How to Remove Green Tones From Hair – The Complete Guide

By Tina Moretti
Updated

How to Remove Green Tones From Hair – The Complete Guide

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Green hair may be all the rage in certain corners of Instagram, but when you’re on the brassy side of it, or it’s a hair dye job gone wrong, you end up looking more like a swamp monster than a trendsetter.

But before you reach out to your trusty toner, here’s what you need to know …

Green tones can be a sign that:

  • you have oxidizers in your hair,
  • your undertones didn’t lighten enough,
  • or an incorrect hair dye application.

Whatever it may be in your case, you want to fix it fast.

So let me show you how to remove green tones from your hair the correct way.

I’ve seen many people going down the bleaching route or using purple shampoos in desperate attempts to fix green tones. You probably know what happened next … It only got worse.

Before you start fiddling around with random tricks you may have found on TikTok, let’s start with defining the actual problem …

Why Does Hair Turn Green?

why blonde hair turn green

Hair can turn green due to:

  • oxidized mineral buildup like copper from hard water or chlorine from swimming pools,
  • underlying color pigments showing through, or
  • an incorrect hair dye/toner application creating an out-of-balance mixture of tones.

In most cases, unwanted green tones indicate a lack of warm tones in the hair, like Red and Orange.

Oxidized Minerals Buildup

One of the main reasons blonde hair turns brassy green is because of swimming pool water, washing with hard water, or even using certain hair styling products.

However, it’s essential to note that chlorine and hard water do not directly alter the color of the hair to green. Although chlorine can lighten hair color, it does not create a green tint.

It’s the leftovers that stay in the hair, mainly copper, used to kill algae, that causes the oxidization process, which in turn causes brassy green hair.

To illustrate this:

Let’s use the Statue of Liberty as an example.

green tint from oxidization

The statue of Liberty is made of copper, which is dull brown. But when you look at it, you’ll see that the statue is blue-green instead. This is because as the copper oxidizes, it interacts with the sulfur in the air, creating a patina (or layer) of green on the statue’s surface.

Similarly, when your hair is oxidized by chlorine or hard water, it accumulates a patina of green color on the surface.

Underlying Color Pigments When Color-Lifting

underlying green color pigments inside hair follicles

Another cause for green hair tones is your hair color’s underlying pigments. For example, the inside of the hair fibers is predominantly blue pigments for darkest brown or black hair.

how light blonde hair turns green

So when a darker color is lifted via bleaching to make it very light blonde (yellow underlying pigments) the yellow and blue (from dark) results in green if the lifting is not good enough to neutralize the underlying pigments.

Similarly, when you try to go from light blonde to darkest brown, blue and yellow undertones create a greenish tint if not done correctly.

“Blonde hair has a lot of yellow in it. Black has a lot of blue in it. Once combined, you can get the dreaded green cast. The best way to avoid this is to have a professional apply the color.” Monae Everett
American Board Certified Hair Colorist - Naturally Curly

Incorrect Color Application

According to the ICC (International Color Charts for Hairdressing), every hair color product contains a level color and a tone or reflect color.

Levels represent all the possible natural colors we are born with. Also commonly known as the base color, it determines the depth and how light or dark your hair is.

understanding base hair colors

Tone, on the other hand, is the second number that comes after the period mark. It is used to neutralize the coloration to cancel out cool or warm tones when changing the base color.

understanding hair dye tone levels

Therefore if you’re picking a hair dye that has the number 6.3, it indicates that you want Dark Blonde with a Golden primary tone.

hair coloring numbers explained

If you’re picking the number 6.34, it indicates you want Dark Blonde with Golden as primary tone, and Copper as secondary tone.

how to read hair dye color numbers

When picking a hair dye, most people immediately look at the level (the first Big number), which is the color clearly shown in the photo on the box. But they forget to pay attention to the numbers after the decimal.

This is essential to determining the tone the dye will set in your hair. So if you’ve picked a blue tone to color blonde hair, it will give your hair a green tone (Blue + Yellow).

Coloring dark hair blonde and picking a dye with a strong blue tone can also reveal a green tone by mixing it with light yellow.

Hopefully, this helps you pick the right hair dye next time you go shopping. Remember, the second number is what you need to look for to avoid cool or warm tones in your hair.

Now, let’s look at how to fix your green hair woes.

How to Remove Green Tones from Your Hair

To effectively remove unwanted green tones from your hair, you’ll need to assess what’s causing the green in the first place.

  • Is it a mineral buildup problem?
  • is it a color-lifting problem causing underlying pigments to show through?
  • Is it a new color application?

Below I discuss all 3 possibilities and expand more on how to fix the problem in each situation.

