Free Shipping from $40
Home Blog How to choose the right toner for your highlighted hair

How to choose the right toner for your highlighted hair


Best Toner for Bleached Hair

As professionals, we know that choosing the right hair toner can make a huge difference to the final result for your client's hair.

But how do you pick the right toner for bleached or highlighted hair? 

Which hair toner colors and types are there anyway?

And how do you go about choosing a toner for bleached hair?

In this blog, we will try and show you the choices available.

And help you make the right choice of toner for your client's hair.

Keep reading!

What does a hair toner do?

First, let's discuss what exactly a hair toner is and what it does.

Toners are products which color-correct hair. They are generally used on blonde or bleached hair to neutralize yellow and orange reflects. 

Choose the right toner and you can literally transform your client's hair color.

We generally apply toners on bleached hair.

Hair that even after bleaching is typically too warm, too orange and too yellow.

The goal is to color-correct the hair and make it a colder blonde color: white blonde, ash blonde, or platinum blonde are some popular options, for example.

How does a hair toner work?

A toner is an oxidative product. That is to say, it is basically a dye that is mixed with developer to produce an alkali base.

This toner and developer mix open up the hair cuticle, re-color the cortex of the hair, and then close up the cuticle once more.

So basically, two things are going on.

First, the yellow hair gets taken out.

And second, the hair gets re-colored and color-corrected.

The pigments used in this color-correction process are usually some combination of violet, blue or green.

These pigments act to in line with Color Wheel Theory to cancel out yellow, yellow-orange and orange.

Color Neutralization Chart

Violet, blue and green (ash) neutralize, or cancel out yellow and yellow-orange.

Which toner should I use on my highlights?

Before choosing your toner, try and figure out which case from the cases below is the most relevant to you and your client's situation.

First, refer to the bleaching level chart in order to assess your hair.

Hair Bleaching Levels

Hair Bleaching Level Chart: Use this to assess your client's hair level

1. Is the hair bleached but still very orange or very yellow-orange?

Sometimes, either due to the wrong choice of bleach or insufficient bleach, the hair is still very brassy even after bleaching.

If this is the case with you, and your client's hair is around level 7 - 8 even after bleaching, then you will need to use an Ugly Duckling intense cream-based toner.

These intense toners are the only ones on the market which have a special "booster" built in.

The boosters kick out yellow and lift the hair up before re-coloring it.

These toners come in 2 shades:

Purple-based intense pearl blonde 100V (the "V" means "violet") for achieving pearl-white, intense cold blonde results.

Blue-based intense silver blonde 100B (the "B" means "blue") for achieving a pure, silver-white blonde look.

Mix them with 20 Vol developer is a 1+2 mix. Watch carefully and rinse when done.

These toners are exceptionally fast-acting, so be prepared to rinse as soon as you have reached the desired color reflect.

Intense Toners

Brassy Hair level 7 toned with Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V


Toning result achieved using bleach followed by Ugly Duckling's intense cream-based toner 100V

Hair by Elona Taki

2. Is the hair bleached correctly to yellow and now just needs color-correction?

If your highlighted or bleached hair has been lifted to level 9 or 10, but you are looking for white blonde results, then intense toners are not necessary.

Instead, you need to choose Ugly Duckling regular, or no-lift cream-based toners.

These toners also come in two shades, purple and blue based.

Purple based Pearl Blonde 10V will give pearl-grey blonde results.

Blue based Silver Blonde 10B will give silver blonde results.

Use these toners also with 20 Vol developer, using a mix of 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

Watch carefully and rinse when done. Again, these are very fast-acting.

Hair Toned with 10B Pearl Blonde Toner from Yellow

Yellow hair level 10 toned with no-lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V


This hair was toned with Pearl Blonde 10V on pre-lightened hair level 10.

Hair by Elona Taki

3. Are you looking to tone highlights without touching or lifting your client's roots or dark base and lowlights?

This is a very common request.

Clients want a blonde refresh to their highlights, but they don't want to touch their lowlights or their base.

In such cases, your go-to toners should be Ugly Duckling's Blondify liquid, ammonia-free gloss toners.

These toners work in 10 minutes using very low developer strength - 10 Vol only.

So they don't touch or lift the base in any way.

They are a little less strong than Ugly Duckling's cream based toners and they contain no ammonia.

However, they are also very strongly pigmented and will do an excellent job of toning - without lifting at all.

You can use them when you have a dark base or lowlights that you do want to touch.

Mix them with 10 Vol developer in an applicator bottle using a 1+1 mix.

Then just pour onto the hair and rub in thoroughly.

Rinse after 10 minutes.

These toners come in two colors: 

Natural Ash Blonde for color correcting yellow-orange highlights

Natural Violet Blonde for color correcting yellow or pale yellow highlights.

Before and After Blondify

Before and after Toning with Blondify Natural Violet Blonde - Dark Smudge Root Left Intact

Blondify Liquid Toners

Blondify Liquid Gloss Toners. Use these with 10 Vol when you don't want to lift or touch lowlights or a dark base.

Watch video: using Ugly Duckling's Natural Violet Blonde - Blondify Liquid Gloss Toner:

4. Does Ugly Duckling have any other blonde toners apart from these? 

Ugly Duckling has a very wide range of toners and blonding colors.

Here are some other very popular blonde toners from our range:

10.2 Extra Light Cool Blonde. Use this for ultra white platinum blonde results.

10.1b. Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde. This is a blue based dye and produces a really stunning white blonde result.

Silver Grey. A lot of women are looking for a grey blonde color. Use this toner to achieve that.

Purple Grey. This one can be mixed with another blonde toner or used on its own. Very stunning!

Intense Violet Blonde. Another purple based blonding color. Can be used on its own or mixed with another toner.

The toners mentioned above are really unique. There are no color quite like them on the market.

Use them in your salon and you will find yourself producing really unique results which clients will keep coming back to you for!

Watch Video: How to Use Purple Grey to Tone

Hair: Elona Taki

5. What about purple masks, glosses and hair treatment products? Aren't they hair toners?

Purple shampoos and masks contain purple pigments and they are wonderful for refreshing hair that is already blonde.

They will color correct to a significant extent.

Indeed, Ugly Duckling has one such range: Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask.

But they will not lift the hair. And because they don't have developer, they don't penetrate into the hair cuticle.

As a result, you can't do significant blonde transformations with such products.

We suggest you use them after bleaching, coloring or toning to finish your look.

And of course, you should recommend them to your clients so that they can refresh blonde hair in-between salon visits.

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask

Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask - acidic, sulfate-free purple toning

Watch Video: How to use Ugly Duckling's 10.2 with Purple Shampoo - Stunning White Blonde

Hair by Elona Taki

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

You May Also Like