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How to use Professional Hair Toners


Everybody knows that professional hair toners give better and more precise results.

Especially if you want to take your client ash blonde, white blonde, cool blonde or platinum blonde.

But which professional toner? And how should you use them and apply them?

In this blog, we will try to guide you.

Check the current hair level

The first thing you need to realize is that prior to even starting to tone hair blonde, you need to lift the hair up to a certain minimum level.

What is that minimum level? The answer is level 7 (see the hair color level chart below).

Hair Lightening Levels

Use this chart to determine your client's current hair level

If any part of your hair (roots, mid-lengths, ends) has not attained that level, you will need to bleach the hair first with a quality lightener.

How should you do that?

We always recommend that you use Brilliant Blondexx. It's a lightener with Bond Protect built in, and it is powerful - it lifts quickly and easily with low developer strength. 

At the same time, it is gentle: the Bond Protect protects the hair from breakage during the bleaching process, and makes it stronger and more resistant to damage.

Unless you have very dark hair, you will be looking to lift by 2-3 levels. For that, Brilliant Blondexx with 20 Vol developer will work very well.

Saturate that part of the hair which needs the lift and process until it is equal to the rest of the hair. 

Then rinse.

Choosing Your Target Color.

Hopefully by applying the rule above you have got your client's hair to a level 9 or 10.

It will be yellow but it is now ready to color or tone.

Now you need to choose the precise color.

And also decide if you still need some more lift.

For Toning with Lift 

Ugly Duckling's cream toners are some of the fastest acting, most effective toners on the market today.

The 2 below now only tone, they also lift by one level thanks to special booster ingredients.

Assuming you got your client's hair to level 7 or 8 minimum, you can use them with 20 developer.

The mix is 1 part toner to 2 parts developer ratio.

Watch carefully as the product tones and rinse when done.

If your client has very long hair, do the root area at the last to avoid over-processing it.

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V Toner

Intense Silver Blonde 100B

Intense Silver Blonde Toner

For No-Lift Blonde Toning 

If your client's hair is already at level 9-10, then you can use Ugly Duckling's no-lift blonde toners.

These are equally powerful, and equally pigmented and will neutralize yellow very effectively.

Use them with 20 Vol developer on pre-lightened hair level 9-10.

The mix here is once again 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

Apply quickly on the full head, leaving the root part to the end in the case of very long hair.

Watch carefully and rinse once done.

No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V

Pearl Blonde Toner

No-Lift Silver Blonde Toner 10B

Silver Blonde 10B

For Regular Ash Blonde Colors

Ugly Duckling has a wide range of ash blonde colors which you can also use. 

These are regular blonde colors and will give very precise ash color results: more 3D, more vivid than regular toners.

Mix these colors  with 20 Vol developers in a 1+1 mix ratio and process them for the full 30 minutes in order to achieve the exact color result.

Extra Light Ash Blonde 10.1

10.1 Extra Light Ash Blonde

Very Light Ash Blonde 9.1

Very Light Ash Blonde 9.1

For Blue Based Ash Blonde Colors

These colors are totally unique to Ugly Duckling. No other company has blue based ash blonde.

The small amount of blue pigment added to ash produces truly very stunning blonde color results.

These colors are very effective for neutralizing yellow-orange (think Color Wheel: blue is the opposite of yellow-orange on the Color Wheel).

Mix them in a 1+1 ratio with 20 Vol developer.

Leave them to process for the full 30 minutes if possible.

Do the root part at the end in the case of very long hair.

Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b

Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b

Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1b

Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1b

Violet & Purple Based Blonding Colors

Ugly Duckling also has some violet (purple) based colors which are also excellent for cutting out yellow.

They produce really stunning blonde (and also not so blonde) results.

All of them are colors, not toners. So the mix needs to be 1+1 and the processing time should be 30 minutes if at all possible.

Saturate the hair really well with your product mix and you will get excellent results.

10.2  Extra Light Cool Blonde

Extra Light Cool Blonde

7.22 Intense Violet Blonde 

Intense Violet Blonde

Purple Grey

Purple Grey


Silver Grey

Silver Grey

Metallic Grey

Metallic Grey

Smoky Blue Grey

Smoky Blue Grey

For toning highlights on a dark base 

If your client has highlights and only wants to tone the highlights, then liquid toning using Blondify is best suited for you.

Similarly if your client has a dark shadow root which she does not want to touch or lift in any way.

You still need to lift any highlights to level 9 or 10 using bleach if they are too brassy or orange.

But once they are yellow, just apply Blondify liquid toner and you will get great blonde toning results - without touching the base!

For quick gloss toning (no lift on base) - Ammonia Free, Liquid toning

Natural Ash Blonde

Natural Ash Blonde Toning

Natural Violet Blonde

Natural Violet Blonde



Which toner should I use? Guide

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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