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Fixing My Brassy Highlights Cost Me $500. Here’s What I Wish I Knew

After spending the day in Hazan’s chair, I learned that I’ve been far too nonchalant about being a blond. I could have easily prevented my disaster of a highlight job by simply following some basic guidelines: (1) Do your research (one way: look up colorists’ portfolios on Instagram to see who does a great job at the color you want), and (2) get a consultation. I’m embarrassed to admit I did neither—especially considering my breathing to Insta-stalking ratio. Below, here are the other tips I picked up on how to fix brassy hair.

1.Ask for a corrective color—the right way.

If you make my mistake and don’t do your research, there’s a right way and a wrong way to ask for a corrective color. “If you don’t like your color, just say you don’t like it,” explains Hazan. “If you start crying or get aggressive, it makes the colorist not really want to help. It’s best if you simply state, ‘I wanted it a little lighter, would you mind making it a little lighter?’ If you come at a person in an aggressive or dramatic way, you lose the sense of wanting to fix your hair and get caught up in emotion.” Seems pretty obvious, right? Not if you’re like me and get riled up in the moment, but Hazan pointed out that I could have told the manager of the salon if I didn’t feel comfortable telling my colorist.

Before and after fixing my brassy highlights. 

Emily Kemp

2. Don’t try to fix it yourself, no matter how tempting. 

I’m the clear case study of what happens when you feel too awkward to tell someone you don’t like their work, but I am so thankful I didn’t try to correct the color myself. There’s no doubt in my mind I would have either lost all my hair or turned it green if I had attempted Pinterest hacks or used drugstore dye. Purple shampoo and purple glosses don’t count since they’re not so much corrective as they are preventive. In fact, Hazan is super pro-gloss, bringing us to…

3. Do try a gloss.

“The system that everyone is missing from their routine is glossing,” Hazan told me. “Your hair is going to fade and get dull, so you have to do something in between at home to keep it shiny and vibrant.” She suggests using her Breaking Brass Gloss two or three times a week to prevent your hair from turning yellow or orange. (It comes in five colors so you can pick whatever makes the most sense for your hair.) Additionally, I’ve been using DryBar Blonde Ale and Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo to keep my color fresh and bright to wild success.

Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss in Breaking Brass

amika Bust Your Brass Blonde Purple Shampoo

4. Deep condition weekly. 

Hazan’s Weekly Remedy is another treatment she recommends using once or twice a week, especially if you’re blond. “It’s one of my favorite products. I manipulated conditioner to do what I want it to do,” she says. “The first step has all of these great ingredients and a high pH balance so it opens the cuticle, and the second step has a lower pH balance so it locks in all of those great ingredients.” I honestly couldn’t believe it was my hair after using her product only once—especially after all the damage I’d accumulated. Also a goodie: Hazan’s Triple Threat Split End Remedy. It basically glues up your split ends to keep your long hair healthy. Dynamic duo? I think so.

Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment

Rita Hazan Triple Threat Split End Remedy

Obviously, products don’t come cheap, but having to redo color and throw down for corrective treatments ends up being even more costly. Now I’m committing to a maintenance routine of touch-ups every three to four months with a colorist I trust (ahem, Rita, my saving grace). It sucks I spent my trip to Mexico (and my 24th birthday) with a brassy hairline. But at least it led me here.

Finally rid of my brassy hair.

Emily Kemp

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