How To Tone Down Hair Color That Is Too Bright?

Coloring your hair can be so much fun but the fun is ruined if you do not apply the right technique or the required amount of dye to your hair, resulting in undesirable consequences.

For example, too light or too darker a shade than your desired color can make your hair super unattractive and too bright in the wrong way. Even if you had no such intentions, mistakes do happen.

So what if you have put a shade of color you absolutely adore and are excited to see it blending in but found that it is just too bright?

You will have just one question hovering around your mind: How to tone down hair color that is too bright now? Is there anything I can do to fix it? 

Fret not! We are here to save the day.

In this article, we will tell you how to tone down hair color that is too bright by first making quick checks and diagnosing the root cause and problem and then proceeding to provide you with the correct method so you get your perfect color back in form. 

Hair color can come out excessively bright if the tone gets either too light or too dark
Hair color can come out excessively bright if the tone gets either too light or too dark

Step-to-step Tone Down Hair Color 

Being aware about your hair color and its tones is equally important before coloring your hair
Being aware about your hair color and its tones is equally important before coloring your hair

Let us first clear this widespread confusion about light and dark tones. First and foremost; the hair color can turn out to be bright in both cases i.e. if you have light (for example, blonde) color or if you have a dark (for example, red) color.

Shampoos Hub
Shampoos Hub

Many people have reported that because of putting on an excessive amount, their highlights went wrong looking as bright as morning sunshine (in a bad way) while others have complained that in the process of darkening their hair, the hair color now looks as shiny as a fresh polish (very artificial right?).

In both cases, what we first tell people that the root of the problem is not the hair color itself which is looking bright, rather it is the TONE of your hair that is the real culprit, that has either become too light or too dark than what they actually wanted. So achieving the right hair tone according to your preference is the key to ultimately getting the perfect desired results.

But then there might be a few more reasons that your hair color looks too bright after dyeing. Some of the most common and frequent reasons are:

The dyed shade did not go well with your natural skin tone

Yes, this can happen for sure. Before dyeing your hair, it is best if you first keep in mind your skin tone and make a choice accordingly.

For example, if you have a warm skin undertone and you go for very light, ashy hair colors, you would find that your hair color is looking unfavorably bright. Same goes for people who have cool skin undertones and go for very dark shades. 

Your hair is over-bleached

If you or even some professional colorist has mistakenly overbleached your hair, your hair would look excessively bright which is actually a nightmare because this means that you would have to wait for a longer period of time to tone down your unwanted color in order to achieve the preferred shade.

Your hair has not been sufficiently toned

This especially comes into play with bleached blonde hair. If the results come out too bright, it either means that the toner did not work that well to tone down the hair color after bleaching or you skipped toning your hair entirely.

Now let’s sort and explore how to tone down hair color that is too bright according to light and dark hair. 

How To Tone Down Light Hair That Looks Too Bright?

A lighter tone can be easily transformed into the target color by opting for a darker shade
A lighter tone can be easily transformed into the target color by opting for a darker shade

Now if you have noticed that your hair color looks bright because the new tone is too lighter than it should have; making you look excessively blonde, then it is best to first wait for at least 2-3 days after the dye because this is the time when the pigments will be most enhanced so you can clearly judge to what extent you have to work it up.

Once you have seen the final emerging pigment and it still looks way too bright for you, then follow this method step-by-step.

Do a hair-color rinse at home 

This is the most effective and quickest fix you can do at home to achieve favorable results. But first, you will need to find the right shade according to your existing hair color.

For this, simply get a color chart from a beauty shop and match the chart with your hair strand. After finding the shade matching your hair color, pick a shade (base color) that is one or two tones darker than your current shade.

After getting your hands on the correct dye, you can begin the process.

What do you need?

  • A suitable dye
  • A developer (preferably 30V)
  • Regular shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Plastic container
  • Hair color brush
  • Gloves

What to do?

