How To Choose The Right Toner For Highlighted Hair

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Did your recent hair coloring experiment end in regret? Or are you looking for ways to polish your fading hair color so that your hair doesn’t look like a messy broom? Well, it’s all in the toning! A lot of times, the color you choose might not be the right one for your hair. To avoid this, you need to choose the right toner for your hair. And in this post, we discuss just that. Keep reading!

What Is A Hair Toner?

Toners are sweet angels in bottles that help neutralize yellow or orange tinted bleached hair and change the color to ashy or platinum. You can call them color correctors.

A toner gives a finished and polished look to your hair, revitalizing dull and faded hair color and transforming it into something shiny and elegant. The unevenness in the highlighters will be rectified to perfection. Toners are not just limited to aesthetic purposes. They also condition your hair, eliminating frizz and dryness. If you have bleached hair, it’s mandatory to use a toner.

But what exactly does a toner do?

What Does A Toner Do?

  • Toners adjust the highlighters by depositing pigments onto the surface. Though they do not upgrade the color, they make the highlighter align with the natural hair color.
  • If you’re using toners to adjust the color, you need to learn about the laws of the color wheel. For e.g., if you want a neutralized shade for your existing hair color, you need to look for the opposite tone to your hair color on the color wheel.
  • If you want a lighter shade or a multi-layered effect, you can use a toner. Also, if you need to change just a part of your highlighted hair (like faded blondish yellow), you will need to choose a purple ash toner to get a neutralized ashier color.
  • Toning dark hair requires more than one sitting as the pigments will not give an immediate lighter shade in the first attempt.
  • Usually, toners come into use once you have bleached and highlighted your hair. That is when they allow the color to seep in and give a finished glossy look.

Choosing the right toner can be challenging. You need to research the color and product before proceeding with toning.

How To Choose The Right Toner For Highlighted Hair

How To Choose The Right Toner For Highlighted Hair
  • Toner For Blonde Hair

If you are planning on removing yellow blonde hue, you need to look for the shade opposite to your current hair color on the color wheel, i.e., purple ash toner.

  • Toner For Auburn Hair

For reddish-brown hair, you need to choose a green-tinged toner to get the right neutralization.

  • Toner For Dark Hair

Ash blonde or beige blonde can be used to calm your dark shade.

  • Toner For Bold Hair Colors

Blue toner is usually used to neutralize excessively bold colors.

Let us now look at the types of toners.

Types Of Toners

There are three types of hair toners – permanent toner, semi-permanent toner, and demi-permanent toner.

  • Permanent Toner

Permanent toners are used to cover the previous hair color completely. They impart a new shade altogether, without leaving any traces of the natural hair color. In most cases, permanent toners are used for their long-lasting effects. But be careful before choosing a lasting toner as it alters your hair from within.

  • Semi-Permanent Toner

Semi-permanent toners can be used if you only want the color to stay temporarily. On an average, if you use a semi-permanent toner, the color may not fade until 10-12 washes.

  • Demi-Permanent Toner

Demi-permanent toners last longer (almost twice as long) than the semi-permanent variants. All the ammonia-based hair toners are demi-permanent. One has to be careful while using a demi-permanent toner as it can alter the hair shaft structure from within.

The three types of toners used commonly are ammonia toners, purple shampoo, and dye.

Now that you know the importance of toning and the types of toner, you need to be aware of the application process as well.

When To Tone

Once you are done bleaching your hair, you can apply the toner. But to get the desired results, wait until the color sits on the hair and changes the shade into your desired color. Apply the toner evenly throughout the hair strands.

Do not rinse off until you’re sure of the changing new color, or you might risk wasting the product.

  • Results Acquired

The results purely depend on your choice of toner. Before starting the process, spend your time researching the color tint. You might acquire the final color depending on your choice of toner. For example, hazelnut hair color to ashy shade, pale yellow to platinum, blonde to purple hue or dusty ash color, and so on.

Apart from aesthetic purposes, toners also impart shine to your hair and polish it from the roots to the tips. They help the newly acquired color blend in with the current hair color, giving you a groomed look.

They soften rough ends and make your tresses incredibly glossy.

The next question that might come to your mind is how do you tone down blonde hair? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

How To Tone Down Blonde Hair

Blonde is bold and beautiful, but it requires high maintenance and a lot of products to sustain the beauty of the color. There is no specific color code for blonde as it can range from light to dark or gold to brown. If you have gone blonde, you must be aware of the fading yellowish hue that appears shabby. To remove the brassiness from blonde hair, you can use Wella Hair Toner shade number T11 or T18 to get ashy hue. And along with that, you would need the Lift Developer to enhance the color.

It is better to use a permanent toner for long-lasting results as the color stays even after multiple washes.

With a lot of money and efforts put into the process, watching the expensive color fading away might be painful. To avoid this, you can follow the below tips.

How To Prevent Your Hair Color From Fading

  • Reduce regular usage of flat iron.
  • Apply hair serums to prevent fading.
  • Use shampoos that are color sensitive.
  • Avoid extreme exposure to the sun.
  • Reduce your frequency of shampooing as it might otherwise rinse away the color.
  • Never forget to condition your hair.

Here are a few more tips.


  • Choose the appropriate color for your hair.
  • For best results, either choose a demi-permanent or permanent toner.
  • Follow the color law (color wheel) for a perfect shade.
  • Never forget to tone after the bleaching process.
  • Use an equalizing spray before using a toner.

Follow these tips and go ahead and choose the right toner for your highlighted hair. Do let us know about your experience by commenting below.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).