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DIY Hair: What Is Toner, and How Does It Work?

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

Nicely toned hair

Nicely toned hair

What Exactly Is Hair Toner?

Toner is a sweet little product that neutralizes brassy yellow and orange tones on bleached hair. It is usually purple-blue tinted. When applied to bleached hair, it takes it to more of an ashy, dusty, or platinum color. That means a much more natural-looking hair tone! It can also make your hair look shinier and healthier.

Toner is the term used for the product specifically meant to tone hair, but you can also use other products to tone your hair, such as hair dye or purple shampoo.

Have you ever seen someone walking around with yellow hair? And I don't mean like they picked up a bottle of Manic Panic's Electric Banana hair dye. I mean, they tried to go blonde, and it just came out as a terrible mistake. Instead of Jennifer Lawrence, it was Lisa Simpson. That's bad.

The problem is that they didn't use a toner.

What Does Toner Do to Hair? Important Things to Know About Toner

  • Toners alter the undertone of hair color but do not lift the shade. This is why they are meant to be applied to bleached or blonde hair and will not work on darker hair.
  • Toner can help you manipulate the shade of your blonde hair to make it look cooler, dingier, ashier, or even different colors like pink or purple.
  • You can use it all over your hair or just in specific parts where you want to change the shade. For example, it can tone down just the part of your hair with highlights or just at the roots to make them look more natural.
  • The more you wash your hair, the more frequently you'll have to tone it. You can either tone it at home or go to the salon for touch-ups.
  • You can use three different types of products to tone: purple shampoo, ammonia toners, or dye. I'll go into details about those below.
Toned with Colorance 10p

Toned with Colorance 10p

What Kind of Toner Should You Use?

Toner TypeWhen to UseHow to Use ItNotes

Ammonia-based toner

Hair should already be blonde. Wait a few days if you've just bleached it a bunch to avoid over-damaging.

Follow instructions on the product. Usually you'll need to mix with a 20-vol developer.

This will not lift the color of your hair.

Purple shampoo

After bleaching hair. Gentler than ammonia-based toner.

Wash hair with it 2–3 times a week and leave in for 5–10 minutes each time.

Different brands have different strengths of toning.

Purple hair dye

After bleaching your hair

Mix a very small amount with white conditioner and leave in 15–30 minutes.

Make sure to use a small amount!

Wella Ammonia Toners

Wella has a great toner line called Color Charm. An ammonia-based toner is actually a demi-permanent hair color that contains ammonia. It will change the pigment makeup of your hair shafts. So be careful!! If you've just done a bunch of bleaching, your hair is already pretty fragile. If you can stand it, wait a few days. In those few days, I'd really try to stay away from shampooing. Shampoo will only serve to dry out your hair even more.

Once your hair is done being mad at you, you'll be ready to apply toner. Wella, a well-known brand of toner, calls for you to mix 1 part toner with 2 parts 20 volume developer. The mixture is left in the hair for up to 30 minutes before rinsing.

Don't try to make up your own ratio or alter the instructions that you read on the bottle. Follow them! Each toner is different, and everyone's hair reacts slightly differently to the products. Give yourself the best chance at success and follow the directions.

Purple Shampoo

Some people skip that whole thing and tone using purple shampoo. Yes, that's really what it's called. I use Generic Purple Shampoo, which you can pick up at a Sally's or online. It's got a really strong purple tone to it, so when it's left on your hair for 5–10 minutes, it will neutralize brassiness. This is great because you can use it to maintain ashy tones every time you wash your hair!

You might need to try a couple of different brands to get the strength of toning that you need.


Another method people use to tone is to just use dye. This is technically not "toning," but it will serve the same purpose. The common theme here is using purple to neutralize yellow . . . so the logical formula to tone using hair dye would be to take a *small* amount of purple hair dye and mix it with a much larger amount of white conditioner. You'd apply the mixture for at least 15–30 minutes and then rinse out.

When to Tone Blond Hair

Obviously, you should apply it after bleaching. But when is best?

If you go to the store and buy yourself a toner, say, Wella's Color Charm in Lightest Ash Blonde, you'd really have to wait until your hair is lifted to a very light tone of yellow.

Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting your product and not achieving the desired results. So, once you're at a light-light yellow, you're free to tone.

In general, you want to make sure that your hair is the desired level of blonde that you want and that it's in a place where it can take more treatment (is not too damaged).

Toner can help balance your color out and adjust the tone

Toner can help balance your color out and adjust the tone

What Results Can You Get?

