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Why Toner Turns Hair Grey and How to Fix It

Toners are amazing hair products for correcting your hair color hue. But sometimes, toner turns hair grey – especially for those with blonde hair.

If toner turns your hair grey, it isn’t permanent, but there are some ways to get your hair back to normal that don’t involve damaging your hair further.

Most people use toner to eliminate brassy, yellow, or orange tones. Blondes (natural and color-treated) may use purple shampoo, while brunettes stick to blue hues to tone hair at home.

Toner is an effective product for most applications, but if toner toned your hair grey and you want to fix it, read on.

Why Does Hair Turn Grey After Toning?

Why Does Hair Turn Grey After Toning

Toning is not overly complicated, but it is surprisingly easy to mess up. As a result, we recommend getting a professional hairdresser to apply toner to your hair.

If you apply toner yourself, you may mess up how much toner needs to be in your hair. Unfortunately, messing up the amount of toner can lead to it turning grey.

Your hair can also turn grey if you leave toning shampoos and conditioners on your hair too long. This process happens because the toner is doing its job more than required.

Your toner may also turn your hair grey if you apply too much product. If you notice your hair has a grey tinge or turns completely grey, it means you applied more toner than required.

If this happens, you will want to remove it so that you are not stuck with grey hair for several weeks. Fortunately, there are a few options available to you.

Toner Tuned My Hair Grey, How Can I Fix It?

You may want to call your stylist the second you notice your hair is grey after a toning treatment.

But before hitting speed dial, check out the available options below to get rid of the grey tones after toner at home.

1. Wash-Out Method – Best & Easiest Option

If your hair turns grey after using toner, wait it out as long as possible. You will get back the hue you had before toning after a few washes and rinses, and this method doesn’t require you to apply products or chemicals to your tresses (so no damage!)

However, you may not have time to wait a few days or weeks for your hair to return to its typical state. If you have a wedding or other significant event, there are ways to remove the grey tones ASAP.

2. The Clarifying Shampoo Method – Best Quick Solution

How to Fix if Toner Turns Hair Grey - Clarifying shampoo

If toner turns your hair grey, you can use a clarifying shampoo to remove excess toner in your hair. As the name suggests, clarifying shampoo helps to rinse away buildup, dead skin, and products from hair.

Some clarifying shampoos are more robust than others, so use caution and do not use them for more than a few days.

Clarifying shampoo will not damage your hair because it does not have excess chemicals, but since it will remove natural oils from your hair, it can dry your scalp and follicles out and cause further problems.

To use a clarifying shampoo:

  1. Wet your hair with warm water.
  2. Squeeze a standard amount of shampoo into your hands and apply it to your hair from roots to ends.
  3. Scrub your hair thoroughly and let the shampoo sit.
  4. After three minutes, rinse your hair and repeat the process if needed. The number of times you need to repeat this process depends on how grey your hair turns.

Once you finish, you can apply the conditioner before rinsing again and exiting the shower. Apply a leave-in conditioner to ensure your hair does not become dehydrated.

3. Anti-Dandruff Shampoo – Best for Scalp Health

Even if you don’t have dandruff, an anti-dandruff shampoo efficiently removes toner from your hair.

These shampoos intentionally strip your scalp and strands to get rid of flakes and product buildup.

Applying an anti-dandruff shampoo to your over-toned hair strips the product from your tresses and leaves your color looking fresh (and as your intended shade). Your scalp will also be free of buildup and the bacteria that cause dandruff.

4. Sulfate Shampoo Method – Best in a Pinch

How to Fix if Toner Turns Hair Grey - Sulfate shampoo and baking soda

Alternatively, if you have healthy hair and no clarifying shampoo, you can use shampoo with sulfates to remove excess toner.

Unfortunately, this method may dry your hair, but sulfate shampoos are easy to find and may cost less than clarifying shampoos.

Shampoo with sulfates will fade the grey toner in your hair. You will need to apply the shampoo for a few consecutive days. You can also add baking soda with the shampoo for faster results.

Note that excessive sulfates on color-treated hair lead to fading and can ruin your base shades, so only use this method in a pinch or if you have virgin hair.

If you want to try the sulfate shampoo method:

  1. Apply the shampoo to your hair from roots to ends.
  2. Rub the product around your entire head to create a lather.
  3. Rinse and add a moisturizing conditioner. Leave the conditioner in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing to give your tresses a moisture boost.

Keep an eye on your hair for dryness, and apply an oil or serum to your ends if necessary.

Can Purple Shampoo Remove Toner?

purple shampoo for removing toner

Most methods to eliminate the grey color in your hair will thoroughly remove the toner. There are options if you do not want to remove all the toner from your hair.

Notably, you can use purple shampoo to dull the color of the toner and give it more of its intended color. This method is not 100% effective. It can work for some people depending on the toner, but it does not always work.

It works best for people with naturally blonde hair. Remember that toning shampoo also has the potential to turn your hair grey if you use it every day or apply it too much!


You most likely apply toner or toning products to eliminate brassy tones in your hair. No matter what product you use, your hair has the potential to turn grey from toner.

While your hair may not be turning grey from age or natural causes, it can still cause panic after leaving the salon (or at home).

If you want to ensure your color stays toned but not overly so, avoid applying too much toner or leaving it on for extended periods.


Even though you have read through 3 effective methods of removing toner from your hair, you might still have a few questions. Here we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding toner turning hair grey.

What toner turns hair grey?

Unfortunately, there is not only one toner to avoid if you do not want your hair to turn grey. Any product can result in grey strands if you apply too much or leave it on too long.

Will it wash out if toner turned hair grey?

Yes, you can wash toner out of your hair. You can use a clarifying shampoo to remove grey toner from your hair quickly.
If you do not have a clarifying shampoo on hand, you can use one with sulfates to remove grey toner from your hair. The second method will take three or four washes.

How long will it take to wash out the grey toner?

How long it takes to wash out grey toner depends on several factors. The first and most crucial factor to consider is the toner you use. Some toners are stronger than others, so they stick to hair more than others.

Those toners take more time to wash out of your hair and typically come from a salon.
Your hair can also affect the time it takes to remove the toner from your hair. If you have thick, coarse, or curly hair, it may take more elbow grease than someone with thin hair to remove the toner.

The average toner should not take more than a few days to wash from your hair. If you use clarifying shampoo, you should be able to remove the grey toner from your hair in one sitting. However, if you choose to use shampoo with sulfates, it will take three or four days.

Can hair get overtoned?

Overtoning is not only possible, but the primary reason your hair turns grey after toning. To avoid this pesky mishap, remember that you do not need tons of toner to create your desired look.

Also, ensure you read the instructions on the bottle or box before applying the product to your hair. That said, thick hair may need more processing time after application than thin or damaged hair.

Watch your strands closely to ensure you get the perfect balance during toning. If you’re worried about purple shampoo or products turning your hair grey, keep a mirror in your shower to observe your hair during processing.