How to Tone Down Hair Color

You may be considering going with a brand new hair color if you are unhappy with your current hairstyle. As an alternative, you may want to simply tone down your hair color. Toning down your hair color will not damage your hair as much as changing the color of your hair. It's also easier to tone down hair color rather than attempting to change your hair to an unnatural color.

Things You'll Need

  • Permanent or demi-permanent hair dye
  • Applicator bottle
  • Towel
  • Latex gloves
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hairdryer


    • 1

      Decide on what color you would like to achieve by toning down your hair color. You will need to decide if you want your hair to have golden or ashy undertones.

    • 2

      Choose either a permanent hair color and 10 volume hair color developer or a demi-permanent hair color and demi-permanent developer. Choose a color that is one to two shades lighter than your desired color and has the appropriate tones that complement and work with your current color. If your hair is currently too golden and you would like to tone it down and reduce some of the warmth, you should choose a darker color that is ashy.

    • 3

      Mix the color and developer in a hair color applicator bottle. Make sure that your shoulders and clothing are covered by a towel or cloth.

    • 4

      Apply the color to your damp hair and work the solution throughout your hair with your hands. Make sure to use latex gloves to protect your hands from the hair color. Using the color on damp hair will slow the process of the depositing the color onto your hair. This will allow you to have more control of the coloring process. Color absorption will depend on how much you have colored your hair prior to this, and how porous your hair is.

    • 5

      Continue working the color throughout your hair with your fingers and observing the color change in a mirror. Leave the color on your hair for 10 to 15 minutes, checking it periodically.

    • 6

      Rinse the color thoroughly from your hair. You will then need to shampoo and condition your hair.

    • 7

      Blow dry your hair to ensure that you have toned down the hair color to your desired color.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you would only like to tone down your hair color slightly, you may choose to use a conditioner that is tinted with color. Leave the conditioner in your hair for 10 minutes to deposit more color. You will need to do this daily to have lasting results. If you are unsure about toning down your hair color, you can use a semipermanent color that is several shades lighter than your desired color. Semipermanent color washes out after a couple of weeks, allowing you to change your mind if you do not like that particular color.
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