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How to fix orange hair with level 9 toners


One common challenge we often face as hairdressers is dealing with orange or gold undertones.

And the challenge is even greater when the client doesn't want to use bleach.

Whether it's the result of previous coloring attempts or natural pigments, transforming orange hair into a beautiful medium blonde requires the right tools and techniques.

And what you need to use for orange hair is level 9 toners, not level 10 toners.

In this guide, we'll delve into the effectiveness of level 9 toners, specifically the Blue Ash Blonde Toner and the Violet Blonde Toner.

Both designed to rescue your clients from unwanted orange hues.

I want to tone my orange but I don't want to bleach

Bright orange hair

Bright orange hair level 8. If you don't want to bleach, you need level 9 toners to deal with this.

If you have orange or yellow-orange in your hair, that means that it is at level 7-8.

So in an ideal world (and especially if you want to go blonde) you would need to bleach to lift out the color, lift out the orange and get it to a higher level.

But what happens if you don't want to bleach any more and you would be happy with a medium blonde rather than a full-on blonde?

That is where level 9 toners coming into their own.

Understanding level 9 toners & the role they play

Level 9 toners play a crucial role in the color correction process, especially when faced with stubborn orange undertones.

They are particularly useful when client don't want to bleach the hair any more.

These toners are formulated to reach a medium blonde shade.

Using them does not require the use of bleach, making them ideal for clients who wish to achieve a more subtle, natural look.

Ugly Duckling has two level 9 toners. They are ammonia-free formulas, contain Bond Protect and work in just 10 minutes or so. 

Also, because they are liquid toners, they are really easy to apply and work with.

And the best part is that they are packed with blue and violet pigments, and are very effective at color correcting.

Let's have a look at each of them now.

Blue Ash Blonde: Counteract Gold and Orange

Blue Ash Blonde

Blue Ash Blonde 09B

Blue Ash Blonde Toner 09B is a game-changer when it comes to neutralizing orange tones.

Infused with blue pigments, this toner counteracts the warm undertones.

The blue pigments mean that it is especially good at covering over orange, resulting in a medium to dark blonde with zero orange. 

It is ammonia-free, meaning that it ensures a gentler experience for your clients, making it suitable for those with sensitive scalps or damaged hair.

Use this toner to counteract any gold and orange in the hair.

Violet Blonde: Counteracts Orange and Yellow-Orange

Violet Blonde 9V

If your hair has yellow as well as orange, that means that it is between level 8 and 9.

In this case you should use Violet Blonde Toner 09V.

Enriched with purple pigments, this toner counteracts yellow-orange and produces a beautiful neutral medium blonde shade.

It achieves a soft and elegant transition from yellow-orange to a medium blonde without the need for additional bleaching.

So use this when the orange in the hair is borderline yellow and orange.

Application Tips for Level 9 Toners

Blondify 9B

Blondify level 9 toners are richly pigmented and very effective at neutralizing orange, gold and yellow-orange.

First, assess the client's current hair condition and ensure it is healthy enough for toning.

Pre-treat any damaged areas if necessary.

Make your mix with 20 Vol developer in a ratio of 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

The toner comes in 2 oz bottles, so for long hair you will need 2 bottles.

You can use the toner bottles to measure out equal parts of developer in a mixing bowl.

Use a whisk to mix until you get a gel-like consistency.

Then apply with a tint brush.

For extra good saturation, go over a second time with your fingers using gloves.

This will ensure that the dye pigments penetrate the hair really well

Apply the toner evenly, making sure to saturate every strand.

This ensures a consistent and uniform result.

Allow around 10 minutes for processing.

Check after 10 minutes, and see if the hair has changed color.

That is a sign that the toning is working.

Then rinse.

Post-Treatment Care

Brilliant Blondexx Mask

Brilliant Blondexx Treatment Range for Blonde hair - contains Bond Protect

We always recommend that client use acidic and sulfate-free hair products.

All Ugly Duckling haircare is both of these.

Acidic is important because you return the hair to its natural acid level and you close the hair cuticles at the same time.

Sulfate-free prevents build-up on the pores and also protects the hair color for a long time.

Use the Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect line (above) to make blonde hair stronger, thicker, and less liable to breakage.

Use the Brilliant Blonde Purple line (below) to tone away any yellow remaining in the hair and keep it white in between permanent color and bleach applications.

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo and Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask


Level 9 toners, such as the Blue Ash Blonde Toner and Violet Blonde Toner from Ugly Duckling Color, are valuable tools for hairdressers and colorists looking to transform orange hair into a stunning medium blonde.

If you have both yellow orange and pure orange in your hair, we suggest you mix a bottle of each and combine them.

The blue and purple pigments working together will get you very good results.

By using these toners, you will be able to take the orange out of your clients' hair leaving them with a beautiful and vibrant result.

Without using any bleach.

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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