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What Does Toner Do to Brown Hair? The Surprising Effects Revealed (2024)

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what does toner do to brown hairHair toners can work wonders for your brown locks!

They deposit color pigments directly onto strands to neutralize brassy, unwanted undertones and enhance your desired brunette tone.

Whether you crave cooler, ashier tones or richer, warmer hues, toning your brown hair will amplify vibrancy and create a more natural finish.

Toners also counteract color changes from the sun and ammonia in dye.

But don’t stop there – read on to discover the top toning products and tips for stunning, glossy brown perfection!

Key Takeaways

  • Toner neutralizes brassy, unwanted undertones in brown hair.
  • It enhances the desired brunette tone, whether cool or warm.
  • Toner counteracts the ammonia in hair dye and corrects color changes from sun exposure.
  • Regular use of toner is necessary to maintain color and prevent color buildup.

What is a Hair Colour Toner?

What is a Hair Colour Toner

Hair toners are a versatile hair care product that can enhance and maintain your desired hair color, both in the salon and at home. They work by depositing color pigments onto your hair strands, neutralizing unwanted undertones, and adding vibrancy to your locks. Toners aren’t just for blonde hair; they can also be used on brown hair to remove brassy tones and add depth and shine.

There are different types of hair toners available, including shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in treatments. Some popular options for brown hair include the Redken Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo and Conditioner, which neutralizes orange and yellow tones, and the evo Fabuloso Cool Brown Colour Boosting Conditioner, which deposits brown pigment into hair and evens out color.

When choosing a brown hair toner, consider your desired brunette tone (cool or warm), ease of use, impact on hair health, and the level of color correction you need. Experiment with different products to find the best fit for your hair.

Tips for using brown hair toners include wearing gloves during application, following product instructions for application time, using regularly to maintain color, and avoiding overuse to prevent color buildup.

Can You Tone Brown Hair?

Can You Tone Brown Hair

Yes, you can absolutely tone brown hair! Whether you’re aiming to transform your mane by neutralizing brassy hues or enhancing warm tones, toner application is your secret weapon. Think of it as your hair’s personal fairy godmother, ready to wave its magic wand for a stunning color correction.

From taking warm brown hair to chic ash brown or adding depth to brown hair with highlights, toners for brown hair are versatile heroes in the quest for the perfect brunette shade.

Effects of Toner on Brown Hair

Effects of Toner on Brown Hair
Toner can work wonders on your brown hair by counteracting the ammonia in hair dye and correcting any color changes from sun exposure. It can also change the overall color quality of your locks while removing unwanted warm undertones for a more neutral, cooler brown shade.

Counteracts the Ammonia in Hair Dye

Toning brown hair with a toner can counteract the ammonia in hair dye, neutralizing any unwanted color changes and maintaining the desired shade. By using a toner specifically designed for brunette hair, you can remove warm undertones and give your locks a cooler, more neutral tone.

These toners work by depositing cool-toned pigments onto the hair strands, which helps to cancel out any warmth and create a more even color distribution. It’s vital to select the correct shade of toner for your hair color and follow the product instructions for the best possible results.

Corrects Color Changes From Sun Exposure

Toner can correct color changes from sun exposure, extending the longevity of your hair color. Overexposure to the sun can cause your hair to fade or become brassy, but toner can help maintain your desired shade.

When toning brown hair at home, be sure to follow the application instructions and consider using a toner specifically designed for brassy brown hair. Remember, toner can stain skin and bathroom tiles, so wear gloves and apply it in a well-ventilated area.

Changes Color Quality

Hair toners, like Davroe Cool Graphite Colour Treatment, change the color quality of your brown hair by neutralizing brassy hues and creating a cooler, more natural tone. They come in various types, such as purple shampoos or brown toning treatments, and can be used to enhance your hair’s natural tones or correct unwanted warm undertones.

Removes Warm Undertones

Toning your brown hair with the right product can help neutralize warm undertones, giving your locks a cooler, more balanced appearance. Toner recommendations include the Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo Conditioner, L’Oreal Paris Hair Toning Gloss Cool Brunette, Fanola No Orange Shampoo Blue Pigments, Luseta Purple Shampoo and Conditioner Set, and L’Oreal Paris in Shower Hair Gloss.

These toners can help correct yellow and orange tones, making your brown hair look more vibrant and natural.

Choosing a Toner for Brown Hair

Choosing a Toner for Brown Hair
Choosing the right toner is key for getting the best results on your brown hair. Whether you opt for a salon visit or tackle it at home, understanding how to select the appropriate toner shade and formula can make all the difference in achieving your desired hair color.

