If you have had your hair dyed by a professional, then you must have heard them mention something about using a toner. Sometimes, you may have noticed that your hair color changes after a toner has been added. And sometimes, your stylist will not explain exactly what the toner does. This article is for you; read on to discover what toner does to your hair.
Toner does not darken your hair. It enhances, fixes, and even neutralizes the tones in your hair dye. It does not change the color of your hair.
What is a Toner?
If you were bleaching your hair or dying it blonde, then it came out blonder than was needed; you may have noticed your stylist adding a toner. After it was added, you may have noticed that the brightness faded a little bit, which left you wondering if the toner darkened your hair.
A toner is a post-color product that is applied to bleached hair as a way of toning down the overly intense color. When you bleach your hair, it comes with shades of red and orange pigment in it due to the fact that bleach works through each of the hair’s pigments. Your stylist will use a toner to remove any unwanted orange, red, and yellow tones, so your hair color appears darker and deeper.
A toner will counteract the effects of ammonia in your hair. Hair dyes contain ammonia that makes the hair cuticles swell so they can absorb the color. However, ammonia will enhance the orange tones in your hair. But when you use a toner, it counteracts these effects so you can eliminate the brassy orange, red, and yellow shades.
When and How a Toner is Used
After applying highlights on your hair, your stylist will use a toner to adjust or even out the color of your highlights. Your highlights may appear darker after using the toner. Note that even though a toner will alter the color of your hair, it does not change the hair color on its own. For this reason, toner does not work on dark hairs and is specifically meant for bleached or blonde hair.
With a toner, you can alter your blonde color, so it appears cooler, ashier, or dingier. Sometimes if you leave a toner on your hair for too long, it can change color completely and turn pink or purple.
Depending on how you wish to adjust the color of your hair, you can apply it all over your head or on specific areas to create a chosen pattern. Overall, a toner creates a more natural look on your hair.
When not to Use a Toner
If you want your hair color to be shouty and sharp, then do not use toner. As mentioned earlier, toners tend to neutralize unwanted shades and will leave your color looking more natural. For instance, removing red-orange shades will leave your blonde hair looking more uniform, richer, and deeper.
Also, if your preference is a dark color, then choose a hair dye that is at least 2 shades darker than the base color of your hair. A toner will deem a bright brassy color, but it will not give you a dark dye. It will not change the level of your color, so if your color starts out as orange, a toner will not turn it blonde.
A toner works by adding or removing warm tones. It also creates uniformity from the root to the ends. For this reason, a toner only works to fine-tune your hair color, not to lift or lower it from one color level to another.
Can a Toner Darken Your Hair?
As mentioned earlier, a toner will not darken your hair color. If you have ever applied toner on your hair and it seemed darker than it was supposed to, you may be wondering if toner darkens your hair.
One reason for this is that you used the wrong toner. You need to familiarize yourself with the color wheel, so you know the level of your hair color.
You should be able to know the starting level of your hair color and match it to the appropriate toner. You are advised to do a strand test to see how a specific toner will affect your hair color.
For instance, use a purple toner if your hair has yellow undertones you need to remove. And if you want to remove orange undertones, then use a blue toner and a green toner to remove red tinges. Opposite colors on the color wheel will neutralize each other.
For this reason, it is best to go to a stylist who has training and experience on the correct color codes to use with specific toners.
Sometimes, a toner can turn your hair ashy or leave it too dull, especially if you leave it on for too long without washing it.
But don’t despair because toners just sit on your hair and will fade the more you wash it. You can work with an antidandruff shampoo or clarifying shampoo.
Do not attempt to bleach your hair again, as this can cause too much damage to your hair.
But if you love the color you get and you want to avoid washing out the toner, stick to color-friendly shampoo.
Applying Toner on Brown Hair
If you are a brunette who has bleached their hair, you might notice some hints of red or orange due to UV damage. You can use a toner to remove the brassy tones and have your brown appear more natural.
So, When Should You Use a Toner?
Use a toner right after bleaching your hair
If you want to achieve the right kind of blonde, bleach your hair first and then use a toner. The toner will even out the colors. Be careful of the toner that you choose. Make sure it matches the color you wish to achieve for your hair. Also, note that some toners can only be applied within days of bleaching your hair and may not work the same if you take a lot of time between bleaching and toning.
Apply Toner after Dyeing Your Hair
If you dye your hair and the color you end up with is not the desired result, you can use a toner to fix this. The toner will remove any unwanted pigments, so your color is adjusted to the right shade.
Use Toner to Remove Brassiness from Your Blonde Hair
If your hair appears to have brassy tones and you want to remove them, use a toner. It will remove these wrong “highlights” and leave you with the desired color.
Toner can help you achieve warm blonde or ashier blonde colors, depending on what you start with.
Use Toner When You want Your Highlights to Pop
As mentioned earlier, toner can help adjust the color of your highlights if, at first, they don’t come out right.
Use Toner on Your Natural Hair
Toner can be applied to your natural hair. While it won’t make much change to your hair color. It will enrich it. It will make your hair color deeper and richer.