Toners: All you need to know...

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Here’s what a hair toner can do for your hair colour...

How’s your hair toner toolbox? Toners are the secret weapon in every stylist’s armoury right now. In fact, they go hand-in-hand with blonde clients that want to refresh their hair colour – and fast.

Time to up your toner game in the salon? Here’s the lowdown on hair toners.

What is a hair toner?

A toner is a hair colour hero that contains very low or no ammonia to gently alter the undertone of hair. The term ‘hair toner’ can be confusing because hair pros often use it interchangeably with other techy terms, like glazing or hair glossing. Unlike permanent hair colour, toners fade gradually in six to eight weeks, so they’re classed as demi-permanent or semi-permanent hair colour.

Because hair toners are low in ammonia, they don’t penetrate deeply into the strands – they lie gently on the surface of hair, like a toner top coat, so they don’t cause any damage to the hair. Another plus of toners is their speed… High-tech new formulas can take just 5-10 minutes to process. The colourist simply applies the toner when hair is damp and shampoos it out once the develop time is up.

New hair toner technology means there are now many types of toning formulas at the disposal of hair colourists pros (shhh, stand by for Matrix’s new toners, coming soon…). Curate a ‘toning toolbox’ and you’ll have the right toner for every shade and hair type.

Hair toner techniques, explained...

There are a number of ways that hair toners can refresh and enhance hair colour - fast. Here’s six ways to get toning:

1. Colour neutralising.

Toners can help to neutralise unwanted brassy or yellow tones. A stylist might apply a violet purple toner to blonde hair to cancel out unwanted yellow, or a blue toner to cancel out brassiness.

2. Colour refreshing.

Existing hair colour fading? A toner is a healthy way to refresh hair it so it looks salon-fresh again. Many hair colourists apply permanent colour to the new growth and use a toner on the rest of the hair to balance out the existing shade and add shine.

3. Colour Correction.

Toners can help to rescue a hair colour faux pas, and quickly. If there’s an unwanted band, spot or off-tone, a toner can gently fix colour problems with minimum damage to the hair.

4. Double Process.

If you love on-trend tones like pastels or metallic, it takes two steps to achieve your perfect shade. Lightening your hair creates a clean canvas, then the deposit of toner develops the desired final shade(s).

5. Pre-toning.

Pre-toning creates a neutral base for your hair colour, eliminating any unwanted warm or ashen tones that might compromise the final colour. Plus, it will help to keep hair colour consistent as it fades.

6. Shine booster.

If you want enhanced shine, toners can give you that on-trend glass hair finish. Look for a formulation with nourishing cera-oil to boost your shine.

Hello, hair colour

Though toners are especially popular for blondes, hair toners can help transform a variety of colours. Here’s what toners can do for your hair colour…

Blonde hair colour - toners can help to remove unwanted warm tones, finish off a blonde shade with a fashion tone like coral and even add shine to the overall blonde hair shade. Magic.

Brunette hair colour - toners can help add richness, depth and dimension to brunettes. They can also neutralise brown tones that are too warm, brassy or ashy.

Red hair colour - toners can help amplify vibrant reds and also restore your red tone if it’s beginning to fade out.

Pastel hair colour - a toner overlay usually follows lightening when it comes to the pastel palette, like mint green or rose pink. Toners can also be combined to create a rainbow effect for mermaid or rainbow hair.

Vivid hair colour - toners can help boost the vibrancy of high-impact shades and make them look super-shiny.

Highlights - not just for solid hair colour, toners can balance out highlights, balayage and babylights to make them look more subtle and seamless.