How to Neutralize Red Tones in Hair at Home

By: | Last Updated: May 9, 2023

Red hair color, whether natural or with the help of some dye, is gorgeous. It can range anywhere from soft strawberry blonde to ginger to even deeper shades like blood red or maroon.  

But there are times when red can be unsightly and an unwelcome discoloration to your hair. 

In this article, we’re not going to talk about how to get rid of red hair dye but rather about red tones that can make your hair look dull and brassy.  

These red tones make it difficult for people to see the true beauty of your hair color and can even make it hard for you to switch to another color.  

So, if you want to learn what cancels out red tones in hair, let’s get to the bottom of it!  

What causes red tones in hair?  

What causes red tones in hair

Before knowing what remedies are best for canceling out red tones in your hair, let’s first learn what causes them in the first place.  

These red tones are often found in hair that has already been treated by color before. These colors don’t have to be red for these red tones to come about.  

In fact, anyone who has had bleached hair which was dyed a darker shade could be susceptible to these red tones.  

Why? Well, because dark colors like deep browns, even blacks, can contain a certain amount of red in them to maintain warmth in the colors. Once the main color fades, these undertones tend to get left behind and create the unsightly brassy effect that we’ve all learned to dread.  

Sometimes, it doesn’t even take fading for the red to surface. It could just come from an excess of red pigments in a deeper color for it to show through.  

But the bottom line is still the same. You’ll want to cancel out this redness for your true color to shine through.  

How to neutralize red tones in hair? 

How to neutralize red tones in hair

If you find that you’re struggling with brassiness, especially the red-toned kind, then don’t worry. There are lots of options out there for neutralizing the redness and restoring your hair to its original state.  

One of the first things you’d need to know is what hair color cancels out red tones. And for this, you’ll have to look no further than your trusty old color wheel.  

To determine what color will cancel out red, you’ll have to figure out what red’s complementary color is. To do this, simply look at what color lies directly across red on the color wheel — it’s green!  

Green is the key to counteracting red and neutralizing it so that you’re left with the color your hair was intended to be—whether that’s the color of your hair dye or the bleach you have underneath it.  

But even though green is the answer, don’t be tempted to just go and dye your whole head green. No! The only thing you’ll get is murky green hair.  

Instead, turn to green shampoo to get red tones out of hair or green toner to cancel out red. 

However, do take this next part as advice on how to neutralize red tones in brown hair. Getting rid of red tones from blonde hair has its own process to consider.  

Green Shampoo 

Green shampoo might not yet be as popular as its cousin purple shampoo (used for canceling out yellow tones!), but it is possible to find it out there if you want to find an easy way to cancel out red tones in your hair.  

If it’s not something you can find in stores, you can mix up your own batch by combining equal parts of green semi-permanent dye and shampoo.  

How do you use it, you might ask? 

Well, green shampoo works best on brown hair. 

More specifically, it works best on medium to dark brown hair. Lighter brown hair may have lots of yellow tones mixed in with the red, which might not react well with the green tone of the shampoo.   

It’s best to use green shampoos from the get-go. Right when you dye your hair brown is the ideal time to start incorporating these products into your routine.  

All you have to do is to replace your typical shampoo with the green kind when you wash. Then, you’ll save your color without having to add an extra step to your routine.  

Just make sure not to massage this into your scalp, or else you’ll end up with some green skin there! Be sure to use the shampoo sparingly as well, especially on your first few tries, so you don’t end up over-coloring your hair.  

Green toner  

So, what exactly is toner? Toners are an extra layer of color, usually similar to semi- or demi-permanent dyes, which can counteract brassy discoloration in hair.  

It’s best to entrust toner in a professional colorist’s hands because there are many ways to mess it up. You can easily overdo toner and end up with an ugly mossy green color instead of the pristine brown you had hoped for.  

How to tone red hair to brown 

Green toner for red hair discoloration works just like green shampoo does. But instead of depositing color slowly over time, you can walk straight out of the salon with perfectly toned hair after just one session.  

How to neutralize red tones in blonde hair? 

How to neutralize red tones in blonde hair

Yes! There is a difference between toning out red from brown hair and how to remove red tones from blonde hair. 

The main difference is that blonde hair has a stronger yellow undertone than brown hair. Plus, green toners and shampoos tend to stain blonde hair a lot more easily.  

Because of that yellow undertone, discoloration on blonde hair tends to look a bit more orange than true red. This simply means that green won’t work well on this kind of red tone. 

Instead, reach for blue toners or blue shampoos.  

In the same way that green cancels out red because they’re complementary on the color wheel, blue complements orange, which means the two should neutralize each other.   

If you feel like your hair can take on a bit of harsh treatment, you can also opt to bleach it to a lighter level, then tone it with some ash grey.  

You can also just let the dye run its course. Clarifying shampoo is notorious for fading color. And while this is usually frowned upon in the name of preserving the color, you can definitely use it to your advantage to hasten the fading process.  

How can I get red tones out of my hair naturally? 

So far, we’ve talked about using toners, shampoos, and bleaching. But there are a few natural options you can try to get rid of red tones in your hair.  

Granted, they might not act as quickly as the chemical options, but if you’re looking for choices that can do less damage, here are a few of them:  

Apple Cider Vinegar  

Okay, apple cider vinegar might not cancel out redness as quickly as toners or dyes, but it does help counteract the dullness that makes your hair look unhealthier than it truly is. As an acid, apple cider vinegar reverses the effects of harsh alkaline material in your hair by closing the cuticles and restoring shine.  

Chamomile Tea  

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Chamomile tea is known for lightening hair

So, it’s no surprise that it can be used as a natural remedy for red tones. 

All you must do is brew a concentrated batch of chamomile tea, making sure to cool it. Then, apply it to clean hair, making sure to spread it through your hair thoroughly.  

Rinse it out afterward! It will take a few tries to actually get it to lighten visibly but don’t sleep on this tip!  


Don’t let those red tones spoil your fun! Whether you have brown or blonde hair, you need to know the right color to cancel the discoloration.  

Plus, there are always home remedies you can try and DIY when you’re in a pinch! Whatever you choose, you’re in for some renewed life and shine in your hair.  

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