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What Color Covers Orange Hair?

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

You may have seen the color wheels that painters, interior designers, or web developers use to create their works of art. Even though colors appear differently to everyone (that's right, red to you is probably a tiny bit different than the red your friends see), there are still basic rules to which colors complement each other.

Color Basics: What color covers orange?

The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow, and all other colors can be created from those three. So you want purple? Mix red and blue. What about green? You'd need blue and yellow. And finally, for orange, we're looking at a mixture of red and yellow.

A combination of two primary colors will complement the one that’s not included in the mixture. Also, the missing primary color from the combination can neutralize the color created by the two primary colors.

So, can you guess what the neutralizing color for orange is? You've got it: blue!

Since red and yellow make orange, that means blue is the missing primary color. Blue and orange are complements on the color wheel, which means that blue will neutralize an orange hair color.

What does "neutralize" mean when it comes to hair?

If you've heard of purple shampoo for yellow or blonde hair, you're seeing this concept in action. Red and blue make purple, so yellow is the missing color here. That means we know that purple and yellow are complements, and purple shampoo would bring down the yellow tones in blonde hair.

To neutralize a hair color means to correct any unwanted undertones. Because neutralizing colors sit opposite each other on the color wheel, they'll "cancel" each other out when they interact.

How can a professional colorist fix my orange hair?

Colorists think of hair color as an art form and your hair as their canvas. When you go to the salon with orange hair looking for a change, a stylist will automatically know what to do to cancel that color out. They spent many years in school studying how to get the look you're wanting, so trust their expertise!

Orange hair usually happens because the hair color wasn't lifted enough by bleach the first time. So, a stylist will apply bleach to lift your hair a few more levels and will then apply a cool-toned color and toner.

Someone might suggest blue shampoo, but this only works on undertones. When hair becomes orange, it's because your natural color wasn't lifted enough, so the solution is more bleach.

You might be worried about damage from bleach but what really damages hair is the repeated application of color. As long as your stylist uses high-quality bleach, your hair will be okay.

If you want to go to a darker brown, your stylist can find a color that will have cool, blue tones (you won't see any blue in your hair, however), that will give you the deep brown look you're going for, and cover up the orange.

What if all of my hair isn't orange but my color seems to be getting a little brassy?

It's important to note that undertones emerge naturally. Every natural hair color level (which goes from one to ten) contains undertones that are exposed when hair is lightened or undergoes chemical services like straighteners or perms, or even when hair is exposed to elements like sunlight, chlorine, and hard water.

This is what you'll see when your undertones start to show:

  • Light hair at levels eight, nine, and ten: yellow

  • Medium hair at levels five, six, and seven: brass or orange

  • Dark hair at levels one, two, three, and four: red

When your color starts to fade, it's easy to blame the stylists! But please remember that color only lasts for so long and your hair will naturally start to show these undertones.

Using a blue shampoo and getting regular toner from the salon (small amounts of color pigment to neutralize color and smooth hair) will help you to keep the brass at bay.

Final Thoughts

Orange hair can be tricky because it's usually not what you were wanting in the first place. A colorist will know exactly what your hair needs to get the style you're looking for, but remember to trust their ideas and to be patient with your hair as it adjusts to your new color.

At Cualtzin Salon, we have years of experience helping our clients achieve their dream hair color, no matter what you're starting with. Please reach out to us today to book an appointment!

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