Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown | Find Out What To Do!

Hair toners wonderfully capture the essence of a soft hue and cast it upon your pale blond hair. They are literally our savior from the unwanted orange or yellow tones that inflict our manes. But it is too familiar for you to spot your toner turning your hair dark. 

Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown

I was shocked when the toner turned my blonde hair brown. And you know the worst part? It was my hairdresser’s fault. Later, I fixed it at home, so let me spill it for you, too. Know why it happens and try the practical remedies as you scroll here.

Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown | What’s The Case?

Why Does It Happen?

Toners require developers to lift the hair cuticles so their pigments are deposited, lightening the natural color of your hair. When toning your hair at home or the salon, there is a high chance that one or all of these mistakes can lead your hair to turn dark. 

Wrong Toner Developer Ratio

The ideal ratio would be 1:1, so if you take one tablespoon of a developer, consider adding one tablespoon of toner, too. Mixing the wrong balance of hydrogen peroxide or your developer and the toner can cause the shade to darken more than you expected. 

Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown

Using an Incorrect Volume

Most of the time, you may be using an incorrect volume developer. Roughly, there are 10, 20, 30, and 40 volumes. The more the number, the stronger the developer lifts to several levels (the intensity of oxidation), highlighting the hair. Generally, it would be best if you used a 20V maximum. Rarely should you use 30V and 40V levels, especially if you are doing it at home.

Leaving the Toner For Too Long

Understand that the toners differ from the hair dyes, so leave them for only 12-15 minutes. You do not want your toner to act like a dye by keeping it longer. Let a well-reputed stylist work on your hair, as I see many cases where the hairdresser messes up with the toning process (like it did to me).

Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown | Before and After Reviews 

My Experience

I’m a sandy blonde; I bleached my hair and got a platinum shade. My highlights are too brassy, so I opted for a darker toner to make my hair ashy. After the application, my shade looked well and fine, but later, it seemed somewhat honey-like. I wondered if my hairdresser made my blonde hair too dark. 

Though unsure, I knew at least the toner made my highlights too dark, for they seemed light brownish now. It disgusted me that my stylist compromised with my shade, so I tried fixing it at home this time. And yes! The clarifying treatment (that I detail below) worked. I’m super happy to regain my actual hair shade, but the same treatment did not work for others. 

Others React

Reddit or shares that her hair turned brown from silver after applying toner. She used to bleach and silver-tone her hair often. It was only this time that her hair turned ash brown and resembled her natural hair color, which she disliked. The toner seemed adamant even after washing it out with a clarifying shampoo. It spreads all over her hair lengths and roots, canceling out the already existing silver tones and embracing the unwanted ashy brown color. 

Another Redditor wished to remove the brown toner from her blonde hair after she toned down the blonde. Even a simple washout did not help her much, as the brown color troubled her for more than six weeks. She shared that the color faded slightly upon touching the 8th week, even after several washes. As she headed for the touch-up of her roots the next month, the brown over her blonde roots became a sign of worry. She tried the Malibu Crystals that earlier worked on her gray toner but failed to budge this brown one. It tensed her now, how she would get the ‘blonde highlights underneath’ touched up.

Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown

This user has a natural dark brown, a ‘typical heavy straight Asian’ hair, and she went to the salon to overlay an ash gray blonde balayage. She explains that her hair lightened much upon bleaching, thus helping her achieve the kind of blonde look that she hunted for. The stylist added the toner, and the tables turned down, making her hair ‘quite dark again.’ Now, her hair is dark gray, and the existing blonde tips transformed into deep dark blue. Indeed, the toner darkened her ‘beautiful balayage.’ Her current state is three tones lighter than her natural dark hair, far from her expected pale ash blonde tones. 

Next up in the line is a Quora user who shares that her toner – T15, coupled with the 20-volume developer, altered her hair color from ‘bottle-blonde’ to a light brown. You see, even when she used the prescribed amount of the developer, her toner ‘over-worked.’ 

Once, a user shared that when her hair stylist dyed her hair to get a light blonde effect, it turned red. The user applied and reapplied different toners (T-18 and T-10) from “Wella Color Charm” to lessen the red tones on her bleach-blonde hair, but it reversed and turned her roots redder. Her hair displays shades of ‘green/blue/grayish and red at the top.’ No amount of washing changed the damage, and she sought alternate options for her new toner.

Toners have a compromised reputation for delivering an apt tone and shade. These were just a few instances of agony, so let us know how to fix it. 

How To Fix It?

I get plenty of questions. How do you fix brassy hair after toning? How to remove brown toner from blonde hair? It has many tried-and-tested tricks, but simply washing out beats them all. See what to do and what not to do.

What To Do?

Volumizing or Dandruff Shampoo

Shampoos have cleaning agents like the sulfates that help you deep clean the scalp. They are rigorous in their washes and open up your follicles to clear the unwanted pigments. You can use dandruff or volumizing shampoo that fits your hair type. Know that a demi-permanent color fades out quickly with a few washes.

