Since you are here, it’s probably safe to say you are curious how hair toner will affect your highlights, or you are trying to decide if you want to use it or not. No matter the reason, we have the answers to your questions, with the assistance of the professionals at Olivia Stephens Salon & Spa, a hair salon spa in Palm Beach. So, what exactly does hair toner do to your highlights?

Hair toner has been described as “sweet angels in bottles” and for a very good reason! You know those brassy yellow and orange tints your hair gets after highlighting or bleaching it? Well, toner neutralizes those unwanted tones and turns them into fabulous platinum and ashy tints while also aligning your highlights to your natural hair color, giving it a more natural look.

What Exactly Is Hair Toner?

Hair toner is semi-permanent hair color that cancels out yellow, orange, and other brassy tones and adds a particular look to your blonde. As mentioned above, it helps bleached and highlighted hair look more natural and flattering.

Hair toner lasts between three to six weeks, depending on how often you wash your hair. For instance, if you wash your hair every day, your hair toner will fade fast, while washing it once or twice a week will give it its longest life. When it starts to fade, you should reapply or get a touch-up at the salon since it also helps preserve your hair color.

Just to clarify, there are three main types of products you can use to tone your hair. They are toner, purple shampoo, and dye. They all work a little bit differently, which we will explain below.

Ammonia-Based Toner

This is the most effective way to tone your hair and yet is the most damaging. The small amount of ammonia in the toner goes into your hair follicle and alters the pigment from the inside out.

When using an ammonia-based hair toner like this one, you should wait two to three days before toning since it could further damage your hair if you apply it directly after bleaching or highlighting.

If you want to tone your highlights now and can’t see yourself waiting a few days, or you want something gentler for your hair, there are other options.

Purple Shampoo

Purple shampoo, such as this one, is perfect for toning hair and is so much simpler than regular toners since they come in shampoo form. With purple shampoo, you can use it three to four times per week to keep that brassy tint out of your highlights.

Depending on the strength you choose, leaving it in five to 10 minutes before rinsing out should suffice, but always go by the bottle directions.


Who would have thought you could use regular hair dye to tone your hair? True enough, it isn’t actually hair toner, although it works just as well.

With this method, you will mix a tiny dab of hair color with a white conditioner base, put it all in your hair and leave it in for 15 to 30 minutes for best results. You can use a simple purple hair dye to achieve the perfect shade of blonde.

Who Needs Toner?

Hair toner is typically used in bleached blonde hair, as well as blonde highlights, but that’s not to say blondes are the only ones who benefit from it.

According to L’Oreal, hair toner is also great for redheads and brunettes who are looking to eliminate any brassy tones or are just trying to lighten up their color.

Hair toner also benefits people who:

  • Want to manipulate the tone of their blonde by either lightening or darkening it.
  • Want their colored hair to look and feel shiny and healthy.
  • Want to preserve their color in between colorings.
  • Have brunette hair with blonde highlights, as they tend to get the brassy look more often than lighter colors.

Choosing the Right Toner for Your Hair

Choosing the right toner for you can be a little tricky at first because you don’t know what to look for starting out.

The best way to begin is to visit a salon because they will know exactly which toner you need for your hair type and desired color and will also be able to educate you on the importance of a toner in case you need any clarification.

But if a trip to the salon is out of the question, check out this chart at Stylecraze to help you figure out the exact color of toner you need for your highlights.

What Results Can I Achieve with Hair Toner?

The main advantage with hair toner is the ability to customize your look. You can manipulate it into basically anything you want.

It can give you that true platinum look, silver hair, and so many other shades and hues, giving you the freedom to truly be unique and make any look your own.

Final Thoughts

As you now see, there are multiple ways to achieve the look you desire by toning your hair after highlighting it. Start by purchasing the toner of your choice, then read the directions on the box for best results.

Remember, if you need any assistance, you can easily search step-by-step directions on toning your hair on YouTube.

Good luck. and I hope you achieve the color you so desire!

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