How to tone your hair color – Here’s everything you need to know.

Toning your hair is a great way to add dimension and depth, or to simply change up your look. But with all of the different products and terms out there, it can be hard to know where to start. Don’t worry, we’re here with everything you you need to know about how to tone your hair.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about hair toning, from which products to use to how often you should be doing it. Keep reading to learn more!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to tone your hair step-by-step.

1. Figure out which toner is right for your hair (see our guide below).

2. If you’re using a permanent or semi-permanent toner, mix it according to the instructions on the package.

3. Apply the toner to wet hair, making sure to cover all of your hair strands evenly.

4. Leave it on for the recommended amount of time, then rinse it out.

5. Shampoo and condition your hair as normal.

6. If you’re using a temporary toner, mix it according to the instructions on the package.

7. Apply it to either wet or dry hair, and leave it on for the recommended time before rinsing it out.

Watch and learn: How to tone your hair the right shade.

What is hair toner?

Have you ever wondered what those little bottles of colored liquid are that your hair stylist pulls out after they shampoo your hair? If you have, then you’re in luck, because today we’re going to talk all about hair toner. 

Hair toner is a product that is used to adjust the color of your hair, usually after it has been bleached. 

It can be used to add highlights, lowlights, or just to give your overall color a boost. Some will just make your hair a slightly different color, while others will completely cover up any previous dye job.

They’re also used to counteract warm and brassy tones like orange and yellows in color-treated hair.

They typically only need to be left in for a few minutes before being rinsed out.

They keep cool hair colors warm and warm hair colors cool!

How does hair toner work?

Toners work by depositing a layer of color on top of your hair. They can be used on both natural and colored hair, although it’s more common for those with highlights, ombre, or balayage.

It’s all to do with hair color theory. This means using opposite hair colors to color correct unwanted tones like orange tones.

If you are trying cool down warm colors like brassy orange or even green tones in hair, you use blue and purple toners.

If you are trying to warm up cool tones like ashy blonde, beige blonde or even silver hair or gray hair, you use yellow and red toners.

They are opposite colors on the hair color wheel that hair colorists use to figure it all out!

hair color wheel

Hair toner before and after.

how to tone your hair before and after instagram post
Screenshot 2022 03 22 at 11.03.57

Why do I need hair toner?

They are a great way to fine-tune the color of your hair, and it can also help to correct any unwanted tones.

For example, if you’ve dyed your hair blonde but it looks a bit brassy, you can use a purple toner to cool it down. Super light shades like platinum blondes and icy-white hair colors will likely always need toning.

Or, if you’ve dyed your hair brown but it looks a bit red, you can use a green toner to neutralize the red tones.

These miracle potions can also put some life back into dull, lifeless hair.

If your hair is looking a bit flat, adding a hair gloss toner can give it some extra body and shine.

You can also use them to tone down hair color that’s too bright.

They can also refresh your hair color without having to resort to hair dye again!

What are the different types of toners?

There are three main types: permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary.

  • Permanent toners are the most long-lasting, but they also tend to be the harshest on your hair. These are the most common salon toner.
  • Semi-permanent toners or glosses are a bit more gentle, but they only last for a few washes.
  • Temporary toners are the least harsh and last for just one use.

Do you apply toner to wet or dry hair?

Again, it really depends on the type of toner you’re using!

Permanent, demi-permanent and semi-permanent toners should always be applied to wet hair, as they will be more effective and less damaging.

Temporary ones can be applied to either wet or dry hair, but they will last longer if you apply them to wet hair.

Toning shampoos can be used on either wet or dry hair, but they will be more effective on wet hair.

How often should I tone my hair?

How often you use them varies with what you want to achieve with your color.

If you want a color refresh – and not a full dye job – then you can use them every time you wash your hair.

If you are trying to correct an unwanted tone, then you may need to use them more often.

Some people even use toners or toning masks every time they color their hair, in order to keep the color looking fresh.

Can I make my own hair toner?

If you’re anything like us, you’re always on the lookout for ways to save money without sacrificing quality. So, when we came across DIY recipes for hair toner, we were intrigued. Could we really make our own hair toner at home? We did some digging to find out.