But before I proceed, let me just pin this color reference chart here, which I will use below:

colot heory cool and warm colors

So here goes …

How to Remove Green Tones in Blonde Hair

To remove green tones in blonde hair, you must first use a clarifying shampoo to neutralize the mineral buildup that may be causing the brassiness.

Removing oxidized minerals, chlorine, product residues, and environmental pollutants creates a clean slate so that you can see the real color of your hair without any other elements interfering.

Use it for removing green tones from:

  • Blonde hair
  • Ash blonde hair
  • Platinum hair colors
  • Gray and silver hair colors

The best one I recommend:

malibu c antioxidants shampoo

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo

Affiliate Disclosure

Once you’ve done that, then you can consider using a toner.

So what toner should you use to fix green hair tones?

You need to use red or pink toner to cancel out green tones in blonde hair. Not a purple toner.

Most blondes default to purple toners for every brassiness-related issue, but let me confirm this: Purple shampoo does not fix green hair tones.

Look at the color wheel to understand why …

red and pink toning conditioner cancels green hue in hair

Going back to basic color toning theory, you need the color opposite it on the wheel to cancel out a warm color. The color wheel says RED is opposite to GREEN. Not purple.

An excellent product I recommend is the Overtone Pink Toning Conditioner.

How to Remove Green Tones from Brown Hair

It isn’t uncommon for brunettes to tackle green undertones, too. In fact, as opposed to popular opinion, blondes aren’t the only ones with a green hair problem on their hands – brown-haired women also know how annoying green tint is.

If you’re a brunette looking to fix green hair, you can do the same that blondes do – use a red-based hair dye after clarifying. Red hair colors cancel out the greenish tint and green color quite nicely.

To get the green out of hair, brunettes should re-dye their hair with the right warm tones or use red tones in hair products as part of their everyday hair care routine. You’ll be able to see the difference after the first application.

Removing Green Tones from Gray Hair

Other than blondes and brunettes, grey-haired women (whether natural or colored) are no strangers to green hair too. Gray encompasses cool tones, making dealing with the hair’s not-so-appealing green areas a bit more challenging.

Nonetheless, there’s a way to cancel out the unwanted green tones of gray hair.

Use a shampoo with pink pigment or a red rose depositing conditioner.

Reason:

Gray hair has a yellow base. If you’ve been using a purple toner, which is blue based, the combination creates green.

To neutralize the green, you need to use the opposite RED. Since gray does not have strong resistance, going on the lighter side of red, which is pink or red rose, should do the job.

Forum: Toner advice needed for grey hair with green undertone

Getting Rid of Green Tones From Blue Hair

Fashion-forward men and women love sporting cobalt blue hair. But besides being the ultimate street fashion must, blue hair is rather difficult to maintain. One of the major drawbacks of blue hair is that it can easily get green, whether by swimming in salt water or in a swimming pool.

Now, to cancel out the green in your blue locks, the best way to go about it is to apply an orange toner or a light red one. Moreover, you can use baking soda, too. As per the color wheel, you can see the blue and the orange are positioned opposite of each other, which means the orange will cancel out green effectively.

Getting Rid of Green Tones in Black Hair

You might be surprised that black hair can turn green, but it’s no wonder that the sultry tones suddenly take on a green tint. Usually, the reason behind green tints in black hair, especially if you’ve gone from blonde to black, is that blonde hair dye (or bleached hair) consists of yellow pigments, whereas black has more blue pigments. Hence, yellow and blue can make hair turn green.

To fix it, you can either redye your hair with the correct color, making sure you are picking the right number (closer to red), or start using shampoos or conditioners with warm red tones to cancel the green.

How to Remove Green From Bleached Hair

Bleached blonde hair can easily turn green for several reasons, such as getting in contact with chlorine from swimming pools or from a bleaching process gone bad. To remove the green hue from your bleached hair, try using hair day in warm tones, especially red ones.

Red will help neutralize green, so give it a few times to diminish the green tint altogether. Moreover, you can go the extra mile and give your bleached hair some TLC and wash it with cool water.

DIY Methods to Get Green Tint Out of Your Hair

One of the best things about caring for your hair is that you can find all sorts of natural remedies that can help you with a myriad of hair issues. From tangles to discoloration, mother nature has a few tricks to offer us.

When it comes to tackling annoying green tints in your hair, most of us turn to lemon juice as the go-to aid for hair discoloration. For instance, if your bleached hair isn’t as light as you want it to be, you can mix lemon juice with baking soda and apply the mixture to your hair.

You’ll be able to see your hair lighten and become shinier.

