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How to Fix Overly Ashy Hair, According To Pro

There’s nothing worse than looking in the mirror and seeing ashy green tones in your blonde or brown hair! If this is happening to you, your first instinct is probably to rush to the grocery store, buy a box of black hair dye, and slap it on. That’s not a good idea! As a professional stylist, I’ll share how you can fix overly ashy hair.

Green or ashy tones can be remedied without such extreme measures. In this article, we will discuss how to fix your overly ashy hair so that you can showcase your beautiful hair with confidence.

What is Overly Ashy Hair?

overly ashy hair

In the professional hair world, “ash” refers basically to the color green. Ashy toners or hair dyes can be used successfully to counteract warm tones in the hair. There may be ash tones in “neutral” hair dyes as well.

Ashy toners and dyes can be very useful, but under some circumstances, the green tone can take over and give the hair a sickly green hue.

Once it reaches that level, whether your hair is brown or blonde, you could say that your hair has become overly ashy.

Why Does Hair Become Ashy?

Hair can become overly ashy for a couple of reasons. If your hair has come into prolonged contact with chemicals like chlorine, it can start to show an ashy green tone. A more common cause of ashy hair though is a bad color job.

If you naturally have cooler tones in your hair and you have a neutral or ashy color added to your hair, this can result in the dreaded green tones. Another cause would be overly toning your hair.

If you tried to tone the orange out of your hair with an ash toner, chances are you left it on too long, or your hair was simply too absorbent and porous, and the ashy green tone completely took over.

How to Fix Overly Ashy Hair

If your hair is overly ashy, you probably want to fix this problem right away. However, it’s important that you do this the right way. Otherwise, you could be digging a deeper hole for yourself where you will ultimately end up in the same greenish place.

As discussed previously, there are a couple of different reasons why your hair may look overly ashy. Therefore, there are a couple of different ways you can fix your overly ashy hair. Let’s discuss those ways.

If Your Hair Is Temporarily Ashy Due to Exposure to Chemicals Like Chlorine

overly ashy hair because of chlorine

If you have just spent a day swimming in a highly chlorinated pool, chances are that your hair has picked up some of those chemicals, especially if you neglected to protect it with a swim cap. This can especially be the case if you have light blonde hair.

The good news is that this can be an easy dilemma to fix, especially if you take action right away.

Supplies You Will Need to Fix Your Temporarily Ashy Hair:

  • Clarifying Shampoo
  • For light blonde or platinum hair: A Purple Hair Mask or Conditioner
  • For strawberry blonde or warm brown hair: A Copper or Warm Gold Toned Mask or Conditioner (If you need tips for your specific hair color, consult the information further down in the article that specifies the best toner for each hair color.)

Step-by-Step Guide to Eliminating the Ashy Tones from Your Hair:

fixing overly ashy hair due to chlorine
  1. Cleanse your hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo. Wash your hair several times until you are able to work up a good lather.
  2. If your hair is strawberry blonde, copper, or warm brown, apply a warm-toned hair mask onto your hair to counteract the temporary ashy tone. This would include a mask or conditioner that deposits gold, copper, or red tones to the hair. If your hair is platinum blonde, try applying a purple-toned mask or conditioner to your hair. Purple contains the color red, which helps to eliminate the green color in overly ashy hair. 
  3. Let your conditioner/hair mask sit for at least 10 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on your hair to ensure that you are getting the desired results.
  4. Rinse out the conditioner/hair mask with cool water.
  5. If you still notice some ashy tones, try repeating this process again the next day.

If Your Hair Is Ashy Due to A Bad Color Job

If your hair is ashy due to a bad color job, the green tone can be a bit more difficult to get rid of. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with it! There are steps that you can take to fix your overly ashy hair and achieve the color that you really want.

My first suggestion would be, of course, to contact the stylist that colored your hair in the first place. They may be able to fix the problem free of charge. But, if you colored your hair yourself, or you can’t return to your stylist, you still have options. By applying the right toner, you can get rid of the ashy tones in your hair. 

