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What are the best blue toners to neutralize yellow & orange hair?


Using blue based toners is one of the best ways to neutralize yellow and orange hair.

In fact, blue based colors are some of the most useful products a stylist can keep at her or his station.

In this blog we will show you how you can use blue based color to use to neutralize yellow or orange.

Then we will also take you through 5 real-life salon situations with videos and actual hair results.

In this seminar you will learn:

How exactly does blue correct for yellow & orange?

Color Correction

Neutralizing Colors - Blue Cancels Out Yellow & Yellow-Orange

It's all to do with the way the color wheel works.

Blue is the exact opposite of bright yellow and yellow-orange.

As a result, blue will actually cancel out bright yellow and yellow-orange.

Using blue is therefore a great way of dealing with hair which is too yellow or too orange or too brassy.

To better understand, let's have a closer look at the blue colors which we can potentially use.

Ugly Duckling's blue toner range.

Ugly Duckling's has an entire blue based ash blonde range which goes from level 10 down to level 6.

The .1 in the above colors signifies that these are ash blonde colors.

Whereas the "b" signifies that they contain blue.

These colors are blonding colors with ash built in along with blue based pigments.

They are excellent for getting brassiness out of the hair.

And the great thing about them is that they are pre-mixed colors.

Which can be used straight out of the tube with 20 Vol. developer.


10.1 Extra Light Cool Ash Blonde


9.1b Very Light Cool Ash Blonde


8.1b Light Cool Ash Blonde 


7.1b Cool Ash Blonde


6.1b Dark Cold Ash Blonde

Ash Blue Additive

Ugly Duckling also has an ash-blue additive - a concentrate of blue, if you like.

You can use this to add in more blue into your color mix when you feel that that is needed.

It could be added to another blue based color such as those listed above.

Please note that adding in ash blue additive will tend to darken your hair color by about a tone or so.

You can therefore use it to tone down orange and go for a medium blonde look.

Ash Blue Additive

Ash Blue Additive

The ash blue additive is an extra blue "kicker" which you can add whenever you feel that that is needed.

It should be mixed in with your other color.

Around 1 inch of additive to a tube of color is about right.

You can mix in ash blue additive with any of the colors mentioned above.

You can also mix it in with a base shade such as 6N or 7N or 8N.

This will allow you to kill orange, cover greys and get you a consistent rich medium blonde look.

Best blue toners for going light blonde.

If you have orange hair, the best thing to do if you wish to go blonde is to lift the hair all the way up to level 9 or 10.

Then tone with either of the colors below:

10.1 Extra Light Cool Ash Blonde


9.1b Very Light Cool Ash Blonde

We will show you a real case later where we do exactly that.

Best blue toners for covering orange.

If you wish to cover over the orange without using bleach, then you will need to target medium blonde as an end result.

In this case you should 8.1b Light Cool Ash Blonde  or 7.1b Cool Ash Blonde for medium blonde.

And you can use 6.1b Dark Cold Ash Blonde to go dark ash blonde.

You can also add Ash Blue Additive to any of the above colors.

We will show you real life cases  where we use these products.

Brilliant Blonde Shampoo & Mask

Ugly Duckling also has a blue and purple based shampoo and mask.

It's called Brilliant Blonde.

It is a great for toning away yellow-orange from blonde hair.

It says purple shampoo and purple mask, but it contains plenty of blue in addition to purple.

You can use it as a maintenance product, too, as it is very gentle: it is sulfate-free, gluten-free and acid-based.

Shampoo & Mask

Ugly Duckling Brilliant Blonde Shampoo & Mask

Case 1: Using blue based toner 10.1b to neutralize yellow & go ash blonde

Yellow Hair Level 10

Yellow hair which needs to be neutralized. 

Here is an example where we successfully neuutralized yellow hair using 10.1b Extra Light Cool Blonde.

Our client had really yellow hair after bleaching.

This is totally normal and is to do with the way color works at this level.

We applied 10.1b, mixing it with 20 Vol developer in a 1 part color to 1 part developer mix.

Ugly Duckling's blue based ash blonde series are regular colors, not toners.

This means that they will produce really vibrant, rich 3 D effects.

Hair Color Mix

Hair Color of Ugly Duckling 10.1b Extra Light Cool Blonde and Developer

10.1b processing on the hair

Hair Color Processing on the hair

As the 10.1b processes on the hair, the blue pigments will start to show and the hair will change color.

This is normal. The blue based ash pigments are very strong.

That is what is required to color-correct the yellow!

Final Result - Ash Blonde Hair

The Final Result - White Ash Blonde Hair, All Yellow Eliminated


Hair by Brittney Worley

Case 2: Using blue based toner 8.1b to neutralize yellow-orange & go medium blonde

In the case above, we successfully took our client to white ash blonde.

But what do you do when don't necessarily want to go that light?

For example, what if your client has very orange hair and you want to stay more at a medium blonde

In that case, you still need to bleach. That is a really essential step.

But after that you go with a slightly darker blue based color.

8.1b is what we would recommend.

We will show you how now.

Client with Orange Hair

Orange Hair

Brown Hair with Orange in it

We first applied Brilliant Blondexx Bleach and took our client's very dark brown and orange hair to yellow, using foils and heat.

Bleach with foils and heat

Using bleach and foils with heat to lift up orange hair

Lift up to level 8

Hair lifted up to level 8

Hair toned with 8.1b

Hair processing with 8.1b

The Final Result

Hair toned with 8.1b: a medium ash blonde


Hair by Elona Taki

Case 3: Using 7.1b blue based ash blonde to cover yellow & go dark blonde

In the case below, once again we bleached and then used a blue based color straight out of the tube to cover the yellow.

In this case, we went a little darker, using 7.1b and not 8.1b.

We also used a shadow root: 4AA, or 4.11.


Hair by Elona Taki

Case 4: Adding in ash blue additive for extra blue

Sometimes regular blue based colors don't do the trick and you need some added "kick" from extra strong blue to tone down brassy hair.

Ugly Duckling has a special additive called Ash Blue Additive which stylists find really invaluable for such occasions.

It is really strong, so we would suggest you just use an inch or so squeezed out of the tube and mix it with a regular blue based ash.

Later, once you are comfortable with this product you can use more.

Ash Blue Additive was used to tone down this client to the ashy grey final result that you see.


Hair by Elona Taki

Case 5: Using blue & purple based shampoo & masks to tone away yellow and orange.

Blue Based Shampoo

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask

The cases we showed above were cases where we used bleach and oxydative color. 

But what if you just want to use semi-permanent hair toning products to just tone away yellow and maintain?

In that case we would recommend that you use Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask.

These products contain a mixture of blue and purple toning pigments.

They are very intense indeed. Yet non-staining.

They will do the job of maintenance and light color correction) very well.

When using, remember to use a lot of product and rub the product in thoroughly into the hair for best results.

The purple mask can be left on the hair - ideally using gentle heat.

Just remember: these products act on the surface of the hair - unlike oxydative products like all the toners mentioned above.

As such, they will tone the hair as long as it is sufficiently blonde.

But they won't actually lift the hair.


Hair by Brittney Worley

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

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