Did Toner Make Your Hair Too Dark? Here Are 5 Quick Fixes (2023)

Toner is an amazing option to achieve all those classy hair shades. It pulls off that white platinum blonde, mushroom brown, caramel, and every trendy hair color that was impossible before.

You’ve spent hours bleaching your hair to perfection. You apply the toner, and… wait, what? It turned out way darker than you wanted. If you’ve experienced this hair disaster, you’re not alone.

But it happened, and you or your hairstylist over-toned your hair. Which made your hair too dark, and now you want to lighten or remove the toner.

There are multiple easy yet effective ways to lighten your too dark hair color left because of the toner. However, how well these options work for your dark hair color depends on how you apply them.

You can employ a purple clarifying shampoo or a combination of ketchup and baking soda to lighten your over-toned hair. I have discussed details further in this article.

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After talking with our certified beautician, Ifza Rana, we have come up with the best ways you can use to lighten your hair that toner made too dark. Also, you will be able to learn what you should not do once you end up over-toning your hair.

What Caused Your Hair To Get Over-Toned?

I know you are looking for solutions for your too-dark-toned hair, but let me quickly break down what likely happened that produced the unwanted toner shade for you.

One major factor that can lead to over-toned hair is your hair’s porosity. Porosity refers to how easily your hair absorbs and holds onto moisture and chemicals. People with high porosity tend to have more absorbent hair, which means it can soak toner quickly and easily.

Here’s the thing: there’s no standard time for how long to leave the toner on your hair because it varies depending on its porosity.

If your hair has been previously bleached, it increases the porosity even more. It means the toner can penetrate deeper and have a more intense effect, resulting in a darker shade than intended.

To get the exact shade of toner, you desire, it’s crucial to know your hair’s porosity. Understanding this will help you determine how long to leave the toner on your hair for optimal results.

If you have high porosity hair, reduce the processing time to avoid over-toning and achieve the lighter shade you aim for.

Now how to fix the unwanted darker toner shade on your hair?

How To Fix Too Dark-Toned Hair At Home?

There are five ways to lighten your hair that’s left too dark after toner. The first four methods are mild and don’t cause hair damage, and the last one is for extreme cases.

You will need to go into each method’s details to find the best one for lightening your hair tone.

  1. A combination of ketchup, baking soda, and clarifying shampoo
  2. Purple or Red shampoo(Only to remove brassy yellow-orange and green tones from hair)
  3. A combination of dandruff and clarifying shampoo
  4. Using Dawn dish soap
  5. Employing Commercial Hair color remover

For most cases, the first four ways will work best if you have used a demi-permanent tonner. However, they will take time, almost a week. We suggest these methods because they will help you lighten the dark color to a color of your choice.

But, if you want instant tonner removal, commercial products are on the market to help you with that.

Let’s review each option mentioned above to see how you should employ them to lighten your too dark hair due to toner.

Pro Tip

Try doing a patch test for any of the following options you will use to lighten your too-dark-toned hair.

1. Using a Combination of Ketchup and Baking Soda

This combination works great for your left with grey or green tints after trying to tone your blonde hair. Also, it operates well for any dark tone, which you never wanted when toning yourstraight or curly hair.

Baking soda is our daily cleaning agent for dishes or other sanitation goals. You can even apply it on hair, but very few times.

It helps remove the extra toner from your hair. However, it also strips natural oil out of your scalp and mane. So, do not overuse it; it will be great to lighten your dark hair once or twice with baking soda.

How To Use It?

  • Prepare a mixture by adding two tbsp of baking soda and 60 g of ketchup.
  • You can adjust the quantity of the mixture according to your hair volume.
  • Now, start applying it to your hair gradually. What does that mean?
  • You should apply the mixture by picking a small number of hair strands and then move further by doing the same.
  • Leave the ketchup and baking soda mixture in your hair for about 2 hours.
  • Wash your hair with a good clarifying shampoo after two hours.
  • Apply a good moisturizer (coconut oil and aloe vera) on your hair at the end.
  • Repeat this action twice a week to get your ideal hair tone.
Did Toner Make Your Hair Too Dark? Here Are 5 Quick Fixes (1)

2. Purple or Red Shampoo for Over-Toned Hair

The purple shampoo contains violet pigments; if you know about color neutralization, you already have my point.