You can get a huge range of color tones, from warm honey to light ash, and even silver! Wella Color Charm Toners have even got some red, brown, and violet toners that can be used on dark hair. Do your research and figure out what sort of tints and tones you can create on your own hair!

Sometimes, you get unintended results. If you choose the wrong toner to balance your color out, you may end up with green hair! But don't worry; it can be fixed!

Rose tone created with Redken Shades EQ

Rose tone created with Redken Shades EQ

What's the Upkeep?

Depending on your hair-washing habits, you may have to re-tone anywhere from 2–8 weeks in. Make sure you don't wash your hair directly after toning because the color will start to slip out.

The less frequently you wash, the longer your color will stay in. Not to mention, you really shouldn't be washing your hair every day . . . it strips out your natural oils and dries out your hair. Which is really not the best thing to do when you've just been bleaching and toning!

Hair toned with Artego

Hair toned with Artego

Keep Conditioning!

Any time you mess with bleach or ammonia, it's a great idea to show your hair some love too. Use a leave-in conditioner, or apply a hair mask every so often! There are some really great ones that are so simple to make and often use ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.

One of my favorites is to heat up extra virgin olive oil until it's warm to the touch. Sitting over the tub, lean over so your head is kind of between your knees, and your hair is flipped upside down. Massage the warm oil into your scalp to moisturize your hair and activate your hair follicles. This is supposed to help your hair grow too! Leave the oil in for as long as you're comfortable, but at least 30 minutes, before washing out with a sulfate-free shampoo.

Coconut oil is another great tool to use when moisturizing hair. Don't hesitate to look up different hair "recipes" to keep your mane soft and strong!

Other Beauty Articles by Alex

Hey all! Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my other beauty articles on my page!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Wahnema on July 15, 2020:

I had my hair colored platinum a day ago with a new girl. She bleached it and added pink highlights. While she was doing the highlights she said she would put a toner on. When she was done my hair on the sides were very dark (pixie cut). The top is a light purple. It looks really awful!!!! How can I get the toner out?? Thank you!!

Notinks on July 02, 2020:

I bleached my daughter's dark blonde hair with Schwarzkopf BlondMe and then dyed with a mix of Igora Royal Rose and Pearlescence Coral about 2 months ago. It has faded a lot and she now wants to go with more of a light golden blonde. She has regrowth as well. Would an ammonia-based toner work ?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on June 03, 2020:

T18 isn't going to work, it only works on super light hair. If it were me, I'd go over the roots with a light brown dye. I'd apply just at the roots, because if you take it too far down your strands, it risks bleeding onto the parts you've just bleached!

K Harris on June 01, 2020:

Hi there,

I attempted to give myself at-home balayage during quarantine and I think something went sort of wrong with the toning stage. I used a bleach powder with a 30 developer, painted the strands I wanted lighter, let it set for a little while, and when I took it out, the strands were light yellow which is what I was expecting (I started as an ashy light brown, and my hair lifts very quickly). However, when I toned, I used a the Wella T27 toner with 10 developer, put it all over my head, and may have waited a bit too long (somewhere around 45 mins). Instead of toning just the lightened strands and achieving a beige blonde with brown roots, the bottoms of my hair are fine and are blonde, but the top is orange-y and yellow and I don't know how to fix it. I tried purple shampoo but it's still yellow/orange (almost looks more like strawberry blonde). It's not horrible, but it's not what I wanted. Should I tone again with a different toner (possibly something more ashy like T18) and use 20 developer or 10 developer? Or should I go over top of my roots with a light brown hair dye and just dye roots? I'm not sure what move to make here. Any advice would be helpful!!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 10, 2020:

I've never used the Schwarzkopf brand before so I'm not very familiar with it, but if you have yellow tones in it it seems that Schwarzkopf Ice Toner may be what you're looking for. That should tone you to a light white/silver! I'm assuming you're going for platinum blonde, that seems to be the most similar to Wella T18 which is what I use to get to platinum. Good luck!

Mia on May 08, 2020:

I bleached my hair with Schwarzkopf Blond me and 20 volume water, but I was afraid of breaking my hair so I´ve removed the bleach after 20 minutes. Some parts are quite orange now. After that, I mixed a 9.1 with 7 volume developer and I left it, on wet hair, around 10 minutes. I washed it with purple shampoo and I performed a keratin treatment after. I don´t hate it but still is in some parts kinda yellow. So my question is, can I bleach it again on the roots, and what produuct of Schwarkopf blond me do you reccomend me to tone it. I'm from spain this is a brand I can get here that is why I am asking. Thank you very much.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 05, 2020:

I would recommend giving it a few days to a week - don't shampoo in that time! Just use conditioner or hair oils to hydrate your hair. Shampooing will just strip the moisture back out. Luckily you probably aren't seeing that many people right now so it's the best time to just take care of your hair.

