At its most simple, a hair toner helps you correct your hair colour.
It’s a product that adds more natural, or more visible tones to your hair colour treatment. This is because hair toners contain pigments that adjust the colour and tone of your hair.
They’re usually used on blonde hair but it’s a myth that it can’t work for brunettes and redheads as well. The idea of using a toner is to get rid of brassy tones and this is still applicable, regardless of your hair colour.
Toning is an essential part of the colour process and there are two types of hair toner. You apply one after you’ve bleached your hair. The other allows a hairstylist to personalise your hair colour. In particular, toner colour corrects your hair shade by making it warmer or cooler.
The only necessity is that you have to bleach or dye your hair before you can add a hair toning product. Bleaching involves lightening the hair before colouring can take place. Toning the hair is essential after bleaching – this softens the colour left by the bleach.
It also protects hair fibres, brightens its appearance and creates a professional-looking finish. Yet, it’s not about colour. Hair toners can add shine to natural hair, leaving you with glossy, silky locks.
It’s important not to wash your hair immediately after toning. This is because it will cause the colour you’ve applied to fade.
There are also several hair products that include toner. These help keep your colour lasting between salon treatments.
Toner lasts up to six weeks and even then, that is on virgin hair. Virgin hair is hair that has never been dyed or treated. In general, the more you dye your hair, the less it can hold onto the new colour.
In reality, most peoples’ hair toner lasts between two to four weeks. In fact, colour conditioners exist and such products help maintain your hair colour.
Shampoos and hair masks are also easy ways of giving your hair a refresher. This helps even when you wash it and helps preserve its colour.
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Now there are different kinds of toners. As well as glosses and gels, there are now purple and blue toning products.
You’ve most likely seen purple shampoos on supermarket shelves. It is also known as silver shampoo. We recommend John Frieda’s Violet Crush. These are ideal for blonde hair as purple reduces yellow tones. They help get rid of the brassy look blonde hair is prone to.
Blue toning products work better for brunettes, as the blue balances the orange tones in the hair. It also helps add softness and glow to the hair.
Whatever your hair colour, look for toner or toning products on the opposite end of the colour wheel. This will help balance undesired colour and brassiness. You can read more about the colour wheel in our guide to colour theory.
We’ve also got a guide on how to know which hair colour will suit your skin tone.
Amira Arasteh is a freelance journalist and content creator. Find her making sense of beauty trends, tips and topics – when she’s not stuffing her face with the best food in London or travelling the globe