Purple shampooperforms best on your dark grey and brassy hair because its pigments react with grey tints and neutralize them. It pulls back your hair’s lighter or neutral color by removing toner. You can also employ this shampoo for your dark silver-tone hair.

The red shampoo does the same for the grassy green tints.

However, ensure you don’t overuse or keep it long in your hair, especially when you have blonde hair. It may throw your desired color away and cause green or faint staining.

How To Use Purple Shampoo on Over-toned Hair?

It gradually neutralizes your over-toned mane. Therefore, you should not expect your ideal hair shade after using a purple shampoo only a single time. Here is how to apply it.

  • Soak your hair with a shower.
  • Now leather shampoo on it.
  • Decide how much toner you want to remove.
  • For slight fading of color, please keep it in your hair for one minute.
  • To lighten your toned hair to a neutral color, keep purple shampoo in your hair for two to three mins.
  • Repeat this process each day for a week, and if you achieve your perfect color by using it twice, refrain from further use.

We suggest applying a good conditioner each time you wash your hair with purple shampoo. It helpsmoisturize your hairbecause this shampoo can cause dryness.

3. Clarifying and Dandruff Shampoo

Both clarifying and dandruff shampoos contain sulfates which are good for removing the toner from your hair. Sulfates are good cleaning agents. Therefore, they fade or neutralize the dark shade of your hair.

However, these shampoos will not get you the perfect color in a single go. You have to apply them until you achieve the lighter color you want.

Clarifying shampoo is recommended for gradually lightening your too-dark hair tone from the toner.

Moreover, clarifying and dandruffshampooscause dryness and hair damage if used excessively. Therefore, speak to your hairstylist if they don’t help you. Don’t use them more than twice a week.

How to Use Them?

  • You can mix both shampoos on your palms and then apply the mixture to your already wet hair.
  • Gently massage it in your hair to get good leather.
  • Leave it for one minute on your hair and then wash it.
  • Rinse the mixture completely out of your hair.
  • Apply a good conditioner to your damp hair, then wash it after a few minutes.
  • Subsequently, use a good moisturizer.

4. Using Dawn Dish Soap to Lighten Over-Toned Hair

Just like baking soda, Dawn dish soap is a robust clarifying agent. It helps lighten your over-toned hair and works best with lemon juice.

While it is safe to use Dawn dish soap on your hair, it does strip oil from your hair and scalp. Therefore, overusing it may cause dryness and hair damage.

How Should You Use It?

  • Brush your hair to untangle it.
  • Wet your hair strands with a shower or spray bottle.
  • Apply dawn dish soap to your hair and massage to create leather.
  • Let the leather sit for one minute, then rinse it with simple water.
  • Now, apply a handful of lemon juice all over your hair.
  • Let it sit for a minute, and then take a shower.
  • Make sure you rinse dish soap and lemon juice with your regular shampoo.
  • Use a conditioner and then rinse after a minute.
  • Dry your hair and apply coconut oil or any other good moisturizer.
  • Repeat this whole process until you get the desired hair tone.

5. Commercial Hair Color Remover

Whether it is your hairstylist or your DIY technique that went wrong and has not produced desired hair tone, hair color remover can fix it with a single go. But it should be your last option or when you need an immediate fix.

Hair color removercan cause severe roughness, split ends, and dryness. Therefore, ensure your hair health can withstand it before employing any hair color remover product.

How to Use It?

Decide what you need, slight color correction or its complete removal. Mix it with your regular shampoo in a small quantity, and then use it on a small patch of your hair to see how it works.

When applying to all of your hair, make sure you use it evenly for equal color removal. Ensure you don’t leave it in your hair for more than 5 minutes.

Rinse it away with your regular shampoo and apply conditioner afterward. Also, use a good moisturizer in the end. Never think of using it twice.

What Should You Not Do to Lighten Too Dark Hair?

Some people try bleaching to lighten the dark toner on their hair. It would be best not to do this unless you haven’t tried bleaching before applying a toner. People with level 10 or 9 blonde hair don’t usually need to bleach before toner because they already have light hair.

Bleaching your hair twicea day can cause hair fall. Talk to your hairstylist before trying to bleach your hair after toner.

Bottom Line

When trying DIY hair toner or visiting a stylist who is not an expert, you can end up with too dark hair shade. Fortunately, you can use multiple ways to lighten your dark hair shade. The simplest, safest, and easiest method is a clarifying shampoo or dandruff shampoo.


