DIY Hair: How to Use Wella Color Charm Toner

Updated on October 31, 2019
a beautiful mess profile image

I love to dye my hair all colors of the rainbow. I love all things vintage, and I enjoy creating art, taking photos, and doing it myself.

Pre- and Post-Toner Locks!
Pre- and Post-Toner Locks! | Source

Toners are a great way to keep processed hair looking natural, but finding the right shade and learning how to use the product correctly can take a little practice. Luckily, I've used Wella toner on my hair many times and am here to share my best tips with you.

In this article, we will cover the following topics:

  • Wella Color Charm Shades
  • Choosing the Right Toner for You
  • How to Use Wella Toners
  • Why Choose Wella?
  • What Is Hair Toner and How Does It Work?
  • Can Toning Damage Your Hair?
  • Troubleshooting Toning Mistakes
  • Maintaining Toned Hair

Wella Color Charm Toner

One of the most popular and accessible toners out there is Wella Color Charm. They've got a family of three main branches: silver, ash, and beige.

Silver Toners

  • T28 Natural Blonde
  • T10 Pale Blonde: Formerly known as "Ivory Lady," this toner contains violet-blue undertones and will cancel out yellow-orange tones in your hair.

Ash Toners

  • T14 Pale Ash Blonde: Formerly known as "Silver Lady," T14 is also violet-blue based. This shade will add ashy tones, resulting in a hair shade that is darker than T18.
  • T18 Lightest Ash Blonde: According to many reviews, this toner is better for going to nearly a white blonde than T10. This is a violet based toner, "White Lady," that will eliminate light yellow tones from your hair.

Beige Toners

  • T15 Pale Beige Blonde
  • T11 Lightest Beige Blonde: This toner has a green-violet base, and will result in a sandy beach tone. It is best on yellow hair, and not ideal if you are looking for a cooler tone.
  • T27 Medium Beige Blonde
  • T35 Beige Blonde: Another toner with a green-violet base, this product will cancel out the red and yellow brassy tones in golden hair while still keeping it warm.

What Color Toner Is Right for Me?

Hair toners are commonly tinted with violet, blue, and green. These colors end up canceling out yellow, orange, and red tones that are present in bleached hair. It's important to understand color theory when toning so that you end up with the desired result. If you want to cancel out yellow, go for a violet-based toner. Orange tones are negated by blue, and red tones by green. (A quick look at a color wheel should help you see why!)

A Couple of Things to Keep in Mind Before Toning Your Hair

In order to use these toners, Wella recommends that you lighten your hair to at least half a shade lighter than your desired end result. I've included a chart showing lightness shades below so you can figure out what level you need before toning! Chances are you're going to want to lighten to a level 10 to 12.

It's important to consider the damage that could be done to your hair through the bleaching and toning process. It's inevitable, but when done properly, you can still maintain a healthy mop.

Natural Hair Color Chart
Natural Hair Color Chart

How to Use Wella Toners

Once you've decided on the proper shade of toner for you, the rest is very simple!

  • Wella Color Charm Toner
  • 20 Volume Developer (I prefer Salon Care Cream)
  • Gloves
  • Dye Brush
  • Glass Bowl
  • Tin Foil or Plastic Wrap

Step 1: Perform a Strand Test

In your glass bowl, mix 1 part toner to 2 parts developer. As you mix it with your dye brush, it will start to form a gel. It is wise to conduct a strand test to figure out your processing time. Select a small section of hair that isn't terribly visible. Test out the toner and see what amount of time produces the desired result. I'm not very wise, so I usually skip this step.

Step 2: Apply Toner in Sections

Working quickly, separate your hair into thin layers and paint the toner on, saturating the entire section. I usually start with the hair on my part and around my face and neck, and work my way in.

Step 3: Let Toner Sit

The toner may start to change to a deep, dark shade of blue or purple. Do NOT be alarmed! Let it do its work. You will not end up with dark hair. Let the toner sit for 8–10 minutes for a lighter shade or 20–25 minutes for a darker shade.

Step 4: Wash and Condition Your Hair

Once you're ready, wash it out with shampoo and be sure to condition. Just a heads up for people who didn't know this, but you can use any conditioner as a leave-in conditioner . . . just let it dry on your hair and brush it; you'll get the same result. Don't waste your money on a specifically branded "leave-in" when you have perfectly good conditioner already.

Why Should I Use Wella Over Another Brand?

Wella Professionals, based in Germany, has been making hair products for over 130 years, and they have a real knack for getting things juuust right. From toners to moisturizing shampoos, you really can't go wrong with Wella.