Supplies You Will Need to Fix Your Ashy Hair:

  • Clarifying Shampoo
  • Demi-Permanent Hair Toner (I suggest a liquid toner such as Redken’s Shades EQ)
  • Deep Conditioner

The most important part of this process is choosing the right hair toner. This can vary based on the color of your hair. In order to choose the right hair toner, we will be referencing the color wheel below.

Notice in this color wheel that green is on the opposite end of red. This means that they are complementary colors and basically cancel each other out.

However, in order to eliminate green tones from your hair, you can use pretty much any of the colors on the opposite side of the color wheel, from warm yellow to purple.

Below, I will discuss the best options based on your hair color (of course, referring to your hair color without the green tones).

Best Toners for Each Hair Color

best toners to fix overly ashy hair

Platinum Blonde

A purple or violet toner can work well to eliminate the ashy color from your hair because purple contains red tones. Look for a violet toner, and stay away from violet-blue toners.

Golden or Strawberry Blonde

A warm gold toner works best for eliminating ashy tones from golden or strawberry blonde hair.

Cool Brown

A purple or violet toner will work well to eliminate the ashy color from your cool brown hair. The violet toner will still allow your hair to retain its cool tone.

Warm Brown

A warm brown or dark gold toner will work best for eliminating the ashy tone from your hair.

Red, Copper, or Copper-Brown

A copper toner can work wonders for eliminating the ashy tone from your hair. The oranges and reds will get rid of the green hue.

Step-by-Step Guide to Eliminating the Ashy Tones from Your Hair:

Steps to Eliminate Ashy Tones from Dyed Hair

The directions below refer to the use of a liquid toner, like Redken’s Shades EQ, which in my opinion, is the best.

  1. Shampoo your hair using a clarifying shampoo. Wash your hair more than once to ensure that you have built up a good lather. Don’t condition your hair after shampooing.
  2. After you shampoo your hair, gently squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Apply your toner section by section or all at the same time. Usually, applying the toner all over the head can be just as effective as going section by section for a liquid toner.
  4. Make sure to fully saturate your hair with toner. If you are applying it all over your head at the same time, you may want to flip your hair over a sink or the bathtub and really rub the toner in from roots to ends, just as you would a shampoo.
  5. Comb the toner through your hair with a wide-toothed comb or your fingers after you have applied it.
  6. Cover your hair with a plastic cap to prevent making a mess and to keep your hair from drying while the toner is on your hair.
  7. Set your timer for the recommended processing time, but make sure to check your hair occasionally to see its progress.
  8. Shampoo your hair with a gentle shampoo and lukewarm/cool water.
  9. Apply a deep conditioning mask to your hair and leave it on for at least 10 minutes.
  10. Rinse out the deep conditioner with cool water.

If you have completed these steps and still notice an ashy tone in your hair, try repeating this process again in one week, or contact your stylist for additional help.

In Summary

There are few things worse than looking in the mirror and seeing ashy green tones in your beautiful hair. But, before you make any rash decisions, make sure to evaluate exactly how your hair picked up the ashy color in the first place, and consult the guidelines in this article to fix it.

With the suggestions in this article, the right supplies, and a little bit of patience, you will be ready to rock your gorgeous locks with confidence!

Key Things to Know:

  • Your hair can become temporarily overly ashy due to prolonged exposure to chemicals such as chlorine.
  • A bad color job is the number one cause of overly ashy hair.
  • If your hair is temporarily ashy due to exposure to chemicals, simply use a clarifying shampoo and a hair mask with gold, purple, copper, or red tones.
  • If your hair is overly ashy due to a bad color job, use a demi-permanent hair color to correct the issue.
  • If you are still unsure of what to do, or the ashy color doesn’t come out despite your best efforts, it’s best to contact your stylist for some help.