When dying your brown or black hair blonde, the bleaching process cannot entirely eliminate all underlying dark and red pigments in your hair. Your color may look bright and beautiful for a few weeks, but your hair may start throwing undesired warm undertones and lose its desired hue over time. Additional reasons you may experience brassy hair are hard or chlorinated water, exposure to smoking and pollution, and using harsh hair care products.
One of the best options to eliminate these unappealing underlying tones and maintain the desired color is to use a hair toner.
What are Hair Toners Used for?
A bleaching process removes most of the natural pigments, resulting in yellow blonde hair. A hair toner is a demi-permanent product specifically made to tone pre-lightened hair to achieve the finished look and correct unwanted brassy, yellow, and orange tones.
Most of the toners need to be mixed with a developer to work. Hair toners only deposit color, and for that reason, they are ideal if you want to change hair color but you are afraid of commitment.
If you use a toner to remove unwanted pigment, you need to use a shade opposite the color you’re trying to treat on the color wheel. Unlike purple shampoos, toners remove unwanted warmth in one application.
Toners can’t be used to lift or lighten the hair. To be effective they need to be applied to pre-lightened or blonde hair. If your hair is dark and you want a light ashy or platinum color, your hair must be lifted to the right level prior to toning.
Hair toners make your highlights look fresh and more natural by blending your highlighted hair with your natural hair color.
They are also used to refresh your hair color between color appointments.
Toner is sometimes used to even your shade and fix a bad dye job.
A toner can also brighten dull hair and enhance the shine.
This is a great product for creating brighter and more beautiful gray hair.
A toner can help blend your highlights with the rest of your hair.
It is gentler to hair than permanent hair color and can be re-applied often without causing serious damage to your hair.
Blonde Hair Toners
Although toners can be used on all shades of color, they are most commonly used on blonde hair. If you’ve recently bleached your locks, or have gotten highlights, the purple toner will remove any remaining brass and give your shade a more finished look.
Hair toners for blondes are usually purple-blue tinted and give your hair golden, ash, or neutral tone.
To neutralize unwanted undertones, you need to tone your hair with a shade which is opposite to undesired color on the color wheel. A violet toner eliminates yellow tones, while a blue toner helps combat orange tones. If you have a blend of yellow and orange brassiness, you should combine them.
If you have naturally blonde hair, a purple/blue toner can cancel out brassiness and make your blonde hair looking refreshed and shiny.
Purple toners sometimes can add a bit of a lavender hue, which will fade after a couple of washes.
Due to reduced product selection available, you might want to check these alternative products: Pravana Chromasilk Express Tones – Violet and Surface Hair Pure Blonde Violet Leave in Toning Spray.
1. Wella Color Charm T18 Lightest Ash Blonde Toner (Walmart)
If you decide to go platinum blonde, this toner will be your best friend. This blue/violet toner is the perfect alternative to going to a salon, as it is easy to use at home.
This is the perfect toner for maintaining an ash blonde or silver shade. It kills brassy and orange undertones in just one application while enhancing a white blonde color.
Your hair has to be bleached to a pale yellow prior toning to get a platinum/silver/white shade. This toner will only work if your hair is a level 8 or higher.
How to use: Towel dry your hair until it is slightly damp. Mix 1 part of toner with 2 parts of 20-volume developer and leave the mixture on your hair up to 30 minutes. Start from your roots and work down to your ends. If your roots are dark you should avoid the root area because the toner can make your roots brassy. One bottle should be enough for medium length hair.
Check frequently as your hair processes, because this toner develops very fast. If left too long it can turn your hair purple, especially if you have high porosity hair. To prevent over-toning, mix it with a low volume developer and apply a clear protein filler.
To get rid of excess T18 in your hair you just need a few hair washes. Use a clarifying shampoo if you have a lot of buildups.
Use a purple shampoo to counteract the brassiness and keep blonde looking pretty.
This demi-permanent toner can be used on bleached or natural blonde hair to remove yellow/brassy tones, enhance the color, and add a glossy shine.
The results are long-lasting. Unlike semi-permanent toners, this toner can last up to 24 shampoos.
To achieve desired results, you must use the proper developer. Mix the toner in a 1:1 ratio with the Shades EQ Processing Solution. Apply the mixture all over your damp and clean hair using an applicator bottle. You have to work fast, as the mixture can process very quickly. Leave it to develop for 5-20 minutes. You need to keep an eye on the color, as it will turn your hair purple/gray if left too long.
This purple toner can be used on bleached blonde and grey hair to remove brassiness and add softness and shine. It’s especially great for grey/silver hair
This gentle, water-based product will not dry out your hair. It is not long-lasting and washes out in just a few washes. However, this toner is very concentrated and effective, so you can get the desired results using only a few drops.
Instead of mixing with a developer, you need to dilute 10-25 drops into a liter of warm water. Then pour the solution over your freshly washed hair. It could be hard to get the product over your hair evenly. No need to wash out your hair. Just dry and style as normal!
If your hair is quite dry, or porous, use fewer drops, as the product may turn the driest and most damaged parts of your hair purple.
How to Use a Toner
Bleach your hair to one level lighter than your desired shade, then shampoo thoroughly to remove the lightener. Don’t condition your hair because a conditioner will close the cuticle, reducing the penetration of the color. If your hair is overly porous, use a porosity equalizer such as a neutral protein filler before toning. This will help produce a more even color result and slow down the fading process.
Wear gloves to prevent staining your hands. Mix the toner with a developer according to directions (5-20V at the most) and apply the mixture to damp hair. If you have a sensitive scalp, use a 10-volume developer.
Apply the toner using a tinting brush and make sure to work it quickly and thoroughly. The toner needs to be applied to your lightened roots first, and then to the mid-lengths and ends. This gives extra time for the roots to process and prevents over-toning your dry and damaged ends.
Check the instructions on the bottle and leave the mixture in the hair for the recommended time. Depending on the product, it takes 5-30 minutes to work. Check frequently as the toner processes to prevent over-developing.
After achieving the desired tone, rinse out the product and apply a regular conditioner.
Caring for Your Toned Hair
Don’t wash your hair for 48 hours after toning because it will start to fade. The color washes out and becomes duller with every shampoo. That is why you shouldn’t wash your hair every day. To keep the brassiness at bay, use a purple shampoo once a week.
If you don’t use purple shampoo, it takes about 2-3 weeks before the brassiness reappears. Using a purple shampoo occasionally will prolong the effects of hair toner and keep your color more vivid and beautiful.
Use a sulfate-free shampoo that is meant for color-treated hair. Use lukewarm water when washing your hair.