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Does overtone purple for brown hair work?

Does overtone purple for brown hair work?

Overtone is a conditioning hair color that can deposit temporary or semi-permanent color into hair without damaging it. Their purple shades are popular for toning down unwanted brassy tones in brown hair. But does the purple actually work well on brunettes? Here’s what you need to know:

What causes brassiness in brown hair?

Brassy, orange undertones are common in brown hair for a few reasons:

Cause Explanation
Natural hair pigment The natural melanin pigment that gives hair its color contains both brown eumelanin and orange/red pheomelanin. More pheomelanin naturally results in warmer, brassier hair.
Sun exposure Exposure to UV rays can degrade brown eumelanin over time, allowing more orange pheomelanin to show through.
Heat styling Frequent heat styling from blow drying, flat ironing, etc. can oxidize the melanin and cause it to change to a more brassy tone over time.
Chemical processing Hair lightening from bleach, highlights, perms, relaxers, etc. removes melanin unevenly, often revealing more brassiness underneath.
Product buildup Residue left on hair from shampoos, conditioners, styling products, hard water, and chlorine can make it appear more brassy.

The development of brassiness has nothing to do with the quality of your hair – it happens naturally over time due to chemical and environmental factors. The good news is it can be corrected easily with hair toners.

How do hair toners neutralize brassiness?

Hair toners contain colored pigments that help cancel out and neutralize unwanted undertones in the hair. To tone down brassiness, you need to use the color directly opposite it on the color wheel – in this case, purple.

When purple-hued toner is applied to hair, the blue and red molecules essentially bind to the orange and yellow undertones that make up brassiness. This helps knock out the warmth and achieve a more neutral, ashy result.

Not all purple toners are created equal, however. To effectively neutralize brassiness, it needs to contain enough violet pigment at the right depth level.

Toners that are too sheer or more blue-based don’t have the same orange-cancelling effects. The pigments in Overtone’s purple colors are designed specifically to target brassiness in brown hair.

Which Overtone purple shades work best for brown hair?

Overtone offers purple shades in their range of semi-permanent conditioning colors as well as their deeper permanent colors.

For best toning results on brown hair, these three purple shades are recommended:

Overtone Color Description
Violet for Brown Hair A rich violet that banishes brassiness and yellow tones on light to dark brown hair.
Extreme Purple A very deep purple designed to neutralize extra brassiness and warmth in dark brown hair.
Purple for Brown Hair A balanced violet-blue mix ideal for toning down brassiness in medium to dark brown shades.

These shades all have enough pigment depth to fully neutralize and correct the orangey tones in brunette hair. Their coloring has been specially calibrated just for this purpose.

The key is choosing the right formulation and depth for your specific level of brown:

Hair Level Best Overtone Purple
Light brown Violet for Brown Hair
Medium brown Violet or Purple for Brown Hair
Dark brown Purple or Extreme Purple

Using a purple shade made for lighter brown on dark hair won’t have much effect. And applying one made for darker brown on light hair can result in an ashy, faded look.

How to use Overtone purple for toning brown hair

One of the nice things about Overtone is that it’s formulated to be gentle and conditioning for all hair types. The purple shades can be used even on fragile, color-treated hair.

Here are some tips for applying Overtone purple toner:

– Shampoo hair with a clarifying or chelating shampoo first to remove any product coating and optimize toner uptake. Rinse well.

– Towel dry hair so it’s damp but not dripping wet before applying the Overtone purple conditioner.

– For sheer toning, dilute the Overtone with your regular conditioner at a 1:4 ratio. For maximum toning, apply straight.

– Section hair and use a tint brush to coat every strand, starting closest to the scalp where brassiness is most prominent.

– Leave on for 5-15 minutes then rinse thoroughly. Less time is needed for lighter toning.

– Style as usual. Toner will start to deposit right away but full effects are seen after 48 hours as oxidation occurs.

– purple toner washes out over 4-8 weeks so repeat as needed to maintain tone. Brassiness will gradually redevelop as it fades.

Before and after results using Overtone purple

Here are some before and after photos of Overtone purple shades used on brown hair so you can see the brassiness-neutralizing effects:

Before: brassy medium brown hair After: toned with Overtone Violet for Brown Hair
Before: brassy dark brown hair After: toned with Overtone Extreme Purple

As you can see, the violet and purple tones effectively cancel out any traces of orange, leaving the hair looking cool, ashy, and vibrant without any damage.

The nice thing is that Overtone washes out smoothly, so you can keep tones refreshed as needed without worry. There’s no need for permanent color just to fight brassiness.

Pros and cons of using Overtone purple toner

Here’s a quick rundown of the main advantages and potential drawbacks of using Overtone purple to tone brown hair:

Pros Cons
  • Conditions while toning
  • Ammonia-free, no damage
  • Long-lasting results
  • Easy to apply at home
  • Formulated specifically for brunette brassiness
  • Fades gracefully over time
  • Can slightly stain light hair if left on too long
  • Takes some testing to find your perfect shade match
  • More expensive than drugstore toners
  • Doesn’t lighten hair, only tones

For most people, the conditioning formula and customizable results outweigh any small drawbacks. As long as you follow instructions, Overtone offers an easy at-home toning option.


Dealing with orange, brassy tones doesn’t have to be an endless battle for brown hair. By using the right purple shade, Overtone can neutralize brassiness and restore cool, shiny, healthy-looking strands.

Their conditioner-based formula allows for subtle toning or all-out brass-banishing depending on your needs. And the results last 4-8 weeks so you don’t have to stress about constant upkeep.

While Overtone isn’t a permanent hair color change, it provides temporary tone-refreshing that’s gentle enough for all hair types. The specially designed purple shades targeting brown brassiness make it easier than ever to fight back against unwanted warmth at home.