Usually this is the process I'll do - I lighten it up enough, leave it yellow for a week, and then do the toner. Just make sure you continue conditioning, and try not to shampoo so frequently. Since I've gotten my hair to white, I only shampoo it once a week. Use a dry shampoo if you need! Good luck!

Donna from Manchester on May 02, 2020:

Hello I bleached my hair twice it's gone a lovely shade but bleaching it has caused damage so I am now deep conditioning for a few days before putting a silver on but would it be safe for me to use the t18 and developing cream first or will it cause more damage thankyou in advance

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 01, 2020:

I think you would have to bleach your hair first, which should be quick and easy since your hair is already blonde. I'd use Ion Bright White Creme Lightener and Salon Care 10 Volume Creme Developer. Since you've never done your hair before, you should enlist someone to help you get even coverage with the bleach!

Once you've gotten it to the lightness you want, rinse out. Could be anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. Then use Wella T18 toner with 10 or 20 volume developer!

Chantal on April 29, 2020:

Hi, I am naturally blonde and have never dyed my hair. My hair is a natural blonde color with golden undertones. I would love to get more of a silver blonde with cool undertones. Do you have any tips as to which products I can use to achieve this? Thank you in advance!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 27, 2020:

Hi! So it's pretty hard to go from brown to silver, but your friend is right, he probably will have to bleach twice. I usually get my supplies from Sally Beauty, which is closed right now, but you can order from their stores online with no big shipping delays.

Unfortunately drug stores and superstores like WalMart don't usually have the correct supplies for bleaching or toning, but they have plenty of dye.

If you can order online from Sally's, I'd recommend getting Wella T18 toner and Salon Care 20 volume creme developer. These products will tone his hair to a more neutral color, but they will ONLY work if all of his hair is light yellow. If you're still seeing some dark yellow and orange tones in it, he needs to bleach once more before using toner.

If you're searching for another sort of bleach to use, I recommend Ion Bright White Creme Lightener, which you can also use with the 20 volume developer. All of these products can be found on Sally Beauty's website! Sorry I can't recommend something in-store, it may be better to order online right now anyways!

Lisa on April 25, 2020:

Hi, your articles are great and full of easy to understand info. My son decided he wants to dye his hair grey/silver. He ordered a bleach kit, and dye, but he has dark brown hair so he was told by a friend he would need to bleach it twice so he did it last night and was planning on doing it again today but it’s definitely yellow and needs toner. Could you recommend a toner/hair color kit that we could find at a grocery store, cvs, target or a Walmart that would be an option to use as toner since the beauty stores are closed?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 23, 2020:

It's ideal to have platinum blonde hair before using a blue dye. Toner's not going to help you unless your hair is light enough in the first place. The unfortunate truth about blue is that blue + blonde (basically yellow tones) = green. It's always going to fade green unless your hair is platinum, white, or silver underneath. My process is to bleach to super light yellow, tone with Wella T18 to have basically white-platinum hair, and then apply blue dye. If you don't want to bleach it platinum, the only solution I can see here is to only wash your hair once a week, and apply dye about once a week or two to keep it from fading.

As for roots, when I'm using blue I always bleach my roots after about 4-6 weeks, and apply color directly after. I do recommend Arctic Fox blues because they don't have any harsh chemicals in them and are very vibrant. If you're not bleaching your roots, you can just apply AF dye right onto them, leave it in for a couple hours, and rinse out in the shower!

Megan on April 22, 2020:

I want to add blue to my hair, but I hate when it fades to a green-ish tone, how can I avoid this? Should I use a toner between bleaching and dying it blue? I currently dye over my darker blonde hair with a Wella 8N without bleaching it in order to slightly lighten it. I'm going to bleach the underneath layer of my hair with a 20 developer in order to get a more vibrant color, but I'm not going to go super blonde. Should I use a toner to help prevent the blue from fading to green? Is there a better blue brand I should use after the bleach? Also, when touching up the blue color later, do you have tips for what I should be doing with my roots? Thank you!!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 22, 2020:

Purple shampoo doesn't do a whole lot unless you leave it in for a long time, I'd say it's probably better for you to tone your hair again. If you're able to make an appointment, I'd go with that - but if you're stuck doing it at home, you should easily be able to tone!

