What Does Toner Do To Brown Hair?


When you dye your hair, the hairstylist who does the dying most often has a plan to use toner to tone down the brassy or unwanted warm shades of your hair. Therefore, you will then have hair that becomes shiny, natural-looking, and healthier. However, if you don’t have the toner in your hair after the dye job, it will not appear as if the dye job was good, and you would not be happy with the result.

Not all dye jobs require toner. However, the majority do. And if you are the DIY type, you will need to learn how to use toner on your hair the right way, or else you can ruin your hair. When you hear of toner, you usually hear its use when the dye is a light color. That is why the hairstylist uses toner after streaking the hair a more golden color too. So the deal is, can you use toner on brown hair? Before getting into the nitty-gritty of that, let’s go over one thing. If you use toner on natural brown hair, it will not provide any results.

Toner Will Not Do Anything For Natural Brown Hair

If you want to use toner for your natural brown or black hair, you will want to save your money and time. That is because toner will not do anything for your natural brown or black hair the same way it can change natural blonde hair. Many people go into beauty groups on Facebook or other platforms and ask if you can use toner on natural brown or black hair, and the answer is no. It does not mean it will damage the hair. However, it will be only a waste of time and money because it will not help in any way. The good news is that if you use brown or black hair dye, toner will work.

Toner 101: Its Purpose For Dyed Hair

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of what toner can do for your dyed brown hair regardless of the shade, let’s talk a little more about what toner can do for your hair. Whenever you have a dye job done, irrespective of the color of the dye, the hairstylist will use toner to neutralize the shades as it adds pigments to the hair. The toner’s job is not to permanently change the hair color, but it incorporates more tone to the existing color – which helps to temper the warm pigments in the dye.

Therefore, if you have orange, red, or yellow tints, which are brassy in dyed hair, whether brown or blonde, toner will help neutralize those colors. The point is to make the hair appear more natural, and exposure to the sun will cause brassiness in hair dyed brown, red, or blonde. That is why many hairstylists offer a toning session after they dye the hair. Toner lasts in hair for about four to eight weeks, and when the toner begins to lose its effectiveness, the risk of brassiness increases. Therefore, having another dye job is not necessary at that point, but the hair could use a toning session if the sun is causing discoloration.

How Does Toner Work On Brown Hair?

When you have your hair dyed brown, the hairstylist will give you some instructions on how to care for your hair, including washing your hair with blue shampoo once in a while. The blue shampoo helps neutralize unwanted brassiness, such as orange and yellow shades that appear from sun damage or damage from chemicals from swimming pools and other treatments over time.

However, what will happen is that when you have your hair dyed brown regardless of the shade, the stylist will use the right toner after the completion of the dye job so it can help neutralize any orange or yellow strands that result from the dye. That means once the toner sets in, your hair will appear to be a natural and healthy brown color. The last thing you would want is your hair not to have an exact shade of brown and dull orange and yellow parts showing brassiness. Therefore, the toner will neutralize those unwanted tones. What if you want to dye your hair brown at home? What kind of toner can you use then?

How Can You Use Toner For Brown Hair At Home?

If you prefer to save some money at the hair salon and want to dye your hair brown at home, then you can do that. First, however, you must follow the instructions on ensuring that you dye your hair so you have desirable results. That means to also not only choose the correct toner but to use it the right way.

When you DIY tone your hair, you need to use the color wheel you learned about back when you took an art class at school. The hair salon where you usually get your hair dyed or styled has to take advantage of the color wheel to know which toner to use to neutralize the hair. The color that is at the opposite end of one shade is the one that balances it. Therefore, when you look at the color wheel, you will see that blue is at the opposite end of orange.

For example, brassy brown hair mainly consists of orange, so you need to use blue shampoo for dyed brown hair. Therefore, the toner will have blue pigments to neutralize brown dyed hair, so no unsightly orange strands are showing up after dying your hair. Therefore, if you plan to DIY dye and use toner on your hair, you not only need to use the correct toner shade but follow the instructions on how to do it, so your results are desirable instead of disastrous.


Don’t do it if you plan to use toner on natural brown or black hair because it will not do anything. However, toner on dyed brown hair, regardless of the shade, will help neutralize it so you can show off your lovely newfound brown hair instead of having to walk around with dull and unsightly orange parts, which is brassiness. Therefore, after a dye job for brown hair, you need a correct toner for that shade to neutralize it so that brassiness does not happen.

Toner lasts for about four to eight weeks after the dye job, and you can likely have another toner session if your brown hair begins to show brassiness sometime after that. The sun, chemicals from swimming, and other hair treatments can cause that. Therefore, toner will come to the rescue.