When you have dyed hair, you often need toners, among other products, to maintain your color. This is especially true for vivid colors far from your natural color.
Nearly everyone who frequently dyes their hair will have a moment when they leave their toner in for too long, resulting in a color that is different from what you were hoping for.
If this has ever happened to you, this article will cover many tips and tricks on fixing your over-toned hair and having it look fabulous once again.
What Does Over-Toned Hair Look Like?
You may not notice if your hair is over-toned, especially if the effect is subtle. But here are the most common ways to know if your hair is over-toned.
Color Left Behind on Clothes
The first sign of over-toned hair is that you’re leaving behind bits of color wherever you go. This could include anything from streaks of color left on your pillow to color left on the inside of your shirt collar.
Take note, however, that if you recently dyed your hair a bright color, such as red or purple, you may notice some transfer for a few days.
But if you have only toned your hair recently, depositing color as you go is a sign that you left the toner on for too long.
Increased Hair Damage
As toning is a chemical process, it can damage your hair if you overdo it. When looking for this damage, this will include an increase in split ends, flyaways, and an overall dull appearance.
You may not notice this right away, but this warning sign is easiest to see if you brush your hair in a way opposite to which it usually falls. When you do this, you’ll notice that your hair is stiff from the accumulated toner.
Strange Hues In Your Hair
The final sign, perhaps the easiest to see, is that your hair color contains hues that should not be there. When standing in natural light, hair that is over-toned will have blue, green, or purple tones.
This will be the case even if you don’t have hair in one of those colors. For example, platinum blonde toners often have purple to cancel out the warmth and brassiness of usually blonde hair.
How to Fix Over-Toned Hair
The following few sections will go over different ways to fix over-toned hair.
#1. Give Time
The most straightforward way to fix over-toned hair is to simply wait. The excess toner will fade eventually.
This may take anywhere from a few days to a week. If you go with this method, you’ll have less-than-perfect hair for a little while.
This is probably the best option if you only slightly over-toned your hair. Doing nothing will give your hair time to rest and return to a healthier state rather than adding more products.
Unfortunately, if you have very over-toned hair or need to be around many people, you may not want to wait for the toner to fix itself. The following options will actively help you fix your over-toned hair.
#2. Use Clarifying Shampoo
A clarifying shampoo is a particular type of shampoo that contains steroids to help remove color in your hair. Most people use clarifying shampoo to remove excess products or oils in their hair.
To use this type of shampoo, start working on some wet hair. You’ll want to wait for 5 to 10 minutes before you rinse it to let the product work its way into your hair.
This method may not work entirely on the first wash. It could take 3 to 5 washes before your hair tones down to your desired color. You can do this many washes over a couple of days or all in one day.
If you opt to wash it a few times in one go, we recommend following up with a leave-in conditioner, as the process will dry your hair and scalp.
#3. Use Dandruff Shampoo with Baking Soda
Most dandruff shampoos contain chemicals that actively remove built-up oils or products from your hair. For this reason, it acts similarly to a clarifying shampoo to remove the excess toner from your hair.
After shampooing, add two teaspoons of baking soda to your hair and massage it. Do this for about two minutes to get the full effect, and rinse it.
If you would instead not work with loose baking soda, you could also mix baking soda into your shampoo instead.
Since dandruff shampoo can dry, we recommend following up with a deep conditioner.
#4. Use Color Depositing Deep Conditioner
Some types of deep conditioners contain a small amount of hair dye to adjust the color of your hair.
When you overtone your hair, you’ll likely want to pick a color-depositing conditioner that adds warmth to your hair and cancel out the unwanted tones.
To use the deep conditioner, start with clean, damp hair. Towel-dried hair is fine for this. You may then apply a generous amount of deep conditioner over your hair.
Leave the conditioner in for a maximum of 20 minutes. After the time has elapsed, rinse out the conditioner.
If your hair isn’t the color you want, you can always try this method again.
#5. Dishwashing Liquid
You may want to go for something a little more substantial if you have extremely over-toned hair. Dishwashing liquid contains active ingredients that remove the outer coating of your hair.
This will give you near-instant results, but it will be extremely drying to your hair. To do this method, use dishwashing liquid in place of shampoo and lather it into your hair.
Let this lather sit in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out, and follow up with a deep conditioner. As already stated, this method can be extremely drying, and you should only do it in emergencies.
#6. Hair Mask
Like the color-depositing conditioner, you can get color-correcting hair masks that fix the tone of your hair.
These masks will not only improve the color of your hair, but they will also help your hair feel more healthy.
Keep the mask on your hair for at least 20 minutes before rinsing it out and checking your hair. You can apply the mask a second time if it’s not quite the tone you were looking for.
On a chemical level, it also changes the pH of your hair to adjust the tones. Start by washing your hair with your regular shampoo to perform this method.
Next, squeeze a sliced lemon over your hair and work the juices with your hands. Leave this lemon juice in your hair for up to 5 minutes before rinsing it.
As with other methods on this list, we recommend following up with a deep conditioner to repair any damage the toner did to your hair.
#8. Hair Bleach
You can turn to bleach if there’s no fixing your hair color. Use hair bleach with caution, and you should have someone with experience use bleach on your hair.
Hair bleach can lighten hair or follow up with dye to achieve another color. It’s worth noting that bleach is a permanent solution, and you will not be able to remove it from your hair; your hair must grow out to return to its natural state.
To apply bleach to your hair, start with 10-vol or 20-volume hair bleach. This will cause a light lift in color without being too damaging. You’ll need to follow the instructions on your bleach kit to mix the bleach.
Apply the bleach evenly to your hair with a brush and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Remember that bleach can damage your hair, so don’t leave it in for long.
After allowing the bleach to sit, rinse your hair and follow up with conditioner.
How to Fix Blue Tones in My Hair
You must consider the color wheel when fixing specific tones from over-toned hair. If you’re trying to fix the blue tone, you will need something from the opposite end of the color wheel, such as orange.
An orange or yellow color depositing conditioner would help to cancel out the blue tones in just a couple of washes.
Following the color wheel, you will likely need yellow to orange color to cancel purple and red to cancel green. Some products you can use include color-depositing shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatments.
Mistakes happen, and nearly everyone who dyes their hair probably overdoes it repeatedly. If you overtone your hair, we hope these tips and tricks will help you restore it to its previous glory without too much fuss.
And remember that if you need help deciding what to if, or if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you can always turn to a trained and reputable hair stylist to deal with these sorts of minor disasters.
FAQs on Over-Toned Hair
No. Toners deposit color on already lightened hair. The only way to lighten your hair is with bleach.
No. There are as many types of toners as there are types of hair. A toner that takes the brassiness out of blonde hair likely won’t affect darker hair.
Yes. While the damage from toners is minimal with the proper application, in some cases, it can be severe. This is especially true if you have fair or damaged hair, as toners can dry out your hair.
When you overtone your hair, the most that will happen is your hair will contain tones that you didn’t want, such as blue or purple. Also, your hair can get stiff from the excess product in your hair.
This depends on the severity of the over-tone. Regular shampoo can take several washes before it washes out. It may take a little less or a little more.
To wash out your hair a little faster, you can use a clarifying shampoo instead, which will fix over toned hair in two or three washes.