when my hair needs moisture, I use this $12 Japanese hair mask (use only a tiny amount!) and my hair is back in good shape. I’ve purchased this mask twice now. The tub is huge and you really do only need a nickel size amount or less.

Also, when your hair is still dry, add a dime size amount of jojoba oil on your ends before you shampoo. It will help your ends not get too dry from all the added washing.


This three-step combo should fade the red significantly, keep your color from turning brassy, eliminate the need to put dye right back on top of your hair, and hopefully help keep your hair healthy! 

In about 3 to 4 weeks after my too-red color, the next time I colored, I did this formula and from then on, it’s been my go-to Strawberry Blonde color formula!

Related Post | My Favorite Strawberry Blonde Hair Color Formula

I really hope this info helps because I know that “OH NO” feeling when your color doesn’t come out quite right.




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  1. Hiya, I have been using black hair dye for awhile but I used colour b4 remover last week and this week I used Scott Cornwall hair colour remover stripper and my roots are kinds orange blonde and the rest is a brownish/reddish colour please tell me how can I fix that problem.. I’m naturally light brown hair and I want to go back to light brown/blonde
    Thanks so much xx

    • Hi Linda! I am actually not a licensed hair colorist. I just share my personal formulas and past color experiences and fixes here. Things that have worked for me. I hope that makes sense! I hope you find a great solution to updating your color.

      – Molly

  2. Thank you! I am a natural redhead who isn’t a fan of grey, especially living with such a colorful head of head for years. Trying to hold on, but finding dyes only leave my hair looking like the Wendy’s Hamburger icon. Thanks to your tip, my hair is back to natural looking. Thank you!

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m a red head but I am also hgray been getting gray since 15 yr old hereditary smh lol. I can’t seem to win hair wise. So thanks did u ha e to go to a beauty store? Wonder if this ash light brown would work hair color.wise.i bought and tried purple hair madk but says I can dew a week idk
    Grateful for you

  4. Thank you for your post/advice. After I was unable to buy my usual brand/color, I chose Feria (power reds) & I am in a panic! I am heading to the shower now,have my green dye/shampoo & am confident your advice will save the day, and my hair, thank you

  5. My stylist put a level 5 golden brown mixed w a level 4 red brown and it’s very very red. Need it toned down! Help

  6. HI,
    I have naturally red hair but it get lighter as I’m getting older. My hair is a shade or two light than yours. I tried a new red at home hair color and it was a terrible experience. I have brassy red tones in my hair that won’t budge and they are not even. I tried clarifying shampoo and purple shampoo and it won’t fade.

    What else can I do? I feel uncomfortable, like I’ve ruined my hair.
    Please help!!!!

    With Gratitude,


  7. hi
    My hair is too red. Would you suggest putting a semi-permanent brown colour on it? the hairdresser has said I can go back and they will put a toner on top which will cost me more money. Otherwise, I will try your advice.

  8. Thank you for putting this together- your experience and advice is invaluable! I recently took your picture to a hair salon (I’m to chicken to try on my own) and they dyed my hair a very bright, un-natural shade of red. Fortunately my aunt is a hair stylist, so I made a 3 hour trip to have her correct it. My base is blonde 7 or 8 and she bleached subtle highlights into my red dyed hair then added an Ivy (green) toner:

    It came out a more natural shade of red this time, so much better.

  9. My hair is naturally medium to dark blonde. A couple weeks ago I tried box dying it lighter blonde because in the winter my natural lighter highlights fade and it looked more brown than blonde.
    Anyways this golden blonde L’Oreal box dye turned my lighter blonde hair orange, and my darker blonde hair red. I went to an Aveda salon and asked for them to fix the red/orange and I wanted a natural blonde look with highlights and lowlights.
    They told me they couldn’t fix the orange/red immediately, and they did this:
    -they highlighted my hair (to break up the red)
    -and then toned/added a gloss for about 8 minutes to counteract the red

    One thing I noticed was the stylists said my hair “took” really well to the highlight and it brought some neutral blonde tones, which I like. However, other than that, my hair is still orange/red.