If your highlights are super light, like yellowy, I'd use Wella T18. I'm thinking since your hair is brown, yours may be more of a golden color, in which case I'd recommend Wella T35. You'd mix a 20 volume developer with this and then apply it to the lightened sections. Look up "Wella Toner Chart" on google images and you'll find a graphic that will help show you what the different toners do!

Sandra Grooms on April 17, 2020:

My hair is dark have I had highlights done about 4 months ago and the are turning brassy, I've used purple shampoo and it hasn't done anything. Can I tone my hair to lighten them back up or should I have them redone??

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 15, 2020:

If you want highlights to be touched up, the only way you'll be able to do it is with bleach! Dye is adding color on top, while bleach is pulling pigment out and making it lighter. A toner is something you would use on hair that has already been lightened.

Bleach is a lot to learn and there are lots of mistakes that you can make - it may be best to just wait until salons open back up, unless you are 100% set on doing it at home! I do have some articles on how to use bleach - you should be able to pick up bleach highlight kits from a drug store. They include a cap that you have to pull little bits of hair through.

Patricia Lingard on April 15, 2020:

I have light blonde highlights and roots showing up darker so ive put ash blonde nice + easy on hair . Its gone darker than i thought it would on un highlighted hair . Should i put a toner on or whatwould be your advice please . Thanking you in advance .

Joyce Dumas on March 13, 2020:

Great advice.

Valeria on January 18, 2020:


I seem to struggle to find WELL COLOUR CHARM toners in Europe (where I live at least). But it’s quite easy on the other end to find WELLA COLOUR FRESH. How is it different from colour charm? Would it work as a toner on slightly brassy hair?

Cheers :)

Ailish on January 13, 2020:

Some of this information is incorrect I'm afraid. 20vol is not the correct devleoper to use when toning.

Ikram on December 15, 2019:

Hair mask recipe for damaged hair (or dry, frizzy hair): you'll need one egg with 2 tablespoons of olive oil mix well and apply it all over your hair from roots to ends leave in for 2 hours and wash your hair (ps: the eggs can leave a funny smell so wash it well)

Do it once a week and avoid washing your hair a lot (once a week is enough)

Alex S. on December 01, 2019:

Heyy , I am going to dye my hair and I already KNOW it's going to turn yellowish orange. So , I am going to tone it , I just don't want a grey-like tone , like a step under the Wella T18 , that everyone's talking about . Help please !?

Wmg on November 10, 2019:

My toner is too purpley grey on my hair. Just had it done. Want it warmer. What can i do?

Diane Jacobs on August 30, 2019:

How long should I leave the bleach in my hair? I know you said 15 minutes wasn't enough but is there a more specific range?

TR on May 31, 2019:

I have been bleaching for years and always use purple shampoo but I hesitate to leave it into long because May hair

Literally turns purple what can I

Do ? I have just been dealing with brass tones because mine isn’t horrible that way but I love the time it did turn out

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 28, 2019:

Toner, color stripper, and bleach all have chemicals that will unfortunately cause some amount of damage. If you don't want to use any of those, the sun, chlorine, and shampoo will all help the color fade.

nin on May 25, 2019:

I have pink hair right now and I want to go blonde, how can I achieve this without damaging my hair further?

DOROTHY RIDEOUT on March 22, 2019:


I'm letting my hair go natural, I still have alot of brown with white, the white gets a yellow tint. Is it ok to use purple shampoo or would is damage my hair

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on March 05, 2019:

I would dye it and then do the highlights - if you put the dye on top, it'll most likely just cover up the highlights completely.

Eileen Vicks on March 03, 2019:

I want to dye my hair dark ash brown and do some ash highlights in it. Should I highlight first then dye my hair ash brown to neutralize the highlight or dye it first then use the highlight and use purple shampoo?

Amanda Siekbert on February 09, 2019:

My hair has naturally been growing out for about 2 years and I am a natural blonde. I have almost lighter brown roots now about 6 inches long, with the old existing light blonde color from about midways toward the bottom. I’ve never gone this long without coloring my hair. It’s about 3 inches past my shoulders. I’m trying to get something different than the same old super light blonde, maybe a pretty bright color without damaging it so bad but I’m not sure where to begin having dark and light colored hair

Val Lloyd on February 04, 2019:

My hair was highlighted l went for a blonder look & ended up with some brassy tones. I put a ‘Touch of Silver Shampoo’ all over on dry hair left on for 2 hours now my hair is a lovely light grey much better with my new blunt cut. Total transformation pleased!

Mark on January 18, 2019:

Can oxidizer mixed with white conditioner work as toner??

