How to Apply Toner to Hair

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Unfortunately, all color treatments don’t turn out perfect. But applying toner to the hair is a corrective method hair stylists have been using for years. Toner effectively neutralizes the brassy pigments that can occur while coloring the hair, especially when bleaching. Applying a little toner will get rid of unattractive hues and give hair a natural look. It can also deepen the color, which can restore balance in the hair if the color didn’t turn out right. But before toning the hair, it helps to have a few tips.

Choose the right toner. The first step in toning your hair is choosing a product that’s designed to eliminate brassy tones in the hair. If you’re toning blonde color, use a light ash blonde tone. For darker hair colors, select a toner that’s neutral.

Apply toner to the hair. When applying toner to the hair, work in small sections. Start at the front of the hair, and work your way backwards. Pull small one-inch sections of the hair, and work the toner into the roots and pull the excess toner to the tips of the hair.

Even out the toner. Once you’ve applied the product, it’s important to make sure it’s even. Run your fingers through your hair to spread out excess toner and ensure maximum coverage.

Allow toner to set. Depending on the product you’ve chosen, toner may need to set for up to 30 minutes. Determine how long your products should set by reviewing the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Rinse out toner. Once your toner is finished setting, rinse it out using cold water. Then, shampoo and condition your hair, which will remove remaining color and provide extra moisture.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose the right hair color. When coloring your hair, choose a color that is no more than two shades lighter than your natural color. Anything more can diminish the effectiveness of the toner.
  • Don't allow toner to set too long. Use an egg timer when setting toner. This will avoid over-toning, which can give an unnatural appearance to the hair.

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