    What I would like to know is:
    1. Did the salon do the best they could to remove the red/orange, or were they being too conservative with my hair? If so, what should I ask to be done at another salon to achieve the best and quickest results possbile?
    2. I tried buying purple shampoos and toners and nothing seems to be working on my hair! Should I try using a color stripping treatment like Pravana? Given my situation, would that only make my hair more orange/red, or would it help to remove that artificial color to my natural dark blonde?

  10. Thank you for your wisdom! I will attempt to “fix” my too-red hair. And yes… Love me some bend and snap.

  11. The opposite of orange is blue on the color wheel fyi- yellow-purple, red-green. Just thought you should know.

    • Thank you! I am familiar with the color wheel, just don’t know of a good green tinted shampoo. But I do find the purple shampoo cuts the brassiness! 🙂

  12. I can’t thank you enough for your fading tips! They took my roots from insane dayglo orange to slightly too bright strawberry blonde, after only one application. I will continue to use them until my hair has faded a bit more. You really saved me from immediately running out and buying more dye, which my hair and I appreciate immensely. Keep rocking it, girl! xx

  13. Just colored my hair today. Store bought a red merlot but it came out like a bright red fuchsia, Its awful. Usually I just wait it out when I do a hair color mistake and wash , wash, wash. But I want the color that’s in the 3 week photo you have on here , the pic of the back of your hair. No matter what I try I can never get that color. My hair is naturally like a strawberry blonde which I don’t care for cause in summer I get more blonde from sun. Should I just use the fix you talked about in the blog? And what color would u recommend to get that color I want?
    Thank you 🙂

  14. Hey there! I actually really like your Titian Red only pics, that’s what Im looking for myself. I am naturally a darkish blonde colour (we call it dishwater blonde in UK :-/) with a red tone to it and some grown-out highlights which look like I have balayage, I want to look like a natural red head and the colour you go for looks about what I want (although i might go little more copper if i can) I wanted to try your combo at home but i simply cannot find the corresponding colours here in the UK! we seem to have completely different colour names and codes here within the same companies and on the box dyes from the pharmacy too, I don’t know if you have any idea how I can translate this all but I really wanna try one of your formulas and just can’t figure out how in the UK! Would love to know if you have any ideas! xxx Caroline

  15. Hello Girl Get Glamorous,

    I would like your help please. I have curly hair and I went to my trusted hair stylist. She had been giving me fantistic Deva Curl cuts for years and I love her dearly. I wanted to shake things up so I went to her to dye my hair light orange strawberry blond. She is a Redkin color specialist too, so I was hoping she would give me what I wanted. Unfortunately, she convinced me that lightening my hair too much would be too damaging on my healthy natural brunette curls. She convinced me to do a copper red-orange. I loved it at first, but the more I lived with it, the more I realized it was way too red, and not exactly what I wanted. I wanted to have light orange strawberry blond hair for so long! I had never gotten my hair permanently dyed professionally, so I felt very vulnerable while at the salon. After reading this article I have regained hope that there is something I can do. To tone down the red, should I use green food coloring? I never use sls shampoo on my hair, so should I put the green in my devacurl no-poo, lo-poo, and co-wash? Thank you for your time.

  16. Hi, I colored my hair a week ago, hubby choice, ugh, lol. They don’t make my fave honey golden blonde with reddish tones,anymore. So we did this thin together, I have fairly thick, mostly in back long hair, mid back. Hubby loves the length. Anyway it’s a dark dark plum red In the house, but outside a bright dark Coppery plum red, bery brassy. I dont want orange. I dont want hilights either. Help Molly!! Hubby just says wash it 3 x a week instead of my usual 1 or 2x a week use sulfate shampoo, baby shampoo? I normally use sulfate free color protecting shampoo. I use coconut oils on it afterwards overnight, leave it on, sleep in it. Can I use clarion shimmerlights on it, afraid of orange or white. I’m 55 & pretty grey white now naturally, about 50%. What should I do? I’m totally fine with strawberry blonde like yours, my natural when I was in my teen’s and 20’s. Had my son n it went mousey dark blonde. Now I want your color. PLEASE help, Laura

