More Subtle Highlights

Highlighted brown hair
Photo: Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock
Q: I recently highlighted my medium to dark brown hair. Well, I pulled a little bit more than I should have through the cap and the results look kind of yellowy which does not contrast well with my base color. I want to put a toner on so that the highlight will blend more naturally with my natural hair color.
I was wondering what color toner you would suggest, because I still want the highlights, I just want them to be more subtle, perhaps beige in color, or would you recommend a golden tone to blend best with dark brown hair? Thank you very much for your help. P.S. I feel like a striped zebra right now so I await your response on pins and needles!

A: It's virtually impossible for me to make a clear recommendation on an appropriate toner color since I cannot visually inspect your hair and see for myself the base color of the natural hair color or the level of yellow you describe in the lightened hair.
Your best option at this point is to visit your local beauty supply shop and look for a color that is compatible with your natural color and tone, but is at a mid-range in color level between the lightened hair and the natural darker color.
Given that you have been concerned that the lightened hair turned out "too yellow", it is likely that the contributing pigment in your hair is a yellow/gold tone. Therefore, you should avoid adding a color that uses a gold base color in favor of one that has a base color of violet or a neutral base color.
Combine one ounce of this color with one ounce of 10-volume peroxide developer and one ounce of your favorite conditioner. Use this as a color toner by applying the color all over your head. Allow the color to process for 15-20 minutes and proceed with the normal rinse and shampoo process. Dry the hair to examine your results.
When you purchase the color and developer you will only be using approximately half of the color formula. If the color results are not dark enough for your taste, you can always repeat the process.
See also:
How to color hair
Basic hair coloring information
How to choose natural-looking highlights