How To Tone Hair

How To Tone Hair

If you’re one for bleaching and dying your hair at home, you’ve probably come across a fair bit of brassiness in your time.

Having spent all that time and money on reinventing your look can be ruined by these orange undertones but luckily there is a secret ingredient that you have yet to add which will make all of the annoying brassiness go away – toner!

What Does Hair Toner Do?

Hair toner is a semi-permanent hair color that is used on the hair after it has gone through a bleaching or lightening process in order to change the overall color and get rid of brassiness.

Hair toner works best on lighter hair as it adds a layer of tone over it instead of lifting the color or permanently altering it. 

How To Tone Hair

Hair toners are blue because it is the complementary color to orange and is able to cancel it out, as well as this you can get purple toner for hair that is too yellow. 

Shampoos and conditioners are easy to get over the counter that can be used to tone your hair once or twice a week in the shower as well as keep the color of your hair bright and soft.

You shouldn’t use these products too often though because they are designed to be temporary and over time, they will likely make your hair look a bit bluer than you were intending. 

What Causes Brassiness?

Brassiness is caused by the natural pigment of the hair being removed by the chemicals in bleach and developer, this process is called oxidation.

When you have bleached your hair and the chemicals have stripped you of your natural hair color, it will have a pale-yellow tint but if you don’t leave the bleach in long enough it will look noticeably brassier. 

However, this is not to say that having brassy hair is the worst thing ever because some people suit it and if you’re going for a warmer shade then the brassiness could definitely work for you.

It’s only if you are going for a cooler tone that the brassiness will cause problems so think twice before panicking and running out to grab some toner. 

Believe it or not, being out in the sun also causes oxidation which makes the color of your hair fade and therefore brings forth more of the brassy undertones that you thought you had escaped from.

If this bothers you, it can be prevented by covering up when you go out in the sun with a hat or umbrella but if you want to look a bit less questionable then you can apply some sunscreen to your hair instead. 

You may think that getting a nice new hair color before your holiday trip is a good idea, but it won’t be long until your blonde hair looks a bit brassy and green.

This is due to the chlorine that is put into pools to kill bacteria but is also a type of bleach that has an effect on the color of your hair. Invest in a hair mask and swim cap if you still want to enjoy the pool without having to worry about losing your hair color. 

Toning Your Hair At Home

How To Tone Hair

If you are wanting to tone your hair, it is advised to go to a hair salon and get it done by a professional but if this is not possible then you can try doing it yourself at home.

This is a good option for those who don’t have a big budget because after you get your hair toned, the results only last around four to six weeks and if you don’t have the finances for regular trips to the salon then it makes perfect sense to do it yourself.

Also, after you have done it a few times, you’ll become your very own professional toner. 

To find the right toner for your hair, you will have to take into consideration what color your hair is as pairing it with the right toner will get you the best results.

If you have blonde hair, you will have to get a toner that has purple tones as this will work best with naturalizing yellow tones. 

For redheads and auburn hair, you should look for toners that are green-based as they will help make the red a bit less intense as well as cancel out copper tones that don’t mix well with the rest of the auburn shade. 

If you are a brunette, there are plenty of toners out there that are made specifically for canceling out red and orange undertones which can be a common issue when dying your hair brunette. 

You don’t have to have just dyed your hair in order to tone it though as some people experience brassiness even if they have natural hair.

As mentioned earlier, swimming in the pool and being in the sun too much can turn not only dyed hair a different color but can also have this effect on natural hair. 

Once you have found the right toner for you, it’s time to get to it.

To begin with, you will have to read the instructions on your hair toner packaging and if it requires a developer it should come with it and will walk you through how to mix them together. 

Most toners will ask you to wash your hair thoroughly before you apply it.

You must also wear some old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained and it’s worth putting some Vaseline on the hairline and ears – just like you would when dying your hair. 

The areas that have the most amount of brassiness should be covered with the toner first and from there apply the toner at about halfway down your hair and work it to the roots and the tips.

It might be easier for you to use a hair dye applicator brush to reach as many strands as you can before getting in there and massaging it with your gloved hands. 

It is important to do a strand test if you have never toned your hair before so that you know how your hair will react with the toner. 

Once the toner has been applied to your hair, it can be left in your hair for 5 to 20 minutes depending on how much brassiness needs to be neutralized.

It’s best to have it clipped up in a bun so that it doesn’t transfer onto your clothes as it can stain them. 

You can check if the toner has done its job by rinsing off a section of hair and if you think it’s ready, go ahead and wash it out with cold water without using any shampoo as it can make the toner fade.

Give your hair plenty of hydration with a deeply nourishing conditioner and leave it in for a few minutes to get your hair as moisturized as possible. 

To dry your hair, it is recommended to do it gently with a towel because using heat such as from a hairdryer or straightener can damage your hair. 

Now that you’ve toned your hair, you will need to keep on top of it so that the effects of the toner don’t fade.

Don’t shampoo your hair for a few days after it has been toned and when you do, make sure it is with a shampoo that has no sulfate in it. To help maintain the toner, you can use a purple or blue shampoo when you shower. 


If the brassiness isn’t working for you, you can take a deep sigh of relief because you don’t have to put up with it any longer and you don’t have to make a trip to the salon either.

Having read this guide, you now know how to find the right toner to use for your hair color, how to apply it, and how to maintain it so your hair can stay brighter for longer without having to spend a fortune in the salon.