  17. I am reading your tips and would like to try but am a little nervous. I left the salon yesterday with a complete mess and head full of red hair with blonde highlights. I had dark brown hair before. Instead of putting in red and blond highlights to a brown base, she made my base red with blonde highlights. If I try these tips will my color turn orange as it is fading? I don’t want it orange either although it is close to that now. I want to start this today as I have to go to work tomorrow and I will get strange looks because of how red my hair is. I want this gone and am stressed about this 🙁

    • Oh no! What brand and shades did she use? I’d try to shampoo your hair while dry and shampoo again in shower with a product containing sulfates (will strip red) and then if it’s still very bright, you could go over everything with JUST Wella 8G Light Golden Blonde on it’s own to try and soften the red and blend the highlights. Let me know how it goes.

      xo Molly

  18. Hi,

    Ok, went to the salon to give red a first-time try. I have naturally brunette hair…medium brown-dark underneath, more medium brown at the roots and I had highlights on the top & sides. I went armed with photos from Pinterest of hair that was labelled as having “Natural Red balayage with rose gold accents”. A pretty and natural looking shade just a bit darker than your hair is in the photo titled Titian Red Blonde + Red.
    I told my stylist that I preferred the more natural shades and that I didn’t want the dark reds that look burgundy and that I didn’t want super light highlights. Just a nice, natural looking light-medium auburn with some very light brown mixed in. She loved the hair in the photo and said it would be no problem.

    She put a brown in foils and then put the red on the rest of my hair. Unfortunately, it turned out a really dark brown with very bold, vibrant red….like, burgundy red. WAY darker than I had wanted. I didn’t freak out…just thought I’d wait and see if it grew on me. I don’t think it looks terrible but it’s definitely dark brown and the red is a deep auburn, almost burgundy.

    Will simple washing my hair with shampoo that’s not intended for use on colored hair and then conditioning well fix this or should I do something else? I’m afraid to go to the salon to get it fixed b/c I’m terrified they’ll want to add highlights to it that I don’t think will make it look more natural:)

    Any help would be appreciated!


    • Hi Teri!

      Thanks for the comment and sorry to hear that happened! I would call the salon and ask the stylist for the shade numbers and brand she used. They should have everything written down on a card with your name on it. If she went really dark, level 6 or above, the shampoo alone might not help. You might have to go back in and have a color correction. The shampoo containing sulfates is a good start though. Let me know how it goes for you!

      xo Molly

  19. I Just came back from a salon today where I paid $90 for an absolute nightmare. All I had wanted them to do was match my roots to my tips which was a nice strawberry blonde that I had spent 4 months fading into from my last dye.
    What do they do instead? I get brass roots and copper penny to the rest. I left weeping. The worst thing is that my wedding is in 2 weeks. I am completely inconsolable at the moment. The only thing they told me to do was to keep washing it or put highlights in, which I really don’t want to do.
    I don’t want to dry my hair out too bad either, because like I said, wedding is 2 weeks away! If I had know they were going to butcher my hair so I would have walked down the aisle with my roots. I just don’t know what I’m going to do in such a short time

    • Oh no, my heart hurts for you!! Weddings are so special and I totally understand how stressed out you must be. Try these tips and even though it’s hard, I know, it’ll be ok. You can get a lot of red out of your hair within a week using these tips. If you still aren’t happy with the color after washing it everyday like this for a week, then try going all over your hair with Wella color charm 8 Golden Blonde only. Don’t add any red to the formula, just the blonde. This should take it down a notch to Strawberry Blonde. But it can dry your hair out even more to color so close after having it dyed, so I’d try the other tips first. Do you know what brand of color the stylist used?

      Here is the wella color 8G Light Golden Blonde:

  20. I’m going to try strip my hair when I get off work today. I dyed my hair with Feria box dye the power red r68 and it turned out like a bright maroon red. I wasn’t very happy! Thought my work would be mad for it looked like a very unnatural hair color. My natural hair color before that was a strawberry blonde/blonde ombré and now my ends have faded to a peach orange (because of the light ombre) and the top is still pretty red. I hope this saves my hair. Any other advise ??

