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Home Blog A Hair toner can totally transform your blonde hair. Here's how!

A Hair toner can totally transform your blonde hair. Here's how!


Why Use a Toner?

Toners play a huge role in every hair stylists's tool kit because they help shift blonde hair to exactly the right shade of blonde that you or your client wants.

Bleaching alone can never do it. Hair after bleaching will always be a little yellow, a little warm in terms of color, and not very "finished" looking.

That's where a toner comes in.

It color corrects hair after lightening it, eliminating unwanted warmth.

And gets the blonde hair more ashy, more cold, more Nordic blonde.

Let's deep-dive how to use them in this article.

What Exactly is a Hair Toner?

When we talk about hair toners, we are referring to fully functioning oxidative toners (in other ones, toners which need to be combined with developer).

These toners penetrate into the hair cuticle, take out the excess yellow pigments from the hair and replace them with colder, ashier pigments.

Don't confuse these toners with purple shampoos and conditioners.

Those products do tone the hair, but on the outside only.

And they do not lift the hair level.

What does Blonde Hair Look Like After Toning?

We have a few examples of the kind of results you can get once you have toned the hair properly. 

Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V

Toner Used: Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V

Hair by: Elona Taki

Pearl Blonde 10V

Toner Used: Pearl Blonde 10V

Hair by: Elona Taki


Toner Used: 10.2 Extra Light Cool Blonde

Hair by: Cecila Kashat

Blondify 010 Natural Ash Blonde

Toner Used: Blondify Natural Ash Blonde 010A

Hair by: Elona Taki

Natural Violet Blonde

Toner Used: Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Hair by: Cody Darnell.

Permanent toner or Demi-Permanent Toner?

There are 2 kinds of oxidative toners out there: permanent toners and demi-permanent toners.

We will go through both types in this article, so you can make up your own mind which type is more suitable for you.

Permanent Toners

If you are looking to do a full blonde hair transformation from roots to tips, then you should use permanent toners. 

Permanent toners contain ammonia. As a result they are very good at opening the hair cuticle, and lifting out the yellow and re-coloring them.

Permanent toners made by Ugly Duckling come in a cream format, in a tube.

You mix them with 20 Vol developer in most cases and process for around 15 - 20 minutes.

These toners are excellent at achieving wholesale blonde transformations.

Demi-Permanent Toners

If you already have nicely lifted bleached hair level 10, and you are looking to refresh and tone away yellow, then you may not need to use a permanent toner.

A good quality demi will deliver all the color neutralizing pigments you need - purple, blue and ash, for example.

Without using ammonia.

Ugly Duckling toners come in a liquid-gel format, in little bottles.

You mix them with either 10 or 20 Vol developer,  and process for just 10 minutes.

They contain Bond Protect so they are very conditioning.

How do I use a Permanent Hair Toner?

The first step prior to any successful toning is to pre-lighten all the hair to a consistent level 9 or 10 blonde.

Do not fall into wishful thinking and expect that the hair toner will do the heavy lifting for you on your dark roots, for example.

It won't. You will need to lift that first.

Use this chart to help you see what this level should be:

Hair Color Levels

Hair Color Levels: Make sure the hair is level 9 or 10 before you attempt to tone.

Once lifted, mix your choice of permanent toner with either 10 or 20 Vol developer in a ratio of 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

If working with long hair on a full head application, avoid the root part and return to it at the end to avoid over-processing in that area.

Give it around 15 to 20 minutes.

Ugly Duckling toners are very fast acting, so you need to watch carefully.

Then rinse with tepid water after emulsifying when you see the color that you want.


Demi-permanent Hair Toners

When you want to do a refresh for blonde highlights, then demi-permanent toning will work best for you.

These toners don't contain ammonia and are generally formulated to activate with low developer strengths.

They are the perfect solution when you want to tone blonde highlights without lifting or touching a dark base. 

Ugly Duckling's new Blondify Liquid Toners are demi-permanent and ammonia free.

They take only 10 minutes of processing time.

Thanks to their unique pigments, they achieve excellent color correction results and help you get rid of yellow.

Ugly Duckling's demi toners also contain Bond Protect for improved hair quality and strength.

As well as Argan Oil for conditioning and hair softening.

How do I use a demi-permanent toner?

Blondify is a liquid toner and as such can be mixed with developer in an applicator bottle.

It works in only 10 minutes and can be used with low developer strength (10 Vol, for example).

The mix ratio is 1+1. Shake together well in the applicator bottle and squeeze over the hair.

Rub the liquid into the hair thoroughly.

After a few minutes, you will see the color start to change. 

Rinse after 10 minutes or when you get the color that you want.

As we mentioned above, pre-lighten hair before bleach before attempting to tone.

Blondify Liquid Toner

Blondify: Liquid, Ammonia-free toning in 10 minutes only. Apply from the applicator bottle.



Although Blondify is a demi-permanent toner and as such contains no ammonia, it's toning capabilities are very high.

Look at these before, during and after shots to see truly brassy hair successfully transformed with Blondify.

The Bond Protect and Argan Oil in this product are also a plus, and help produce smooth, conditioned hair.

We used the 010V Natural Violet Blonde Toner in this example.

Before Hair toning

Before Toning

During toning

During toning (Blondify liquid toner)

After toning

After toning using Blondify 010V

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.

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