Hair Toning in the Salon

After exploring the transformative effects of toner on brown hair, stepping into a salon unlocks a realm of professional opportunities. Salon services provide customized color correction, guaranteeing your brunette hue is devoid of undesirable green/blue undertones. A consultation with a stylist not merely offers expert guidance but also elucidates costs and appointment availability, rendering hair color maintenance effortless.

Toning Your Brown Hair at Home

Toning your brown hair at home is a simple process that can help you achieve the perfect shade. To choose the right toner, consider your desired brunette tone (cool or warm), ease of use (shampoo, conditioner, leave-in mask), impact on hair health, and color results (neutralization of brassiness, color payoff, longevity).

Remember to wear gloves during application and follow product instructions for application time. Regular use is necessary to maintain color, but avoid overusing toners to prevent color buildup.

5 Best Toners for Brown Hair

Are you tired of unwanted warm tones in your brown hair? Try Matrix Total Results Dark Envy, L’Oreal Paris Hair Toning Gloss Cool Brunette, Fanola No Orange Shampoo, Luseta Purple Shampoo, or L’Oreal Paris in Shower Hair Gloss to neutralize brassy hues and keep your brown locks looking their best.

1. Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo Conditioner

Matrix Dark Envy Color-Depositing GreenView On Amazon

Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo and Conditioner are designed to help maintain the color and health of dark hair while neutralizing red undertones. These products are suitable for virgin and all-over black to dark brown hair and are easy to use, with the shampoo recommended for levels 1-4.

The shampoo is a green color-depositing toning shampoo that enriches dark bases and neutralizes red undertones, leaving hair with a cool, glossy finish. The conditioner is non-color depositing and deeply hydrates every fiber, enhancing manageability and providing richness, radiance, and shine.

Both products are vegan and cruelty-free.

Best For: Dark hair, especially with red undertones.

  • Neutralizes red undertones
  • Adds shine and richness
  • Enhances manageability
  • Not suitable for light or blonde hair
  • May be drying if used too frequently
  • Green color may stain clothing

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Toning Gloss Cool Brunette

LView On Amazon

L’Oreal Paris Hair Toning Gloss Cool Brunette is a toning gloss created to intensify the cool tones in brown hair, increase shine, and profoundly condition in a single step. It’s appropriate for all hair types and textures, whether colored or natural.

The gloss is formulated with a coconut oil-infused deep conditioning base, making it vegan, color-safe, and free of ammonia, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and mineral oils.

It’s suggested to use once a week for 5-15 minutes in the shower, based on the preferred shade. The gloss endures approximately 10 days and can be utilized up to 3 times per tube.

It’s effortless to use, with no mixing or gloves necessary, and is intended to provide a hassle-free, damage-free toning experience.

Best For: Those looking to intensify cool tones, condition, and add shine to their brown hair.

  • No-damage formula
  • Vegan, color- and keratin-safe
  • Easy to use with no mixing or gloves needed
  • May darken hair if left on for too long
  • Must be applied evenly to avoid streaks
  • Not suitable for hair that is too dark

3. Fanola No Orange Shampoo Blue Pigments

Fanola No Orange Shampoo WithView On Amazon

Venturing into the realm of enhancing brunette tresses, Fanola’s No Orange Shampoo stands as your valiant protector against those bothersome orange and red undertones. Envision it as a chromatic harmonizer in a vial, equipped with blue pigments poised to combat brassiness and unveil the cooler, more refined nuances of brown.

It’s as if your hair were indulging in a rejuvenating retreat, minus the cucumber adornments. With its capacity to not merely eradicate undesired hues but also bestow upon your hair a velvety softness and a lustrous sheen, it’s a paradigm shift for brunettes yearning for that ideal shade.

Thus, if you seek to captivate with your opulent, radiant locks, this toner may well become your clandestine advantage.

Best For: Brunettes desiring to combat brassiness and unwanted orange/red highlights.

  • Neutralizes unwanted copper/red highlights
  • Gives shine and hydration
  • Eliminates orange reflections
  • Can be drying to hair
  • May not be suitable for all hair types
  • May leave a blue or ash tone in hair

4. Luseta Purple Shampoo and Conditioner Set

Luseta Purple Shampoo and ConditionerView On Amazon

The Luseta Purple Shampoo and Conditioner Set is designed for blonde and gray hair, offering a sulfate-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free formula infused with coconut oil. It cleanses hair, eliminates brassy and yellow tones, repairs split ends, and protects hair from heat and environmental damage.

This set is color-safe and suitable for color-treated hair, with a pH balance of shampoo 5.5-6.5 and conditioner 4.5-5.5. Customers appreciate its ability to make hair shinier, healthier, and softer, and some even mention a decrease in hair loss.

Best For: Blonde and gray hair looking to eliminate brassiness and improve hair health.

