Toner made my highlights too dark; how can I fix them?

angry woman with dark highlights hair

  • If toner made your highlights too dark, I recommend you wait for two or three washes. When the color finishes settling, your highlights will be lighter.
  • Use a clarifying or detox shampoo to fade the toner if your highlights are still dark after two or three washes. I’ll tell you how to do it.


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One, two, three…Breathe.

Now you know that  if toner made your highlights too dark, you can fix it easily. 


I know you feel frustrated, disappointed, and even angry. However, the world shines again when you have the solution readily available.

If the toner darkened your highlights too much, you have three reasons to take it easy:


  •   Toner is a permanent coloration.  

permanent coloring toner and developer

It means it takes a few days for the color to settle inside the hair. In the meantime, you’ll always notice your highlights darker.

After two or three washes, you’ll notice that your highlights have lost some color and are lighter. Then, you won’t even need to do anything to fix the problem. Just wait.


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  •  If you applied the highlights in a salon and they were too dark,  you can go back to the salon and talk to the colorist.

I can assure you that colorists don’t have the book of spells at our disposal to transform complaining clients into frogs.

In most cases, when a client isn’t happy with a color job, we always strive to find a solution and meet the client’s expectations.

After all, you paid for toned highlights, and you have the right to wear the highlights in the color you want.

happy client after getting highlights at hairdressers salon

Therefore, if you went to the salon, the colorist applied the toner, and your highlights were too dark, don’t try to fix it alone. Go to the salon instead. Your colorist will find the best solution to lighten your highlights without compromising your hair health.

  •  If you applied the toner on your own and the highlights are too dark,  just wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo.

Are you surprised? Do you feel like you’ve been shedding tears for no reason?

Then, dry those tears, and get to work. Today, in less than three minutes, you’ll know exactly what to do with your highlights.


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If you applied toner and your highlights are too dark, use a clarifying or detox shampoo

woman washes her hair with clarifying shampoo

Wait! Don’t run out yet to buy the detox shampoo.

Do you remember my first recommendation?


I’ll refresh your memory. Before using the clarifying shampoo on your dark highlights,   wait for two or three washes. Possibly, the color of your highlights will lighten.


Why? The toner is a permanent color, so it takes a few days to settle inside the hair. Then, your hair will expel the excess color with each wash and your highlights will be lighter.


Now,  if you washed your hair two or three times after toner application, and they’re still very dark,  it’s time to use clarifying or detox shampoo.

This shampoo removes the excessive accumulation of particles, namely toner pigments, so your highlights will become lighter in a few washes.

After using the clarifying shampoo once, you’ll notice your highlights are lighter. But if your highlights are still dark after washing your hair once with the detox shampoo, you can reapply it.

Let’s focus on an important detail.


Clarifying or detox shampoos aren’t for daily use. Although they don’t contain sulfates or parabens, they have surfactant cleansing agents and silicones that can dry out your hair.

Therefore,  if the toner darkened your highlights too much, use the clarifying shampoo up to two times.  This way, you’ll manage to lighten your highlights, without drying out your hair.

moroccanoil clarifying shampoo to fade toner



Clarifying shampoo application

  • Wet your hair for three minutes with hot water to open the cuticles and help the toner fade faster.
  • Drain your hair and apply enough shampoo in the palm of your hand to wash all your hair.
  • Apply from roots to ends and massage thoroughly.
  •  Leave it on for 20 minutes. 
  • Rinse your hair with very hot water. You’ll notice that the water doesn’t run clear, so the detox shampoo starts to fade the excess toner.
  • Repeat the shampoo application, leaving it on for only a minute, and rinse with warm water.
  • Apply a conditioner. It’s important to leave it on for five minutes so that your hair regains moisture.
  • Rinse your hair with lukewarm, almost cold water so that the cuticles close and retain the moisture from the conditioner.
  • Drain your hair and let it air dry.


In this first wash, the clarifying shampoo will have eliminated almost half of the toner you applied to your hair. Wait a week and repeat the application.



If the toner leaves your highlights too dark, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove the excess toner. You should only use it up to two times to lighten your highlights.

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