Haircare - Hair

Toning Shampoo vs. Conditioner: Your Quick Guide to Perfect Hair

Should you use toning shampoo or toning conditioner? Here’s what you need to know about both.

Written by Amber Belanger
Toning Shampoo vs. Conditioner

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Shampoo and conditioner are staples of a healthy hair care routine. The first cleans your hair and the second keeps it healthy.

So it’s understandably confusing when you add toner to the mix. Which toning product should you use? Is one better than the other?

Well, it depends on your hair.

Some people will benefit more from a toning shampoo. Others need a toning conditioner. So here’s how to choose.

Toning Shampoo vs. Toning Conditioner

The main difference between toning shampoo and toning conditioner is the type of product. Both products combat unwanted brassy tones. But toning shampoo cleanses your hair while toning conditioner adds moisture and nourishes your hair. Toning shampoo is often more potent as well.

The two product are often used together. It’s not a question of which is better, but which one you need.

What Is Toning Shampoo?

Toning shampoo is a specific type of shampoo designed to neutralize unwanted tones in your hair.

It comes in different colors, such as purple shampoo for blonde hair and blue shampoo for brunettes. The purpose of them all is to remove brassiness and keep your hair color looking fresh.

What Is Toning Conditioner?

Toning conditioner is a special type of conditioner that also helps to neutralize unwanted tones in your hair. Like toning shampoos, they come in different colors to suit different hair types and colors.

Toning conditioners help maintain your desired hair color. But, it also adds moisture with healthy ingredients.

A toning conditioner will not only moisturize your hair. It also helps maintain the color by sealing the hair cuticle and locking in the pigments from the toning shampoo.

Do You Need Both Toning Shampoo & Conditioner?

Do You Need Both Toning Shampoo & Conditioner

Using both toning shampoo and conditioner is beneficial for your hair. Shampoo cleanses your hair, but toning shampoo can be harsh on your hair’s health. Follow it up with a toning conditioner to maintain your hair health.

Both toning shampoo and conditioner works. While the potency differs, both products combat brassiness.

ProductToning ShampooToning Conditioner
PurposeNeutralizes unwanted tones while cleansing hairNeutralizes unwanted tones while hydrating and nourishing hair
Usage Frequency1-2 times per week, or as needed based on brassiness of hairCan be used daily or less frequently if noticing an unwanted tint
Key IngredientsColor pigments, protein, cationic surfactantsMoisturizing agents (glycerin, panthenol), natural oils, proteins
Ideal ForRegular removal of brassy/yellow hues, maintaining color vibrancy between salon visitsDaily nourishment and hydration while subtly enhancing color
When to Use in Hair Care RoutineDuring hair washing process prior to applying conditionerAfter using toning shampoo or regular shampoo

But, toning shampoo can be harsh on the hair. And toning conditioner may not always do the trick.

That’s why using both together is beneficial.

The shampoo will cleanse your hair. It removes product buildup and dirt. Conditioner, on the other hand, is essential for nourishing and moisturizing your hair.

Use Both for the Best Results

While each product has its purpose, using both toning shampoo and conditioner will give you the best results. The shampoo works to eliminate brassy undertones. The conditioner locks in the color and provides essential hydration.

This combination will ensure your hair stays healthy and vibrant between salon visits.

Key Ingredients and Benefits

Important Ingredients in Toning Shampoo

Toning shampoos contain specific ingredients to help remove unwanted tones from your hair.

Some important ingredients you’ll often find in toning shampoos are:

  • Color pigments: The main ingredient in toning shampoo is the pigment that tones your hair.
  • Protein: Protein strengthens your hair and helps it to recover from damage. It also adds volume and thickness to your hair.
  • Cationic surfactants: These ingredients help the shampoo to spread easily and create a rich lather.

Important Ingredients in Toning Conditioner

Toning conditioners work alongside toning shampoos to provide extra benefits for your hair.

Some key ingredients in toning conditioners include:

  • Moisturizing agents: Ingredients such as glycerin and panthenol lock in moisture and hydrate your hair, making it soft and smooth.
  • Natural oils: Natural oils like argan oil are also present in toning conditioners to nourish and protect your hair.
  • Proteins: Like shampoo, conditioner also contains proteins to strengthen your hair.

It’s always a good idea to check the list og ingredients in hair care products. Aim to avoid sulfates, silicones, and other ingredients that are harsh on the hair.

How to Use Toning Shampoo & Conditioner

Use toning shampoo and conditioner as your regular shampoo and conditioner. Except for the duration you leave it in your hair. This is where it can go wrong.

How to Use Toning Shampoo

Here’s how to use toning shampoo.

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly.
  2. Apply a small amount of toning shampoo and massage it into your hair. Focus specifically on areas with unwanted color tones such as brassiness.
  3. Allow the toning shampoo to sit in your hair for 1-5 minutes to neutralize any unwanted undertones.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with cold or lukewarm water. Make sure to remove all the shampoo from your scalp and hair strands.

You should use toning shampoo once or twice a week. This depends on the brassiness level in your hair. Use your regular shampoo in between.

Remember, removing all shampoo is important for maintaining healthy hair and avoiding potential damage.

How to Use Toning Conditioner

After rinsing the toning shampoo from your hair, proceed with the use of the toning conditioner:

  1. Apply a small amount of the conditioner to the length of your hair.
  2. Let the toning conditioner sit in your hair for a few minutes. Allow it to work effectively before rinsing.
  3. Rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Make sure all of the conditioner is washed out completely.

You can use most toning conditioners every day, replacing your regular conditioner. But assess your hair after each use. If you start noticing an unwanted tint, use it less frequently.

Choosing the Best Toning Product

Toning shampoo is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You have to consider a few factors:

  • Your hair color
  • Your hair type
  • The underlying tones you want to remove

Toning Shampoo for Different Hair Types

Hair color

Depending on your hair color, you should choose a specific toning shampoo:

  • Blonde hair: If you have blonde hair, look for a purple toning shampoo to neutralize yellow tones.
  • Brown hair: If you have brown hair, go for a blue toning shampoo to neutralize orange tones.
  • Dark hair: If you have dark hair with red undertones, go with a green toning shampoo.

Hair type

Choose a toning shampoo specific to your hair type – whether that’s fine, thick, dry, or oily:

  • Fine hair: Opt for a lightweight toning shampoo that won’t weigh down your hair.
  • Thick hair: Choose a nourishing and hydrating toning shampoo, as thick hair may require more moisture.
  • Dry hair: Look for a toning shampoo with hydrating ingredients to help restore your hair’s natural oils.
  • Oily hair: Pick a balancing toning shampoo that cleanses without stripping away your scalp’s natural oils.

Toning Conditioner for Different Hair Types

As for the color of your toning conditioner, follow the same guidelines as for toning shampoo:

  • Purple shampoo for yellow tones
  • Blue shampoo for orange tones
  • Green shampoo for red tones

Here’s what you need to remember when choosing a toning conditioner:

  • Fine hair: Choose a lightweight toning conditioner to avoid weighing down your fine hair.
  • Thick hair: Pick a rich, moisturizing toning conditioner that helps manage thick hair and provides hydration.
  • Dry hair: Opt for a toning conditioner with nourishing ingredients to help replenish your hair’s natural oils.
  • Oily hair: Select a balancing toning conditioner that won’t cause buildup or make your hair greasy.

Common Misconceptions & Precautions

There are a few common myths regarding toning shampoos and conditioners that you might have heard.

Let’s clear them up:

  1. Gender-specific products: Toning shampoos and conditioners are not gender-specific. They work the same for everyone, regardless of gender.
  2. Replacing regular products: Toning shampoos and conditioners are not meant to replace your regular shampoo and conditioner. Most are designed to be used alongside your regular products.
  3. Causing dandruff: Toning products does not cause dandruff. Dandruff is typically caused by a dry scalp or an imbalance of natural oils, unrelated to the use of toning products.

Potential Risks and Dangers

Here are some potential risks and precautions to keep in mind when using toning shampoos and conditioners:

  • Chemicals
  • Hair dye compatibility
  • Additives
  • Damaged hair


Always read the ingredients list on the products. Some toning shampoos and conditioners contain chemicals that can irritate your scalp or damage your hair.

If you have a history of sensitivity to certain ingredients, consult with a hairstylist or salon professional before using these products.

Hair dye compatibility

Not all toning shampoos and conditioners will work well with every hair dye. Check with a hairstylist to make sure the toner is compatible with your hair dye.


Some shampoos and conditioners contain harmful additives. These can cause friction between your hair strands. Look for products that contain conditioning agents and avoid those with harmful additives.

Use caution with damaged hair

If your hair is already damaged, using toning shampoos and conditioners too often may further damage your hair.

Final Takeaway: Is Toning Shampoo or Conditioner Better?

Both toning shampoo and conditioner works. There’s not one answer for which is better. It depends on your hair. If you have very brassy hair, toning shampoo will do your hair good. If you’re looking for an easy maintenance product, both can work.

They work great together, but can also work independently.

So, the choice mainly depends on your individual hair needs:

  • Toning shampoo is great for combating brassiness and yellow hues.
  • Toning conditioner combats brassy tones and adds moisture, shine, and manageability.

Remember, finding the perfect balance requires some experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try both options and see which works best for your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which works better: purple shampoo or purple conditioner?

Both purple shampoo and purple conditioner work well to get rid of unwanted brassy and yellow tones in blonde hair. The main difference is how you use them. Purple shampoo is used while washing your hair, while purple conditioner is applied after shampooing. You can choose which one works best for you based on your hair needs and personal preference.

Can I use regular conditioner after using a toning shampoo?

Yes, you can use a regular conditioner after using a toning shampoo. Toning shampoos help get rid of unwanted tones, while regular conditioners provide nourishment and hydration to your hair. Using both together ensures that your hair remains manageable, soft, healthy, and maintains your desired hair color.

Should I use purple shampoo and conditioner together?

Using purple shampoo and conditioner together can help you maintain your hair color and keep it healthy. You can alternate between using purple shampoo and regular shampoo. Use either purple or regular conditioner as needed. This approach gives your hair the benefits of toning, nourishment, and hydration.

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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.