  • Eliminates brassy and yellow tones
  • Repairs split ends and protects hair from damage
  • Color-safe and suitable for color-treated hair
  • May make hair less straight and more wavy
  • Conditioner is less thick than others
  • Slight pungent odor in conditioner

5. L’Oreal Paris in Shower Hair Gloss

LView On Amazon

L’Oreal Paris in Shower Hair Gloss is a convenient and easy-to-use product that can help maintain the vibrancy of brown hair. It’s designed to be used in the shower and doesn’t require mixing or gloves, making it a hassle-free option for those looking to enhance their hair color.

The gloss is suitable for all hair types and textures, including color-treated hair, and can be used once a week for 5-15 minutes to maintain a shiny, fresh-looking color.

With its vegan formula and absence of ammonia, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and mineral oils, it’s a gentle option that can be used to neutralize brassiness in brunettes and add warmth to their locks.

Best For: Individuals seeking to maintain the vibrancy of their brown hair without commitment or damage.

  • Convenient and easy to use in the shower
  • Gentle vegan formula free of harsh chemicals
  • Revitalizes fading brunettes and adds warmth
  • May not be suitable for all hair types
  • Requires regular use to maintain effects
  • May not provide significant color change

How to Tone Brown Hair at Home

How to Tone Brown Hair at Home
To tone your brown hair at home, start by thoroughly shampooing your hair with a sulfate-free formula to remove any buildup or residue.

Then, apply the toner product evenly from roots to ends, ensuring complete coverage.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for processing time.

Once the time is up, rinse the toner out thoroughly with cool water until the water runs clear.

Shampoo Your Hair

To tone brown hair, you should shampoo your hair first. Here are three steps to follow:

  1. Wet your hair: Thoroughly wet your hair in the shower or sink. Rinsing your hair with warm water opens up the hair’s cuticle, allowing it to better absorb the toning shampoo.
  2. Apply the shampoo: Squeeze some of the toning shampoo into your hand and work it into your hair, starting at the roots and working your way down to the ends. Massage the shampoo gently into your hair to create a rich lather.
  3. Let the shampoo sit: After working the toning shampoo into a lather, leave it in your hair for the recommended time, typically between 3 and 5 minutes. This allows the toning pigments to penetrate your hair.

Remember to follow the product instructions for application time and consider factors like hair health, product ingredients, color maintenance, and time management when choosing a toner for brown hair.

Apply the Toner

Applying a hair toner is a simple process that can be done at home with the right products and tools. To apply the toner, you’ll need to mix it with a developer, following the packet instructions carefully. Then, use a color brush to apply the toner to the areas where you want to correct the color. This might mean covering all your hair or just a few specific sections. Remember to set a timer for the length of time that your toner needs to develop, which could be as little as 5 or 10 minutes but could be longer. It’s best to apply toner to damp hair, not dry hair or hair that’s still soaking wet, as this will help your hair absorb more of the toner’s pigment and give a more even result.

When choosing a toner for brown hair, consider the desired brunette tone (cool or warm), ease of use (shampoo, conditioner, leave-in mask), impact on hair health, color results (neutralization of brassiness, color payoff, longevity), and experiment with different products to find the best fit. For best results, consult a stylist or colorist for expert advice on the right shade of toner for your hair color.

Remember to wear gloves during application to avoid staining your skin, hands, and bathroom tiles. Follow the product instructions for application time and use regularly to maintain your desired color. Avoid overusing toners to prevent color buildup, which can lead to damage.

Rinse the Toner Out

After your toner application, it’s time for the toner rinse.

Think of it as the grand finale in your quest to eliminate brassy tones.

Warm water works best, ensuring the toner’s effects are locked in.

Don’t rush; let the water run clear, ensuring every strand benefits from the Redken Colour Extend Brownlights range.

This step is vital for that salon-fresh look.

Toning Your Brown Hair: Before and After

Toning Your Brown Hair: Before and After

Enhancing Your Brown Hair with Toning

Toning your brown hair can greatly improve its appearance and preserve its vibrancy. Here are three key points to keep in mind before and after toning:

  1. Color Correction: Toning can counterbalance undesirable warm tones, giving your hair a more natural and cooler look. This is particularly important for those with highlighted or bleached hair, as it can prevent it from appearing brassy or orange.
  2. Home Application: If you opt to tone your hair at home, adhere strictly to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your hair before applying the toner, and apply it to damp hair for optimal results. Wear gloves to protect your skin, and use a timer to ensure the recommended development time. Rinse the toner thoroughly with warm water after the specified duration.
  3. Hair Damage: Toning can potentially damage your hair if not done correctly. Excessive processing, using harsh chemical toners, or frequent toning can weaken your hair and lead to breakage. To minimize damage, assess your hair’s health before toning and choose a toner that’s gentle on your hair. Additionally, avoid toning your hair too frequently, and allow it to rest between toning sessions to facilitate recovery.

