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How to Apply Toner to Bleached or Highlighted hair


Regardless of how well you bleach your customer's hair, it is going to come out looking yellow, a little flat and frankly not that nicely finished.

This is where good quality toning comes in.

Toning after bleaching is not so difficult. 

But it's a process that every hairdresser needs to master.

Just follow these simple steps carefully and you will end up with excellent results.

1st Step - Bleach Your Hair Correctly

Correctly Bleached Hair

Hair that has been correctly bleached - all ready for toning

The best way to prepare your head for ash blonde or platinum blonde or whatever blonde you want to take your client to is to bleach correctly.

Because the better you have bleached, the better results you will get when you tone.

We always recommend you use a quality bleach for that, as not all bleaches have equal lifting power.

We would suggest that you use Ugly Duckling Brilliant Blondexx with Bond Protect.

The Bond Protect helps keep the hair strong and prevent breakage.

It also makes the bleaching process that much more comfortable, and with less scalp irritation.

If your client's hair is level 7 and up, you can use Brilliant Blondexx with 20 Vol developer and you will get excellent lift.

If it is darker, use with 30 Vol.

Saturate the hair or the highlights that you want to lift.

A mix of 1 part bleach to 2 parts developer is good.

Check as it is lifting and don't be afraid to add in fresh mix as necessary.

You can also use foils. Especially good if you are looking to bleach highlights.

How to check that you have bleached to the right level

The number one mistake that stylists make is not to lift the hair enough.

Don't be like that and stop when it is orange, or yellow orange, or even bright orange.

Make sure you lift all the way to level 10.

It should be very pale yellow, as in the picture below.

Hair Bleaching Levels

Aim for level 9 or 10 when bleaching your client's highlights

2nd Step: Apply Purple Mask

Once you have rinsed off the bleach with water, towel dry and then apply some purple mask.

This has the effect of pre-toning the hair by getting rid of some of the yellow still left in the hair.

Ugly Duckling's Purple Mask is sulfate-free and acid based.

Which means it closes up the hair cuticle after bleaching and returns the hair to its natural position.

As well as getting rid of some of the yellow in the hair still present after bleaching.

3rd Step: Tone Your Hair

A toner is a process which color corrects the hair and helps you achieve the right final tone for it after bleaching.

This involves correcting for the warm, or yellow or golden tones and replacing them with cold, pure white blonde tones.

In other words, taking the hair tone from warm to cold.

Toners are oxidative products.

That is to say, you mix them with developer and they penetrate into the hair cortex and lighten the hair as well as recolor it from the inside.

Choosing the right toner for your hair

The best toners work on Color Wheel principles.

That is to say, they contain purple and blue pigments which serve to change the color tone.

Ugly Duckling's demi-permanent toners are the perfect solution here.

They will tone and color correct bleached hair and remove all yellow tones.

Blondify comes in 2 colors: Natural Ash Blonde & Natural Violet Blonde.

Use Natural Ash Blonde if your hair is yellow-orange or very brassy.

Use Natural Violet Blonde is your hair is pure yellow level 9 or 10.

These are liquid toners and can be mixed with 10 or 20 Vol developer in a 1+1 mix ratio.

Natural Ash Blonde 010A

Natural Ash Blonde 010A

Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Apply on wet hair or dry?

Blondify toner works on either.

If you have just bleached and rinsed the hair it is going to be wet, just make sure you towel dry it to remove as much moisture as you can.

How do I apply the toner to the hair?

Blondify can be mixed in an applicator bottle or in a plastic coloring bowl.

Just mix thoroughly with the developer in a 1+1 ratio.

You will get a smooth gel-like consistency.

You can apply straight from the applicator bottle by pouring the mix all over the hair.

Then rub into the hair thoroughly.

Processing time is just 10 minutes.

Rinse with water when done.


Will the toner lift my client's dark parts?

As long as you have used low strength developer (you can go down as low as 7 Vol, although 10 and 20 Vol are totally normal) you wil be able to tone the highlights and get them nice and white, ash blonde without touching or lifting dark highlights.

Hair toner before and after

After 010A

Before & After Natural Ash Blonde 010A - Hair by Elona Taki

After 010V

Before & After Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Maintaining the hair after toning

You will find that the conditioning elements (including Bond Protect) present in Blondify will give your client's hair additional shine and softness after toning.

However, for extra conditioning, you can use Bond Protect Shampoo and Mask.

This is a line developed for bleached, highlighted and blonde hair which will keep blonde hair strong as well as soft.

How long does toning last?

Blondify toners are very well pigmented. They will last many weeks - up to one month and in some cases more.

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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