How to tone highlights

Cómo matizar mechas rubias

Hello darlings! In today’s article we will see how to tone blond highlights that have been too yellow or orange. Let’s see what we can do if we need to apply the hue at home, how to do it using a dye, what dyes to use exactly and what can happen after applying the coloring.

My hair has already gone through different types of blonde: dye, full bleaching and, right now, highlights, as you can see in the photo. I have known firsthand all the problems associated with each type of coloring, and I have learned what is best in each case. And that’s why I want to share in the hair care section of this blog all this with you.

Violet shampoo or dye to tone the highlights?

First, consider what exactly your hair needs.

First of all, if you are looking to keep your blonde nuanced as the day you left the hairdresser, I recommend that you read the post on how to remove yellow hair with a violet shampoo. You can also read my opinions about shampoos like L’Oréal’s Silver or Pantene’s Hair Biology. These shampoos are used to maintain the ashy or grayish tone of the hair.

Then I also really like Dalire’s purple shampoo without sulfates, which in addition to helping to tone the color, protects the hair by not containing sulfates or toxins.

In this first case we talk about nuance highlights as a hair maintenance technique. For this we use shampoos. We do not mean to qualify them right after having given them, which is what we are going to talk about in this post. If what you want is that, qualify them right after making them, read on.

Secondly, if you want to tone yellow highlights to white, or white to gold. (By this I mean freshly applied wicks.) Then what you need is to substantially change the color of the hair. You will need a dye to qualify that, and in this post I also explain how.

As you can see, when we talk about nuance wicks, we can refer to two things. One would be to maintain the ash or beige tone of the hair, and it does not involve much technique, since it can be done at home perfectly. Many times it is worth with a simple toning shampoo.

And on the other hand, we can refer to nuance wicks when the discoloration has not been as we wished. That is, when for example the deco has been left long enough and they have been yellow or even orange. In this case the solution requires the use of dyes, but we can also do it to correct the color.

How to tone highlights at home

When highlights are applied in hairdressing, it is normal to tone them later. It does not matter if they are root highlights, babylights or a balayage. Once the aluminum foil is removed and the hair has lightened, a tinting dye is always applied.

The nuance of the wicks is done for two reasons. First, so that the lightened strand is more subtle and the contrast with the rest of the hair is less noticeable. The color of the base of the hair and the color of the wick are blurred a little. That is, a natural finish is sought. Second and more important, to neutralize the yellow that causes discoloration, that is, to change the tone.

In all the years that I have been with the wicks only once I did not apply nuance afterwards and the result was disastrous. I do not recommend it.

If for some reason we have not given a nuance to the highlights it is possible that we do not have the blonde tone we expected. And that’s just what we’re going to learn to fix in this article. Let’s see how to remove the yellow from the highlights of the hair.

What to do if you have already given the highlights but they do not have the right tone

If you have tried to make wicks with aluminum foil at home and you have been a little yellow or orange, I advise you to try to qualify them. If you have already given the highlights at home, which is the most complicated, applying the tinting dye should not be very difficult.

First of all, remember that right after bleaching the hair may be in a rather fragile state. You must first assess if it is in condition to be dyed or if you should wait. When we wear hair like this it is essential to follow a specific care routine for bleached hair.

Although many of you already know, bleaching is the product that is usually used to give wicks, since it manages to raise more tones than with a simple dye. Bleaching allows you to change the color of your hair radically, but it is not very good when it comes to providing naturalness or a certain tone in particular. For that we will have to use dyes.

No matter what your base color is, with bleaching you can practically go from black to white. But the exact tone that remains is another story, that’s what has to be corrected with dye.

How is the dye prepared to tone highlights?

How to remove the yellow hue of the highlights so that they are platinum or white? Well, we must do it with a dye. You can also try it with a violet shampoo, but it does not work miracles, and if you need to lower the yellow or orange tone a lot you will need the strength of a dye.

Perfect, now which dye to choose? What color of dye does yellow remove?

How to nuance wicks so that ashes remain?

1. Use an ash dye.

Well, to counteract the yellow of the discoloration we will need a dye with an ash undertone. There are hairdressers who prefer to use a violet dye or with blue undertones to nuance. I think ash is more potent, but in reality the result is very similar.

Ash dyes are those that are marked with a 0.1 in the name. For example 9.1, in any brand, is a light blonde, ash, 7.1 a half ash blonde, etc.

To get the proportion of ash we need we can buy the tinting dye separately, that is, 0.1. This is going to be the dye that gives the ash tone to the hair, counteracting the yellow or correcting the orange. And this 0.1 you have to mix with a base color (11, 10, 9, 8, etc.). This is done in hairdressing to find the perfect color, but sometimes it is easier to buy a single dye that contains base color and toning. For example, 11.1, 10.1, 9.1, 8.1, and so on.

You can choose a 11.1, 10.1, 9.1, or 8.1, depending on the degree of blonde we are looking for, depending on whether you want it lighter (an 11) or darker (an 8). It may also be less than 8, but for my taste, it’s too dark and would cover the wick.

This is the one I’m using right now. I like to choose a light shade and I like this particular brand because it protects the hair and is not bad at all price on Amazon. The result of using this dye to tone my highlights is what you see in the cover photo of this article.

Dye to nuance highlights
Tint for tinting highlights Olia de Garnier tone 10.1

2. Mix the dye with hydrogen peroxide.

Thirdly mix with hydrogen peroxide. Since we do not seek to modify the tone much but to change the color, we do not need a very high water. With 10% hydrogen peroxide is enough. And this way you will make sure that when you tone the hair does not spoil.

If you are using a box dye, like the one you see in the photo, hydrogen peroxide will come already included in the correct proportion. It is usually 20%, although some brands do not even mention it.

The ratio between dye and hydrogen peroxide should be 50% and 50%.

Dye and hydrogen peroxide to nuance wicks
Dye and hydrogen peroxide to nuance wicks

3. Leave on for about 10 minutes.

Once we have all the ingredients mixed, apply to the damp hair and leave on for 10 minutes. If we apply it with dry hair the result will be more intense, and what we want in this case is only to nuance. Depending on the effect you want to achieve, you may need up to 30 minutes. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but it depends a lot on the tone we want to take and the porosity of the hair.

Next, simply rinse with water and comb.

What to do if hair turns gray after bleaching

If the effect is a little gray or ash, do not worry, because the gray disappears a little with washing. Sometimes, depending on the dye, the reflection of the wick may pull a little green, but do not worry, this is attenuated after a few days. The important thing is that you will have finally gotten rid of the yellow chicken.

This is the routine I follow to nuance wicks right after giving them. Between each application of highlights I give myself a dye only at the root to keep the blonde without fading. The color I use varies a bit, but it’s usually an 8.1 or 9.1. Here’s my take on Schwarzkoft’s Igora Royal dye, which is one of my favorite dyes for this step. That is, to cover the root between wicks and wicks. There you can see the before and after applying on the application in my natural color.

Now that you have your highlights nuanced and precious it is time to take care of that mane. Bleaching is a product that damages hair significantly.

Finally, here is a video about how I do my color routine, in case you are interested in knowing different ways to lighten dark hair to a light blonde:

I hope this article on how to nuance the wicks has helped you.Do not forget to follow this blog on Facebook to find out about new posts and read the best hair care and beauty tips.

A hug,


Deliria Rose