At its most simple, a hair toner helps you correct your hair colour.
It’s a product that either adds more natural or more visible tones to your hair colour treatment. Hair toners contain pigments that adjust the colour and tone of your hair. They are usually used on blonde hair but it is a myth that it cannot work for brunettes and redheads as well. The idea of using toner is to get rid of brassy tones which is still applicable, regardless of hair colour.
Toning is an essential part of the colour process. There are two types: one is applied after hair has been bleached and the other allows a hair stylist to personalise your hair colour. Toner is used to colour correct your hair shade by making it warmer or cooler in its tone.
The only necessity is that the hair has to be bleached or dyed before a hair toning product can be added. 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 your hair fibres and brightens its overall look; giving it a professional-looking finish. But it’s not just about colour. Hair toners can add shine to natural hair, leaving you with glossy, silky locks.
It is important not to wash your hair immediately after toning your hair as this will cause the colour you’ve just applied to fade.
There are also several haircare products that include toner to help keep your colour lasting between salon treatments.
Toner only lasts up to a maximum of six weeks and even then, that is regarding virgin hair. In general, the more you colour your hair, the less it can hold onto new colour.
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Most peoples’ hair toner lasts between two to four weeks. In fact, colour conditioners exist and products such as these will help maintain your hair colour.
Shampoos and hair masks are also at-home ways of giving your hair a refresher – even when you wash it – and help preserve its colour.
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 (we recommend John Frieda’s Violet Crush); these are more ideal for blonde hair as purple reduces yellow tones and gets rid of the brassy look blonde hair can become. It is also known as silver shampoo.
Blue toning products work better for brunettes, as the blue balances the orange tones in the hair. It also helps add a softness and glow to the hair.
Using toner or toning products that are on the opposite end of the colour wheel to your hair balances out undesired colour and brassiness.
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