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Guide To Toning Hair - Everything You Need To Know

by Lotte Lindgren on Jun 26, 2023

Read through by Dorthe Kristensen

Hairdresser and former co-owner of the award-winning hairdressing chain Zoom by Zoom
With many years of experience in the hairdressing industry, Dorthe has advised many customers about hair and hair care. Dorthe has read through this blog entry to ensure high quality and professionalism. This blog post is professionally updated on January 27, 2024.

Table of contents

Toning your hair can be a great way to give it a new look and add freshness and shine. But how do you choose the right shade and when is it best to tone your hair? In this guide, we will look at different types of toning as well as give tips on how to achieve natural, warm or cool shades according to your desired style. Read along here for our expert tips on toning hair.

What is hair toning?

Hair toning is a temporary color treatment that can give the hair a new look. The difference between coloring and toning lies in the durability and intensity of the color. Tinting typically only lasts for 6-8 weeks, while coloring can last several months or even years. Toned shades will also be more subtle than colored hair .

There are several reasons for choosing to tone your hair. It can be to freshen up one's natural look or to add warmer or cooler shades to the hair without the permanent effect of a full color treatment. There are different types of hair colors specially designed for toning, including semi-permanent and demi-permanent products, which allow for gentle changes in the shade of your hair without major consequences for your natural look.

toning hair

When should you tone your hair?

Toning the hair can be used when you want to change your current hair color to a warmer or cooler shade. If you have light hair and want to give it a little more depth and dimension, toning can help with this too. It is usually recommended to wait a few weeks after coloring or perming before toning your hair to avoid damaging it.

Toning the hair can add depth and dimension to light hair and is usually recommended a few weeks after coloring or perming to avoid damage.

When choosing a toning color, take into account your natural hair color as well as the desired color shade. Toning colors usually last for about 4-6 weeks and gradually fade over time. To maintain the color, it is important not only to wash your hair often but also to use a colour-safe shampoo and conditioner to preserve the shine and life of your newly colored hair.

Hair color maintenance

To maintain your hair colour, it is important to use colour-protecting shampoos and conditioners. These help maintain color intensity and shine, while protecting against drying out. It is also recommended to avoid excessive heat styling, as this can damage both your hair and the desired shade.

If you want a more natural tone to your hair, frequent trims may be necessary to remove split ends. If, on the other hand, you tone down an unwanted shade or stick with a warmer or cooler shade, it's best to follow the product's instructions about the time between each re-toning. In this way, you avoid disappointing results and maintain the desired color for longer.

Clipping can help prevent split ends

To add shine and life to the hair

To add shine and life to the hair, it is recommended to use a hair mask or hair treatment weekly. This will help retain moisture in the hair, which is important for a healthy and shiny look. Using oil-based products such as argan oil or coconut oil can also provide extra moisture and care to the hair.

In addition to this, the inclusion of vitamin-rich foods such as vegetables, nuts and fish can be beneficial for both hair health and color. These foods contain nutrients such as B vitamins , omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which help maintain normal hair. You can see all the vitamins and minerals that are important for your hair here . 

With regular use of these tips, your hair will have the perfect balance between glossy color retention and protection from harmful environmental influences.

Good products for aftercare of the hair

 

To tone down an unwanted color

Using a counter color to neutralize the unwanted hue is an effective way to tone down an unwanted color. If you want a colder or warmer shade, you can choose toning with the opposite shade. For less drastic changes, a mild bleaching may be needed before toning.

Here are some additional tips for toning down an unwanted hair color:

  • Choose the right color shade based on your natural hair color and skin tone.
  • Have it done in several rounds instead of once if you want the result to be more natural.
  • Use products that protect and maintain the color after tinting.

Toning hair requires expertise and experience. Therefore, we always recommend seeking professional help from hairdressers with experience in this area.

Types of toning

Toning hair can be achieved in three different ways: semi-permanent, temporary and permanent toning. Semi-permanent tinting is ideal for giving the hair a refreshing shine and tone, while temporary tinting allows you to experiment with bolder colors without taking a big risk. Permanent tinting is most suitable for those who want a more radical change to their hair color and want a lasting effect. Regardless of which type of toning you choose, it is important to consider your natural hair color as well as the desired shades before the treatment is carried out.