While some DIY products can yield disastrous results (we're looking at you, Sally's boxed dyes), most users have great success with Wella and find that they can get salon-worthy results from home. They also provide a huge range of shades (though you may have to order online, depending on the in-store offerings in your area), meaning there's a much higher chance of attaining the color you're looking for.

Honestly, there's simply no comparison between Wella and most of the other DIY brands you'll find at your local beauty shop!

What Is Hair Toner and How Does It Work?

Simple! It's a product that neutralizes brassy tones on blonde or bleached hair. In other words, it's a miracle in a bottle that keeps your hair looking natural rather than processed. Have you ever seen someone out there who tried to go platinum and got more of a "banana" color instead? This is exactly the issue that toner aims to fix.

How, you ask? Toner uses ammonia mixed with some other chemicals to create a gel. That gel, when applied to your hair, will slightly lift and tone your hair to specific and delicate shades of blonde.

Note: For an in-depth explanation of toner, check out "What Is Toner, and How Does It Work?"

Loving my new look!
Loving my new look! | Source

Can Toning Damage Your Hair?

Sort of. The toner itself won't damage your hair, but the bleach that often precedes it (it's not possible to lighten your hair with a toner) or the developer needed for the toner to work can absolutely damage your hair.

We're all pretty familiar with the ways bleach can damage your hair, but fewer people are familiar with the potential damage developers can inflict. Developer opens your hairs' cuticles so that color can penetrate it, but using developers that are too strong (e.g. 30 or 40 volume, which you should never use at home) or using weaker developers too often can be very hard on your hair.

For this reason, you shouldn't tone your hair too much or too often. it's important to give your hair time to recover between toning sessions—a few days at the very least. In addition to giving your hair a breather, this will also give you a better idea of what your color is really like, as it will shift a bit after being toned.

Troubleshooting Toning Mistakes

Going from your current hair color to your dream hair color via toning can be trickier than it initially appears. Here are three common toning mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Toning Lighter Than Your Current Level

This usually happens when you're worried about making your hair too dark, but using a toner for a level that's lighter than the lift you already have can end up creating unbalanced warmth and resulting in an awkward look.

Solution: Never tone higher than the level the hair is already lifted to.

2. Making Your Hair Overly Ashy

This usually happens when you eliminate all warm and gold tones in the hopes that it will give you the silvery look you're going for. Unfortunately, all this does is remove your hair's brightness.

Solution: Never eliminate warmth completely. Instead, try balancing it.

3. Toning Too Much All at Once

While going from your current color to your desired color in a day would be optimal, it often isn't possible, especially if the difference between the two is fairly drastic.

Solution: Don't try to achieve your perfect color all at once. Instead, resign yourself to the fact that it may take several sessions over the course of a few months to achieve your perfect color.

4. Accidentally Turning Your Hair Green

This can happen if you use an ash toner (which contains more green tones) or blue-tinted toner on yellow-toned hair, as the combination could result in a greenish color.

Solution: Avoid green- or blue-tinted toners and opt for purple-tinted ones instead!

5. Toning Darker Without Filling First

Toning darker without filling the hair first will result in a muddy gray color that almost certainly isn't what you were going for.

Solution: Fill hair to balance the tones before using a toner to go darker.

For more information about troubleshooting toning mistakes, including examples, check out this article by @PaintedChair.

Maintaining Toned Hair

At this point, you should have a beautiful, non-brassy shade of blonde hair! If that didn't happen, you may need to reevaluate the steps that you took. Did you bleach your hair to the proper level before toning it? Did you leave the toner in long enough? Did you use the proper volume of developer?

Again, if you need to redo the process, wait a few days first to give your hair a breather.

In my experience, toner is not truly "permanent" and will need to be used again once brassy tones start to come back through. This will take some time though. There are many ways to prevent brassy hair, but I've found that a particularly great product for upkeep is Generic Brand Purple Shampoo, available at Sally's. This will work to tone your hair every time you take a shower, preventing brassiness! But again, be sure to use a moisturizing conditioner, as toning shampoos can end up drying out your hair.

More Hair DIYs

Now that your hair is perfectly toned, it's time to start thinking of your next hair journey! Read some of my other DIYs here:

What Is Developer and How Do You Use It?

How to Remove Red Hair Dye

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Alex Rose


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    • profile image


      6 days ago


      I'm looking for advice .

      I just jumped into dying my hair for the first time.

      I really wanted to cover some odd looking grey.

      I went with a henna product that was meant to give a rich brown but actually gave a lot of red .

      I then used a garnier nutrise brown to try and cover the red .

      But of course it is still a very red - brown .

      Reading up and watching videos it is all a bit confusing

      Seem I should be using something with a green tone to try and neutralize but what and how exactly - e.g. shoud I try and take some of the colour out first .......

