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What toner should I use?


What are hair toners?

hair toner being applied

Application of an Ugly Duckling toner 

Toners are essentially color correctors. They are used by hairdressers to produce the exact shade the customer is looking for.

They are generally best used after bleaching the hair to a level 9/10 first.

How do toners work?

Toners are oxidative products, meaning that they are combined with developer and they penetrate deep inside the hair shaft.

The toner and the developer mix penetrates inside the hair shaft.

Once inside, the toner and developer mix takes out the natural melanin or color molecules present inside the hair.

It then re-colors the hair melanin.

The pigments in the toner then re-color the hair from the inside based around Color Wheel Principles.

In other words, purple is used to correct out yellow, blue to correct out yellow-orange, and green (otherwise known as ash) to correct out orange and red.

See the chart of neutralizing colors used by toners below:

Neutralizing Colors

What types of toners are there?

Ugly Duckling makes 3 types of toners with varying degrees of lift.

You need to choose the category according to how much lift your hair needs.

Intense Toners

Intense Pearl Blonde & Purple Grey

Hair toned with Intense Pearl Blonde & Purple Grey - Hair by Elona Taki

These toners are built with special added lift.

They are particularly good at kicking out yellow when the hair has not been bleaches as well as it should.

Use these if your hair is at level 7/8 and you want to take it blonder.

Ugly Duckling has 2 such toners:

  • Intense Pearl Blonde toner 100V will give a pearl white result. It is violet based.
  • Intense Silver Blonde toner 100B will give a more natural (but still intense) white-silver blonde result.
  • You can add in Purple Grey to intensify your toning

Regular Lift Toners

Pearl Blonde 10V

Hair toned with Pearl Blonde 10B - Hair by Elona Taki

These toners do give lift. They are also densely packed in pigments for the color neutralization which we explained above.

  • So if you are looking for a lot of purple pigments to counteract yellow, use Pearl Blonde 10V.
  • And if you are looking for a lot of blue pigments to counteract orange-yellow or bright yellow, use Silver Blonde 10B
  • If you need extra toning pigments, you should consider adding in Ash Blue Additive or Ash Grey Additive.
  • Ash Blue Additive should be used on hair level 7 and above.
  • Use Ash Grey Additive on darker hair (level 6 and below)

Liquid Toners

Blondify Natural Ash Blonde

Hair toned with Blondify Natural Ash Blonde 010A - Hair by Elona Taki

Ugly Duckling also has a range of ammonia-free liquid toners.

These do not lift. They work level-on-level.

They are very gentle, and are PPD-free and ammonia-free.

They are very effective and very fast toners - as they work in just 10 minutes.

Plus they can be mixed in a plastic applicator bottle and just poured over the hair.

  • Use 010V (Natural Violet Blonde) and 010A (Natural Ash Blonde) for hair that is at level 9-10.
  • Use 09V (Violet Blonde) and 09B (Blue Ash Blonde) for hair that is at level 8-9.
  • Mix in Clear, to bump up the level of your hair by one notch.
  • Mix in Purple Grey. This product is very good at getting rid of yellow and getting the hair to a true cold ash blonde.

Toning hair medium or dark blonde to cover up orange

6.1B & 5N

Hair toned with 6.1B mixed with 5N - Hair by Elona Taki

We would suggest using Ugly Duckling's blue based or brown based colors.

These tone down very very well, and achieve really vibrant results when doing do.

Use 7.1b and 6.1b, and also 6.7 (6Br).

Using purple shampoos and masks to tone

Purple Shampoo & Mask

Purple shampoos and masks are excellent products and they will tone the hair.

In fact, Ugly Duckling has an excellent sulfate-free purple shampoo and mask.

It's called Brilliant Blonde.

However, purple shampoos and masks do not penetrate inside the hair.

And they won't lift or stay in the hair for a long time.

So we do recommend these products of course.

But more as maintenance products to keep the hair yellow-free.

And not as heavy lifting toning products in their own right.

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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