There is nothing worse than looking in the mirror and seeing grayish green tones in your blonde or brown hair! If this happens to you, your first instinct is probably to rush to the grocery store, buy a box of black hair dye, and whip it up. This is not a good idea!
Green or gray tones can be corrected without such extreme measures. In this article, we will discuss how to fix your overly gray hair so that you can show off your beautiful hair with confidence.
What is too gray hair?
In the world of professional hair, “ash” basically refers to the color green. Gray toners or hair dyes can be used successfully to neutralize warm tones in the hair. There may be shades of ash even in “neutral” hair colors.
Toners and ash colors can be very useful, but in certain circumstances, the green tint can take over and give the hair a sickly green hue. Once it reaches this level, whether your hair is brown or blonde, it can be said that your hair has turned too gray.
Why does hair turn gray?
Hair can become gray too for several reasons. If your hair comes into prolonged contact with chemicals like chlorine, it can start to show a grayish-green tint. However, a more common cause of gray hair is poor color.
If you naturally have cooler tones in your hair and have a neutral or gray color added to your hair, it can cause the dreaded green tones. Another reason would be over-styling your hair.
If you tried to tone the orange out of your hair with an ash toner, chances are you left it on too long, or your hair was just too absorbent and porous, and the ashy green tone took over completely.
How to fix too gray hair
If your hair is too gray, you probably want to fix this problem right away. However, it is important that you do it the right way. Otherwise, you can dig yourself a deeper hole where you end up in the same greenish place.
As mentioned earlier, there are several different reasons why your hair may look too gray. So, there are a few different ways you can go about fixing it. Let’s discuss these ways.
If your hair has temporarily turned gray due to exposure to chemicals such as chlorine:
If you’ve just spent a day swimming in a highly chlorinated pool, chances are your hair has picked up some of these chemicals, especially if you’ve neglected to protect it with a swim cap. This can be especially the case if you have light blonde hair.
The good news is that this can be an easy dilemma to fix, especially if you take action right away.
Equipment you will need to fix your temporary gray hair:
- Clarifying shampoo
- For light blonde or platinum hair: purple hair mask or conditioner
- For strawberry blonde or warm brown hair: a mask or conditioner in a copper or warm gold tone (If you need tips for your specific hair color, see the information later in the article detailing the best toner for each hair color.)
A step-by-step guide to removing the ash tones from your hair:
- Clean your hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo. Wash your hair several times until you can create a good lather.
- If your hair is strawberry blonde, copper, or warm brown, apply a warm-toned hair mask to your hair to neutralize the temporary ashy tone. This will include a mask or conditioner that adds gold, copper or red tones to the hair. If your hair is platinum blonde, try applying a purple tinted mask or conditioner to your hair. Violet contains the red color, which helps to eliminate the green color in hair that is too ashy.
- Let your conditioner/hair mask sit for at least 10 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on your hair to make sure you’re getting the results you want.
- Wash off the conditioner/hair mask with cool water.
- If you still notice ashy tones, try repeating this process again the next day.
If your hair is gray because of a bad color:
If your hair is gray due to a bad color, the green shade can be a little harder to get rid of. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it! There are steps you can take to fix your overly gray hair and achieve the color you really want.
My first suggestion would be, of course, to contact the stylist who colored your hair in the first place. They may be able to fix the problem free of charge. But, if you’ve colored your hair yourself, or you can’t go back to your stylist, you still have options. By applying the right toner, you can get rid of the ashy tones in your hair.
Equipment you will need to fix your gray hair:
- Clarifying shampoo
- Demi-Permanent Hair Toner (I suggest a liquid toner like Shades EQ by Redken)
- Deep conditioner
The most important part of this process is choosing the right hair toner. This can vary depending on your hair color. In order to choose the right toner for the hair, we will refer to the color wheel below.
Notice on this color wheel that green is at the opposite end of red. This means they are complementary colors and basically cancel each other out.
However, in order to eliminate green tones from your hair, you can use almost any of the colors on the opposite side of the color wheel, from warm yellow to purple.
Below, I’ll discuss the best options based on your hair color (of course, referring to your hair color without the green tones).
The best toners for every hair color:
A violet or purple toner can work well to remove the gray color from your hair because purple contains red tones. Look for a purple toner, and stay away from blue-purple toners.
Golden or strawberry blonde:
A warm gold toner works best to eliminate ashy tones from golden blonde or strawberry hair.
A mauve or purple toner will work well to remove the gray color from your cool brown hair. The purple toner will still allow your hair to retain its cool hue.
A warm brown or dark gold toner will work best to eliminate the gray tone from your hair.
Red, copper or copper brown
A copper toner can do wonders for removing the ashy tone from your hair. The oranges and reds will get rid of the green tint.
A step-by-step guide to removing the ash tones from your hair:
The directions below refer to using a liquid toner, like Redken’s Shades EQ, which I think is the best.
- Shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo. Wash your hair more than once to ensure you have built up a good lather. Do not let your hair after shampoo.
- After shampooing your hair, gently squeeze out the excess water.
- Apply your toner piece by piece or all at once. Generally, applying the toner all over the head can be just as effective as going section by section for a liquid toner.
- Be sure to fully saturate your hair with the toner. If you’re applying it all over your head at once, you may want to flip your hair over a sink or tub and really work the toner in from roots to ends, just as you would shampoo.
- Comb the toner through your hair with a wide tooth comb or your fingers after you apply it.
- Cover the hair with a plastic cap to prevent a mess and to keep the hair dry while the toner is on the hair.
- Set your timer for the recommended processing time, but be sure to check your hair every now and then to see its progress.
- Shampoo your hair with mild shampoo and lukewarm/cold water.
- Apply a deep conditioning mask to your hair and leave it for at least 10 minutes.
- Rinse the deep conditioner with cool water.
If you’ve completed these steps and still notice an ashy tone in your hair, try repeating this process again in a week, or contact your stylist for more help.
There are few things worse than looking in the mirror and seeing grayish green tones in your beautiful hair. But before you make any rash decisions, be sure to evaluate exactly how your hair picked up the gray color in the first place, and check out the guidelines in this article to fix it.
With the suggestions in this article, the right supplies, and a little patience, you’ll be ready to rock your gorgeous locks with confidence!
Main things you should know:
- Your hair can become too gray temporarily due to prolonged exposure to chemicals such as chlorine.
- Bad color is the number one cause of overly gray hair.
- If your hair is temporarily graying due to exposure to chemicals, simply use a clarifying shampoo and hair mask with gold, purple, copper or red tones.
- If your hair is too gray due to a bad color, use a semi-permanent hair color to correct the problem.
- If you are still not sure what to do, or the gray color does not come out despite your efforts, it is best to contact your stylist for help.