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!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

14 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Yellow in Your Hair

  1. Aveda Blue Malva works similarly, have both a shampoo and conditioner. I use the conditioner about once a week, don't use the shampoo. You are totally right though, be careful. I think you're more likely to discolor your hair with the conditioner (or maybe it was just me) b/c I wanted to let it condition and absorb by leaving it on longer….

    A number of years ago I had blue-green streaks in my hair for this reason. I think I may have been using an ARTec custom mixed shampoo from the salon (a purple shampoo to counteract the brassiness but this stuff is strong). Probably the Blue Malva too b/c I'm an idiot. I will never do that again. It was embarrassing. It does not wash out. Not sure if I had to dye it darker, get it lifted, or if I just dealt with it?

    So, the stuff works great – just be careful especially if your hair is porous from it being bleached previously.

  2. I just dyed my hair what was supposed to be platinum and it came out yellow! I'll have to try toner. I really hope it works….Thanks for the advice! :-)


  3. Thank you so much for writing this page cause it's the exact same thing that happened to me and I had no idea wat to do… You helped me so much I'm gonna give this a try.. My only question is that do you always leave the shampoo on for 1-5 mins matter how light you want the blonde to go ?? Tash xx

  4. this has happened to me too, i'm so fed up with all this hassle now i just want to go dark blonde but i dont want to dye it for the reason of going gingery after a couple of days, if i dye it dark blonde and use the toner will it just stay the right blonde or go to light?

  5. I was in the same situation always going to the salon to get rid off that horrible orangey and yelllow tone, now Im using a toner shampoo with a tone blond pearl, the brand is naissant and you can find it on Amazon for just $12.99. Hope it help u out!!! :) :)

  6. My hair dresser used toner the first time, beautiful results got the ashy and yellow our after highlighting. Second time my hair is yellow, flat (no depth of color) I need a very cool blonde for my skin tone, this golden retriever $100 toner at the salon makes me look sick, tired and sallow :( blue malva isn’t going to fix this I shampoo w malva 3 times a week I’m depressed it looks awful, unremarkable

  7. Joico Color Endure Violet shampoo & conditioner are the best at removing unwanted yellow tones. Can be purchased at Ulta or most other beauty supply stores. Aveda's Blue Malve is good too… but I find Joico to be a little stronger at removing yellow.

  8. Sometimes it is difficult to fight off the obsession for one's hair and you just want to give it a try even when you know it may not last for too long.

  9. Hi, I came real close yesterday to spending $200 on what I hoped would be the very first person who could get me back to the beige blonde I naturally am. The realist in me took over and I canceled the appointment, knowing from experience that I would walk out of there being orange and yellow. Having said that, I have had old yellow sitting in my hair for 11 months now. Will these toner shampoos remove yellow that has been sitting there that long?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *