Gray Hair Toner – 7 Ways to Keep Silver Hair Cool.


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Gone are the days when gray hair was just for grandmas! Today, silver hair is a mega popular trend, embraced by millennials and baby boomers alike.

From smoky silver to icy platinum, there are countless ways to go gray. And stay that way? Or will you need gray hair toner?

Perhaps. You see, gray hair has a tendency to draw warmth and turn a brassy yellow. There are a few factors at play that cause gray hair to lose its cool and take on a yellow hue.

Environmental factors like smoking, pollution, and even shampooing and styling products can cause yellowing.

As we age, our hair follicles produce less sebum, which is the natural oil that protects hair and gives it shine. This can make gray strands more susceptible to damage, leading to that undesirable yellow color.

It all sounds very serious, but don’t worry! – there are ways to combat yellowing, and we’re here with 7 easy ways to tone your hair and keep your gray hair color cool.

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7 easy ways to tone gray hair

Ah, the joys of aging – wrinkles, aches, and let’s not forget gray hair. While there’s certainly something chic about silver hair, there’s also the matter of keeping it looking stylish and not like you’ve just given up on coloring it altogether.

Toning your hair will help you keep the perfect color for your gray locks. Here are 7 easy ways to embrace the silver fox within you!

#1. Use a Purple Shampoo

Perhaps the most popular method to achieve silver hair is by using a purple shampoo.

Purple shampoo is a lifesaver when it comes to toning gray hair. They contain violet pigments that counteract yellow or brassy tones in the hair. 

It works because purple and yellow lie opposite each other on the color wheel, which means that purple shampoo counteracts the yellow tones that often occur in gray hair.

Use a purple shampoo once a week to get the best results. 

#2. Use a Toning Mask

A toning mask is another great way to tone your gray hair.

Toning masks are deep conditioning treatments that deposit color and tone to your hair. They’re an excellent alternative to purple shampoos. 

Apply it to towel-dried or dry hair and leave it on for 10-20 minutes, depending on the brand.

The toning mask will leave your hair feeling soft and moisturized, while also toning down yellow or brassy tones

#3. Use Baking Soda

If you’re looking for a natural option to tone your hair sans harsh chemicals, baking soda may be a good option.

Baking soda will neutralize any yellow or brassy tones, leaving you with cool silver hair. 

Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with several cups of water, and pour the solution over your hair.

Massage it into your scalp, and leave it there for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse it out thoroughly.

#4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar works similarly to baking soda to tone gray hair.

Apple cider vinegar will balance your scalp’s pH levels, removing impurities in your hair and scalp, leading to a more vibrant and silver look. 

Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water, and pour the solution over your hair. Massage it in, and leave it there for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse it out thoroughly.

#5. Use a Silver Shampoo

If you want an intense silver effect, use a silver shampoo.

These shampoos contain blue or purple pigments that create a striking silver tone in the hair. It’s an easy and effective way to tone your gray hair, but don’t overdo it!

Use it once a week, as overuse can leave your hair feeling dry and brittle. 

#6. Use a Color-Depositing Conditioner

A color-depositing conditioner is an excellent way to enhance your gray hair’s color while also moisturizing it too.

A color-depositing conditioner will leave your hair feeling soft and looking vibrant.

Choose a conditioner that’s specifically designed for silver hair and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse it out thoroughly.

#7. Get Professional Advice

If you’re unsure which method to use or have never toned your hair before, it’s best to see a professional hair colorist.

They can assess your hair and help you choose the right toning method and products for your hair type and color.

Plus, a professional will give you a customized treatment using professional grade toners that are specially formulated for you and will help you blend gray hair naturally.

Gray hair toner before and after

What is hair toner?

Hair toner is like the cherry on top of a sundae – the finishing touch to your hair color that truly brings everything together.

Hair toner is a coloring product used on hair that has already been dyed or lightened.

It helps to neutralize any unwanted tones, like brassiness or yellowing, and gives hair a more even and toned appearance.

Think of it as the final step in achieving the perfect hair color.

Plus, using a toner can also help to improve the overall health and shine of your hair.

Whether you’re going for a silver fox look or just want to keep your blonde looking bright, hair toner is what you need.

Is hair toner good for gray hair?

Many people love the natural silver hue that comes with aging, while others want to keep their hair looking as youthful as possible.

Hair toner can be a great solution if you want to enhance your gray locks.

By neutralizing any unwanted brassiness or yellow tones, toner can give grey hair a fresh, modern look.

What does gray toner do to hair?

While toner in general works to balance out unwanted tones in hair, gray toner takes it a step further by adding cool, silver tones to the hair.

The toner works by depositing ashy hues onto the hair shaft, neutralizing any warm tones and leaving you with a chic, sleek finish.

So how does it work exactly? Well, it’s all to do with color theory. Let’s turn to the trusty hair color wheel.

Orange shades cancel out blue, and yellow shades cancel out violet, and vice versa. This is because they’re opposite each other on the hair color wheel.

Gray toner contains a mix of blue and violet pigments, which means it cancels out any orange or yellow tones in your hair. Simple!

hair color wheel infographic

What are the best toners for gray hair?

Here’s a round up of some of our favourite purple shampoos that work to tone and banish brassiness on gray hair.

Best purple shampoos for gray hair at a glance.

ShampooLooks likeBest forBuy it now
Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair. BOLD UNIQ Purple Shampoo for Blonde Hair - Toning Shampoo for Blonde, Platinum, Bleached, Grey, Ash, and Silver Hair - Eliminates Brassy, Yellow Tones - Vegan, Paraben & Sulphate Free - 8 Fl Oz
Keeping gray hair cool.
Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo Redken Purple Shampoo, With Citric Acid and Vi Violet Pigment, Hair Toner, Color Depositing Formula, For Blonde & Treated Hair, Neutralizes Brassy Tones, Extend Blondage, 10.1 fl.oz./300ml
Darker grays.
Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo. Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Purple Conditioner for Blonde & Lightened Color-Treated Hair, 9 Fl Oz
Bringing gray hair back to life.
Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet. Kerastase Blond Absolu Bain Ultra-Violet 8.5 oz
Happier and healthier cool gray hair.
John Frieda Sheer Blonde Violet Crush Tone Correcting Purple Shampoo. John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone-Correcting, DUO set Shampoo + Conditioner, 8.45 Ounce, 1 each
Refreshed gray on a budget.
Fudge Professional Purple Toning Shampoo. HATOLDLIY Fudge Clean Blonde Violet-Toning Shampoo 8.4 oz, Black, (100104033)
Frequent use.
TIGI Bed Head, Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo. TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Purple Toning Shampoo, 13.5 Ounce
Less brassiness, more softness.

Watch and learn: How to apply toner to gray hair 

Here’s a great video that shows you step by step how to use hair toners to keep grey hair cool.

YouTube video

How can I make my gray hair more silver?

Anyone can take their gray hair to the next level by simply trying out some new products and techniques.

Start off by trying a silver shampoo and conditioner to tone down any brassy hue and add silver dimension.

For a more dramatic effect, try a toner that specifically targets gray and silver hair.

Another option is to go wild and dye your hair a stunning shade of smoky silver!

Don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment until you find the right solution for you.

How to care for gray hair.

With the right hair care routine, your silver strands can stay cool and in top condition.

Start off by choosing a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner since sulfates can dry out your hair.

Make sure you keep your hair hydrated by using hair masks or leave-in conditioners.

If you are a fan of heated styling tools, remember to use a heat protectant product to avoid causing damage to your hair.

Finally, don’t forget to get regular trims to keep your hair looking healthy and well-maintained. Gray hair can be very dry and frizzy!

Parting words

When it comes to gray hair, you don’t have to simply accept the yellowing that often follows.

There are plenty of simple solutions to fight brassy tones in your silver strands. Whether you’re a long-time silver hair wearer or just beginning your transition to this fantastic and classic look – toner is the way to go.

Consult with a professional colorist for application tips, and you’ll be on your way to a head full of cool, beautiful gray hair!

Go ahead and surprise yourself – embrace the trend and see what silver hair can do for you. With proper maintenance and understanding of what works best for you, it’s easy to love your gray hair day in and day out.


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!