The Best Hair Toners To Remove Brassiness

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As anyone who's ever dyed or highlighted their hair blonde knows, the maintenance is real. Coloring your hair might require a few hours, a couple of hundred bucks, and the occasional burning scalp, but the real work begins once you leave the salon chair. One of the most common obstacles to maintaining the perfect shade of cool-toned blonde is the appearance of brassy undertones, which can show up immediately after coloring or gradually over time. But luckily, fixing said brassiness can be accomplished at home: in fact, many of the best hair toners to remove brassiness are available right on Amazon.

If you’re new to lightening your hair and haven’t used a toning product before, it’s true that you may be better off going to the salon for a touchup. “I always recommend going to a professional for any color service,” Mane Addicts hair stylist Sienree Du tells Bustle. “But if you must,” Du says, “Using a purple shampoo and leaving it on for a few extra minutes definitely helps. There’s also toning conditioners and masks that you could use and you could kill two birds with one stone and treat your hair while toning it.”

So take it from the expert, and if you plan on toning your hair at home, stick with a shampoo or hair mask, which are the most user-friendly. After all, if you use a professional-level toning treatment improperly, you can wind up ruining your color. Typically, the best products to remove brassiness at home will be tinted purple to counteract any yellow or orange undertones that are messing with your cool-blonde shade.

Brassiness doesn't only appear in blonde hair, though. Yellow tones often show up in gray hair, while brunettes might experience red or orange undertones coming through. And though brassy tones might inevitably appear as your color begins to fade, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent brassiness in the first place. Namely, try to keep your hair protected from the sun, whose rays can expedite the oxidation process, by using a hat or UV protectant spray. Also, try to wash your hair less often; the more you wash it, the sooner your color will fade. And, if you think your home might have hard water (hard water has a higher mineral content, which can oxidize your hair), consider investing in one of these shower heads for hard water.

And now, check out five foolproof hair toners to banish brassiness fast.


Best Toning Shampoo For Blondes

Ask any professional colorist how to maintain a cool blonde shade at home, and chances are they'll recommend Clairol Shimmer Lights. Not only is the cult-classic purple shampoo affordable and practically foolproof — the only thing you have to worry about is making sure it doesn't get all over your shower curtain — but it works just as well as many of the toning treatments you'd get in a salon.

The deep purple shampoo can be used to neutralize brassy undertones in both blonde and gray hair; it also helps enhance shine and brighten highlights. The longer you leave it on, the more effective it will be, though the brand suggests between three and five minutes before rinsing.

Relevant review: “It’s a must for blondes! Keeps all the brass [tones] at bay and use anytime you feel you need to brighten up!”


Best Sulfate-Free Toning Shampoo For Blondes

As a current light blonde and an ex bleach blonde, I have a lot of experience with at-home toning products. Shimmer Lights (featured above) was usually my go-to, and it always served me well. However, I’ve recently made the switch to sulfate-free products because of a suspected allergy — and now, my favorite toning shampoo is Oribe Bright Blonde. The sulfate-free, purple-hued shampoo is ideal for blonde, silver, and gray hair, and like all Oribe products, it smells absolutely amazing. Not only will it help counteract brassiness, but it also keeps your color looking shiny and bright between salon visits, thanks to the brand’s Signature Complex and Brightening Complex, which comprise hard-working botanicals that help protect your hair from environmental aggressors and maintain the vibrancy of your blonde.

Relevant review: “This shampoo is a life saver! It took the brass out of a bad dye job in one washing. The smell is amazing and it did not dry my hair out whatsoever!”


Best Toning Shampoo For Brunettes

For brunettes with brassy, red, or orange undertones in their hair, Joico created the Color Balance Blue Shampoo. Not only does it neutralize brassiness, but it also prevents your hair color from fading or becoming dull. Brunettes with balayage highlights are particular fans of this shampoo for its ability to help keep the lighter parts of their hair looking bright and fresh.

Relevant review: “Effective for toning orange out of lightened dark hair. A little goes a long way and one bottle lasts me 2 months. It definitely has saved me from having to go to the salon for frequent touch-ups!”


Best Toning Mask For Blondes

Another option for toning your blonde hair at home is this treatment mask from Pravana. Like Shimmer Lights and Oribe Bright Blonde, it uses a deep purple pigment to banish yellow and brassy undertones, but it's a much more moisturizing option. Packed with nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and cocoa, this rich treatment helps soften and repair damaged, dried-out hair as it tones and brightens. Use it once or twice a week after shampooing, leaving it on for about five minutes.

Relevant review: “LOVE THIS MASQUE. One of the easiest, strongest “purple” toning products to use on blondes. So simple, no damage or dryness, you can just use it again and again and leave it on longer or apply on dry hair for stronger results. I bleach my naturally medium brown hair and yellow brass is constantly an issue to me. Using this about once a week is magic. Haven’t found a better purple masque and don’t think I will even look for one because this is just so fantastic.”


Best Toning Conditioner For Brunettes

Brunettes looking to fade unwanted brassiness also have the option of using a blue-tinted conditioner, like Redken’s best-selling Color Extend Brownlights conditioner. Ideal for neutralizing the appearance of orange tones, the brand suggests leaving it on for five to 10 minutes for best results.

Relevant review: “Got to say I am very impressed by this product. It helps get rid of light reddish/blonde color that everyone seems to call “brassy.” I had low expectations but have had very positive results. It eliminates that brassy color and leaves fine limp locks full, soft, and full of color and shine.”


Expert’s Pick

dpHUE’s gloss+ is great for at home use,” says Du. “They have a great range of colors, [it’s] easy to apply in shower, and is also a deep conditioning treatment.” Though this isn’t a purple-tinted treatment that will counteract brassiness, it will give your color a refresh between salon visits (think of it as a way to disguise brassiness, rather that remove it). The shade ‘Light Blonde’ is perfect for those with very light or bleached hair looking to maintain a cool tone, but the gloss also comes 10 other colors, including ‘Copper,’ ‘Black,’ ‘Dark Brown,’ and ‘Sheer.’ In addition to refreshing your color, this deep-conditioning gloss gives hair incredible shine.

Relevant review: “This product is terrific! My color treated hair tends to get very light/brassy when I go in the sun. This product is easy to use, smells great and does what it says...tones the brass right away. The clear is also great. I keep it in the shower and use it once per week for xtra shine and softness. You won’t be disappointed.”


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“Depending on your hair porosity, some parts (usually the ends or double processed areas) may pick up the toner more than others which can leave blotchy and uneven areas. Make sure you only apply [the toner] to areas that it's needed and try to avoid/not overly saturate the areas that are overly processed, as they will pick up the toner more,” Du explains. “If that happens, be sure to have a good clarifying shampoo on hand. You could just apply it to the areas that picked up a little more color. I recommend using the Davines Solu Shampoo, it’s strong enough to level out the color without completely stripping your hair of the necessary oils.

Relevant review: “Love this shampoo, really feel like it gets out all the residue and build up in my hair. Feels really clean after washing.”


Sienree Du, Mane Addicts hair stylist