Hair toner is an immensely popular product that can be used to adjust the colour of your hair, or enhance and deepen its current shade. It can also be used to correct unwanted brassiness or yellowing, and help preserve your hair colour between salon visits. But with so many different types and brands of hair toner on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
What is Hair Toner?
Hair toner is a form of hair colouring that can be used to enhance or change the tone of your hair. It can be applied on its own or after bleach or highlights to:
- even out the colour
- remove any unwanted tones
- preserve the colour of dyed hair
As such, you can find toner to be available in many different shades, from blonde to brunette, and can be used to achieve several different looks. For example, you can use toner to add dimension to your hair, go from brown to blonde, or to create a balayage effect.
What Does Toner Do to Hair in Terms of Colour & Shine?
As mentioned above, hair toner is mostly used alongside the bleaching or highlighting actions taken either at home or in a salon to secure the results you are after.
This will begin with the bleach (referred to as ‘pre-lightener’) being applied to bring your hair to a certain ‘colour level’, from the darkest of black possible, to the lightest shade of blonde. The tone within this colour level will be measured and assessed by its level of ‘warmth’ or ‘brassiness’, ranging from golden hues to cool, ashy shades, with a neutral look in the middle.
Depending on the desired outcome, the toner may need to be applied to balance the brassy tones, particularly when dealing with darker hair, altering the shade until it matches. For this reason, toner isn’t always necessary if you are happy with the first shade.
How is Hair Toner Applied?
Toner is typically applied within a shampoo bowl not long after a double process service has been given, using a brush or sponge to ensure it is evenly distributed throughout the hair as intended. This can either be all-over, or in certain segments with the assistance of hair foils. It is then left on for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes before being rinsed out. How long your toner needs to stay on will vary depending on the specific product being used, so it is important to read the instructions carefully with DIY application.
Who Can Benefit from the Various Toner Options Available for Hair?
Now we know what toner does to our hair, it is clear that everyone can benefit from toners in styling towards new and exciting colours. There are, however, many factors to consider when trying to determine which toner is best for your hair.
You must first consider your hair type and then your desired results. For example, if you have very dry or damaged hair, you will want to use a toner that is designed to hydrate and nourish your strands. Conversely, if you have oily hair, you will want to use a toner that can help control excess sebum production.
How Long Does Hair Toner Last?
Hair toner is a great way to refresh your hair colour and give it a new lease on life. But how long does hair toner last?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. On average, you will be able to enjoy the results of your toner over 4 to 8 weeks, but it all depends on the type of hair toner you use, how often you use it, and how well you take care of your hair. Once its effect starts to wane, reapplication will be required for prolonged success.
To improve how long your results last, take good care of your hair in between treatments by using gentle shampoos and conditioners, as well as avoiding heat styling.
Can You Incorporate Toner in Your At-Home Hair Care Routine?
When you choose to style the colour of your hair with toner, you are embarking on an ongoing journey of hair care and management. For example, as brassiness or yellow tones start to arise in bleached hair after oxidisation, further treatments with toner will be required to neutralise these and restore your desired colour.
While DIY application is of course possible, unless you are intimately familiar with colour theory and the colour wheel (as well as experience in toner application), it is likely a better course of action to rely on hair colour specialists. You can, however, try including a toner shampoo into your washing routine, but again, work alongside your stylist for the best results.