Why do my highlights look grey? How can I turn them blonde again?

woman with gray highlights grabs her head in fear

  • Your highlights look gray for two reasons.
  • Maybe you left the toner on longer than indicated or longer than your hair needed. Alternatively, you may have chosen the wrong color toner.
  • To fix this, you can use an anti-dandruff shampoo to remove the excess toner and leave your highlights the color you want. I’ll tell you how to do it.


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I’m sure   you have identified why your highlights look gray.  

You either left the toner on longer than indicated or you made a mistake in your choice of toner. Toner is always left on for a maximum of twenty minutes.


Although figuring out why your highlights look gray is very simple, the process of neutralizing unwanted hair color isn’t.

I’m sure you watched several YouTube videos before applying the toner.

In the videos, things looked simple.

Have you ever thought about how many times the YouTuber had to record the video to show a happy result?

Have you thought the influencer deleting video because things didn’t turn out right?

Do you know how many people burned their hair to gain a few more followers on YouTube?


So, if your highlights look gray, don’t be alarmed. There’s still time to fix it without endangering your hair health.

  • First,   once you apply the toner, you should wait for at least two or three washes to see the final color of your highlights.   After two or three washes, your hair will expel the excess toner, and your highlights won’t stop looking gray.
  • Second,   if you don’t want to wait for two or three washes to fix the color of your highlights,   you can use an anti-dandruff shampoo.

That’s what I’ll talk about next.


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How to use an anti-dandruff shampoo to make your gray highlights look blonde again

hand holds head and shoulders shampoo to fix highlights

It sounds easy, but I don’t want to mislead you.

  The anti-dandruff shampoo will remove excess toner from your hair and make your highlights look blonde again,  but you should be prepared for your hair to dry out.



Anti-dandruff shampoos contain sulfates, which are detergents. Although they fight dandruff, they also fade dye or toner faster. Therefore, they’re one of the worst enemies of color-treated hair.

Does anti-dandruff shampoo work for you to make your gray highlights look blonde again?


Yes, it does. You want to remove excess toner, but you’ll use it once or twice at most.

After washing your hair with the anti-dandruff shampoo, you should use a sulfate-free conditioner to restore moisture.

If you can apply a natural oil mask, it would be even better.


How to use an anti-dandruff shampoo to remove excess toner from highlights?

  • Wet your hair with warm water to open the cuticles.
  • Apply the anti-dandruff shampoo on the lengths, and massage all over your hair gently.
  •   Leave the shampoo on for five to seven minutes,   and continue massaging to remove the toner.
  • Rinse your hair with lukewarm water to get rid of the toner.
  • Apply conditioner and leave it on for five minutes.
  • Rinse your hair with cold water to close the cuticles.
  • Let your hair air dry.

Once your hair is dry, look at it closely.

hand holds blond hair

  •   If your highlights remain gray,  wait three days and rewash your hair with the anti-dandruff shampoo. Repeat the previous process.
  •   If you notice that your highlights are blonde,  don’t use the anti-dandruff shampoo again. Then, you should start your highlights maintenance routine, which will always include a toning shampoo.

I also have some tips for that situation.


How to make your highlights last longer without turning gray?

purple shampoo falls into hand

This is about maintaining highlights because they require some care always to be blonde.

Do you have to take a special highlights maintenance course?
No, but you’ll have to change some habits in your hair routine.

  • First,   wash your hair less often.   Three times a week will be more than enough. And if your hair is oily, you can also try a dry wash.
  • Use sulfate-free products. Sulfates fade hair dyes.
  • Don’t overuse blow dryers or flat irons. The heat from these tools fades the color.
  • Choose the right toning shampoo for your blonde highlights so they don’t turn gray.


The toning shampoo is critical in the process!

  •   If you want your highlights to look golden blonde,   you should use a yellow toning shampoo when you notice that they are pale or faded.
  •   If you want your highlights to look ashy blonde,   use purple shampoo.

In general, toning shampoos are used twice a week for three to five minutes to replace your usual shampoo. I suggest you always read the manufacturer’s instructions for use.



If your highlights look gray, you could use an anti-dandruff shampoo once or twice to remove excess toner. Then, you should maintain the color with a yellow toning shampoo if you want golden blonde highlights or a purple toning shampoo if you want ashy highlights.

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