Ann810 from Sunny Cali on December 16, 2018:

Informative article great tips for maintain the right color on hair, toner is the way. Thanks

Telisha Swails on September 08, 2018:

To fix bleach blonde hair that is brassy when starting out with dark hair use a lightest neutral blonde dye ,I like Clairol soyplex with the lightest cool blonde . 50/50 ratio it will tone hair and give you a light cool blonde without going to ashy. This was a long experiment I did . Use a 20 vol ion sensetive scalp is great!

Regina on September 05, 2018:

How do I keep my naturally white hair from yellowing? Purple shampoo made my roots purple but didn't diminish the yellow. Platinum toner with 10 volume turned my hair ugly gray which fortunately washed out in 2-3 washings. Have begun to use clarifying shampoo; I hope to maintain a consistent color across the time line. Someone suggested hard water is the culprit. Thanks for listening.

Lupita on August 15, 2018:

Hi so I have a chocolate Browns and some yellow highlights that the lady at the salon messed me up with I want it to turn an ash brown color what can I use?

Sky762 on July 20, 2018:

Hello. I bleached my hair and then used the t18 toner. It was lighter than I wanted so i put a lightest ash blonde dye on it and it is grey with some purple and some blue at the roots. Im at a loss right now. I have no idea what to do. Can anyone help ?

Candy on July 05, 2018:

Hi, I have a problem on a different level. So my hair has been bleached for some time, and i wanted to go and bleach my roots only, ended up with bleach almost all over, so darker hair turned orange, bleached again, more yellow, and then i toned..... again over all my hair, hoping it will all be one colour. SO..... had the toner in for 5minutes, and then (all the previous bleached hair) turned purple. Bleached the purple out, and then back to yellow. Mixed some of my purple shampoo with conditioner, moment I put it on, turns purple. Only the previous bleached parts. Bought a grey toner, loved the top root colour, ends turned BLUE. So bought ash blonde dye, But it's not what I want, platinum is what i was going for. Seeing now, that the ends are starting to come through again. Washing out. PLEASE HELP!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 03, 2018:

It's really going to depend on what you're going for. If you get 2-3 levels of lift and you're happy with the color it comes out, don't bother toning!

Samantha on July 01, 2018:

Hello! Is it necessary to tone hair even if you're just lifting 2-3 levels of hair color?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on June 19, 2018:

If you have any orange in there you probably need to bleach again! Once all of your hair is white/light yellow you'll be ready to tone or use the charcoal color.

Amie on June 17, 2018:

Hi. I am trying to get my hair light enough to take the light charcoal color( looks almost like really lt silver). I used to keep it died permanent darks. Rt now it is white at roots, yellow/ blond and some really orangy streaks. I did a test strand with the charcoal. It's almost there. Should I use a toner...?

Chelsea Skiles from Traverse City, MI on May 06, 2018:

Ok thank you. I noticed when I used the toner I might have put to much developer in there because it was a bit watery and didn't stay at my roots. I'll try the T18 again only on my roots. I did a bleach wash and my natural hair is a dirty blonde so It looked even. Thank you for help Alex :)

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 04, 2018:

If your hair was even that's weird that it stayed yellow up top! Usually the heat from your scalp will make that process faster. I'd try out T18 once more at roots only. If your hair isn't a level 10 blonde though the toner might not take very well - maybe go for T15 or T11.

Chelsea Skiles from Traverse City, MI on May 04, 2018:

HI, I'm Chelsea. I Bleached my hair, I toned it I used purple shampoo. The rest came up with was a golden blonde. So I waited a month till my hair felt healthy enough. I gave myself I bleach bath. and it turned brassy yellow. over all even though. So I used Wella 18 toner and now my roots are yellow and my hair is white.... what should I do now???? pls help

Tiffany on March 28, 2018:

@jane Toshack - Yes exactly what she said. You should grab a color wheel if you are doing your own hair. Its a must. I got mine for a few dollars at the art store near me. Yellow + Blue (Steel Color is blue based) make green.... so I would use a Violet with a super small touch of steel if you are going for that cool almost grayish color. But I mean like a 10:1 ratio on that.... that's what I do. I use Redken Shades EQ Mostly clear - Prob 1oz with 20ml 09V and maybe 2ml 09B (Sterling) and I love it! I will use 09T sometimes too. l

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on March 23, 2018:

Everyone's hair is different, depending on what toner you use you may end up toning only the yellow and not the orange! If you go for something with a blue-violet base it should cover both areas. If you're set on not bleaching, that's what I would look for. Just keep in mind, you may not be able to achieve ash from orange without another bleaching. Wella has a toner that works on "golden" hair, T35. You could also try using an ash blonde box dye. Another option for the oranges would be to pick up a blue toning shampoo, that will gradually reduce the orange tones should they not come out otherwise. There are pretty good reviews for Joico's Color Balance Blue Shampoo!

