Should You Use Blue Toner For Orange Hair?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Whether you want to go suicide blonde or hot pink, if you have dark hair, you are going to have to bleach it. The problem with bleaching dark hair is that it tends to bring out weird color tones.

So if you’ve bleached your hair and were going for platinum blonde, only to end up with a disastrous shade of orange instead, don’t panic! You didn’t do anything wrong – orange happens.

But unless the orangutan is your spirit animal, you are probably going to want to fix that! And in this article, we’ll explain why it turned orange. And we’ll show you how to fix it using blue toner for orange hair.


Why Does Hair Turn Orange When Bleached?

Bleaching breaks down the color pigment molecules in your hair. Once they are completely lifted out, you are left with a blonde/yellowish color base. Your hair is made of keratin, which is naturally a yellowish color.

If all of the warmer pigments are not lifted during the lightening process, then you will be left with orange hair. The darker your hair, the more pigment it contains. And the harder it is to lift.

Cool-toned color pigments are the first to be lifted out of your hair during the bleaching process. There are more warm color (red & orange) molecules than cool color molecules. The warmer molecules are also larger, so they are the last to be lifted out of hair.

All hair has a red shade within its base color.

Black has a large quantity of dark red base pigment and brunettes have an orange base pigment. When you bleach your hair, you are stripping the visible pigments in your hair and revealing the underlying pigments which are all predominantly red or orange.

What Does Blue Toner Do To Orange Hair?

Blue Toning Shampoo

The trick is not “getting rid” of the orange undertones, it’s figuring out how to neutralize them.

Take a look at the color wheel below.

What color is the opposite of orange?


The colors opposite each other on the color wheel will cancel each other out.

Blue is opposite orange on the color wheel, so if your hair is orange, blue is your neutralizing color.

This doesn’t mean you should run out and buy blue hair dye. Though blue hair dye will surely get rid of the orange, you will end up with blue hair! This is where toners come in.

The trick is not “getting rid” of the orange undertones, it’s figuring out how to neutralize them.

A toner is different from dye in that it just coats the exterior of the hair strand, rather than penetrating the hair structure to change the color of your hair.

Toner is meant to be applied to light hair.

Toners are specifically designed to neutralize unwanted tones, whereas a dye is meant to deposit color.

If Your Hair Is Dark Orange And You Were Hoping For Blonde

If you have dark hair and you were trying to go blonde when you bleached it, only to end up with dark orange hair, it’s because you have a lot of pigment in your hair.

Orange is unfortunately usually part of that process.

If this is what happened to you, and you are intent on going blonde, all is not lost.

If your hair turned out a dark orange or bright pumpkin orange, then no toner is going to make you blonde. The only thing you can do is bleach it again.

Just understand that you should invest in a hat because you will have to wait at least a week to 10 days before bleaching it a second time.

And that’s only if your hair is still in relatively good condition after bleaching it the first time. If your hair is damaged, brittle and feels like straw, bleaching it again will make it even worse. You could literally burn your hair off if you bleach it again too soon.

You need to let your hair recover before hitting it with more bleach.

Should I use a toner if I am going to bleach it again?


If you are planning to bleach your hair a second time, do not tone in between. Toner, although not as harsh as bleach, still takes a toll on your hair.

The fewer chemical processes, the better.

Wait until you’ve achieved your final desired lightness to tone. You may even decide to use a purple toner if your hair ends up with yellow undertones, instead of using a blue toner for orange hair.

See also:

Blue Toner For Orange Hair

Blue Toning Shampoo

Toner and toning shampoo, though these terms are often used interchangeably, are different products.

However, for the sake of this article, we are considering them as interchangeable. If your endgame is neutralizing unwanted orange in your hair, both toner and blue shampoo perform the same function.

The biggest difference between using a toner and a blue shampoo is the ease of use. Toners have a much higher margin of error and should only be used by those who know what they are doing.

Toners are professional products, best left to the professionals.

Matrix Brass Off Blue Color Depositing Shampoo Neutralizes Brassy Tones in Lightened or Color Treated Hair
  • Anti Brass Toning Blue Shampoo:...
  • Multi-Tasking Properties: Professional...
  • Key Benefits: Nourishing shampoo...
  • Brass Off Collection: When used as a...
  • Suggested Use: Wearing suitable gloves,...

MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo neutralizes intense orange tones using a blue-violet pigment. You get with visible results in just one wash.

It’s suitable for both brunettes and blondes, levels 5-7. It has a pleasant fragrance with notes of rose, vanilla, and nectarine. 

