A toner is a product that enables your colourist to correct or personalise your colour. Its job is to add natural or more visible tones after your colour service. Toners are most common when used on blonde hair, but they can be beneficial to brunettes and red heads too. Toners aren’t just one type of product either. They can come in the form of semi-permanent colours, glosses and tinted shampoos and conditioners. These are all considered toners as they add colour pigments to the hair to alter its ‘tone’.
A toner is the most important part of the colouring process – it’s pretty much where the colour is added in! Toners can take hair anywhere, from cool and silvery to warm and coppery. The most common type of toner is used by stylists on bleached hair, allowing them to personalise the result by making it either warm or cool and correcting any unwanted brassiness. The toner’s main job here is to produce an even colour result from root to tip.
Toners can also be great for when you want to add natural shine to your hair, or to add softness and protection to the hair fibre. This type of toner can be used in certain areas where you want to highlight shades or all over to brighten and add lustre. Lastly, toners add volume and shine by plumping the hair cuticle to make it fuller, while also sealing down the cuticle to create reflection and shine.
Semi-permanent colours and glosses often deposit colour without lightening the hair. These types of toner tend to last six-eight weeks, fading out rather than growing out. Then you have your typical purple and blue toning products that are most commonly used to eliminate brassiness. Purple is great for eliminating brassiness in blonde hair, and blue is great for brunettes.
A great way to tone blonde hair at home is with the use of purple/silver shampoos. Purple shampoo helps to remove yellow tones in blonde hair, whereas silver shampoo helps to maintain the shade of blonde you desire, as well as enhance natural grey hair. For brunettes and red heads, look for shampoos that contain colour pigments to keep your hair vibrant and shiny.
Toners usually last between two-six weeks depending on your hair type and how often you shampoo. To prevent colour fade between salon appointments use a professional, sulphate-free colour shampoo. To prevent colour fade, make sure you protect your hair from air pollution, hard water, sun exposure, heat styling, and chlorine and salt water.
If you need help with your colour or want a slight change, then do go see a professional in-salon, as you’ll be surprised how easy it is to completely mess up your hair by using the wrong toner! However, with advice from your colourist, you can definitely tone at home between salon visits.