How to Get Rid of Yellow in Your Hair


Recently, my friend Marcy went to the salon and lightened her hair. The color came out yellowy-gold tone and she hated it.

So she went back to the salon. Still, her hairdresser was unable to fix the problem. She ended up going to another hairdresser and after spending an abundance of money, her hair was finally the color she wanted it.

In my opinion, the most frustrating thing about this story is that although she was able to get her hair color she wants it, there’s no guarantee it won’t go back to gold after washing it a few times. This is exactly what happened to my other friend, Emily.

Emily spent a good part of college trying to acquire a oh-so specific shade of blonde hair – ashy, bright, and gold-less. Whenever she would go to the salon, she’d come back with a hair color she liked. But after a few days, it would turn yellow again. This must have happened a dozen times. She became so frustrated that she gave up on blonde all together and dyed her hair brown.

My point? Marcy and Emily, among other women, are suffering from what I’m going to call “yellow-blonde syndrome.” Luckily, I have found a (very simple and affordable!) solution to this problem!

Have you ever had a hairdresser use a toner on your hair to remove the yellow? Toning hair is more effective than re-dying it because toners designed to remove yellow are actually violet in color (the opposite of yellow on the color wheel) and they counteract yellow/gold tones. Bonus: Toners are conditioning agents so they’re much better for your hair than re-bleaching it. In fact, they’re actually good for your hair!

I know that Emily’s hairdressers used toners on her hair in the past, but they wore off after several washes. In addition, getting toned at the salon costs extra money. It’s a good idea to tone your hair regularly, on your own, to maintain your ashy blond color that you love so much. The easiest way to do this, without making any drastic changes to your haircare routine, is with shampoos that have toners in them. They’re really inexpensive AND they won’t destroy your hair. I promise.

Before recommending home-toning to my readers, I obviously tried toner shampoos on my own hair. (I too have been suffering from yellow-blonde syndrome.) I tried Clairol Shimmer Lights Silver Blonde shampoo ($13.25 on – recommended to me by my friend Brittany) AND Nexxus Aloxxi Plaitnium Pro Colour Toning shampoo ($7.99 on Both gave me similar results. They both brightened my blond hair and made it more ashy than yellow, which it what I was going for.

This is what my hair looked like after 3 toner washes - almost no yellow/gold.
This is what my hair looked like after 3 toner washes - almost no yellow/gold.

I’ll probably use the toning shampoo once a week to maintain the tone, and use my sulfate-free shampoo for my other washes. If you over-tone your hair (by using toning shampoo every day), it could develop a violet tint.

Using toning shampoo is not complicated, but I’ll walk you through the process anyway:
1) Shampoo as usual
2) Leave the shampoo in for 1-5 minutes
3) Rinse it out

It’s pretty simple. But I should warn you that these shampoos are very PURPLE when they come out of the bottle, so avoid getting them on your clothes.

The shampoo on the left is the Nexxus toning shampoo and the one on the right is the Shimmer Lights.
The shampoo on the left is the Nexxus toning shampoo and the one on the right is the Shimmer Lights.

Happy toning!

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