Katniss93 on March 22, 2018:

Thank you for your helpful information!! last year I went to my hair dresser that I have been going to for several years and told her I would like my hair to match my roots that is a blend of dark ash and natural grey, it looks pretty (I think) the out growth that has been dyed and bleached over the years. She dyed my all of my hair like a dark chestnut brown then went in and weaved in bleach for the blonde streaks then a week later I went back and she added a toner to it, when she washed out the toner it turned all the dark chestnut color orange and a lot of my hair broke off from damage and I was mortified to say the least.....I have not put any color, toner in my hair since a year ago I've only deep conditioned and shampoo/conditioner 2-3 times a week. Now I am tired of this yellow/light orange hair that has grown out and have about 4-5 inches of my natural roots showing. I want to put a toner in my hair to hopefully get a light ash blonde to closer match my roots. Question is, do I have to bleach it again? I don't want more damage, my hair is in pretty good shape now.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on March 19, 2018:

I've never personally experienced this problem, but from what I read "ash" toners have more green tones to them. If your hair was yellowish and you used a blue-tinted toner, those two colors could result in a green. Purple toner is better for yellow-toned hair!

jane Toshack on March 18, 2018:

I bleached my hair then used a toner (Steel Colour) my hair turned out green! fortunately I was advise to use fairy liquid to wash out and it worked. Why did it turn green though?

LWynn on February 27, 2018:

I did high lights on golden brown hair and then did a all over toner, all my hair turned a golden shade of blonde. All over one color . Should I do a low light to add dimension/

Christine Baylon on February 18, 2018:

hi! I'm planning on bleaching my hair. Right now it's a really dark brown because i dyed it a couple months ago. How many sessions do i need to achieve blonde without having too much damage? thanks!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on November 19, 2017:

Toner does smell really strong as it typically contains ammonia, it could have been. I'm not familiar with MG7 and MG6 or what that could have been. Did it look lighter before she put the"toner" in? If the bleach was in for 20 minutes it definitely should have done something.

Autumn on November 18, 2017:

I just had highlights done. When stylist took foils out and washed my hair, she put something on my smelled strong (like dye). I asked what it was and she said toner. I never had toner smell like this. I think it was hair dye for a mistake. She said MG7 on roots and MG 6 on ends or something like that to her asst. My hair looks like it has zero highlights after having foils/bleach put on it for 20 mins. Stylist said it will fade. It looks like I never had my hair colored. Any thoughts on if this was really toner or not?

Aya on October 01, 2017:

Hi! I dyed my hair gray/ silver. Can I tone it every 2-3 weeks to intensify the color? Or will it wash the gray dye off? Thanks! :)

Brigitte Lalonde on August 20, 2017:

I just bought a beige blonde instead of ash blonde. I also bought a toner from Schwarzkopf. I would love to have the purple color with the girl with her face covered. Do I have to put purple conditioner in the toner to get this color or if you please, tell me the steps you have taken to achieve this color. I also bought from amazon a color only made in the UK and it is like this purple but has more color as it is a PEARL color. So I thought I would blond my hair first to get ready for the PEARL color. I want to get this right and would love to hear how to do the light blonde to purple as in the picture above. I am ready to go buy a hair stripper if needed and I found some expensive purple shampoo and I really would love to attain this color. HELP ME PLEASE? THANKS A MILLION...Brigitte

Freja on August 04, 2017:

Hey so my hair turned COMPLETELY yellow. We are talking pee yellow here. I was dark blond and used the l'oreal Perfect blonde creme that lifts your hair up to 6 tones. I bleached it once and it turned REALLY yellow, and then i realised it hadnt been sitting long enough. So a few hours later i did it again and let it sit the remanining time. It turned it lighter and a slighter bit less yellow. I was wondering what I should do? I'm starting in school in 6 days and i'd like it to be pretty there (when my hair has calmed down the plan is to colour it pastel pink, can i do that on slighty yellow hair? or?)

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on August 02, 2017:

The dye toner won't make your hair lighter, just take out the brassiness. I believe when I did a dye toner I left it in for about 20 minutes. It was still a darkish blonde, the only way to get any lift would be to use a product with bleach or ammonia.

maidenblush on July 31, 2017:

Hello, I was wondering how often can you tone the hair using purple hair dye + conditioner? I recently bleached my level 1/2 hair twice till it got to a orange brassy colour. Then I dyed it in a blonde shade and got like an ashy blonde colour, but still had the brassiness so I made myself a diy purple toner and left it for only 5mins. Should I leave the purple dye in longer the next time to achieve a lighter hair colour? Or should I re-dye it over with a blonde shade?

