Haircare - Hair

Does Toning Shampoo Work on Natural Hair?

Learn how to use toning shampoo on natural hair, and still see an effect. It’s all about the undertones.

Written by Amber Belanger
does toning shampoo work on natural hair

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Toning shampoos are often marketed to those with color-treated hair. That includes bleach, highlights, or balayage.

Some say that: “Toning shampoo is designed for color-treated hair”.

But that’s not entirely true. Because toning shampoo can also have great effects on natural hair. It all depends on your hair and the underlying tones you wish to remove.

Here’s how you can make toning shampoo work on natural hair, whether it’s purple, blue, or green shampoo.

Understanding Hair Toning & Shampoos

Before you use toning shampoo on natural hair, you need to understand how toning and toning shampoos work.

What is Toning Shampoo?

Toning shampoo is a type of shampoo that helps to neutralize unwanted undertones in your hair. It works by depositing small amounts of color onto your hair, which helps to balance out any unwanted tones.

This type of shampoo is often used for people with color-treated hair. These hair colors are more prone to developing brassy undertones over time.

What Are Brassy Undertones?

To understand how toning shampoo works, it’s important to first understand a bit about hair color and undertones.

Hair color is determined by the amount and type of pigment in your hair. Different hair colors have different types and amounts of pigment.

For example, blonde hair has less pigment than brown or black hair.

Undertones, on the other hand, are the subtle hues that are present in your hair. For example, blonde hair (usually) has yellow undertones, while brown hair have orange or red undertones.

Many factors affect undertones, including:

  • Sunlight
  • Chlorine
  • Minerals in your shower water
  • And more.

How Toning Shampoo Works

Toning shampoo works by depositing small amounts of color onto your hair, which helps to neutralize the undertones. This is based on color theory. Opposite colors neutralize each other.

That’s why purple toning shampoo neutralizes yellow undertones. And why blue toning shampoo neutralizes orange undertones.

Can You Use Toning Shampoo on Natural Hair?

Yes, you can use toning shampoo on natural hair. Toning shampoo neutralizes undertones. It doesn’t matter if your hair is color-treated or not. If you have undertones you wish to remove, toning shampoo will work.

What Happens If You Use Toning Shampoo on Undyed Hair?

If you have undyed hair, toning shampoo can still be effective. It can help neutralize any unwanted tones that may appear due to sun or chlorine exposure.

But, it may not be as effective on undyed hair as it is on colored or bleached hair.

Toning shampoo works by depositing color onto the hair. If you have natural hair, the undertones are not as noticeable. That’s the reason why the toning agents won’t affect your hair as much.

Toning Shampoo for Natural vs. Color-Treated Hair

natural hair vs. bleached hair

Toning shampoo may not be as effective on natural hair as it is on lightened hair. This is because natural hair has a different structure and may not respond to toning agents in the same way.

It’s also because the lightening process (bleached or highlighted) strips the hair of pigments. This leaves room for unwanted tones to appear, making them more prominent.

So it’s not that toning shampoo doesn’t work on natural hair. It’s that the unwanted tones aren’t as strong.

Here’s how toning shampoo affects natural and color-treated hair:

Natural HairColor-Treated Hair
Brassiness LevelsLess prone to brassiness.More likely to develop brassy tones due to stripping of pigments.
BenefitsCan help eliminate unwanted tones; enhance natural hair color.Can help combat brassy tones and enhance color; eliminate unwanted tones.
UsageApply toning shampoo, wait for a few minutes, rinse thoroughly, follow up with conditioner.Same usage as natural hair, but may need to be more careful due to fragility and potential damage.
Recommended ShampooLook for gentle and nourishing formulas.Same recommendations as natural hair, with extra emphasis on gentle formulas.

Please note that while toning shampoo can be beneficial for both natural and color-treated hair, the effectiveness and specific requirements may vary.

Brassiness Levels

Natural hair is less prone to brassiness than color-treated hair. This is because natural hair has its own unique undertones that are not affected by hair dye or bleach.

On the other hand, color-treated hair is more likely to develop brassy tones. These are the yellow or orange hues that appear over time.

When you bleach or lighten your hair, you strip it of pigments. This leaves room for underlying pigment to appear.

Your natural hair color also reappears over time. That’s why you need to use toning shampoo regularly.


While toning shampoo is more commonly used on color-treated hair, it can still be beneficial for natural hair. Toning shampoo can help you eliminate any unwanted tones in your hair, such as those caused by sun or chlorine exposure.

It can also help you enhance your natural hair color and make it look more vibrant.


All hair types should use toning shampoo in the same way:

  1. Wet your hair.
  2. Apply the toning shampoo
  3. Wait for a few minutes (1-5 minutes)
  4. Rinse thoroughly
  5. Follow up with a conditioner

But, if you have color-treated hair, you may need to be careful. Color-treated hair is more fragile. This means it’s prone to damage that natural hair isn’t.

As your hair is more prone to brassiness, you may also have to use the toning shampoo more frequently.

The Right Shampoo

Hair health is important no matter your hair type. So always look for formulas that are gentle on the hair:

  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Perfume-free
  • Contains nourishing ingredients like keratin, argan oil, or coconut oil.

Final Takeaway: Does Toning Shampoo Work on Natural Hair?

Yes, toning shampoo works on natural hair. Toning shampoos work to neutralize unwanted tones in your hair. As long as you use the right shampoo for your hair type, it will work.

Overall, while toning shampoo can be a helpful tool for maintaining the color and tone of your hair, it’s not a miracle product. If you’re looking for a more dramatic change in your hair color, consider other options. Such as hair dye or hair toner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can purple shampoo be used on natural hair?

Yes, purple shampoo can be used on natural hair. It is designed to neutralize brassy tones in blonde, silver, and gray hair. It works whether your hair is bleached, dyed, or natural.

Is toning shampoo effective on natural hair?

Yes, toning shampoo can be effective on natural hair. The reason why they are particularly effective on color-treated hair, is because this type of hair develops stronger undertones.

Does purple shampoo work differently on natural blonde and brown hair?

Yes, purple shampoo works differently on natural blonde and brown hair. If you have natural blonde hair, purple shampoo can help to neutralize yellow tones and restore the natural color. If you have natural brown hair, you likely develop orange tones. Purple shampoo doesn’t work that well against those.

What happens when you use purple shampoo on unbleached natural hair?

Purple shampoo works to neutralize yellow tones, no matter if its bleached or natural. If you have yellow tones in your hair, that you’d like to remove, purple shampoo can help.

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Amber Belanger

Amber is not just a beauty enthusiast. She has spent countless hours doing the nails of her friends, researching the newest studies on personal care, as well as tried and tested numerous hair products. She prides herself on her factuality and luscious hair.