How to Correct Highlights that Look Gray? Don’t Panic Yet! You can still fix them

  • Highlights can look gray when they’re new because of the purple toner that shades the unwanted colors in the blonde hair.
  • So, you should wait for a week for the hair to finish absorbing the purple toner.
  • If your highlights are still gray after a week, you should use a blonde or yellow depositing shampoo to remove the gray.
  • You should never apply a dye or toner to your gray highlights because you’ll only ruin the color.


after applying toner

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Are your highlights too gray?


Don’t worry, it’s normal, but many people don’t know it. They think the stylist just did her job wrong. But it’s not like that.

Now that I’m writing this, I’m remembering Lucia and her mother. They visited me a few days ago in my salon. Believe me, it was a visit I’ll never forget.


Lucia is a shy teenager with a tender smile. She visited me because she wanted to get some golden highlights in her hair. Before I started working on her hair, I explained every step to her.


I explained that to give her some highlights, I’d bleach some sections of her hair. Then, I would apply a toner to prevent some unwanted colors from appearing on the hair.   I would apply a purple toner, which is the color that would neutralize the yellowish colors in her highlights.


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When she said goodbye, I noticed that she wasn’t happy. I asked her if anything was wrong, and she mumbled, “nothing.” Two hours later, an angry beast burst into my living room.

It wasn’t a lion that had escaped from the zoo. It was Lucia’s mother, who was shouting that I had ruined her daughter’s hair. She said that I had robbed her, that I didn’t know anything about coloring, that I had to give her her money back, and so much more.


Lucia looked so sad that I couldn’t help but be touched. She had a sad smile, but I think that she felt ashamed of her mother’s behavior.

I breathed in deeply and with a calm voice and patience, I asked her to explain what was going on. She replied, “My daughter has grey highlights!”


I counted to ten. Turning to Lucia, I asked her, “Remember I told you that your highlights would look gray for a few days due to the purple toner I applied?”

Lucia’s face turned as red as a tomato and she nodded. Her mother took her by the arm and they left the salon.


Lucia returned a week later with a box of chocolates and an apology because her highlights were perfect. I never heard from her mother again, which I appreciate.

I think that her manners didn’t teach anything to her daughter. They only plunged her into shame and humiliation. She should’ve simply asked, with good manners, and given me the possibility to answer her.


But leaving these questions aside, which are also part of the job, you need to know that   when you get your blonde highlights, you may notice them gray the first few days. 

Do you want to know why?


Then, don’t move from there, because I’ll tell you:

  • Why highlights turn grey
  • What can you do if your highlights still look grey after a week?
  • The best color depositing shampoos to solve gray highlights

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Why do highlights look gray?

with foils

Highlighting is a technique in which small strands of hair are bleached. Once 75% of the hair is bleached, a toner is applied to avoid the appearance of bright tones such as yellow or orange.


  • The color that neutralizes yellow is purple. So, the purple toner is applied. Most likely, when you leave the salon, you’ll notice that the highlights are gray or silver.

You shouldn't panic because that gray represents the pigments of the violet toner that neutralizes the yellow after the bleaching.


What happens after a week?


  • Since you will have washed your hair at least twice, the gray will have disappeared.

It won’t be necessary to apply any product or perform any other process.


What if, after a week and several washes, my highlights are still gray?

Obviously, in that case, the colorist made a mistake. You’ll have two possibilities. Do you want to know what they are? Read on.


What can you do if your highlights are still gray after a week?

In this case, you have two options.


1- Go back to the salon, talk to the colorist, and ask her to solve the problem.

That's right. You don't have to go into the salon like a wildcat. The colorist will immediately recognize her mistake, at least in most cases, and will solve the problem.

Besides, she shouldn’t charge you any extra for color correction.


2- Delete the gray color of your highlights yourself.

You need to use yellow or blonde depositing shampoo to neutralize the gray and turn your highlights a pale blonde color, exactly as you wanted.

You can use it safely because it doesn't contain developer or ammonia. It only  provides the hair with a greater amount of pigments to neutralize unwanted colors, as in this case the gray. 


In addition, its application is very simple. You simply have to:

  • Wet your hair and apply the color depositing shampoo, leaving it on for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse as usual and wait for your hair to dry so as to clearly distinguish the color of your highlights.

Has the gray disappeared?


Then, you no longer need to use the color depositing shampoo.

If you still notice your grayish highlights, you can use the color depositing shampoo again.


The best color depositing shampoos for removing gray highlights

In my experience, the best color depositing shampoos are:



This product deposits a durable and bright color from the first use. Most likely, you won’t have to use it again to remove the gray. Plus, it's an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner, so you'll notice your hair is much softer.

In this case, you should choose the honey color.



If you prefer this brand, you must buy the shampoo and conditioner separately. It's a good investment if you always renew your highlights because, if they turn gray, you'll have the solution at hand.


If you decide to go with Celeb Luxury, choose the Gem Lite COLORWASH line for traditional colors. Here are 4 different shades of blonde:

  • Sunstone
  • Tourmaline
  • Cognac quartz
  • Citrine


If you choose the fantasy color line, you can use the yellow tone.




Yes, I know this is an excellent brand in fantasy colors. It also offers a line of color depositing shampoos in traditional colors.

Therefore, you can get the yellow or blonde depositing shampoo. A tip? Keep a close eye on the exposure time because the longer you let the shampoo on your gray highlights, the more depositing action you get.

Also, if you have any doubts, read the instructions carefully.


If you use Punky Colour, you can choose the blonde color ("Blondetastic"). If you want to get a darker shade, the "Mochanificent" is an excellent option too.



When they are new, highlights usually turn gray due to the toner that neutralizes unwanted colors.

Before applying any product on your hair to remove the gray color, wait for a week, and observe your hair after two or three washes.

If the gray color doesn't disappear, use a color depositing shampoo to neutralize it in your highlights.

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