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How to Fix Hair That Came Out Too Red: Tone Down Color at Home (2024)

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how to fix hair color that is too redYou messed up. We’ve all been there. One bad box dye job and suddenly your brunette locks are a brassy, fire engine red. Yikes! Before you panic, take a breath. This is totally fixable. You don’t need to shave your head or hide under a hat until it grows out.

With a few drugstore products and techniques, you can tone down the red and get your hair back to a natural, beautiful color.

Here’s a quick, three-step method to fix hair that’s too red:

First, use a clarifying shampoo to fade the color. Follow up with an ashy toner to neutralize brassiness.

If that doesn’t do the trick, go darker with an ash-toned permanent dye. Touch ups with ash demi-permanent color will also help cancel out the red.

Finally, avoid similar mistakes in the future by staying close to your natural color and using ash and cool-toned dyes.

You got this! Don’t let one botched dye job get you down. With a few easy tweaks, you’ll have gorgeous, non-red hair again in no time.

Key Takeaways

  • Use clarifying shampoo to gradually lighten intense red tones, focusing on mid-shafts and ends.
  • Apply toner based on the level of brassiness or redness to neutralize undesired warm tones.
  • Do weekly deep conditioning treatments with masks and oils to restore moisture and protein to over-processed hair.
  • Go darker with an ashy demi-permanent or permanent dye to deposit blue-based pigment and balance out red tones.

Why is My Hair Too Red?

Why is My Hair Too Red
Like a tomato, your hair became too red because you chose a color lighter than your natural shade, exposing the warm undertones. Factors like underlying pigment and improper lightening lead to overly red hair.

You made a common mistake by applying an orangey or golden shade on your brown or black hair, eliciting those fiery red pigments. Seek a professional’s advice for properly eliminating that unwanted red pigment.

They understand color theory and alternatives to red that complement your complexion and style.

Next time, avoid those hair color mistakes and blunders by researching remover solutions beforehand. We all have hair color problems, but solutions exist for restoring your desired shade.

Fade Red & Remove Brassiness

Fade Red & Remove Brassiness
Let’s turn that red hair into a dreamy shade of strawberry blonde. Start by grabbing a clarifying shampoo to fade the red color, then make a DIY toner with green dye or use a cool brown color-depositing treatment to neutralize the brassiness.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoo helps remove buildup and strip away artificial color molecules. Graduually lighten overly intense red tones. Promote hair health with nourishing treatments.

Choose a clarifying shampoo to strip the intense red pigment from your hair. A sulfate clarifying shampoo can help fade overly vibrant color.

Wash strands with clarifying shampoo every few days until desired fading occurs. Focus this intense shampoo on midshafts and ends. Limit use to avoid excessive dryness. Consider switching to a hydrating shampoo and mask routine in between.

  • Prell Purifying Shampoo
  • Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three
  • Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

Toner & Color Depositing Treatment

Grab the evo fabuloso Color Boosting Treatments for cool brunette tones that’ll balance your color and prevent brassiness. Use a toner or color-depositing treatment like this to neutralize and correct unwanted warm tones.

Toners and color-depositing treatments work by depositing pigments that counteract undesired hues. They’re gentle, temporary solutions that refresh color between permanent dye jobs.

Level of Brassiness/Redness Suggested Toner
Slight Warmth Blue or Purple Shampoo/Conditioner
Moderate Orange Hues Blue Toner
Intense Orange or Red Blue or Green Toner

Toner is easy to use at home between salon visits. Follow precisely, applying to clean, towel-dried hair. Process the suggested development time for optimal results. Repeat as needed until your color is corrected.

Hydrate Over-Processed Hair

Hydrate Over-Processed Hair
Over-processed hair needs extra care. Give your tresses some love with protein and moisture masks, oils, and leave-in treatments to restore health and radiance. Damaged, brittle strands require gentle handling and hydration to nurse them back to strength.

Treat your hair to weekly deep conditioning to infuse parched fibers with nutrients. Apply a hair mask, cover with a shower cap, and let it soak in for 15-30 minutes before rinsing out. Finish with a nourishing oil or cream to seal in softness. Skip the harsh sulfates in shampoos and aggressive heat styling that can cause further damage.

Be patient as your hair recovers and focus on protective styling and tons of TLC.

Protein & Moisture Masks

Nourish your hair with a protein mask and a hydrating mask on alternate days. Keratin and collagen masks will restore strength while Japanese hair creams provide exceptional moisture.