Your reply would be greatly appreciated! xx

Laura on July 30, 2017:

If i have highlights and I add toner to all my hair would my natural hair change color I only want to the the highlights

Amanda Finlay on July 24, 2017:

Thank you for your great article! Very informative! Question for you- I have tried a couple different Color Charm toner shades after doing at home frosting (both lighter and darker blond highlights). Here's my problem- I'm a natural redhead that's now mostly brownish red with a bit of gray, now that I'm in my 40's. So, obviously for me, lots and lots of brassiness whenever I try to frost/highlight. Would you still recommend this toner for someone like me? I'm a bit stumped whenever I use it, as to whether I should leave it on for shorter or longer than recommended time.

Lori on July 20, 2017:

Great advice

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 17, 2017:

Wella has some great info on their website about toners - I would not use another toner on top. I'd go with a dye.

Kate on July 16, 2017:

So I had highlights just done by a professional and I have dark brown hair. A friend who claimed she was a colorist offered to tone the brassy highlights a bit - using wella t18 with 20 developer and it turned my ENTIRE head orange. Question - is this permanent? will it fade? If I get it color corrected professionally with another toner what will happen when it starts to wash out- will I go orange again?

Christina Aitcheson on July 12, 2017:

Love to join your page

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 08, 2017:

I don't know if it would physically hurt or not, seems like you have a sensitive scalp. It would definitely help with the color though.

Libby Stephens on July 07, 2017:

Hey, my neice bleached my roots 4th of July. Which came out yellow blonde. Then put toner t18 on it. I had it on for 8 minutes and started burning. So, i washed it out. My hair in front is silver and my part and back and sides are still yellow. Would it hurt to go back with the toner again, or should i wait.?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 01, 2017:

You will have to either bleach the ends again or use a color stripper! I would almost rather go with bleach to be sure it works. It's always going to work better on virgin hair that is at your roots, the heat from your scalp makes it develop quicker. So I would say try out another bleach and see if it's light enough to tone platinum!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 01, 2017:

I would just try to tone again if it is only light yellow streaks! I have not used t14 before but if it has good reviews, may be worth a try!

Sammi huxley on July 01, 2017:


I had brown hair which i had not dyed in over a year and decided to go blonde, have bleached, waited, bleached etc got it to a pale yellow so thought I could do the wella t18 tonight. It has turned out fairly well but still has some very light yellow streaks. My question is do I need to bleach, tone again or can I get away with just toning again? Should I use a different wella toner, heard t14 is good. My hair is holding up quite well. Thank you.

Alanna on June 30, 2017:

I did my roots with strawberry blond then I had my hair highlighted my roots look very brassy but in another week my roots will need touch up very concerned ????

caitlyn on June 30, 2017:

you are a godsend! most informative person i've found so far about hair! I have a question that i just cant figure out the answer to.. how do I achieve a platinum blonde? my natural color is a dark blonde/light brown but i had dyed it a deep burgandy, since then i've done one bleach session and now my roots are suuuper bleached but the further you get to the bottoms it turns orange pink and yellow.. how do i turn that into platinum?! please help!

Heidib on June 28, 2017:

My husband has grey hair the stylist colored him and it's way too dark. He wanted to leave some grey tips how can I get the grey back? I've tried dawn, v-c and head and shoulders. Can I use a bleach? Or toner?

Rachel on June 25, 2017:


I had my hair highlighted at the hairdressers last week and it was a lovely ash colour. I washed my hair, and now the top looks yellow with bits underneath still looking lovely. What do I do, so want it to look platinum ash again! I'm really gutted, should I call the salon?

Ana on June 24, 2017:


I have dark brown hair and want to lighten it to a dark ash blonde. I bought a L'Oreal colour strip and the wella colours dark ash blonde and light brown because I don't want it to light. But I forgot to buy toner. Would John Freda blonde shampoo or conditioner work as good as toner or is there something else you can suggest I can just buy from walmart. I ask because Sally Beauty is not close by and don't want to have to drive there again.

Thank you for your help!!


Penny on June 17, 2017:

I just got my hair dyed yesterday and went from dark blonde to light blonde, but unfortunately the color turned out too yellow-ish and makes me looked washed out because my skin is really fair. I've been trying to figure out what the heck to do with it, and I believe I'll end up toning it with the purple dye method. Thank you so much for your help.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on June 04, 2017:

Try using a cool toned brown dye!

