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When refreshing or touching up your own color at home, the best toners for orange hair are tinted shampoos and conditioners, says Aaron Bradford, a master colorist at Cedric Salon in New York City. “These should be your go-to products unless you’ve consulted your colorist first, since they are easily removed and corrected,” he tells Elite Daily. Professional toners, on the other hand, are non-reversible, and therefore a lot riskier.
Though you’ll see lots of different terms bandied about, Bradford explains that ‘toner’ is just another word for what salon professionals call a ‘gloss’ or ‘glaze’ (though to add to the confusion, the actual term used by pros is demi-permanent color, or demi for short). “The difference between demi-permanent and permanent color is how deeply the molecules penetrate the hair shaft. On damp hair, demis act as a ‘toner’ and deposit pigment onto natural or lightened hair, depending on what look you’ve decided upon.”
As for picking the right shade of toner for you, that depends. Do you have orange hair that you’re trying to enhance, or are you a blonde or brunette with unwanted brassy undertones? Below, you’ll find DIY-friendly toning products for both purposes, and they come in foolproof vehicles like shampoos, conditioners, and masks, so there’s practically no way you can mess things up.
1. Expert’s Pick: The Best Toner For Enhancing Orange Hair
Bradford says that copper is one of the quickest tones to fade, so if you have rich or dark copper hair, he recommends using the Leonor Greyl Paris Soin Repigmentant in ‘Natural Copper’. “Leonor Greyl has amazing ingredients in their products and I’ve been especially impressed by their color conditioners,” Bradford tells Elite Daily. “They are highly pigmented, so you should only apply the size of a quarter to see if that saturates your hair first. Brush the product through with a [Wet Brush] for even saturation, and apply more product if need be.”
This tinted conditioner is made with nourishing ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil, rice protein, and babassu butter, so it’s amazing for hair that’s dry or damaged. For very light copper or strawberry blond hair, he says to opt for the brand’s Venetian Blonde conditioner instead.
On the other end of the spectrum, brunettes with unwanted orange or brassy undertones should try this conditioner in the shade ‘Icy Brown’. And if you have darker brown or even black hair with unwanted red undertones, try the shade ‘Dark Brown’ instead.
2. A Cheaper Alternative
Made with good-for-hair ingredients like coconut oil, avocado, and shea butter, oVertone’s Ginger Coloring Conditioner can be used to either enhance your existing orange color, or to add a warm, gingery touch to your blonde or brown hair. If you fall into the latter camp, you can see what to expect with this before and after shot from the brand.
3. The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo For Boosting Orange Hair
Color-depositing shampoos and conditioners work similarly — choosing between the two comes down to a matter of personal preference. (Maybe you have a conditioner you really love, so you’d prefer to use a color-depositing shampoo, or vice versa.) If you do prefer a color-depositing shampoo, consider this one by Celeb Luxury. It comes in several golden, auburn, and true-orange colors that would work beautifully on hair that’s already orange, if you’re looking to intensify or switch up your shade, or on hair that’s blonde or light brown, if you want to temporarily dye it orange. This shampoo is sulfate-free and boasts over 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
4. Best Color-Depositing Mask For Boosting Orange Hair
Another option to boost or play around with your color is this Moroccanoil Color Depositing Mask. It’s like an amped up version of conditioner, so it’s an especially good choice for very dry, dehydrated, or damaged hair in need of some serious nourishment. The shade ‘copper’ leaves behind a rich, gorgeous orange color; for best results, leave it on your hair for at least five minutes.
5. Best Purple Shampoo For Neutralizing Unwanted Orange Tones
If you have blonde, white, or gray hair and are looking to reduce brassy undertones, use a purple shampoo, like MATRIX’s So Silver Color Depositing Purple Shampoo. Purple shampoos cancel out warm tones (like yellow and orange) using color theory, since purple is opposite yellow on the color wheel. Bradford says the only downside is that purple shampoos can make your hair look dull if used improperly. He advises, “Only perform this toning procedure on your hair once every two weeks,” and alternate with a regular shampoo on other wash days.