How to darken highlights

Whether you applied highlights at home or during a salon visit, you’ve probably tried having them too bright. Catastrophic, isn’t it? 

And now you frustratingly wonder, can you tone down highlights? 

Well, worry no more because the answer to that is yes.

And yep, we’ll look at the different methods of toning down highlights one by one and learn how to darken highlights. So continue reading! 


How can I deepen my highlights?

How can I deepen my highlights

Ending up with too bright highlights is a total bummer. 

Fortunately, there are various techniques for toning down bright highlights, many of which can even be done in the comfort of your own home without spending a lot. 

Now, how do you darken highlights? 

How to darken highlights naturally

Unfortunately, natural methods aren’t effective in darkening highlights. And not to mention, it’s unsafe too.

There are no natural options designed for hair coloring — doing so only damages the tresses. 

So yep, don’t darken your highlights naturally.

However, you can try waiting it out. 

This technique is the safest and most natural way of darkening highlights. 

The natural color of your highlights may settle and appear after 15 days. And during this time, the color may darken. 

So here’s a piece of advice: wait for two weeks before doing anything drastic to your tresses. Otherwise, your highlight dilemma might worsen. 

How to darken highlights with coffee

Great mornings start with a heavenly aroma of coffee.” 

Indeed, a cup of coffee starts the day right. But aside from that caffeine boost, coffee is also a natural hair dye; it colors the hair a tad darker.

But does it mean it can darken highlights too?

Well, let me get this straight — you shouldn’t use coffee to darken bright highlights. Otherwise, you’ll damage your tresses.

The hair does not have acid that breaks down the components of coffee. Simply put, it won’t absorb the nutrients found in coffee. 

Additionally, coffee may irritate the scalp and trigger skin allergies. 

So yep, don’t even bother trying this method out! 


How to darken highlights at home

How to darken highlights at home

If your hair has too many bright highlights, don't panic! There are plenty of home remedies that can darken them. 

So without further ado, how do you darken too light highlights at home?

Easy! Simply grab a toner or hair dye

You can also use clarifying shampoo, dish soap, and purple shampoo as alternatives. 

Here’s how: 

How to darken highlights with hair dye

Can you dye highlights darker? Absolutely. 

Simply prepare the following materials — semi-permanent hair dye, gloves, and a bowl. 

Semi-permanent dyes are ammonia and peroxide-free, so it darkens highlights without compromising your hair’s health. Yay for a win-win strategy! 

You can try out the Color Reviving Gloss by Madison Reed. This semi-permanent dye reduces undesirable tones by adding depth, warmth, and color. A wide range of colors is available too, so check it out. 

Begin by putting the semi-permanent hair dye in a bowl. Next, thoroughly wet your hair and comb it. Make sure that there are no tangles.  

Then, apply the dye to your wet tresses, from root to tip. Don’t forget to wear gloves!

Let the mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and shampoo. 

And lastly, use an anti-frizz hair product to eliminate dryness. 

Another way is by adding lowlights

This method involves dyeing highlighted strands with a darker color, thereby creating depth and dimension. Lowlights utilize hair dyes, not bleach.

But you shouldn’t do this technique by yourself  —  it's best to let an expert colorist do all the work!

Now, how will they do it? 

First, they separate the hair strands using a cap by precisely pulling it through the cap holes. And then they apply hair dye. After 20 minutes, they rinse and dry the hair. And tada, hello darker highlights!

How to darken highlights with a toner

Before anything else, pick a toner that is slightly darker than your current highlights.

Then, mix one-part toner and two-part developer in a bowl. Continue mixing until it becomes thick and gel-like. 

Next, divide your hair into sections and apply the mixture with a coloring brush. You may use it on the highlighted portions or your entire hair.

Begin from the back of the head and work to the tips. Make sure to coat every strand. 

Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water. However, you may hold it for another 30 minutes if it’s still not dark enough. 

Also, don’t shampoo in the meantime so that the color penetrates. 

How to darken highlights with purple shampoo

As we all know, a purple shampoo helps neutralize orange, yellow, and brassy tones in the hair. Hence, it also darkens highlights. 

Simply apply it to your tresses twice a week and condition afterward. 

How to darken highlights with dish soap

Dish soap works best in darkening light brassy highlights. It’s alkaline, meaning it has a pH higher than 7. Dish soap expands the cuticle, freeing trapped pigments. And consequently, darkening light tones faster. 

Apply a small amount of dish soap to your tresses and rinse. Dish soap may dry out the hair, so don’t use it regularly and always condition afterward!  

How to darken highlights with shampoo

How to darken highlights with shampoo

You can either use a clarifying or dry shampoo

A clarifying shampoo effectively eliminates color from the hair. And not just that! It tones down bright highlights too. 

Simply apply it the same way as your regular shampoo. Use it once or twice a week to avoid scalp dryness and frizz. 

Dry shampoo also does the job. 

Choose a brown-tinted dry shampoo and apply it to your highlights, from root to tip. Leave it on your hair for not more than 3 days and rinse. 


The Final Verdict: How to darken highlights that are too light

So there you have it! Darkening too light highlights is easy-peasy! 

You can tone down overly bright highlights with hair toner, purple shampoo, dish soap, clarifying shampoo, and tinted dry shampoo. Semi-permanent dyes also work wonders! 

You can also wait out for your highlights’ natural color to pop. And who knows, your highlight problem may resolve by itself. So yes, it’s worth giving a shot! 

But if all else fails, ​​it’s time to visit the salon and let a professional colorist add lowlights to your tresses. 

Last Updated: September 6, 2022

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