Articles > Gray > Toning Relaxed Grays: How To Avoid The Yellow/Green Fade
Last updated: October 02, 2023

Toning Relaxed Grays: How To Avoid The Yellow/Green Fade

close formula

How To Maintain Grays On Relaxed Hair, Cancel Out Yellow Tones & Avoid Overtoning

Working with relaxed grays can seem tedious until you understand what you’re working with. We’re breaking it all down: If you want to learn how to avoid overtoning, cancel out yellow tones (without the purple shampoo!) and maintain grays in between salon visits, keep on scrolling.


1. Working With High Porosity: What You Should Know

We know the fear that comes with toning porous hair: Getting a splotchy, uneven deposit is never fun. According to 2022 #ONESHOT Winner and BTC Team Member John George (@johnwgeorge) you can do two things to help even out porosity:


  • First, use a leave-in: “I will use a leave-in product, then you can tone on top of that,” John explains. This will create an even foundation for the toner.
  • Next, saturation is a must: “When there’s really high porosity, you really have to overly saturate and make sure you thoroughly cover all parts of the hair for full coverage and penetration,” he adds.


2. Unwanted Yellow Tones? Use THIS Instead of Purple Shampoo… 

Here’s a common situation: John’s 100 percent gray/white client came in for a relaxer touch-up with a slight lavender hue on her hair from purple shampoo. While the relaxer processed, her hair turned yellow with a green tint from the deposit-only color.


“After a relaxer, gray hair can turn yellow or green. Purple shampoo will not fix this,” John explains, adding that, “It can leave the hair with a lavender cast.” For long-lasting results, John cancels out unwanted yellow/green tones with Matrix Tonal Control 11PV


Fix yellow/green tones with Tonal Control Gel-Cream Toners—click here!





Here’s why it works:

The pH of a relaxer is 13 (alkaline,) and we need to neutralize this after processing. Tonal Control is an acidic gel-cream toner that brings down the pH of the hair. That’s why John applies Tonal Control directly to the hair after rinsing and processes for 10 quick minutes at the bowl. “The effect of the toner can really be seen in the brightness of her gray without the lavender hue,” John explains. See the results below!

close formula

Photo Credit: Instagram via @johnwgeorge


11PV is the perfect shade for toning grays because the background color is Pearl Violet—remembering color theory, we know purple cancels out yellow. You might think of reaching for a purple shampoo; but, here’s why toner is key: “[Purple shampoos] are just surface products and because the porosity of relaxed hair is usually very high, the cuticle is expanded. The hair has a tendency to grab those surface colors and hold them,” John explains, which is why he chooses Tonal Control.


3. Gray Maintenance Guide: Screenshot This For Later

Like our blonde clients, gray clients run into the same issues of unwanted fading to yellow or discoloration with heat. John is sharing is gray maintenance must-dos with us, so get ready to screenshot his guide to gracefully maintaining grays at home and in between salon visits:


  • Visit the salon every 12+ weeks: “A lot of people nowadays are on a 12-week cycle (or longer) for relaxer touch-ups which is perfect for toner, too.” But, if your clients do a lot of the following, they may need to visit sooner!
  • Shampoo less: The more you shampoo, the faster your toner will fade which leads to yellowing.
  • Use a purple shampoo: “I always recommend a purple shampoo,” John says. His favorite? Matrix So Silver Purple Shampoo. Beware! This tip is for gray clients, not white-gray. “Some people are 100 percent gray and their hair is really white. Then, I would instruct them to dilute it with water and to make sure that before they apply, they really mix it up in their hands well. If you don’t, white hair has a tendency to grab purple and leave a purple tint on the hair.”
  • Keep heat exposure low: John suggests that clients use heat no more than once a week. Also, in terms of temperature, keep it low. “I would recommend they have a tool that has a digital readout so they can see exactly what temperature it is. I would also tell them to keep it under 380 degrees for textured hair and 300 degrees for straight hair.”


close formula

Photo Credit: Instagram via @johnwgeorge


Try John’s secret: Kick unwanted yellow/green in 10 minutes!


Products Used


This content is sponsored.

More from