What Color Covers Orange Hair?

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Have you tried to lighten or color your hair only to end up with a disastrous shade of orange instead? Unless the orangutan is your spirit animal, you are going to want to fix that!

We don’t all have the money to spend on a professional hair salon fix, but at the same time, you don’t want to make the situation worse.

What color covers orange hair?

You can certainly fix orange hair with box dye. But the color you end up with might not be what you were going for.

In this article, we are going to look at how to fix orange hair with box dye and other solutions. We are also going to look at some other options that you can also use at home to fix your orange hair as alternatives to box dye.


Why Does Hair Turn Orange When Bleached?

Hair Bleach

Hair can turn orange for a few different reasons, the most common of which is from bleaching. Bleaching breaks down the color pigment molecules in your hair. Once they are lifted out, you are left with a brassy yellow color base.

If all of the warmer pigments are not lifted during the lightening process, then you will be left with reddish/orange hair color. That’s because your hair color is a combination of the visible color and the underlying pigments.

The darker your hair, the more pigment it contains.

All hair has a red shade within its base color. Black has a large quantity of dark red base pigment and brunettes have an orange base pigment.

When you bleach your hair, you are stripping the visible pigments in your hair and revealing the underlying pigments which are all predominantly red or orange.

Cool-toned color pigments are the first to be lifted out of your hair during the bleaching process. There are more warm color (red and orange) molecules than cool color molecules. The warmer molecules are also larger, so they are the last to be lifted out of hair.

What Color Covers Orange Hair?

The trick is not getting rid of the orange undertones, it’s figuring out how to neutralize them. Take a look at the color wheel below. The colors opposite each other on the color wheel will cancel each other out.

Color wheel source: wikipedia

If you want to cancel out yellow, go for purple. If you want to neutralize red tones, aim for green.

And when it comes to neutralizing orange tones, you want to go with blue.

This doesn’t mean you should run out and buy blue hair dye! Though blue hair dye will surely get rid of the orange, you will have blue hair!

This is where toners come in.

What is a hair toner?

Blue Hair Toning Shampo

A toner is different from dye. Toners just coat the exterior of the hair strand, rather than penetrate the hair structure.

Toner is meant to be applied to light hair, and it’s often used after bleaching. Trying to apply toner to dark hair will make no difference. Toner is regularly used to simply refresh lightened hair and cover up unwanted shade variations caused by bleaching, dye fading, and environmental factors, like sun exposure and chlorine.

Toners are specifically designed to neutralize unwanted tones, whereas a dye is meant to deposit color.

See also:

If Your Hair is Dark Orange and You Were Hoping for Blonde

If you have dark hair and you were trying to go blonde when you bleached it, only to end up with orange hair, it’s because you have a lot of pigment in your hair.

Orange is usually unfortunately part of that process. If this is what happened to you, and you are intent on going blonde, all is not lost!

Deep breath.

If your hair turned out a dark orange, like bright pumpkin orange, then no box dye or toner is going to make you blonde.

The only thing you can do is bleach it again.

Just understand that you should invest in a hat because you have to wait at least a week to 10 days before bleaching a second time.

And that’s only if your hair is still in relatively good condition after bleaching it the first time. If your hair is damaged, brittle and feels like straw, bleaching it again will make it even worse.

You could literally burn your hair off if you bleach it again too soon. You need to hydrate and repair your hair before you bleach again.

Using Box Dye to Fix Dark Orange Hair

A box dye will work for you if you have dark hair that turned orange when you bleached it and you’ve decided you don’t want to go full blonde after all.

A dye deposits color, so as long as you choose a shade darker than the orange in your hair, the box dye should cover it.

Depending on which color (warm or cool) you choose, you might want to add an extra step. Keep reading to find out if you should also be using a toner.

How To Fix Orange Hair With Box Dye

As with darker hair, a box dye will work the same way on lighter hair. You can use dye to deposit color on top of the orange to cover it up. Just be sure you choose a shade darker than your hair is now.

If Your Hair is a Light Color and Orange

Now whether the orange is a result of bleaching or another color gone wrong, you have a few options…

Using a toner to neutralize unwanted orange tones in light hair

If you have light hair and you have unwanted orange tones, even if you are planning to use a box dye, it’s a good idea to use a toner first. The toner will neutralize those unwanted orange tones to make sure you end up with the final color you want.

If you are planning to color your hair any cool shade of ash blonde or ash brown, if you don’t neutralize those orange tones, your hair will turn green!

What kind of toner should I use?

The easiest, most cost-effective way to tone your hair is to use a toning shampoo. And before you run out to get a bottle of the super-popular purple shampoo everyone’s talking about – take a look at the color wheel above.

If your hair is orange, you need a blue shampoo, not purple.

Here are some of our picks for the best blue toning shampoos for neutralizing orange undertones.

Take Away

Box dye can be used to cover up an orange hair mishap if you want to go a darker color. But it may not be your best option.

Instead, if you want to stay in the same color range or go lighter, you should use a blue-based toning shampoo to neutralize the orange tones to make sure you get the color you want to end up with.

Start with the toner, and if you’re still unsatisifed, you could try a darker color dye.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).