Escape Hair Salon, San Diego, 92101

What’s a Toner and What Does it Do?

As a hair artist in SoCal, the number one thing I hear nearly every day is how much women hate being brassy or yellow. In spite of the reality that our hair will never simply lighten to an “icy” blonde with just a lightener, which is a topic for a different blog, we have a wonderful product we use called toner.

Now, what exactly is toner?  At the salon, we hear this word thrown around a lot!  We also see it on the Gram perform miracles. Toner is basically a semi/demi-permanent hair color that helps correct or balance any unwanted colors, i.e., orange, yellow, or red.  We know as artists that if there is any unwanted tone in the hair we can look at the color wheel and look across from whatever color is present and find the color that will neutralize it. This is why purple shampoo is essential for your icy blondes. Purple cancels yellow, blue cancels orange, and green cancels red. I recommend using colored shampoos only once a week because you can overtone your hair and possibly turn it purple, blue, or green. So don’t be scared if you see the toner and it looks green, blue, or purple— you’ll thank us later.

We can see why toner is such a vital step to a highlight or balayage service, and usually, one bowl of toner is included in our lightening services. But it’s even good for color-treated hair. For example, I have a client for whom we colored her lightened-blonde hair back to her natural brown. But, after a month or so, it slowly started to become a lighter, reddish brown.  Honestly, there is very little we can do to prevent this from happening. Hair just naturally wants to lighten red, orange, or yellow, depending on how dark it was before the fading began. But, we can neutralize those unwanted warm tones by using a professional-grade toner. So what neutralizes the exposed red in this scenario? The answer is green. I can mix up a green-based toner and either apply it to wet or dry hair, depending on the desired results.  Magically, the red is gone, and the client is a happy camper. Many salons even offer this as an á la carte service. The bonus to toners is that they typically don’t contain ammonia, add extra shine, and can double as a mini hair treatment. It’s truly magic in a bottle.

Book with Jamie Today!

Your coloring, blonding and haircutting specialist.

Jamie has more than 16 years of experience as a hairstylist.