How to Fix Orange Hair with Box Dye – Step-by-Step Solutions


Hello, beautiful readers! Have you ever embarked on a DIY hair dye journey, only to end up with a shockingly orange mane? You’re not alone. This common mishap can happen to anyone experimenting with box dyes, especially when lightening dark hair. But don’t worry, your journey to perfect hair color doesn’t end here. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to correct orange hair and achieve the color you originally aimed for. Let’s turn that unexpected orange into an opportunity for a stunning hair transformation!

Understanding Why Hair Turns Orange

Understanding the ‘why’ behind orange hair can help you prevent it in the future and fix it effectively now. When you lighten hair, you remove its natural pigment, revealing the underlying warm tones. For darker hair, these warm tones are often reddish or orange. Box dyes, while user-friendly, may not always be powerful enough to fully neutralize these warm tones, resulting in an undesired orange tint.

The Role of Hair Undertones

Every hair color has an undertone, which can be cool (blue/green) or warm (red/orange/yellow). Darker hair typically has a warm undertone that becomes prominent when hair is bleached or lightened.

The Impact of Bleach in Box Dyes

Box dyes often contain varying levels of bleach, which helps in lightening the hair. However, the strength and quality of this bleach can vary, affecting how much of the natural hair color it can lift. Insufficient lifting often leaves behind orange tones.

How to Fix Orange Hair with Box Dye - Step-by-Step Solutions

Preparing for the Fix

Assess Your Hair Condition

Before you start the correction process, it’s crucial to assess the current state of your hair. If your hair feels dry, brittle, or shows signs of damage, it’s important to address these issues first. Over-processed hair can react unpredictably to further treatments, so consider a protein treatment or deep conditioning before proceeding.

Choosing the Right Products

Selecting the right products is key to successfully fixing orange hair. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Toner: Choose a toner with blue or purple tones to counteract the orange. The level of toner should match the level of lightness of your hair.
  • Developer: Usually, a 20-volume developer works well with toner, but this may vary depending on the product and your hair condition.
  • Additional Products: Depending on the method you choose, you might also need a good quality hair dye brush, gloves, a mixing bowl, and a timer.

Safety Precautions and Patch Testing

Safety first! Always conduct a patch test to avoid allergic reactions. Apply a small amount of the toner mixture to an inconspicuous section of hair and skin. Wait for 24-48 hours to ensure there’s no adverse reaction. Remember to also perform a strand test to preview the results on your hair.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fix Orange Hair

Fixing orange hair involves a careful and precise approach. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Toner

The first and most crucial step is selecting an appropriate toner. Toner is used to correct the unwanted orange tones by neutralizing them.

  • Understanding Toner: Toners come in various shades and are designed to counteract and neutralize the unwanted warm tones in your hair. For orange hair, a blue-based toner is typically used because blue is opposite orange on the color wheel, effectively cancelling out the orange tones.
  • Shade Selection: Choose a toner shade that aligns with your desired end result. If your hair is a lighter orange, opt for a light ash blonde toner. For darker orange tones, a darker ash blonde toner might be more appropriate.

Step 2: Application of Toner

Once you have your toner and developer ready, it’s time to mix and apply them.

  • Mixing: Combine the toner with the developer according to the instructions on the toner packaging. This is usually at a 1:2 ratio (one part toner to two parts developer). Make sure to mix it thoroughly in a plastic bowl.
  • Applying: Start by dividing your hair into sections for an even application. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Using a hair dye brush, apply the toner mixture to each section of your hair, starting from the roots and moving towards the ends. Ensure that all orange areas are well covered.
  • Timing: The time you leave the toner in your hair is critical. It usually ranges from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the product and the intensity of the orange you’re trying to correct. Check your hair every 5-10 minutes to monitor the color change.

Step 3: Rinsing and Conditioning

After the toner has been in your hair for the recommended time, it’s time to rinse it out.

  • Rinsing: Rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water until all the toner is out. Avoid using hot water as it can open up the hair cuticles, causing the toner to escape and the brassiness to return.
  • Conditioning: Follow up with a good conditioner, preferably one that’s sulfate-free and made for color-treated hair. This will help in sealing the hair cuticles and keeping the color locked in, while also providing much-needed hydration and nourishment to your hair.

Step 4: Drying and Styling

  • Drying: Gently towel dry your hair and, if possible, let it air dry. If you need to use a hair dryer, use it on a lower heat setting to prevent further damage and color fading.
  • Styling: Once your hair is dry, style it as usual. You’ll be able to see the full effect of the toner on your hair now. If you’ve achieved the desired result, great! If not, you may need to consider if a second toning session is necessary, but it’s advisable to wait a few days to avoid damaging your hair.

Alternative Methods

If toning doesn’t fully correct the orange or if you’re looking for different methods, here are some alternatives:

  • Color Removers: These products are designed to strip away the existing dye, reducing the intensity of the orange. They can be a bit harsh, so follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.
  • Professional Salon Visit: Sometimes, the best course of action is to seek help from a professional. Hairstylists can offer solutions tailored to your hair’s condition and color goals.
  • Using Blue or Purple Shampoos: These shampoos are formulated to neutralize brassy tones. They’re a gentler option for maintenance rather than an immediate fix.
How to Fix Orange Hair with Box Dye - Step-by-Step Solutions

Tips to Avoid Orange Hair in the Future

To prevent future hair dye mishaps, consider these tips:

  • Choose the Right Dye: Understand the base tones of different dye colors. Avoid those with warm undertones unless that’s the desired result.
  • Strand Test: Always do a strand test to predict the outcome before applying the dye to your entire head.
  • Understand Your Hair: Recognize your hair’s natural undertones. This knowledge can guide you in selecting the right dye and toner.
  • Professional Advice: If you’re unsure, consult a hair colorist before proceeding with a home dye job.


In conclusion, learning how to fix orange hair with box dye is a valuable skill for anyone who loves experimenting with hair color at home. This guide has walked you through the steps of how to fix orange hair with box dye, offering both immediate solutions and preventive tips for the future. Remember, the key to successfully fixing orange hair with box dye lies in understanding the cause, choosing the right products, and following the steps diligently. Whether you opt for toning, using color-correcting shampoos, or seek professional help, these methods are all part of the journey in mastering how to fix orange hair with box dye. Embrace each step of this process with patience and care, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the hair color you desire, free of any unwanted orange tones.

Kelly Rodriguez
Kelly Rodriguez
Where Sophistication and Style Meet.

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