What Does Hair Toner Do to Highlights? | It’s Surprising

Today, stylists use highlights to add depth and size to the hair, usually with colorations slightly lighter than the natural color. The mystery to retaining your freshly painted highlights intact? Toner.

What Does Hair Toner Do to Highlights? | It’s Surprising

What Does Hair Toner Do to Highlights?

While highlights may not be as extreme as dyeing your entire head of hair, they still make a difference. And, like every hair shade, highlights fade. Sometimes you get lucky, and they fade to a neutral, quality hue.

But in different instances, they come to be brassy and no longer combined along with your extra hair colors. Enter hair toner! Your stylist may also practice toner after the shade software or as an upload-on after your hair dries.

If you've got blonde highlights, your hairstylist most likely applies toner. Most salon toners seem clean or pink and feature the consistency of conditioner. Toners for dark hair are blue. Toners come in liquid or cream formulations as well as special firming shampoos.

The maximum common toner is pink shampoo. Regardless of the approach, all toners serve the motive of eliminating any unwanted brass or heat tones from highlights (or entire heads of hair, if relevant).

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How It Works

Everything you do to your hair product-sensible includes a few forms of a chemical reaction. Don’t worry – we aren’t taking you back to high school chemistry, but knowledge of how toner works and its effect on your highlights can assist you to decide if firming is appropriate for you and your hair.

Your Hair Before Toner

Your hair comes from keratin, the same substance that forms your skin and nails. Semi-permanent and temporary dyes attach to the outer layer of hair, called the cuticle. The internal layer, or the cortex, carries the other additives called eumelanin and pheomelanin.

It is within this inner layer that merchandise like bleach and everlasting dye can alter the chemistry of your hair, therefore changing the coloration you spot. Both bleach and permanent hair dyes penetrate your hair shaft.

Permanent dye uses ammonia to reach the inner cortex, and bleach makes use of an alkaline method to attain this motive. When your stylist finishes making use of highlights, the following step is wrapping the strands in foil to insulate the hair with herbal body warmth.

Your body chemistry and the hair dye paintings collectively for the very last end result – true or awful. Toner works the same way, however, the alternate isn't as drastic. It isn't always as penetrating or effective as ammonia-primarily based dyes or bleach.

Things to Remember

Everyone reacts otherwise to hair color, and the equal is going for highlights. If you have got subsequent hair kinds or concerns, you may want to remember a consultation with a stylist earlier than using toner:

• Extremely darkish, thick hair. Highlights may not show up as properly for your hair, so a salon-grade toner is your great bet.

• Thin or severely broken hair. Lightening may damage your hair in addition, even simply highlights. Toners, even as no longer as aggressive, can still purpose harm to already-compromised strands.

• Gray or silver hair colors. These most possibly do no longer want the toner, however, in case you do, a mild formula from a salon is the way to go.

The bottom line? Toners are still chemically-charged products, or even if you most effectively use them on some highlights, they can damage the hair follicle if your hair isn't always in a healthful place.

Why You Need Toner

When hair lifts from a darker shade to a lighter one, there is probably a few lingering brassiness that remains out of your preceding color. Hair sunglasses range from 1 to 10 on dimensions of darkest to lightest.

A degree 10 blonde is platinum, level 5 is medium brown, and 1 is black-hued hair. When you get your highlights, ask your stylist what degree of shade they use in your hair, as this determines the energy of toner you should buy.

Also, take into account how many highlights you have. Are they throughout your head or handiest in some layers? Minimal highlights may additionally best want a monthly touch-up (which includes an easy root bump), whilst large highlights commonly want a day-by-day or weekly remedy.

Those with naturally warm undertones that need cool-toned or impartial highlights may need firming treatments.

Otherwise, your highlights will appear unblended and extraordinary in opposition to the warm temperature of your herbal strands. Likewise, if your hair is cool-toned and you do not tone, brassy highlights stick out and look orange in your hair.

What Hair Toner Does to Highlights

Hair toners are pink and blue, but some salon-grade toners may be clean if you have platinum highlights. Toners are purple or blue because those hues are the other orange and yellow at the color wheel.

Applying toner for your highlights revives the authentic coloration you utilized – brassy, the stupid blonde becomes ashy and cool-toned, dreary caramel becomes clean honey-hued brown, and platinum is going from yellow to pearly white.

When you apply toner for your highlights, you refresh your examine a miles inexpensive cost than getting your strands re-dyed.

Plus, you do no longer harm your hair almost as a whole lot as with intense hair dyes. Toners alternate the color of your highlights on the floor, however, the exchange is not permanent.

Which Toner Do You Need?

When it involves toners, it is never one-size-fits-all. The history of your hair and its cutting-edge color desires will decide which toner you need to buy and the components with a purpose to gain your highlights the most.

Not Just for Blondes

Although toner is frequently important with bleached or blonde appears, it could additionally be a completely useful product for brunettes. In both cases, your toner can offer the crowning glory on your hair color that transforms it from regular to super.

Even if the underlying shade is exactly like you imagined, your appearance may be affected by ultimate sun shades from previous hair dyes, undesirable chemical reactions, or simply residual pigment out of your herbal hair.

Though subtle, toners will refine your highlights by way of covering up coppery undertones. All you need to do is locate the correct match.


As stated above, toner is available in numerous formulations. Salon toners, shampoos, masks, go away-in treatments, and mists are all toning alternatives.

Salon-Grade Toners

Stylists use toners to modify, enhance, or revive highlights. These toners are stronger than shampoos but still greater mild than conventional hair dyes. Salon toners will no longer exchange your hair coloration at its root.

Instead, they neutralize any undesirable tones or brassy patches that your highlight foils may additionally have missed. Remember that toners are an add-on, so if you have thick or dark hair, you may sit down in the salon chair longer than supposed in case your highlights no longer absorb the toner fast.


Purple and blue shampoos are the maxima with no trouble available toning merchandise. You can find them at supermarkets, cosmetic stores, and drugstores. The convenience element is awesome with toning shampoos, however, sometimes this feature is not high-quality for highlighted hair.

As highlights do not cowl your complete head, it can be hard to get your toning shampoo wherein you need it – main to patchy highlights or little to no effects.

The easiest manner to treat that is to keep a broom and mirror in your bathing so that you can observe the shampoo immediately for your highlights. Also, a word that not all red shampoos are created the same.

Some formulations are nearly instantly purple pigments with water added to them (these are the most intense), whilst some have a conventional shampoo sense and lather when uncovered to water. Highlights which have blonde or white hues paintings best with the pigment-heavy toners.

Masks, Mists, & Other Toning Products

If you note your hair becoming brassy after washing, a hair mask is an existence-saver. Toning masks are usually more potent than shampoos and want to sit down on your hair for several mins to an hour.

Another plus of masks is that you can apply them after shampoo – get out of the bathe, apply your masks, and get returned in whilst your highlights are where you want them. Mists and leave-in merchandise also are options but are commonly now not as effective.

If you need precise firming in your highlights, a mist is almost assured to assist you to down. However, leave-in products are smooth to apply and hold your strands toned among washes.

Are There Any Risks for Using Toner on Highlights?

Most people do now not have any problems using toner on their highlights, irrespective of components. Applying a vibrant crimson shampoo or masks each day is not a satisfactory idea.

Yes, toners are greater gentle than dyes, but your highlights can quickly dry out with day-by-day use and publicity to toning chemical compounds.

Before you strive for a new toning product, test it in the back of your ear. Let it take a seat for a few hours or mins and look ahead to inflammation. If you note itching or swelling, do not use the product and speak to your stylist for product guidelines.

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