All You Need to Know About Hair Toner

Lightening and colouring can cause hair colour to turn brassy over time, meaning it can be left with undesired warm undertones making it look unnatural. A hair toner is used to eliminate these unwanted undertones and help to maintain the desired colour.

What is a hair toner?

A hair toner is a product that helps you correct or personalise your colour. It is used to add natural or more visible tones after a professional colour treatment. As a result, it enhances the tonality of your hair. How? By creating a professional finished look. In order for toner to work, hair has to be pre-lightened or coloured first. It is most commonly used for shades of blonde hair, but it can be beneficial for brunettes and redheads too.

A professional in-salon toner is more pigmented than a silver shampoo or purple shampoo that is used at home. However, these products are excellent products to maintain a bright or cool colour between salon appointments.

What does pre-lightening mean?

A professional term for bleach is pre-lightener. This refers to how bleaching is a method used to lighten hair. When bleached, natural or coloured hair is lifted to the lightness you require. Depending on your hairs natural colour and your history with past colours and chemical services, the level of lightness that is achievable will vary. This process can leave you with a creamy sun-kissed or pale white result.

In order to achieve clean blonde results it is important to lift your hair to a very pale yellow undercoat. Toners will help to neutralise unwanted warmth that has been exposed by the pre-lightening service. This will give your hair colour a personalised, unique and professional-looking finish.

What colour results can you expect from toner?

There is no one shade-suits-all toner. In fact, a toner is a way to make your hair colour your own. Toners can be used all over the hair or in certain places to create different effects within the hair for an even more personalised result. 

Warmer tones include buttermilk, peachy, or vanilla hues. Cooler tones include silver, champagne and marshmallow. Pastel hair, with shades of pink, lilac, and rose gold can also be achieved through our French Balayage Pearls service. Toners can be used directly after a pre lightening service or as a top up to keep your colour looking fresh and polished between lightening services. 

What are the types of hair toner?

1/ In-Salon Hair Toners

A salon toning service allows the hairdresser to personalise your colour. How? By making it warmer or cooler in tone, and correcting unwanted shades. It is also possible to add a bright pop of fashion colour, without actually lifting the shade. In addition, it enables the hairstylist to make sure you get an even hair colour result from root to tip. 

2/ At Home Toning Products 

Secondly, you can find toner in some haircare products like a purple shampoo, that will help you maintain your colour between treatments at the salon. A salon toner is more pigmented and the results will last longer than an at-home toning product like a purple shampoo.

What is purple shampoo and what does it do for hair?

Purple shampoo or Silver Shampoo are products to help maintain your lightened hair at home in between salon visits. Toning your hair to remove shades of yellow or brassiness is all about the laws of colour. The first step is to use a toner that is an opposite shade on the colour wheel to balance out the unwanted colour. As purple cancels out yellow, finding the right balance between the two will leave you with a natural, more neutral tone.

Chroma Creme is a great treatment for blonde hair at home, as it spreads varying amounts of purple pigment throughout hair to revive it. Plus, it is gentle on the hair and scalp so can be used safely after hair has been pre lightened. When washing with this purple shampoo, the hair cuticles takes in a small amount of purple pigment, cancelling out yellow pigments.

For white, grey or light blonde hair, Silver Shampoo has a deep purple pigment to counteract unwanted brassy tones and keep your shade cool. 

Is a toner only for blondes?

No. Hair toners can also be used on brunettes and redheads who want to banish unwanted brassy tones.  

How long does a toner last after your salon visit?

This depends on how often you wash your hair. The less frequently you wash your locks, the longer your colour stays in, but you can increase the longevity of your colour by using professional hair care. Depending on you hair type and hair condition, toner can last between 2-to-6 weeks. Hair that has been coloured previously can sometimes hold toners for less time than hair that has only been coloured once, so may need more regular toning. 

What changes hair to brassy or yellow colours?

There are many factors that can change blonde, grey, balayage or highlights to a brassy or yellow colour. These include:
  • Air pollution
  • Hard water
  • Sun exposure
  • Chlorine and other pool chemicals
  • The normal process of colour-treatment fading

How can you make your hair toner last?

There are a few ways you can make your toner last:

1/ Use professional haircare for colour treated hair 

To prevent your toner from fading between colour treatments, a professional haircare range like Vitamino Color can help protect colour treated hair. Metal Detox prevents any unwanted green tones, enhance colour, as well as helpm protect against colour fade. For blonde hair, Blondifer has been formulated especially for blonde hair, and will help prolong the colour.

2/ Protect your hair from the sun

During summer, be careful of the effects of sun on your hair. You can protect your hair from sun exposure by:
3/ Protect your hair when heat styling 

Besides the sun, frequent use of heating tools can also contribute for your colour to fade.  Don’t forget to use a heat-protectant like Metal Detox Concentrated Oil whenever you use heat. Formulated with Glicoamine to help prevent hair breakage, add shine, and protect hair from unwanted metals. It also offers heat protection of up to 230°C.

All these methods can help make your hair stay toned for longer.

4/ Use a less damaging heated tool 

L’Oréal Professional Steampod 4, which is 80% less damaging* - perfect for bleached hair.

*Measured as breakage from repeated combing after 15 uses on bleached hair. SteamPod 4 versus Babyliss Ceramic Straight 230.