Toning shampoos can stain surfaces, so mind the drips and you may want to wear gloves to apply. MATRIX Total Results Brass Off Color Depositing Blue Shampoo contains sulfates, which can leave the hair frizzy, dry, and brittle if used too often, or without conditioner.

Redken Color Extend Brownlights Blue Conditioner | Hair Toner For Natural & Color-Treated Brunettes | Tones Hair & Removes Brass
  • Redken Color Extend Brownlights is a...
  • Sulfate-free blue toning conditioner....
  • Color-depositing conditioner with pH...
  • Professional blue conditioner to keep...
  • Professional toning solution for warm...

Ideal for both chemically treated and natural hair, this blue pigmented shampoo neutralizes orange tones and unwanted warmth in brown hair. It’s sulfate-free, so it’s gentle on hair. Especially, if you have curly hair or hair that’s prone to dryness, this toner may be a good option for you.

As with all blue shampoos, it can stain, so make sure you rinse everything thoroughly.

Though some users reported it did not work as well as they’d hoped, most users found it worked great.

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo | For Lightened Brown Hair | Eliminate Brassy Orange Tones | Boost Color Vibrancy & Shine | UV Protection | With Rosehip Oil & Green Tea Extract | 10.1 Fl Oz
  • Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo gently...
  • BLUE PIGMENTS directly attach to the...
  • KERATIN, a protective protein found...

Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo is especially designed for naturally dark brunette hair with highlights. Formulated with a Multi-Spectrum Defense Complex to help fight fade and preserve your color, it’s ideal for those with color treated hair.

This color balance shampoo tones down orange tones, leaving it cool-toned, soft, and shiny. It’s also cruelty-free and free of parabens, formaldehyde, and other irritants.

Just be aware that it’s prone to staining, so wear gloves and make sure you are in the tub so surfaces can be easily wiped.

Like every other product on our list, some users reported being disappointed with the results, whereas a far higher percentage were very satisfied.

Fanola No Orange Shampoo With Blue Pigments To Eliminate Unwanted Orange Brassy Tones In Lightened Brunettes and Brown Hair 11.83oz
  • Indicated on colored hair with dark...
  • After the color service or exposure to...
  • No Orange Shampoo gently cleanses and...
  • After applying the shampoo, the hair...
  • Extra Blue Pigment, the No Orange...

Fanola No Orange Shampoo is specially designed for dark and brunette hair with orange undertones. Apply like regular shampoo and leave in 2-3 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

This one is definitely one of the more potent blue toning shampoos and it does contain sulfates, which can dry out your hair.

We recommend using it sparingly and only when you really need it. You should see results after one wash. And although most users rave about this product, there are a few that said it did not work for them.

Of course, like all other blue toning shampoos, it can stain if you are not careful.

Color Balance Shampoo and Conditioner Set
  • Comes with (1) 10.1-ounce shampoo & (1)...
  • Eliminates brassy/orange tones on...
  • Preserve 89% of haircolor for up to 18...
  • Our Multi-Spectrum Defense Complex...
  • Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex is our...

It’s effective for all hair types and textures. Silk proteins and Hibiscus Flower extract strengthen hair, improve luster, and increase brightness while neutralizing unwanted orange tones.

DPHue Cool Brunette shampoo is color-safe, so it’s ideal for those with color-treated hair. It’s free of sulfates, silicones and parabens.

Everyone’s hair is different. While all of the products listed above had users who were disappointed by the results, most have success. That said, it’s possible some users didn’t understand what these shampoos are designed to do, and may have used them improperly. As long as you know how to use the color wheel, you should be good to go.

A pigmented shampoo can stain. So, regardless of which one you try, do it in the tub to avoid staining everything. Rinse everything really well, and wear gloves if you don’t want to end up with blue nails.

Should I Use Blue Toner Or Blue Shampoo?

True hair toners should only be used by those who know what they’re doing (i.e. have had training). Color-depositing shampoos, on the other hand, are super user-friendly. If you know how to shampoo your hair, you can use a color depositing shampoo!

If you are looking to neutralize unwanted orange tones in your hair at home and you are not familiar with using a toner, use a color depositing shampoo instead. You can achieve the same end result with an almost* zero margin of error.

*We say almost, because some people don’t read instructions! Different brands of blue shampoos have different wait times, so read the instructions!! Misuse of color depositing shampoo can result in drying out your hair or possibly getting pigment staining from the shampoo.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).