Woman gets her hair dyed with toner

Semi-permanent toning

Semi-permanent toning is a hair coloring method that uses dyes to temporarily change the color of the hair. This allows for warmer or cooler shades to be achieved without permanently changing the natural hair color. Semi-permanent toning has the advantage that it is gentle on the hair and can give a more natural result than permanent coloring. However, the disadvantage of this method is that the color gradually fades over time and requires frequent maintenance.

When choosing a hair color for semi-permanent tinting, take into account your natural hair color and skin tone. If you have light locks, try warm shades like golden blonde or copper for extra glow. Dark hair can be toned with cool shades such as ash or platinum blonde for a more dramatic look. The most important thing, however, is to always get professional advice regarding the choice of colors as well as correct treatment of your hair before and after the toning, so optimal durability is ensured!

Temporary toning

Temporary vs. Semi-Permanent Toning: What's the Difference?

Temporary toning of the hair is a temporary color that only lasts up to 10 washes and gradually fades over time. While semi-permanent tinting lasts longer and can last up to 6 weeks or more.

Types of temporary colors

Some types of temporary color include rinse-off color, toning shampoo, and color spray. These products have different levels of intensity and durability.

Tips for maintaining temporary shades

  • Wash your hair with cold water to preserve the color.
  • Use a mild shampoo intended for colored hair.
  • Avoid heat styling such as blow drying or straightening irons as much as possible.
  • Use protective styling products to avoid wear and tear on the hair.
  • Refresh your temporary tone regularly using products specially designed for this purpose.

Permanent toning

The benefits of permanently coloring your hair are many. It can give you the desired hair color that lasts longer than semi-permanent or temporary colors. Permanent tinting can also help cover gray hair and create more depth in your natural hair color.

When should you choose permanent over semi-permanent or temporary? Here are some factors you should consider:

  • How long will you have your new hair color?
  • Want to cover gray hair?
  • Is your natural hair color very light and you want a darker shade?

To maintain the best result after permanently coloring your hair, it is important to care for it properly. Use a mild shampoo specially designed for colored hair and avoid frequent styling with heating devices. In addition, regular use of a moisturizing mask can help maintain the shine of your newly dyed hair.

From natural to warmer and colder shades

When it comes to toning your hair, there are many options to move away from the natural color. If you have brown hair and want to add warm hues, try a golden or copper tint. For blonde hair, a cooler shade can give a more ash blonde look. Some redheads may also want to go for a cooler shade instead of the warmer orange-red color. Even black hair can be toned down colder with bluish undertones for a bolder look. The most important thing is to always choose the right shade based on your natural hair color and skin tone for the best result.

Adding warm shades to brown hair

Brown hair can be given a warmer look by adding copper or red-toned tints. These colors can be used as an alternative to a more drastic color change and give the hair a subtle but effective update. It is also possible to create a warmer effect by adding gold shades in different strengths.

When choosing the right shade for brown hair, you should consider the natural base color of the hair, as this will affect the result of the toning. A skilled hairdresser will be able to help you choose the right shade and take into account both the base color of the hair and the desired result.

To tone blonde hair colder

To tone blonde hair colder, it is recommended to use ash, silver or platinum tones. This will help avoid yellow-orange colors that can give an unwanted 'brassy' appearance. It is important to adjust the amount and timing of toner application to achieve the desired color.

When applying toner to your blonde hair, be careful not to overtone it and end up with a grayish shade. A professional hairdresser will be able to guide you in the choice of toner and the correct application technique, so that the result is beautiful and natural. Also remember to always care for your hair after the treatment for healthy and shiny locks!

To tone red hair colder

Choosing bluish tones such as eggplant or cherry can help reduce orange and golden undertones in red hair. However, it is important to take into account whether the hair tends to fade quickly, as this may mean increased maintenance needs. In addition, you should also consider your skin tone and eye color to find the most flattering cold red tone range.

Some cool red tones can be more flattering than others on different types of faces and complexions. It is therefore about having a thorough assessment of the shade of the hair as well as the person's individual features for optimal results. With correct selection and adaptation, a colder toned red hair will give a freshness in the expression, which is often desired by many women.

To tone black hair colder

The mix of a blue-black hue will bring out the cool undertones in black hair. Before proceeding with toning, it is important to evaluate ammonia-free options to avoid damage to your black hair. Some often check in detail before proceeding with this step, as black hair is dark and can be difficult to tone correctly.

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