If you color your hair, then you're likely familiar with fading - when, for example, brilliant cranberry-colored strands go blah brassy-orange. It mostly happens because you wash your hair, and for super-active people, sudsing up often is a necessity. Cleansing ingredients like sulfates cause dye molecules to seep out of strands while minerals in hard water can coat them, making hair appear dull.
Now, however, there's an at-home antidote: toning shampoos (aka tinted shampoos). "These formulas wash your hair as any shampoo would but contain pigment that enhances the tones you do want and neutralizes the tones you don't," says Rachel Bodt, a colorist in New York.
Toning shampoos work on a fully dyed mane, highlights, and even your natural color. The pigment sits on top of your strands, so for consistent results, you'll want to cycle one into your routine regularly. "My clients typically wash with a tinted shampoo once or twice a month to keep their color fresh and make their roots blend in better," says Bodt. Apply all over wet hair, let it sit for three to five minutes, then rinse and follow with conditioner.
Ready to try a toning shampoo? Try these best toning shampoo picks for your hair color, and watch your hue come back to life.
Toning Shampoos for Blonde, Gray, and White Hair
A toning shampoo neutralizes an unwanted tone by depositing its opposite shade on the color wheel, says Bodt. Bright blonde, gray, and white hair can go too yellow over time, so a violet shampoo like OGX Blonde Enhance + Purple Toning Shampoo (Buy It, $7, amazon.com) counteracts that while amplifying your cooler blonde tones.
OGX Blonde Enhance + Purple Toning Shampoo
Toning Shampoos for Brown Hair
Brunettes often get brassy highlights as their color fades. Looking to the color wheel again, the hue opposite orange is blue, so you'll want to look for that hue in a toning shampoo. Try the John Frieda Blue Crush Shampoo (Buy It, $12, ulta.com). "Blue can be a very potent shade, so I tell clients to use it sparingly until they're sure about the intensity of the formula," says Bodt.
Brunettes also tend to have red undertones. If you want to strike them from your hair, use a toning shampoo with a green formula like Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Green Shampoo (Buy It, $17, ulta.com). (Wait, should you be co-washing your hair?)
John Frieda Blue Crush Shampoo
Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Green Shampoo
Toning Shampoos for Red Hair
The toughest hair color to keep bright is red, so you want to use a toning shampoo that makes the hues you like more vibrant. (Related: The 10 Best Shampoos for Color-Treated Hair, According to Experts)
If your hair is a warm tone, like copper, consider Goldwell Dualsenses Color Revive Color Giving Conditioner in Warm Red (Buy It, $25, amazon.com). Note that it's a conditioner, so apply it after your color-safe shampoo. Otherwise, try Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo (Buy It, $19, amazon.com) to enhance a cool-toned red - like that brilliant cranberry.