Toner to Correct Red in the Hair

To ditch the red you've got to use the color that neutralizes it.

Photo: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Are you seeing red and wishing your weren't? Red usually rears its fiery head when you choose a brown hair color that has a lot of warm or red undertones to it. Thankfully, you can douse the fire by toning your reddish hair color with a color that will neutralize the red and leave you with a more neutral brown shade.

What Color to Use

Color theory is all about knowing which colors complement each other, and which ones neutralize each other. In the case of red, green is the color that will tone it out of your hair. Just like when you were a kid and finger painting, mixing red and green makes brown, which is what you'll end up with when you apply a green ash-based color over red-hued hair.

What Product Works Best

When it comes to hair toners, no other product works better than a semi-permanent hair color. These colors are easy to mix and come in a variety of colors that can tone any nasty tones you want to get rid of. The biggest plus to using semi-permanent hair color is the 10-volume developer that you mix with it. Ten-volume developer is deposit-only developer, so it won't harm or damage your hair in any way.

How to Do It

To tone out that red color, you're going to mix one 2 oz. bottle of an ash-based semi-permanent hair color that is one level lighter than your current hair color with 2 oz. of 10-volume developer. Apply the toner to all of your hair, from root to tip. Work that toner in to make sure every little bit of hair is saturated in that ash-based color. Let the color tone out the red for a full 20 minutes. When the time is up, rinse the color out and apply a moisturizing conditioner for color-treated hair. Rinse it out after one minute and you're done.

How to Avoid It in the First Place

Now that you've ditched the red, let's make sure you learn from your coloring mistake and don't repeat it. The next time you color your hair, instead of choosing the warm-brown or red-brown color that you did, choose a neutral or ash-based brown color. If you don't mind a hint of warmth in your brown color, go for the neutral base. If you hate any trace of red or gold, you'll want to reach for the ash-based color.

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