We have shortlisted some of the most useful DIY methods to help you get rid of green hair, so let’s check them out.

  • Lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon Kool-Aid
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Tomato juice
  • Aspirin

Lemon Juice

Good ol’ lemon juice is a great option for eliminating grin tint. Due to lemon being high in natural acids, other than successfully neutralizing green hair. lemon juice will also take care of residue buildup on your scalp and clean away impurities.

To ensure the lemon juice will work right, bathe your entire hair in lemon juice and let it cure for no longer than 10 minutes. After the time has passed, wash off the lemon juice and use conditioner generously.

It’s important to remember not to overuse this method since the acids in lemon juice can dry out your hair, so keep moderation in mind. Not to end up with more damaged hair, remember to use your go-to conditioner after treating your hair with lemon juice.

Baking Soda

Another kitchen must, baking soda, will come in quite handy for this nifty homemade remedy. Baking soda delivers superb lifting properties, which will be used to lift out the impurities causing your hair to turn green.

Many DIY buffs turn to baking soda as hair toner replacement, however awkward it may sound. To make your very own green hair remover, you’ll need some baking soda and water.

Put two parts of baking soda and one part of lukewarm water into a bowl. Mix it all up – you should get a baking soda paste, similar to toothpaste. Scoop the mixture and apply a generous amount of it on your green hair or any visible green areas in your hair.

Leave it on for no less than 15 minutes and no more than half an hour, depending on how severe the green spots are. You’ll be able to get the green out of your hair during the first session.

Lemon Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid uses some pretty potent coloring, so using lemon Kool-Aid on your hair can help reduce the green tint. Whether you’re left with green hair as the result of a poorly done dye job or after a dip in the swimming pool, Kool-Aid can help you get the green out of your hair and take on the role of a clarifying shampoo.

Start by mixing the powder with some water. Use moderate proportions since you rent looking to get a beverage but a paste-like mixture. In most cases, as little as a tablespoon of water will do the trick.

Scoop some of the mixes and apply it to the green areas in your hair. Don’t saturate all of your hair, only the green spots! and let it sit for nearly 20 minutes.

Afterward, wash it off with warm water using your regular shampoo and conditioner.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is probably one of the most delicate and soothing substances used to help with scattering the green out of hair. Apple cider vinegar will do a great job of lifting the pollutants in your hair that are causing it to turn green.

As a gentle cleanser, apple cider vinegar won’t be the most effective against severe cases of green hair discoloration. In every other case of green hues and undertones, apple cider vinegar will act as a clarifying shampoo.

You can use a spray bottle to disperse the vinegar generously and evenly on your hair – get every strand wet. Gently massage the vinegar into your hair for a few minutes and then wash it off with warm water.

When using apple cider vinegar, it’s important to remember not to shampoo or condition your hair until the next day. Plus, those that are looking to lighten their natural color can also use apple cider vinegar as a lightening agent.

Tomato Juice

Tomatoes and tomato-based products are superb color-restoring agents. In fact, the juice coming from tomatoes is used at large by women with bleached hair since it helps them with visible green patches on their hair.

You can replace harsh chemicals with tomato juice and see the green undertones fade away from your locks. Ketchup, V8, or tomato sap will all work just fine and deliver the same result – non-green hair!

Use a preferred tomato variant and apply coats of it on your hair. Let it cure for half an hour, then rinse it off. You can use any of your regular shampoos and conditioners.

Aspirin

Even though using drugs as hair treatment is rather peculiar, it isn’t a novelty. In fact, the acidity of aspirin has been used as a mild bleaching agent throughout history.

Due to its high acid content, aspirin will help drag the pollutants away from your hair and lift the green hues along. Since your bleached, dyed, or natural color can get green easily, you can also easily get rid of it.

Start by taking from eight to ten aspirin tablets (the regular ones, not the gel variant) and add them to half a cup of hot water. You don’t have to boil water; just use the hot water handle on your faucet. Give it a few seconds for the tablets to dissolve (you can crush them up before putting them in water if you don’t have time to wait).

Once the mixture has taken on a paste-like consistency, apply it to your hair while focusing on the problematic (green) areas. Massage the mixture into your hair well and let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse out as usual, and use your regular shampoo and conditioner.

To Wrap Up

After clarifying, I personally prefer using a color-depositing shampoo or conditioner rather than a traditional toner.

With toners, you have more margins for error, plus you need to know exactly what you’re doing, whereas shampoos are easier to use. Although the result is not instant, it gradually tones the color to the required result.

So start with a clarifying shampoo, use a red toning conditioner or shampoo to start with, then consider using a toner if you want faster results, and you know what you’re doing.