At-Home Toner Recipe.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 part apple cider vinegar
  • 2 parts water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • A squirt bottle or small bowl for mixing
  • A old t-shirt or towel (to avoid staining clothes)

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and pour into your squirt bottle or small bowl. Apply mixture evenly to damp, clean hair, paying extra attention to any areas that look particularly brassy.

Leave in for 15-20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water. Sit back and enjoy your new, toned and shiny locks!

Creating your own hair toner at home is definitely possible, but it’s not necessarily recommended.

While there are some advantages to making your own hair toner, there are also some significant drawbacks. Without careful measuring and mixing, it’s easy to end up with a hair toner that’s either too strong or too weak.

And if you don’t use the right ingredients, you could end up damaging your hair. Best stick to products that are made for the job.

Can I tone my hair at home?

Yes! Depending on which product you use, you can for sure do it yourself at home.

Permanent toners should only be used by professional hairdressers, as they can be very damaging to your hair.

Semi-permanent and temporary toners can be used at home, but it’s always best to follow the instructions on the package.

Toning shampoos are the best way to tone your hair at home. These come in the form of a shampoo or conditioner, and you simply use them like you would any other shampoo or conditioner.

Just make sure to leave it on for the recommended time before rinsing it out!

Generally, you’ll want to apply the toner to wet hair, and then rinse it out after a few minutes.

You may need to shampoo and condition your hair afterwards to get rid of any residue.

Best hair toners at a glance

TonerLooks likeBest forBuy it now
Dr. Fischer's Purple Hair Maskq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B082WKCM2S&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B082WKCM2SBlondes
John Frieda Violet Crush Intensive Purple Shampooq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07X81V4F9&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B07X81V4F9Blondes
PRO:VOKE Touch of Silver Toning Treatment Mask q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07NCX2VCC&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B07NCX2VCCPlatinum and Silver hair
Scott Cornwall Colour Restore Cool Ash Tonerq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01C2YOVBK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B01C2YOVBKBlonde, bleached, highlighted and brunette bases.
Fanola Official No Orange Shampooq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B071WWK11X&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B071WWK11XBrunette
Scott Cornwall Colour Restore Deep Red Temporary Toner Dyeq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01C2YOV3I&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBir?t=colouredhairc 21&language=en GB&l=li2&o=2&a=B01C2YOV3IRed hair

At-Home vs Professional Toning

Should you tone your hair at home or leave it to the professionals?

If your goal is simply to brighten up your blonde shades or get rid of any unwanted brassiness, then at-home toning products will likely do the trick.

However, if you’re looking for a major color change – think going from blonde to silver – then you’ll probably need the help of a professional colorist.

The same goes for any situation where you’re trying to correct an existing hair color issue – in those cases, it’s always best to seek out the help of a pro and book a salon visit.

How can I tone my brassy hair at home?

One way to tone brassy hair at home is to use a purple shampoo or conditioner.

It contains purple or violet pigments that counteract the brass and leaves your strands looking super cool.

Brunettes, you can use blue shampoo to counteract warmer orange tones.

You can also try using a DIY toning mixture made with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

Just mix equal parts of the ingredients together and apply it to your hair.

Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it out.

Is purple shampoo a toner?

Yes, purple shampoo is a type of toner. It works by neutralizing brassy orange and yellow undertones in blonde or brown hair.

Simply use them like you would any other shampoo or conditioner, and leave them on for the recommended time before rinsing them out.

You may need to use a toning shampoo more often if your hair is very brassy, but it can be a great and affordable way to tone your hair at home and keep it the right hue for you.

How can I tone my dark hair at home?

Dark hair like black hair and brunette can be prone to brassiness, especially if you have highlights or lightened sections.

One way to tone dark brown hair at home is to use a blue shampoo or conditioner.

These work by neutralizing the yellow tones in your hair with their blue pigments.

Simply use them like you would any other shampoo or conditioner, and leave them on for the recommended time before rinsing them out in the shower.

Will hair toner lighten your hair?

No, these formulas will not lighten your hair.

They are used to correct unwanted tones or to add new colors, but they will not make your hair lighter.

If you are looking for a lightening treatment, you should try a hair bleach or lightener.

Parting words.

So there you have it!

Hair toners can be a great way to enhance your hair color or correct unwanted tones.

Just make sure to choose the right toner for your hair type and desired results.

And always follow the instructions on the package to avoid damaging your hair.

Or speak to a hair stylist who can recommend what’s best for you!

Good luck!