      Any advice appreciated . great if it can be kept simple :)

      I don't really mind what colour - within reason other than red - or probably black :)

    • profile image

      Elisabete Balula 

      7 weeks ago

      Hello. Finally I found an article super informative. I dye my hair a lot, I have been dying it with semi permanent La Riche black, before this my hair was white... and I have used this black about 4 to 5 times with a space of 4 to 5 weeks in between, now I would like it silver gray, but the black left this green and I have already bleached it twice, one time with 20 volumes developer and another with 40 volumes developer, now I have green and orange hair, can I correct it to get to silver with a toner?

    • profile image


      7 weeks ago

      I had dark brown hair and have bleached it 2 times and the orange/gold will not go any lighter I tried toner t18 nothing happened. My roots are more yellow then an inch from my roots the orange color. I don’t want to bleach again but need help to see what toner will help get this awful hair color gone!!! Plz plz help

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      After bleaching the hair, which color i have to use to shade the roots? Then after shading the roots i want to use t18+t14.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      I have grey roots that I color with dark brown root touch up. What toner should I use after the root touch up? The remainder of my hair is highlighted a caramel color.

    • profile image

      Diane Teutsch 

      5 months ago

      I highlighted with a mix of 30 & 40 volume taking from red auburn, dyed med brown first Brassy so I used T35 toner. Should I have used T11 or T15? T35 makes it look brown again like I never highlighted

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Can this be used on highlights mixed with lowlights? I really don’t want the darker pieces to lighten.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I bleached my hair and then used the T18 to get the brassy out and a more platinum/silvery colour but there are areas even after washing that are purple? Why and how do I correct?

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Wow this One is very nice and always Your blog give me Most Informative Details,


    • profile image

      Bunie Jaeger 

      7 months ago

      I had my hair bleached , used toner pale ash blonde then used 050 violet to obtain grey hair . It was grey but after a few washings its back to pale yello ?

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      8 months ago from Virginia

      I use it on dry, dirty hair. Usually bleach and dye take better on dirty hair. The amount of time since you've bleached it shouldn't matter, but how light your hair is does matter. Say you were using Wella T-18. Your hair needs to be a light yellow for this to work - no matter when you last bleached it. I would leave on no longer than 40 minutes. You can leave it on longer, but you risk serious damage to your hair.

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      Do you use on washed or dirty hair? Wet or dry? Does it matter if my hair hasn’t been bleached for 6 months?

      What would the max time you would leave it on for lightest possible hair?

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      What toner would I use to enhance my gray hair. T14 r T18 ty

    • profile image

      colonel blonde 

      8 months ago

      T18 toner WILL NOT correct Orange hair. Ive been bleaching/toning for 23 years. T18 has a violet base and is for yellow/gold blondes, for orangey blondes you need a toner with blue in the base.. T10, T14. All of the beige toners add neutral/sandy tones you can mix a little into your cool toners if you don't want to be too ashy or silvery.

      violet cancels out yellow

      green cancels out red

      blue cancels out orange

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      9 months ago from Virginia


    • profile image


      9 months ago

      Hi! In the first side by side photo where the hair is orange on the left and blonde on the right...which Wella toner was used? Thank you :)

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      10 months ago from Virginia

      I'd say that's ash blonde! If you bleach to a level 9 or 10 blonde and then hit it with the T-18 toner it should do the trick - that's exactly how I got that shade.

    • Cmva531 profile image


      10 months ago from Charlottesville

      In your very first picture, the orange side by side with the toned hair, the bottom of hair is pretty much what I want. I don’t know if it’s ash blonde, pale blonde or beige but it’s not platinum or super light. I see the color a lot but never know how to get it lol. Thank you.

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      10 months ago from Virginia

      What are you trying to get to? My hair pulls orange as well but if I'm going for a blonde it just takes a few more rounds of bleach. Once your hair is more yellow you can tone it easier.

    • Cmva531 profile image


      10 months ago from Charlottesville

      So I have been obsessing about toners, bleaching, colors. I’ve watched literally every video and yet I still bleached my hair to a nasty orange color. I’ve used 3 different toners over the years and still got it wrong

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Blond brilliance toner works better for getting rid of orangy redish tones after bleaching. I like the platinum tone with 15 developer. It also lifts 1 level.

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      11 months ago from Virginia

      Your toner WILL fade, so maybe the trick would be to wash it out. If you wash your hair every day, it should fade pretty quickly. Then I would do T18 and hopefully that does the trick! If you have the T14 in now, I don't think it would get any lighter by applying another toner on top. I haven't had this issue before, but I'd try just washing it out first and then adjusting to the T18.

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Hi Alexa, unfortunately I came to you a little late. I made a mistake. My hair turned out more of that grey dull color. And I need to know how to correct this. Please help.

