What does toner do to hair? Everything you need to know.

Hair color can be a tricky thing. The wrong tone, the wrong shade, and your whole look is thrown off. You may have heard about hair toner but are not sure what it does or how to use it correctly? What does toner do to hair? What color do you need? Can you do it at home? You’ve come to the right place!

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the clever color corrector that is hair toner.

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What is toner for hair?

Hair toner is a chemical product that changes the color of your hair.

Toners are used after coloring your hair to keep it cool or correct unwanted color. They can remove brass, refresh and richen up reds, coppers, and brunettes, and can give your hair amazing shine.

They’re particularly good for using on bleached hair that naturally draws warmth and for cooling down hair that is too bright.

Hair toners are liquids that help control the tone of your hair.

They’re usually applied to dyed or bleached strands after dyeing, but can also be used on natural blondes for a shiny finish and/or to reduce brassiness or yellow tones in lighter locks (especially with highlighted blonde).

Toning is especially important if you use hot tools regularly as heat makes it harder for dyes and peroxide bleach deposits to stay locked into each strand forever!

What does toner do to hair?

Toners deposit color pigment to ‘tweak’ the color of your hair all over, or can be used in special places to add different shades and tones.

Blonde, bleached and brown hair especially are prone to unwanted brassy tones of orange and yellow showing through.

Color-treated blonde styles like ombre, balayage and highlights almost always need toning to get the right, creamy blonde shade.

This is where toners come in – to get rid of the orange and yellow tones and keep the vibrancy and shine.

Some people use hair toner to cover up greys or other unwanted strands of hair with a touch of color.

Does toner lighten hair?

What toner doesn’t do, is lighten your hair.

For that, you need bleach or a bleach bath process.

Toner is used to tone your hair down, get rid of any brassiness or unwanted color and keep it looking natural.

What does toner do to hair instagram demonstration post 1
instgram post blonde toner
Instagram post brunette toner color

How do hair toners work?

Toners work by depositing color correcting pigment into your hair to counteract the brassy tones.

This works because of the science behind the hair color wheel.

The hair color wheel shows us what colors neutralise each other. Opposite colors on the wheel are used to balance each other out.

For example, that’s why toners with blue and purple pigments are used to correct orange and yellow tones and red toners are used to correct green tones in your hair.

hair color correction wheel

What hair colors need toning?

What are the different kinds of toners?

Hair toners come in different types and shades depending on what you want your new color to be. How long you leave toners in depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

HAIR GLOSS TONERS – Hair gloss aka refresher, top coat, glaze, is a type of hair product that helps to add shine and smoothness, while also adding color.

These glosses are perfect for those who like to change their hair color as frequently as their style. The color from hair glosses typically last 4-6 weeks.

SEMI-PERMANENT TONERS – these are essentially like hair dyes that you use to cover a previous color.

It’s a stronger toning treatment as it saturates your hair strands with more pigment, so it’s good for toning darker, more stubborn colors and greys. This lasts 6-8 weeks and fades with time.

DEMI PERMANENT TONERS – these are the same as semi-permanent dyes but are stronger and last twice as long. So 8-10 weeks.

PURPLE SHAMPOOS – these are hair products that contain purple pigment that tones and cools brassy blonde color.

BLUE SHAMPOOS– blue shampoos neutralize unwanted orange tones in brunette hair.

SILVER SHAMPOOS – these shampoos can work for blonde or silver hair to keep it ashy and cool and get rid of any yellow tones.

TONING HAIR MASKS – These are like deep conditioners with a touch of color that you can use once a week to restore moisture and softness too.

Is toner bad for your hair?

Toners are used to change or alter the color of your hair. Are toners bad for your hair? No!

Toners are no more or less bad for your hair as hair dye. And they’re easier to remove.

Depending on which type of toner you use, they may make your hair feel a little dry, just like hair dye does. That’s if they contain ammonia or hydrogen peroxide to add in the color.

But essentially, they’re safe to use on your hair and scalp and won’t cause any damage to your structure and texture.

Can I tone my hair at home?

It’s easy to tone your hair at home. But you’ll need to know what you’re doing.

The hair color wheel will help you work out what color you’ll need to tone down the color you don’t want in your hair.

Then you’ll need to pick the right toner to do the job.

The toners that you’ll find in salons are stronger than silver or blue shampoos.

However, these products are excellent products to maintain a bright or cool color between salon appointments.

Sometimes a simple color maintenance to keep your color cool is sometimes all that’s needed.

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

When should I tone my hair?

It’s best to tone your hair straight after having it colored, bleached or highlighted.

This will lock in the color and keep it natural.

Your hairdresser will usually add gloss or toner to your hair as part of the treatment process.

You can also tone your hair in between appointments to keep it cool.

If you’re noticing signs of unwanted orange, that’s when you need a good toner to get rid of them!

Do you put toner on wet or dry hair?

It’s best to apply toner to damp hair.

That’s because damp hair is more porous which means the color pigments from the toner will easily take and penetrate your hair more deeply.

It also means the application is easier. The liquid will smooth through your hair without leaving any patchiness.

Towel dry your hair after washing so that it’s half dry and there are no water drips.

How to apply toner to hair.

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How long does toner last in hair?

  • Gloss toners – 4-6 weeks
  • Semi-permanent toners – 6-8 weeks
  • Demi-permanent toners – 8-10 weeks
  • Blue, Silver and Purple shampoos and hair masks – use for top-ups once a week.

Parting words

So that’s what toner does to hair and how it works.

They can be used as an alternative to shampooing or just as a styling product that offers a temporary color refresh.

They add shine and lustre without weighing down your locks with heavy chemicals such as sulfates.

And they can help give your mane an instant and easy makeover with minimal effort on your part. If your hair is in need of a new lease of life – get one today!