Mastering Hair Toning: 5 Essential Steps for Flawless Results

If you’re looking to bleach your hair but don’t want to pay steep salon prices, doing some research beforehand can help you get the best possible results in your budget. There are plenty of places online that will detail the best methods for bleaching your hair, but a lot of those resources don’t go in-depth about toning hair.

Here's our quick guide on what a toner is, how to use it properly, how it can help you get the best results from your bleached hair!


All about hair toners

The process of bleaching your hair oxidizes it over time and this usually produces brassy yellow or orange tones in your hair instead of the perfect ashy blonde you’d see on a box of dye. After lifting your hair color to the lightness you want, hair toner is the product that neutralizes these warm colors and balances the tones towards a more natural looking hue.

Toning products 101

Hair toner meant for balancing hair color is similar to hair dye and has ammonia in it. This kind of toner is meant for color lifted hair that’s light enough to be considered blonde. If you’ve just bleached your hair, toning your hair right away can cause double the damage. Try and stay away from toner immediately after bleaching if you can resist the urge.

This kind of toner is what salon professionals use for toning hair. There are other products that technically aren’t “toner” that can be used for toning hair.

You’ve maybe heard of purple shampoo, which tones hair but is gentler than ammonia-based toners. Toning hair with purple shampoo is a gradual process. You have to shampoo your hair with this product up to 3 times a week to see your desired results, and then you’d use purple shampoo at least once weekly to keep your hair toned.

Another hair toning alternative is hair dye. Yellow on the color wheel is opposite purple, so to neutralize those orange and yellow tones you’d use a tiny amount of purple dye in a white conditioner. Apply the conditioner/dye mixture to your hair and leave it in between 15 to 30 minutes.

How do you I use toner properly?

If you’ve come to the realization that your hair needs to be toned, you’re going to want to do it the right way. Going to the drugstore and picking up a bottle of generic toner isn’t the move. Generic toner is going to dry your hair out even more, and that is going to make you sad. Instead, speaking to a professional colorist or a clerk at the beauty store about what kind of toner would be best for your color and hair type can help you narrow down the perfect product.

There are a few steps to toning hair that you should be aware of before you embark on the journey of self-transformation.

1. Make sure your hair has been lifted to the desired color

Toning hair before it has reached the correct lightness means the toner won’t be as effective. It will just result in a waste of product. It would be such a bummer to not get your correct shade so make sure your hair is light enough for toner to work.

2. Use a 20 developer for ammonia-based hair toner

Just applying the hair toner won’t work. Read the instructions before mixing the products together because the ratios may be different depending on the brand. Some brands, for example, use 1 part toner and 2 parts 20 developer.

3. Apply to slightly damp hair

You want your hair to be just a little damp when you apply the toning mixture to your hair. If you're toning hair sometime after it’s been bleached, just wash your hair and towel dry it so it’s not dripping wet, and then go to town.

4. Keep an eye on the time

You should rinse your hair of the toning mixture after 30 minutes. Remember that this product has ammonia in it and that makes the cuticles of your hair strands swell to absorb the product. This process causes damage to your hair, so you don’t want to leave it in longer than necessary.

5. Dry, style, and enjoy your perfectly gorgeous shade of blonde hair

Need we say more?

And there you have it! A quick guide to toning hair. Make sure to follow these rules if you want to keep your gorgeous blonde hair looking just the way you want it.

If you want to re-tone your hair, wait at least 2 weeks. The more you shampoo, the sooner the toner will fade. If you don’t wash your hair frequently, you can go back after 8 to do some tress maintenance, and you’ll be right back to being your perfect shade of blonde.

For more hair care tips and tricks, don't forget to follow us here at our ZALA blog!

July 02, 2019
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