Marg on June 03, 2017:

I have med to dark brown hair. I used med golden brown dye which was great except now my hair is getting lighter and more red orange are coming out. How do i make my hair just be brown

Nancy on June 03, 2017:

I stripped my hair, it was brown, want to go more blond.. I put a dye on it med blond . I am now blond with yellow. What should I do ?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 31, 2017:

If you toned, nothing major would happen to your brown hair. If anything it would just be toned a little cooler too, but it won't lighten up or anything.

Leahcj on May 30, 2017:

Hi, sorry if you've already answered this question but I have brown hair with blonde highlights and lowlights. The highlighted pieces are starting to turn a little yellow and orange. I already use purple shampoo but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. If I were to tone my hair would anything happen to the hair that is brown?

Lisa on May 21, 2017:

What color dye is the picture with the girl with the white blonde thats over her face. I am looking for that exact color for me. But the source on the picture says unknown

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 15, 2017:

Yes! That'll work just fine. Just make sure it's dark enough to actually hold!

Marie on May 13, 2017:

I bleached and used a purple dye to tone the yellow out, now I want to dye my hair purple but I dont want to mess it up. Can I just go ahead and use the same purple dye I used to tone to get my hair to turn purple.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on May 04, 2017:

I would leave the pink alone and tone! You might even consider using a light pink from Manic Panic - that won't have any harsh chemicals in it like a toner would. They have Cotton Candy Pink if you'd like to check it out!

John Passanante on May 03, 2017:

I used clairol 7th stage bleached out 3 times with 30 peroxide but still orangey

What bleach is stronger than 7th stage clairol?

Cheyenne on May 03, 2017:

Hey, loved your article. My hair has been through a lot recently; I made the mistake of listening to Sally's employees...So long story short, I dyed my hair a dark red, and eventually decided that I didn't like the color. I wanted to go to a light brown, that fades into kind of a rose pink. I waited a few days, and was told to go ahead and bleach it as pale as I can get it. My biggest mistake was not using a dye-remover to take out the red dye. I've got some orange, yellow, and really pale pink streaks going on. I've done several bleach baths; that's the maximum damage that my hair can take at this point.

What would you suggest that I do from here? Should I leave the pink streaks alone since that I'll have the roses pink in my hair eventually anyway? And just tone the rest?

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 19, 2017:

T14 should work well on the darker parts of the highlights! If the rest of your hair is super dark, I would just put it on the lightened parts. Won't make much of a difference on your dark hair.

Nina on April 18, 2017:

My Natural hair is very dark brown (light black) last year my hairdresser bleached all my hair and then put light brown color on my hair, for about a year I just touched up my roots with out bleaching which was pretty fine. last month I went to salon to darken my hair and have some highlights on top of that, but the result of highlight is terrible, about 5 inches (highlighted part) close to my roots is Orange while the rest of them is light blond.

can I use T14 Toner? and should I use toner for all my hair or Just the highlighted parts?

Nicole on April 15, 2017:

Irish down, Butterfly, tan bun, Sandra, blue down, Bloom, Irish bun and Kendra, pink up.

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 13, 2017:

If you're looking to go platinum, I would use the Wella T18 toner after you bleach your hair to a light yellow color!

ShennaR on April 12, 2017:

I used the color prep that comes in a box and is supposed to lift any old unwanted color. It is ammonia and bleach free. So my natural hair color is a little lighter thank dirty blonde but I had a dark burgundy dye on it and wanted to go back to blonde or even platinum. The color prep left my hair a really ugly orange what would be my next step ?? Bleach then tone with what??

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on April 10, 2017:

I haven't personally used that product, but it seems to have pretty good reviews online!

Judi on April 07, 2017:

Hi thanks this is great info. Can you tell me your thoughts on using magic silver white?

Judi x

Ssshhh22 on March 30, 2017:

Very informative article! Nice job... Thanks.

Alex on March 20, 2017:

Hi can i use toner? even tho my hair is not bleached?

Adele on March 10, 2017:

Hello, loved your article! I just wanted to ask you how long did the effect of the conditioner + purple dye last :)

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on February 21, 2017:

waveybadrian, are you bleaching or dying your hair? Toner is meant to be used after bleach, on a clean slate. I'm honestly not sure how it will work on hair that already has a product on it. It may be fine! But you can probably find a toner that would work in place of a dye, so you don't have to use double the chemicals on your hair. Wella 9a/940 or Wella 8a/740 1/2 may be some toners to consider!