  • Take half a bottle of dye and a little less than half peroxide (developer) in a plastic container and mix them together.
  • Mix until a creamy texture is formed without any lumps.
  • Pour in about 3 big plumps of your regular shampoo and mix it well again.
  • After preparing that mixture, apply it on damp hair all over just like you would apply a shampoo.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes in total and then rinse your hair well with lukewarm water.
  • Follow up by a good conditioner to retain moisture.

After drying your hair out, you will see that the tone has got darker and so your hair is not looking too bright and light imparting the fake shine that you had before the color rinse.

Grab your hands on the coffee 

That’s right! While we know that coffee can be used in multiple beauty and hair care remedies, it can also be used to darken your hair.

So if you are looking to tone down hair color that is too bright, you can try this method easily at home.

What do you need?

  • Ground coffee
  • Conditioner
  • Plastic container

What to do?

  • First, you need to brew about 2 cups of strong coffee. Once prepared, let it cool to room temperature.
  • Now in a plastic container, add about 4 tablespoons of ground coffee and pour in 2 cups of conditioner to form a smooth paste.
  • Soak all of your hair with the brewed coffee to make them completely wet.
  • Now, apply the prepared mixture of ground coffee and conditioner to your hair, massaging gently from roots to the tips.
  • Leave it for an hour. Rinse thoroughly until all the residue is cleaned.
  • After drying your hair, you will see immediate results. If you want to darken your hair several shades darker then repeat the procedure until you achieve desired results.

Make a switch from your terrible tresses to happy highlights

If you are a fan of versatility and experiments like us, then you would definitely like this hack. 

What we can suggest is to bring a twist without actually stripping the color. This is best done by a professional or a colorist who would simply balance the lighter tones of your hair so that your very light hair color can work perfectly as your highlights!

Pro tip: Opting for a strobing technique or balayage in this case will add beauty to your overall look. Curls can also top up your hair dye game as they reflect light better, complementing your glam look.

How To Tone Down Dark Hair That Is Too Bright?

Too dark a tone can also make your hair color look extra and unfavorably bright
Too dark a tone can also make your hair color look extra and unfavorably bright

By now, you must have known that light hair that needs a dark tone sometimes accidentally achieves a very light tone which makes the hair color look too bright.

But what if your tone has got so dark that it imparts a fake shine and glow? In this case, you would want to do the reverse which means lightening your tone to balance the brightness of dark hair color.

The bad news is this process can not be simply done at home like toningdown light hair color. 

The good news is there are several natural ways to accelerate the fading process of the dye to some extent so that the potential damage is minimized.

Moreover, these natural remedies will lend strength, shine, and softness to your overall hair health. However, the process can be slower and may not be very effective for everyone. So do not expect the remedies to work accurately and bring overnight results.

Get your tones lightened by a professional hair colorist

As mentioned above, this is the quickest fix and the most worthy favor you can do to your hair without risking its health.

Removing the dye is a very complex process and to tone down dark hair color that is too bright, you would need to remove the color first. This can not be done at home like a color rinsing procedure.

In this case, a colorist would remove your hair color completely and then put a shade or two lighter tones than your current color to the hair. This will ensure to minimize that extreme sparkly glow and bright reflection that was making your hair look awful to bring the desired color back.

So without a shadow of any doubt, go to your nearest and most reliable colorist to tone down your dark hair color that has turned out too bright.

If, however, your hair color is not UNCOMFORTABLY and AWFULLY bright and you do not feel like getting professional help, you can try the following further methods at home. 

Use a clarifying/sulfates-packed shampoo

A sulfates-packed shampoo? Sounds odd right?

Usually to protect and maintain the hair color or hair dye, we recommend that you use sulfate and paraben-free products with natural ingredients and a complete color-safe formula preferably. However, when it comes to stripping that color, it would be the other way round. 

Washing with a regular sulfate-filled shampoo or a clarifying shampoo will help strip the pigments of the dye sitting on your hair much faster than you wanted. Even better is to wash your hair with these shampoos more often to accelerate the fading process. 