  21. Hi! Thanks for this post! I had a nice (dyed) strawberry blonde and I decided to back to a red I had in the past but I hate it. It’s a 7.64 so a medium red copper… you think I have hope?
    You’re great Molly, I follow you from Italy xx

    • Hi Fiammetta,

      Thank you for the love from Italy! I think if you let the red copper fade enough using these tricks that eventually you can get it back to Strawberry Blonde. I would use the Wella Color Charm formula for the next few times you color, of 1 tube Golden Blonde and either 3/4 or 1/2 a tube of Titian Red Blonde. Maybe 3/4 a tube of the Titian with a full tube of Golden Blonde for the first time, so your roots aren’t WAY lighter than the rest. Then the next time you color, you can do a little less of the Titian Blonde if you want your results to be more blonde. I hope this helps! Please let me know 🙂


      • Thank you so much for your reply 🙂
        I am in the middle of this fading process right now and it’s working…only the roots are still very red, especially the hairline. Did it happen to you as well? I’m concerned about this, thinking I’ll have to bleach them? Maybe I’ll try and shampoo just the roots.
        Kisses bella xxx

  22. I have natural light Auburn hair. Similar to your photo ‘after 3 weeks’. For 2 years now I have been using Garnier Intense Copper Red, which came out fabulous everytime. I do however wish to go back to my natural (or close) haircolor, as I do find my skin looks much paler lately. I love love love the vibrant color, but think I’m at a tipping point where it’s more harsh than complimentary to my complexion. Any at home advice, without an expensive trip to the salon?

  23. I had a red hair dye disaster yesterday. First it looked like she had taken red sharpie through chunks and left other huge chunks of mymousy strawberry blonde alone. She then attempted to fix by adding blonde highlights. It was better than the first try but is still blotchy, too light in some areas and too brassy and orange overall. Will the purple shampoo help tone it down until I can get it redone next month? I’ve never had this horrible of a dye job!

    • Oh no, girl, I am SO sorry to hear that. How disappointing. The violet shampoo should definitely help tone things down a bit for the too bright reds and oranges. Good luck and please let me know how it all works out!! xo – Molly

  24. Thank you for taking the tome to write this. My daughter had a terrible red hair disaster at a very expensive salon. We are trying to fix the color now. Your advice has been invaluable.

  25. Thrilled to have discovered the Titan red/gold mix! I love it & I am getting ready to do a root touch-up. I’m about half grey/ half dark brown. Should I bleach & then color my roots (I bleached & then colored to originally obtain a rose gold) or just use a higher volume developer with the roots? Any experience?

  26. I love your blog. I am a blogger and I read yours. I had natural strawberry blonde hair. I only got my color right when you recommended that i use the 3/4 Wella 8 blonde and 1/4 Wella 8 Titian. I have the perfect color that doesn’t show roots! Thank you Molly!

  27. I love your hair colour but like previous comments my copper gold hair fades terrible after two weeks I think I need to invest in the same brand you use although I don’t know if I can get that in Britain. How often do you colour yours?


  28. Iv been trying to keep my hair strawberry blonde for about a year and the red fades within 2 weeks and then its back to blonde thats underneath which often fades yellowly. I find even at the hairdressers they cant keep in the red either. They make it look browny dark blonde. The box dies out there are rubbish in england sometimes I buy them online but its never the colour I want! Iv just brought a red shampoo/conditioner thats supposed to inhance red! Im determined to get to a point where when the red does fade it completely go!

    • Are you able to purchase the Wella Color Charm line in England? I find that it’s been the best for my red color not fading. But red-enhancing shampoos and conditioners are also a great pick to help stop fading!

  29. Yay!!! Thanks for this post – I e-mailed you a couple weeks ago and your advice is spot-on. It’s a work in progress, but I’m already much closer to strawberry than I was. I’m going to stick with your Wella formulation in the future for sure.

  30. Thank you for the detailed explanation of each step! I thought the “too red” version was beautiful, but seeing the final results after you corrected the color was my Ah ha moment. Gorgeous, natural looking results.