  • Use a keratin mask like Color Wow Dream Cocktail or Olaplex No. 3 to mend bonds and add silkiness.
  • Deep condition with Tsubaki Premium Repair Mask for serious hydration.
  • Alternate masks to get the benefits of both protein and moisture.

Hair masks combat damage from overly lightened or vivid hair color. Be patient – your hair will regain its health and shine.

Oils & Leave-in Treatments

Try this rich jojoba oil to seal in moisture and soften your over-processed strands.

Product Key Benefits
Milky Piggy Collagen Cream Repairs damage; adds shine
Shiseido Tsubaki Hair Mask Deeply hydrates; reduces frizz
L’Oreal Colorist Secrets Gloss Boosts color; nourishes hair
Organic Argan Oil Smooths and softens
It’s a 10 Miracle Mask Strengthens and protects

With the right mix of oils and leave-ins, you’ll have your healthiest and shiniest hair yet.

Go Darker With Ashy Dye

Go Darker With Ashy Dye
Let’s discuss going darker with an ashy dye to fix hair that has come out too red. Using a demi-permanent or permanent dye in an ash brown or ash blonde shade can help neutralize unwanted warm tones for cooler, more natural-looking color results.

Opting for an ashy demi-permanent or permanent dye in a brown or blonde tone can neutralize undesired warm tones in hair and achieve a cooler, more natural look. Ashy dyes counteract red or orange hues, toning hair to a more natural brunette or blonde.

The ash pigments offset brassy tones by adding cooler tones back into the hair. This makes ashy dyes an excellent solution for hair color that has turned out too warm or red. Whether using a demi-permanent or permanent formula, an ash shade deposits pale, blue-based pigment to balance unwanted red tones.

Permanent Dye

You’ll achieve a cooler, ashier shade going darker with L’Oreal’s permanent Superior Preference dye.

  • Prevent Brassiness
  • Neutralize Warm Tones
  • Long-Lasting Color
  • Salon-Quality Results
  • Over 50 Shades

Achieve professional hair color results at home. L’Oreal’s ammonia-free permanent dye nourishes hair while depositing luminous, fade-defying ash tones that last up to 8 weeks. Choosing a slightly darker shade prevents brassiness, providing a natural, ashy brunette or blonde look.

Demi-Permanent Dye

You have an easy option with demi-permanent dye to neutralize the redness and brighten your look. Demi-permanent color treatments deposit pigment to tone and refresh your shade between permanent colorings.

Toning shampoos in green or blue help neutralize unwanted warm tones for blonde or brunette hair. Using an orange toning shampoo prevents brassiness in lighter hair. Maintain your new color with occasional gloss treatments.

Preventing Red Hair in Future

Preventing Red Hair in Future
When choosing a new hair color, staying close to your natural shade and using ash and cool tones are key for avoiding unwanted red tones. For more dramatic color changes, consult a professional colorist who can assess your hair and select the right formulations to achieve your desired look while preventing brassiness.

Stay Close to Natural Color

Though straying too far from your natural color is tempting, staying close keeps brassiness at bay. The safest way to avoid orange hair is to go a maximum of two shades lighter at home. Staying within two shades of your natural color when lightening prevents those warm undertones from emerging.

Avoid making impulsive decisions during a hair crisis. Consult a stylist and consider your natural hair color and undertones before choosing a new shade.

Use Ash & Cool Tones

Try this ashy brunette shade to neutralize those fiery tones! Opt for ash-based hues, which have blue or green pigments that cancel out orange. Browse hair color ideas to discover the ideal cool tone. A color-depositing conditioner enhances ash tones between dye jobs.

Cherish your new hair color by protecting it from fading with a hydrating mask. Explore chic ash brown options curated just for you.

Professional Color Services

While visiting a licensed colorist for cool-toned highlights may seem pricier upfront, over 78% of professionals say it prevents the need for color corrections down the line. A skilled stylist analyzes your hair’s undertones and uses tailored techniques to deposit just the right level and tone of color.

This precision coloring leaves hair looking natural and avoids mishaps from bleach or box dyes. Though highlights at home seem convenient, consider consulting a pro for bob shaping, root smudging, partial foils, balayage, and expert advice.


Hair color gone awry may seem like a disaster, but don’t panic! With some TLC and smart solutions, you can fade overly fiery shades and tone down excess redness. First, clarify; then, use ash-based dyes or toners to neutralize red pigments. Nourish your hair between color corrections, and avoid making rash changes.

Most importantly, stay close to your natural shade when coloring at home. Armed with knowledge and patience, you can overcome a bad hair day and get your locks looking lovely again.

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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.