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Watch Your Tone!

Don't know what a toner is? Don't feel bad! A popular international magazine held a survey recently they found that 86 per cent of clients – despite having their color done – didn't know what a toner was. The thing is, it's a pretty important part of the hair coloring process.


1. Bleach is not a color

Bleaching is a tool that we use to take color, or pigment, out of the hair. During this process, you are pulling the pigment from the hair, stripping away the color but not adding any color. Imagine your husbands' dirty socks and undershirts.....they are filthy....grease, dirt, lipstick marks that aren't yours(?!?), and grass stains. Besides hiring a private detective to locate the perpetrator of the lipstick smudges which turn out to be from your 3 year old daughter who got into your makeup kit -what do you do? You tell him to use bleach, right? It's similar for hair....bleaching strips out all color, so that new color can be applied.


2. Toning is when the color is added

Your final color comes from the toning process. Once the hair is lifted to the appropriate level(there are 10). On blondes, cooler toner makes the color more silvery and warmer toner makes it more coppery. With black and dark brown hair, are you looking for some chocolate brown highlights? Yep, you'll have to bleach the hair, get it to the appropriate level, then apply a toner to get it to the color you want. If you merely bleach the hair on dark colors, you'll wind up with that red, brassy, orange color. Toning is what makes it the magical chocolate color you saw on Instagram or Pinterest.


3. It's not just for blondes

Contrary to popular belief, toners are not just used for achieving blonde shades, but are also a must for redheads and brunettes. Many acid-based toners, when applied on the same color of hair can impart shine and increase the softness of the hair. Some refer to toners as a "gloss" or "cellophane" and I'm sure there are at least a dozen really cool terms stylists use for a toner. Think of these services as lip gloss for your hair-they seal the entire hair strand and reflects light, giving it the shine you may feel you're lacking.

4. Toning doesn't last – this is why your color fades

Ever feel like your color fades? It does! Depending on your hair type, toner can last between two-to-six weeks. The general rule of thumb is that previously colored hair which is more porous will hold color for less time than natural or 'virgin' hair, which can hold color for up to six weeks. Your color also fades as a result of using non color safe shampoo and conditioner, shampooing too often, swimming, shampooing with hot water, sun exposure and using heat appliances to style the hair. Jeeze, so many hair rules and regulations!


5. It's an easy fix-don't get overwhelmed!

Many salons offer a toner add-on during your haircut, so you can refresh your color without having to pay for a full color service, and- it's quick! You'll save time and money. What I like to do with my regular clients is schedule them for their cut and color, 3 weeks later they pop in for their toner, and 3 weeks after that, we do their color again, and then 3 weeks later, we do their cut and toner.

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