Toning 101

A few months back I worked at a hair store that sold products to professionals only. I got asked questions every once in a while and would help people find what they were looking for. I met, more that I expect, stylist who didn't believe in toning..I was SHOCKED. Don't believe in toning???? I've only been in the industry for 7 years and I've always toned highlights, even if it was to add shine. This is a newer concept I've come to find out and a lot of old school stylist don't see the point.

So what is the point?

Toning is ESSENTIAL for your bright blondes, ashy blondes, refined brunettes. Any color, you name it and it could be toned.

When it comes to toning you need to know the basic color wheel. If you're a stylist you know that color lifts in stages. Red, Red/Orange, Orange, Orange/Yellow, Yellow, Pale Yellow. Its essential to know the complimentary colors to these to know what you need to cancel that unwanted "warmth".

I learned color through Aveda. Aveda breaks down their color formulas in levels and tones. Thats how I'm going to explain this.

Toners should be:

1. What colors you're trying to cancel

2. What colors you wish to see

NEVER tone to a color you didn't lift to. You can tone down but never up.


If you have your client lifted to a level 8 (orange/yellow). You need to but a level 8 over it. a level 9 is not strong enough to give you the results you wish to see. This will leave your client with the unwanted warmth.

Always unpromise and over deliver. You are the professional. You know that box brown isn't going to be platinum blonde in one session. Honesty will get you far!