How Do I Tone Down Too Blonde Hair Highlights?

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You wanted some sun-kissed strands but walked out of the salon with a platinum do. Before the panic sets in, try your hand at toning down the blonde highlights. A trusty toner and some handy home products can help you achieve the color you wanted.

Try a Toner

Toners rid your hair of tones that you don't want -- those brassy, orange-tinted or gold highlights can be softened with this post-coloring solution. If multi-toned blonde locks are your issue, the toner can also even out the color, making it a more uniform shade. When streaks strike -- a common pitfall of highlighting dark hair blonde -- toner can blend your highlights with your natural color.

Choose the Right One

Several products effectively soften your blonde highlights, creating that richer and deeper tone you desire.

  • Demi-permanent and semi-permanent hair color can be used to tone down the blonde and darken your locks to a more favorable shade.

  • A color gloss targets too-light highlights, softening them to a hue that better complements your natural color.


  • When choosing a toner, consider your needs. Demi-permanent hair colors contain small amounts of ammonia, which can neutralize brassy tones. Color glosses, on the other hand, work to deepen hair color if your tresses are too bleached.

How to Use

Toner application is straightforward -- you just need some focus and patience. Target the areas of concern with the product, massaging it into those strands while wearing gloves, rather than applying it all over. For example, if your roots are too white or you notice a few brassy streaks, work the toner into those areas specifically.

Toners typically stay on your hair for 30 to 45 minutes before you rinse. Always read manufacturer directions to ensure you keep your toner on for the right amount of time.


  • The longer you leave the toner on, the bigger change it makes. If you only want to softly deepen or neutralize a few areas, you might not need to keep the toner on for the recommended time. Check your locks during the toning process, and rinse the product out when you've achieved your desired color.

Home Hair Care

A successful toning session means you'll enjoy those perfectly highlighted blonde tresses for anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. In the meantime, you can extend the life of your blonde highlights with a purple shampoo.

Purple shampoo is another way to tone down gold or brassy highlights. Use it only on those too-blonde areas. If your blonde highlights are over naturally brunette hair color, use your typical shampoo for the natural hair, and then target the blonde areas with the purple shampoo.


  • Ease into purple shampoo, especially if you're a first-timer. Use it every few days at first, and leave it on for just 5 minutes. If you find that those shampooing sessions aren't softening the blonde enough, use it every day or every other day until you've achieved your desired shade.


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