      Can I add t18 over the t14 toner? After the fact

    • Jenniferveeder profile image


      11 months ago from Toronto

      Hi Alex. (I made a profile I commented earlier.) Yes sorry I forgot to put what colour I wanted to achieve I'm going for a icy white blonde. Something like your picture, captioned (my new look) My friend reccomended to dye my hair with an Ash/gold blonde level 7. Do another bleach and then tone it.What do you think about that idea?

      Thanks for answering

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      I'm confused. I hear t18 isn't good if you have any orange in your hair because it's not blue. It's violet. I assume I'd use that one after I getting all the orange out . So what's the best toner if you want to go to a icy white blonde. If you have orange in your hair? Love your blog!

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      11 months ago from Virginia

      I think it depends on what you are going for, an ash blonde might tone down the red. If you're trying to get caramel colored hair this may be the way to go.

      If you want something lighter, you'll need another bleach. My hair is very very dark, and when I did my first round of bleach it did the same thing. It wasn't the result I wanted, so after several light bleaches I had a workable blonde.

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      Hello I recently bleached my hair and it turned reddish orange I toned it with a t14 and it didn't take the reddish orange out I would like to know what other color would cancel it out or what toner I can use that can help take out the reddish orange the girl at Sally's beauty supply told me to dye my hair ash blond does this sound about right thank you so much for your time I ran into this discussion and you are very thorough LOL I would love to take your advice thank you

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      12 months ago from Virginia

      You can tone as often as you'd like really, but just be careful because each time you're using more ammonia which will dry out your hair. If it feels like it's strong enough to take another toning, I'd go for it! One thing I would try is using purple shampoo instead of blue - blue is meant to counteract orange tones, where yellow is reduced by purple. What I used to do is apply the shampoo to the bad spots before getting in the shower, so I could let it sit in for 15-20 minutes. Essentially toning your hair without using the harsh chemicals.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      How often can I tone?? I finally got my hair lightened to where T18 toned perfectly!!! But its now day 9 and I am almost brassed out again :( I use blue shampoo and condition only 2 wc a week. I am so frustrated because I just loved how it looked!!

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Wow, so helpful! You did an amaze job explaining color theory! Thank you!!

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      I have read and watched everything out there on going from dark brown to silver, but this is the most detailed and straight forward advice and information out there. Thank you, greatly appreciated!!

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      So i got my hair done and after toning i have a light orange patch near the front. The stylist doesnt have time to fix it before i leave for a trip...what wella toner should i use? Should i tone my whole head or just that spot?

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      Hi Alex! Thanks so much for this info! I bleached my hair to platinum and toned but came out more ashy than white. Do u think i might've over tonedor under toned? Can i get it white by toning again or do i need to bleach the toner out first now ya think?

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      This is a great review and how-to! This is even better than the vague tutorials offered through Wella! Thank you for this!

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I have been using a deep burgundy color for about a year. I used l’oreals Color remove for about 40 minutes. Then I colored my hair right after with a medium golden brown. It looks more reddish orange how can I fix it? Please!

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      You're a life saver! The only place where I can actually read what color base the toner is. Thanks!

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      16 months ago from Virginia

      Wella T18!

    • profile image

      Ashlei Johnson 

      17 months ago

      What toner was used to achieve the after color in the picture on the article?!

    • profile image

      Julianne Wahl 

      18 months ago

      I lightened my hair to an 8, I would like lighter but really don’t want to bleach it again. I used the Natural blonde Wella toner but it’s still kinda orangey yellow. Do you think the ash toners would help or will they be pretty useless since my hair isn’t lighter? Thanks!

    • MorganLD profile image


      20 months ago

      My natural hair is a 6/7ish and has grown out a good bit (I haven’t colored since october) i did a bayalage. I have a nice blonde bayalage going on. I’ve read this article and the One about hair toner in general. I’ve been using Fanola no orange mixed with blonde brilliance from Sally’s and it’s done wonders but I still have that brassy blonde in the mid section of my hair that the shampoos just arent working. I don’t want to do any thing with my roots. I’ve pretty much decided on the Wella T10. Will it also lift my roots if I use 20v developer?

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      If we accidentally achieved the wrong level of red (a medium intense red) and want to be closer to a ginger/copper.. what is our best route for correction? An ash blonde or beige toner etc? HELP :)

    • a beautiful mess profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Rose 

      21 months ago from Virginia

      I would try to hit it with t18! It gives a much more neutral tone and is used for getting the yellows out.

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      Hi, i used a t14 toner & 050 additive for gray color look ,but my hair gray with yellow hints like a grand mom should i use another toner t14 or use t18 dnt k ow help please.


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