Remember more frequent washes means faster results.

What do you need?

  • A good clarifying shampoo (preferably with keratin-infused in it)
  • A good conditioner to deep condition your hair after the wash

What to do?

  • Take out a little amount as per your hair length and put it all over your damp hair strands.
  • Leave for 2-5 mins to achieve maximum effect. Rinse it out fully.
  • Couple it up with a good conditioner afterward.

You may go for regular and daily hair wash with a clarifying shampoo until the unwanted color is completely wiped out and desired results are achieved. This may take a few washes and a few days so you need to be patient.

After a few washes, you will notice that the pigment has remarkably faded and is ready to let go of your hair strands.

However, make sure that you use leave-in hair conditioners, hair serums, and hair masks to retain the moisture; necessary to your hair in general since these products can be very harsh and damaging to the hair overall. 

Note: If in any way, you see small fly-aways and frizz coming up, you may want to restrict your hair washing to twice a week only. 

Use Olive Oil to tone down hair color that is too bright

You can use Olive Oil to tone down hair color that is too bright
You can use Olive Oil to tone down hair color that is too bright

Olive oil is widely used for its amazing qualities. It lends shine, softness, and body to the hair by penetrating into the hair shaft and locking healthy moisture there. But who knew it would work super well for people looking to alter hair color?

Since Olive Oil has a rich gold tone, it would lighten and alter your hair tone to some extent. This will balance your dark and bright tones to impart a natural look.

What will you need?

  • Half a cup of a good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Shower cap/ headwrap/ nylon bag
  • Clarifying shampoo

What to do? 

  • Begin by running a hot water shower directly to your hair in order to open up hair cuticles so that the hair color can come out.
  • Take half a cup of warm olive oil. You can heat it by putting it in a microwave or on the stove for 30 seconds. Remember the oil should be warm, not burning hot.
  • Apply that warm olive oil to your damp hair strands, making sure to cover the hair from roots to the tips.
  • Massage the warm oil gently into and out of the scalp.
  • Wrap your hair with a shower cap/nylon bag or any head wrap you have for complete and better penetration of the oil to the cortex.
  • Let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse off with a clarifying shampoo.
  • Make sure to condition your hair afterward because even though olive oil works to retain moisture, the clarifying shampoo can be a bit drying to your hair so ensure proper hydration and moisture with a conditioner or a hair serum.

Try Lemon Juice 

Because of its citric acid, lemon juice has great lightening and bleaching properties. With a combination to exposure with sunlight, citric acid fastens the bleaching process by breaking down existing hair pigments to show underlying lighter pigment.

Since it is an antioxidant, it also removes any oxidized coating on your hair to minimize darker shades and hair colors. So if your tone has got too dark that its imparting false shine, lemon juice can do the job of toning the color down to a good and appealing hue, that too in a cost-effective way.

However, it can be over-drying and harsh to your hair which is why it is recommended to dilute it with water and MUST follow up with a conditioner.

What do you need?

  • ⅔ cup of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of water
  • Comb
  • Spray bottle

What to do?

  • Just mix the aforementioned quantities together into a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Part your hair with the help of a comb in sections and spray this mixture all over your hair, moving from section to section. 
  • Now to activate the properties of citric acid, sit in sunlight for a minimum of 1 hour. You can soak in the sun for a longer period too.
  • Now rinse your hair well with a regular shampoo.
  • Follow up with deep conditioning sessions. Just a conditioner would not be enough in this case. Use hair serums, leave-in conditioners, and hair masks after this therapy.
  • You can repeat this procedure according to how light you want to go but make sure to leave at least a 3-week gap between each session to avoid damage.


Will Vitamin C pills give the same results as Lemon Juice?

Yes, you can utilize your Vitamin C pills easily to tone down dark hair color for a nice balance.

