What does over-toned hair look like? 3 clues to recognize it

woman holding her hair

There are three infallible clues to recognize if hair is over-toned or not:

  • Clue 1: when you place your hair under natural light, if you notice purple, blue, or green tones, your hair is over-toned.
  • Clue 2: when you comb your hair backward, if it becomes stiff, it’s over-toned.
  • Clue 3: if you leave color marks on everything that touches your hair, it’s over-toned.
  • But don’t worry, because I’ll tell you how to fix over-toned hair later.


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So, if you suspect your hair is over-toned, don’t worry too much.

Because it’s something you can easily fix and in a few moments I’ll tell you how to do it.


But it’s also important you understand why your hair is over-toned.

In principle, I’d say that the reason has to do with the idea that’s going around the web that applying toner is something really easy to do.

And I can assure you as a professional colorist that toning is not easy at all. Nor is it easy to achieve ash blonde hair.


 Because when you overdo the coloring, you’ll saturate your hair with color. And obviously, your hair will start to expel it, leaving a trace of color on everything it touches. 

That’s why if you use too much toner, your hair will be over-toned and look gray.


Do you still have doubts about whether your hair is over-toned? Come on a journey with me, almost like a treasure hunt. And on our search, we’ll find clues that will help you know for sure if your hair is over-toned.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ: Toner Turned My Hair Green, how can I fix it?


Look at your hair and check for the three clues that will tell you if your hair is over-toned

Over-toned hair is very easy to recognize because all you have to do is look closely at your hair for a few moments.

We’ll start with one of the most visible clues.


Clue 1: You notice that your hair stains everything it touches.

This is one of the most visible and easy to spot clues to check if your hair’s over-toned.

  •  When you wake up in the morning, look at your pillow and sheets.  If you see spots of color, your hair is over-toned.
  •  After you wash your hair, if the towel you used to dry your hair has spots of color all over it , your hair is over-toned.
  •  If you notice that the collars of your shirts and t-shirts are soaked with color , your hair is over-toned.


And why is it over-toned? Because when you applied the toner, one of two things happened:

  •  You applied too much toner.  Hair can only absorb a certain amount of any product.
  •  You left the toner on longer than the manufacturer’s instructions.  Most manufacturers recommend leaving the toner on for a maximum of 20 minutes. After that time, the hair becomes saturated with color and over-toned.

And since your hair has too much toner, it starts to expel the excess, staining everything it touches.


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Clue 2: Place your hair under natural light and observe its color.

woman looks at her yellow hair with a magnifying glass

Color is one of the most important clues to know if your hair is over-toned.

Have you noticed that beauty salons only use white lights to illuminate their workspaces?


And this is no coincidence.

Because if colorists worked with warm lighting or LED lights, we wouldn’t be able to properly recognize our clients’ hair colors.

For example, yellow hair under warm light will look orange, and dark hair will look reddish.

So only natural light will tell you if your hair is over-toned.

How will it tell you?

  •  If you notice purple, blue, or green tones appearing under natural light , your hair is over-toned.


Clue 3: Wash your hair, wait for it to dry, comb it back and observe how it moves.

To accurately detect this clue that will tell you if your hair is over-toned, your hair must be completely clean.

If it’s been more than 48 hours since you washed your hair, the results may be wrong, because unwashed hair is always stiffer than clean hair.


Comb your clean hair backwards and check the following:

  • Does it fall naturally?
  • Does it go back to its previous position?
  • Does it stay stiff without moving when you comb it backward?
 If your hair is stiff , it’s because of the weight of the hair products, i.e. the toner. Therefore, your hair is over-toned.


By now, after checking for all these clues, you probably already know if your hair is over-toned. And it’s time to fix the problem.


YOU MIGHT ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: Does clarifying shampoo fix over-toned hair? Only if you use it the right way


Use a clarifying shampoo to remove excess toner from your hair

bottle of regular shampoo

Why? Because this type of shampoo is designed to remove any excess product that’s still in the hair.

In other words, clarifying shampoo can remove color particles, such as toner, dirt particles, and even buildup from styling products or hair masks.

And here’s how to use it.


Applying clarifying shampoo to fix over-toned hair

  • Wet your hair with water at the highest temperature you can tolerate to open the hair cuticles and facilitate the removal of excess color.
  • Apply the clarifying shampoo from the roots to the ends, massaging throughout your hair.
  • Rinse your hair with warm water again.
  • Reapply the clarifying shampoo, massage your hair and leave it on for 10-20 minutes.
  • Rinse your hair with hot water and remove excess water with your hands.
  • Apply conditioner and leave it on for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse your hair with cold water to close your hair cuticles and keep the moisture of the conditioner in.


What if after you use the clarifying shampoo, you notice that your hair is still over-toned? I recommend that you repeat the application only after two weeks.

Why? Because clarifying shampoo can dry out your hair, leaving it weaker and more brittle.



On over-toned hair, it’s easy to see purple, green, or bluish colors under natural light. Also, over-toned hair leaves stains on sheets, towels, and clothes.

To remove excess toner, use a clarifying shampoo.

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