Sozo Salon Tips

Toners And Their Purpose In Hair Color

SoZo HAIR Salon Tips

After writing an article earlier this week on the effects of foil placement,  my mind began to wander to other topics to write about.  It occurred to me,  after making a post on Facebook asking for suggestions,  that a follow-up article on toners and their purpose in hair color would be an excellent idea.

For as long as we have been highlighting hair, we have inevitably been toning hair color. In the following article I hope to not only help you understand the color theory behind toning, but also how, when and why to tone hair.
So first things first, what exactly,  by definition,  is toning? Toning is the application of sheer, deposit only color or gloss, over pre lightened hair. Although it can be used in other circumstances,   toning’s main purpose is to remove unwanted, or add wanted tone (or cast) to the hair.


Toner is most commonly applied to damp, freshly washed hair, directly after a lightening service.  Toner is generally mixed with a 5 or 10 volume  deposit only developer, and brushed through the hair from root to ends at the shampoo bowl.  Toner can stay on hair for as long as 20 minutes,  or a little as 5 minutes.  The idea is to watch the hair, and as soon as you see darkandredjpgwhatever unwanted tone in the hair disappear it’s time to rinse and condition. It is not recommended that you shampoo after toning because toner tends to sit on top of the hairs cuticle, and shampooing may lessen, or even remove the effect of your toning service.


One of the greatest challenges about toning hair color, is knowing which tonal base to use to create your desired effect.  Also, remembering that you can not tone hair any lighter than the level it has lifted to is important.  If a clients hair has lifted to a level 8, you can tone at a level 8 or below. Toning hair color at a level higher than 8 will likely not effect the tone of the hair the way you would like.
color wheelIt’s times like these that we as designers truly rely on our knowledge of color theory. The idea is that you are looking for the correct color to either cool, warm or neutralize your result. As we look at the color wheel, (which I still reference often) we see that colors directly opposite each other are going to neutralize one another.  (These are commonly referred to as ombreshort2jpgcomplimentary colors). To create a warmer or cooler tone from your neutral, complimentary color, you can then look at the level that the hair has lifted to, and decide to add more or less complimentary color to your toning mixture.
You also have several options as far as a type of toner.  Most designers will use a demi-permanent gloss to tone with, which often gives a soft, natural,  slowly fading tone to the hair. You can also,  as another option, use permanent color with a 5 or 10 volume developer to achieve a tone that may be stronger, longer lasting or may not be available in demi-permanent gloss. Another option that is taking the fashion industry by force is fun color as a funcolor9jpgtoner. Weather you apply the Straight,  bold color pigment directly to lightened hair for a bold pop, or dilute it with clear filler or conditioner to create soft pastels or muted colors, fun color is becoming a toning force to be reckoned with.
The next time you consult with a new colorist,  or even an old one and going for a new look,  consider using toner as part of your service.  It is a fantastic add on, and gives a subtle change that will not shock or scare you from trying something new again.



SoZo Salon Tips is a blog about beauty salon tips, tricks and hints.  SoZo HAIR by Bajon Salon & Spa serves the greater Cincinnati area. We are located in Olde West Chester at the corner of Cincinnati-Dayton and West Chester Rds. We’re just a short drive from Mason Oh and Fairfield Oh….a big city hair salon without the big drive and big traffic.


SoZo HAIR by Bajon Salon & Spa is located at 9069 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd, Olde West Chester, OH 45069.  Call 513- 874-9999 for appointment.