What Is Toner in Hair Color?


Toner is the final step in the hair coloring process to fine tune the color. This is especially true when lightening hair to pale or white-blonde shades.


Toners are hair color products used on lightened or bleached hair to remove unwanted pigments from the hair.


The types of hair color toners available are semipermanent, demipermanent, and permanent. Permanent is the most commonly used type of toner because it is often layered over previously lightened hair, which is a permanent process.


Hair color toner works by neutralizing unwanted pigments in hair with an opposing color from the color wheel. For instance, orange and blue are opposites on the color wheel, so unwanted orange pigments in the hair can be neutralized or removed by introducing a blue toner.


Using a toner is the only way to achieve white-blonde hair without significantly damaging the hair.


Damaged hair may not properly accept a toner and may render unexpected results. When dealing with damaged hair, a professional colorist should be consulted.


An allergy test should be performed at least 24 hours before toner application to avoid a serious allergic reaction on the scalp. The allergy test involves mixing a small amount of toner with the appropriate developer and leaving it on the inside of the elbow for 24 hours before checking for signs of irritation.

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  • Milady's Standar Cosmetology; Arlene Alpert et al.; 2004
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