Why did toning my hair make it darker? ›

While it may not literally darken the color of your hair, it can neutralize or reduce the appearance of the brighter, brassier tones in your hair, making it appear a bit darker in the process.

How do you remove toner that is too dark? ›

Wash your hair with clarifying shampoo.

A clarifying shampoo cleans your hair deeply, removing dirt, oil, and product buildup. If you are unhappy with how your toner turned out, the good news is that toner will fade in time. You can speed up this process a bit by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo.

Will dark toner fade back to blonde? ›

Most toners fade with time and lighten on their own. This will just speed the process.

How long does it take for toner to wash out? ›

They are a deposit colour only, which means they won't do anything to your natural hair and they last about 4 to 5 weeks depending on how often you wash your hair . If you wash your hair every day, expect your toner to fade out FAST. If you wash it once a week, you will generally get a month of nicely toned hair.

How long does toning hair dark last? ›

This depends on how often you wash your hair. The less frequently you wash your locks, the longer your colour stays in, but you can increase the longevity of your colour by using professional hair care. Depending on you hair type and hair condition, toner can last between 2-to-6 weeks.

What shampoo removes toner from hair? ›

Luckily, there is a simple solution: clarifying shampoo. It is specifically designed to remove toner build-up and to restore the hair's original colour. It is also a great way to help keep your hair healthy and manageable.

What if my hairdresser made my blonde hair too dark? ›

If you feel your colourist has dyed your hair to be darker than what you expect, it is best to wait at least 15 days to allow the colour to settle in the hair. If the colour remains dark after 15 days, you can revisit the colourist to have it lightened professionally.

Does toner get darker the longer you leave it on? ›

Depending on how dark you would like your toner, 10-15 minutes usually is enough time. Just remember that the longer the toner stays on the hair the darker it becomes. Some brands of toner you can leave on for up to 45 minutes.

What happens if your hair is over toned? ›

Make sure you get washed immediately after you notice you have over-toned those locks! Most toners are not permanent, therefore eventually, after several washes, the 'cool' tones will fade. If you want that toner gone quicker, 2-3 washes with a clarifying shampoo will start to remove the blue, grey or purple stains.

What happens if you tone your hair too much? ›

Even if you apply toner on different parts of your head every day for the remainder of the week, it might still harm the existing follicles. If too much toner has been applied on the hair, some say their hair has the texture of straw, while others compare the hair consistency to like hard gum.

Will clarifying shampoo remove toner? ›

Yes, you can use clarifying shampoo on all hair types to remove toner. It's designed to strip away product buildup, including toner. However, be mindful it can also strip away natural oils, leaving your hair dry and brittle if used too frequently.

Will toner make dark hair lighter? ›

“Toners work by depositing color, so they will only enhance the current level or go darker, says Papanikolas. “Toners will not lighten hair, so if your desire is to make your highlights brighter, then a toner is the wrong approach.”

Will Ashy toner wash out? ›

Wash that Ash Right out of Your Hair

Often, a couple of regular washes can fade these gray tones. Washing your hair more frequently than usual may help, but you'll want to be sure to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner and only increase your washing frequency for a week or so to prevent drying out your hair.

Does toner make your hair less blonde? ›

The toner works most noticeably on light hair as it does not lift or permanently alter the color of hair, but rather adds a tone over it. This means that it can help you achieve true platinum blonde hair, silver hair, or any number of different pastel hair colors.

Why is my toner over my highlights too dark? ›

If your highlights are too dark, the toner you used may have darkened them past your desired color. Don't panic—just reach for clarifying shampoo to help fade some of the darkness from the toner. These shampoos are meant to strip product (and in this case, color) out of your hair, and they can be drying.

Does toning your hair change the color? ›

It won't completely alter the color of your hair, but it will help you manipulate the shade of your naturally blonde or lightened locks. In a nutshell, hair toner products neutralize unwanted warm or brassy tones to help you achieve a shinier, healthier, more natural-looking shade.

Does hair toner change hair color? ›

Hair toner is a product used on hair after it has been subject to strong chemical bleaching and lightening processes in order to get rid of brassy hair tones. The toner works most noticeably on light hair as it does not lift or permanently alter the color of hair, but rather adds a tone over it.

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