Tips for Using Brown Hair Toners

Tips for Using Brown Hair Toners
When using brown hair toners, be cautious as they can stain your skin, hands, and even bathroom tiles if not applied properly. Wearing gloves during application, following the product instructions for the recommended application time, and using the toner regularly to maintain your desired color are essential tips to remember.

Can Stain Skin, Hands, and Bathroom Tiles

To prevent stains on your skin, hands, and bathroom tiles when using brown hair toners, follow these tips:

  1. Apply a protective barrier: Before applying the toner, coat your skin around your hairline, hands, and any other exposed areas with petroleum jelly or a thick moisturizer. This will create a barrier that prevents the toner from coming into direct contact with your skin.
  2. Use gloves: Wear disposable gloves while applying the toner to your hair. This not only protects your skin but also prevents the toner from staining your hands.
  3. Clean up spills immediately: If you accidentally spill toner on your skin, bathroom tiles, or clothing, clean it up as soon as possible. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to blot the spill and avoid rubbing it, which can spread the stain.
  4. Use a color-safe stain remover: If you do get toner on your skin, use a color-safe stain remover specifically designed for removing hair dye stains. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label for the best results.

Wear Gloves During Application

To guarantee the safe use of brown hair toners, it’s imperative to don gloves throughout the process.

This measure safeguards against the toner discoloring your skin, hands, and bathroom tiles.

Furthermore, utilizing gloves preserves the efficacy of the product, as it’s formulated to impart color to your hair strands, not your skin.

By wearing gloves, you can avert any unintentional color transfer and attain the intended toning effect on your hair.

Follow Product Instructions for Application Time

When it comes to altering brown hair, it’s imperative to follow the directions for application duration. This guarantees you achieve the best outcome and safeguards your hair. Here are some tips:

  • Application Duration: Most toners are left on for 5 to 30 minutes, based on the product and your hair’s condition and hue. Read the instructions thoroughly and set a timer to prevent excessive or insufficient toning.
  • Varied Products, Varied Durations: Some toners may require a shorter or longer processing time, so always refer to the specific product instructions.
  • Trial and Error: If you’re uncertain about the application duration, start with a shorter time and gradually increase it to find the ideal length for your hair.
  • Consistency: Regularly use toner to maintain your desired color and neutralize unwanted warm undertones.
  • Color Correction: If you notice that your hair is too warm or too cool after toning, adjust the application duration accordingly to achieve the desired equilibrium.

Use Regularly to Maintain Color

After mastering the toner application, remember, it’s not a one-and-done deal. To keep those brassy tones at bay and maintain your color, regular use is key. Think of toner like your hair’s best friend, always there to keep it looking its best. Explore our product recommendations for leave-in options that make maintenance a breeze.

Emotion How Toner Helps
Joy Bye-bye, brassiness!
Relief Easy peasy maintenance
Pride Rock that rich color
Surprise Is that really my hair?
Confidence Strut with no color worries

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between toning and coloring hair?

At the root of it, toning and coloring are two sides of the same coin. Toning enhances your current shade, while coloring completely transforms it – think of it as a subtle tune-up versus an extreme makeover.

How often should I use a brown hair toner to maintain the color?

You’ll want to use a brown toner every 4-6 weeks to maintain your lovely locks. But listen to your hair – if it starts looking brassy sooner, go ahead and tone away that unwanted warmth. Stay on top of it for consistent, gorgeous color.

Can I use a toner to change my natural hair color to brown?

You can, but it’ll likely turn out more of a funky, unnatural shade. Toners deposit semi-permanent color that fades quickly. For a true brown, you’d need permanent dye with developer or get it done professionally.

What are the benefits of using a toner for brown hair?

Just like adding the perfect spice blend to a dish, using a toner on brown hair can bring out its richness. It neutralizes brassy tones, enhances depth, and leaves you with luscious, multidimensional locks.

How does a toner work on brown hair compared to blonde hair?

You’ll find toners for brown hair work differently than for blondes. They neutralize unwanted reddish or brassy tones, giving you a cooler, more even brunette shade. Think of it as fine-tuning your perfect brown!


Ultimately, over 60% of women experience brassy tones in their brown hair. Using a toner eliminates unwanted warm undertones and enhances your desired brunette tone. By understanding what toner does to brown hair, you’ll achieve glossy, vibrant locks with ease. Follow the product instructions, tone regularly, and witness your strands transform into stunning brown perfection.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.