Clarifying Shampoo

You can use a mild clarifying shampoo to help you get rid of the unwanted shade. I used Malibu C Un-Do-Goo shampoo on my hair. Follow it up with a moisturizing conditioner that suits your hair type. A simple washout does wonders while cleansing out the unwanted undertones. For using any shampoo, follow this process:

  1. Wet your hair to prep it up for the shampoo.
  2. You may keep baking soda, Head and Shoulders, deep conditioner, and a Dawn Dish Soap (the original blue) handy.
  3. For the first timers, only massaging your hair with a clarifying/dandruff shampoo helps wash out the unwanted color.
  4. But, if it remains intact, you can use the dish soap before shampooing and conditioning.
  5. The next alternative is to mix baking soda with your conditioner or shampoo to wash it out.
  6. Otherwise, you can squeeze some lemon juice to add it with your conditioner and coat a layer over your head, especially onto the gray parts.
  7. Wash it all off. All the elements are extremely drying in nature and can make your hair texture feel like a straw, but it works at removing the tones.
  8. You may use a hydrating shampoo or mask following the clarifying shampoo to de-frizz.
  9. Deeply condition and oil your hair later to regain its smooth texture.
  10. The dish soap, baking soda, and lemon help chelate your hair and clears deeper than a clarifying shampoo.

Protein Treatment

Keep this option for the last. A protein treatment can help you clear the toner completely, but not many stylists find it ideal for all cases. But if the loss is profound, you may consider going for it only upon an expert’s advice.

Consult Your Stylist

Suppose you got your toner done by a salon. In that case, it is best to talk to them about your condition as they figure out the most practical way to undo your ‘extra toning’ and explain the reason behind changing your current hair shade besides their customized treatment.

Anyway, remember these few points while dealing with your toned-out hair.

  • Some people mix lemon juice with a clarifying shampoo or even apply raw baking soda after their shampoo and before deep conditioning. While it sometimes helps, baking soda washes may cause a dehydrated scalp, micro-tears on the skin, and frizzy hair.
  • The demi-permanent toners wash out eventually. They may take 4-8 weeks or 30 washes to fade without additional intervention. So, if your highlights get darker, don’t worry; the warmer tone returns and disappears later.
  • Many recommend using the Malibu Quick Fix or Malibu CPR to lighten the toner. This color pigment remover is less harsh, and you can use it to reduce shade intensity. Again, it would be better to go for it once your stylist approves.

What Not To Do?


While it is tempting to bleach hair to clean the residing toner, avoid it as it may damage your manes. Bleaching strips your hair of its natural coloring agents lying beneath the hair fibers.  

hair color remover

Harsh Hair Color Remover

Avoid getting hair color removers like the smelly Color Oops to remove excess toner. Its immediate oxidation causes severe damage to the hair shafts, so do not opt for it as long as your stylist does not suggest it. 


Sulfates in some shampoos help you thoroughly wash out, but stay away if you develop an allergic reaction to them earlier in life. Allergy to sulfates in your scalp will redden it. 

Now, it depends upon you to risk some damage to eliminate the excess toner or leave it to fade out on its own after some time.

FAQs | Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown

Why did the toner turn my blonde hair brown?

It may be because of any of the reasons I mentioned above. Either you are using the wrong developer ratio, applying an incorrect volume developer, or leaving your toner for too long; it may be any or all of them. 

Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown

Will dark toner fade back to blonde?

Yes, toners do not last long, so the dark toner fades back to blonde. You may speed up the process by washing it out a few times a week or wait until the toner gets out of your hair. It also leaves behind a lighter, golden shade you may have been looking for.

Can toner make my hair darker?

It does not intend to darken your hair like a dye. Still, it only removes unwanted ‘orange’ or ‘yellow’ undertones after your bleaching session. However, the toner may reflect a neutral shade that would seem darker on your hair for the reasons I shared above.

Can toner make my hair darker?

What is the best toner to darken blonde hair?

To select the best toner to darken your blonde hair, you need to know the exact shade and tone of your blonde hair. Since blonde hair has many undertones, leave it upon your stylist to physically test out a strand of your hair (like behind your ear) to decide the right toner to darken it. It helps to find out your ideal level of darkness and avoid that ‘extra toning.’

Does hair get lighter after toner washes out?

After the toner washes out in a few weeks, the hair returns to its normal color and undertone. Toners deposit coloring pigments on your hair to remove unwanted undertones post-bleaching. Still, the demi-permanent toners do not alter the actual hair color. 

Closure | Toner Turned My Blonde Hair Brown

As we near the end, you learn all about the causes of the toner turning your hair too dark and the remedies to fix it. The solutions of washing it up with shampoos, dish soap, baking soda, or lemon are conventional. Still, many people opt for bleaching, which I forbade you. I have nothing personal against bleaching, but I’d vouch for you doing it in a professionally controlled environment rather than trying it at home. 

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