  • Crush and grind a few Vitamin C pills (should be around 500mg) to convert them into powdered form.
  • Put enough water into those powdered pills to form a smooth yet thick paste. Mix really well to avoid any lumps. 
  • Part your hair in sections and apply this mixture with the help of a hair color brush to cover each strand of your hair. You can also mix a little shampoo to create a bit of lather.
  • Wrap a shower cap or a nylon bag over your head and let the mixture stay for about 1 hour.
  • Rinse your hair with lukewarm water thoroughly and apply a good conditioner afterward. 

Can I use Baking Soda to tone down too dark a tone?

Yes, Baking Soda is also acidic in nature and thus a great bleaching agent. 

Use it in combination with a dandruff shampoo which also has higher pH levels. 

  • Just take equal amounts of baking soda with your regular dandruff shampoo to form a thick paste. 
  • Apply it all over your hair. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse well with warm water. 

An alternate way is to use baking soda in combination with lemon juice. Both are great bleaching and lightening agents hence mixing them together will bring effective and immediate results.

  • First, thoroughly cleanse your hair with a regular shampoo. 
  • Take equal quantities of both baking soda and lemon juice. Mix well to form a thick yet smooth paste, without any lumps. 
  • Now apply this paste all over your hair. 
  • Wrap your hair with a shower cap or a head wrap and leave it there for about 20 minutes. 
  • After the given time, wash your hair again with a regular shampoo. 

Follow up with deep conditioning regimens like using conditioner and hair serum and using a hair mask at least twice a week after these procedures to avoid over stripping and damage. Repeat the process until you see desired results.

Can I use Tea to darken my tone?

Yes, coffee and tea both can be used to stain your hair color and darken them.

Follow the aforementioned method of using coffee the same way. Just replace it with any regular tea you have in your kitchen and you are good to go!

Does heating treatments affect hair dye?

“My hair is looking too bright which I believe is because of having an unwanted darker tone but I love to straighten and blow dry my hair regularly. Will it have any impact on my hair?”

You mentioned that the dark tone is “unwanted” which means you may want to lighten the color to avoid looking too bright.

So now is the real time to enjoy doing as many heating treatments that you dreaded previously on your colored hair.

Because direct heat either from sunlight and hot water or flat ironing, curlers, and blow dryers works to gradually strip the color from your hair, it will help in removing the dye you wish to get rid of, to some extent and will lighten the extra-bright effect.

Again, alongside regular conditioners, do not forget to deep condition your hair at least twice a week with a good and hydrating moisture- packed hair mask or hair cream, if you opt for this trick.

How to get yellow out of hair?

“I was totally unaware about light and dark tones and was not getting to the core of the problem so I used hot olive oil. Now my hair is looking excessively yellow instead of blonde. What should I do?”

Okay, first do not panic. It will only make it worse.

It is highly important that you diagnose if your tones have got lighter or darker than you wanted which is why we have written this guide. Warm olive oil is only to tone down hair color that is appearing bright because of too darker a tone.

Remember any liquid which is NOT clear such as olive oil which is gold/yellowish, will impart that color to your hair in the long run. This is why your already blonde hair turned yellow.

Now you can use the color correction method by referring to the color wheel. 

Use a purple toning shampoo to cancel out unwanted yellow tones because purple sits opposite to yellow on the color wheel. After using purple shampoo a few times, you will find out that those undesired yellow tones have been neutralized.


Coloring your hair definitely requires certain techniques and methods to achieve your go-to look but it is equally important that you first diagnose the real problem if your hair coloring game has gone wrong.

So if you have discovered that your tone has got lighter than it should have been, you can go for a color rinse at home or opt for prescribed methods to DARKEN it so that your hair does not exude fake shineness and excessive brightness.

And if your tone has got darker than it should have been and now your hair looks too bright, the best way is to get it LIGHTENED professionally.

We wish you happy and healthy colored hair without any extra and unwanted brightness! May you stay in the limelight wherever you go and your roots grow stronger! Happy hair coloring sessions!

Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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