How to tone down hair colour that is too bright – 8 super simple ways.

Yikes! You’ve dyed your hair a fab new colour that’s brightened up your look – too much! Now you need to know how to tone down hair colour that is too bright. That’s why we’re here!

It’s a simple problem to fix, don’t worry. All it takes is some simple supermarket products or common household items and you can make your hair colour look totally fab again!

We’re here with 5 easy tips to take it all down a notch. Let’s go!

How do you fix hair colour that is too bright?

  • Toning shampoo
  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Cool-toned hair dye
  • Lemon juice
  • Dish soap
  • Coffee
  • Apple Cider vinegar
  • Toner

Why is my hair colour too bright?

This happens when there’s a significant difference between your new hair colour and your natural shade.

If you have gone from dark to light, or from very intense to more subtle it’s likely that your hair appears brighter than normal.

It could be the professional dye product you used, or maybe you decided to DIY your new look at home with a box dye kit. Or maybe you’re just going through a phase of funky hair colours!

It’s particularly common in blonde hair shades which are tricky to keep cool and unbrassy.

Here are the most common reasons why new hair colour might seem too bright:

– Not the right shade for your skin tone – If your chosen colour clashed with your natural colouring or skin tone, it can appear way too bright.

This happens most when people who have warm undertones go for ashy light hair colours – and vice versa! Make sure you’re choosing colours that suit you.

Overbleached hair – This is the worst case. It will take a LONG time for this hair to recover, so always try not to overdo it with bleach!

The result can be disastrous and visible even after toning down your new dye job.

--Untoned hair – If you have bleached blonde hair, the most likely problem is that the toner didn’t tone down your hair enough after the bleaching. Or you didn’t use it at all!

Hair toner before and after.

toned ash blonde hair color instagram post
how to tone down hair colour that is too bright instagram post
toned red hair brunette color instagram post

Can you tone hair to darken it?

You sure can! Toning your hair is an easy process.

Essentially, the toner will ‘correct’ your hair colour while protecting it at the same time. Toner works by depositing a colour pigment on your hair so it darkens your dye job.

Toning is often done by using opposing colours on the hair colour wheel to cancel out unwanted tones and brassiness.

For example, if we want to tone down orange tones we would use a violet toner (the opposite colour on the wheel). Green and blue toners are also used sometimes to correct brassiness.

It’s called colour theory and it’s an important part of getting your hair colour perfect for you.

hair color wheel from pinterest

How do I tone down hair that’s too bright?

So what now? It’s time to tone down that hair colour! Here are our top five tips:

1. Use A Gloss Or Toning Shampoo

If your hair’s too bright or brassy after using a semi-permanent hair dye, then go for a colour correcting shampoo or gloss to keep it cool.

If you’re a brunette – you can use blue shampoo which will darken and cool your colour.

Blondes – you’ll need purple shampoo to neutralize nasty yellows.

Silver shampoos – can be used on blonde on silver/white hair or bleach blonde shades like platinum.

2. Try a cool hair dye.

This is a great rule for life: ‘If in doubt, use ash-based hair dye’ is a good motto to live by. Why?

Because ashy hair tones will tone down any brassy or yellow-based hair colour and create a more refined, sophisticated look that’s easy to maintain and flattering for your skin tone.

3. Use a clarifying shampoo

A clarifying shampoo can cut through vibrant tones left in your locks by deposit-only hair colours (e.g. Manic Panic, Punky Colour etc.) and allow the toner to do its job.

Clarifying shampoos are great for removing any last traces of colour before toning down hair dye that is too bright, especially if you used a semi-permanent or demi-permanent colour recently!

The result? More even tone on bleached or lightened hair.

4. Dish soap works well too!

Yes it does – one amazing tip I learnt from my stylist when I had way too red hair was this: Use dishwashing liquid soap with cold water to bring down vibrancy.

I strongly recommend you do a tiny patch test first to make sure your locks won’t fade, but on the whole it’s a safe and cheap trick!

5.Lemon juice

Lemon juice is another option for toning hair that’s too yellow or brassy.

Lemon juice lightens hair in the same manner lemon juice lightens your skin – through a chemical reaction that occurs when the acid reacts with the pigment in your hair.

Mix it up with some conditioner, apply to dry hair and leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse. Do a final cold water rinse to seal the hair cuticle.

6.Coffee shampoo

If you’re brunette, you can also tone your hair by mixing coffee into your shampoo.

If you don’t mind the smell of coffee, this is another great option that will help to tone down brightened hair.

7. Apple cider vinegar

It may smell like a salad but apple cider vinegar has some awesome toning and clarifying properties and acts as a great substitute for traditional purple shampoo!

Just apply it to dry hair and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water (to seal the cuticle) and there you go!

8. A toner is your best bet!

If you’re not ready for a new hair colour just yet, then using an ash-based toner on bleached or lightened hair can tone down that brassy/too vibrant colour easily and quickly.

Watch and learn: How to tone your hair.

How to Professionally Tone Hair At Home

What do you do if your blonde is too bright?

If you’ve already tried one of the above tips or hacks to tone down hair colour and it’s still too bright and blonde, don’t worry!

In this case, it might be time to consider going darker with your locks.

This tone down your overall look and get rid of any brassy undertones and give you a sophisticated and cool-toned vibe.

If you’re thinking about going dark with your blonde or silver/platinum locks, try consulting a stylist first for some great style inspiration!

We’re loving dirty blonde and beige blonde for a more muted sassy style.

How do you tone down bright red hair?

Red toners are a great option for anyone with red or ginger hair that’s too bright. The process is similar to other colours – the result, however, might be a bit more dramatic and noticeable in certain lighting conditions!

Our top tip? If you’re going from a vibrant red shade to a lighter, pastel tone then go for it! It will tone down your hair colour beautifully and can create an ombre-like effect that’s not only stylish but also super easy to maintain.


Parting words

In case it’s still too bright even after those 5 easy steps below, please consider having your hair re-toned by a professional – not at home (you’re just wasting money and time).

There are many ways to fix one particular hair colour that didn’t turn out as expected – yet they all require high experience and skills from professionals.

They’ll be able to give you advice and the right products based on the current colour and condition of your hair.

Good luck!

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