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Home Blog Toners for Yellow Hair: How to Choose and Use Them Effectively

Toners for Yellow Hair: How to Choose and Use Them Effectively


Are you tired of dealing with unwanted yellow tones in your hair? If so, you're not alone.

Yellow hair can be a common concern for many individuals, especially those with blonde or lightened hair.

Fortunately, there's a solution that can help combat those yellow hues and leave you with a beautifully toned mane - hair toner.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of toners for yellow hair, exploring how to choose the right product and use it effectively to achieve the hair of your dreams.

Whether you're a seasoned hairdresser or someone new to cosmetology, this blog post is going to be your go-to resource for mastering the art of toning yellow hair.

Join us as we uncover the secrets to achieving stunning, toned locks that are sure to turn heads.

Let's start!

Understanding the Basics: What is Hair Toner and Why is it Needed for Yellow Hair

Hair lightening levels

Hair lightening levels. Unwanted tones appear as you lighten hair.

Hair toner is a coloring product specifically designed to neutralize and counteract unwanted tones in the hair, such as yellow or brassy hues.

It is typically used on lightened or blonde hair to achieve a more desirable shade and enhance the overall color.

When hair is lightened or bleached, the underlying pigments in the hair are exposed, which can result in warm tones, including yellow.

This is where toner comes into play.

Toner works by depositing color to cancel out or neutralize these unwanted tones, creating a more balanced and natural-looking hair color.

Some toners can also lift the natural color by 1-2 levels.

There are several reasons why toner is needed for yellow hair:

  1. Neutralize Yellow Tones: Toners are specifically formulated to counteract and neutralize yellow tones in the hair, helping to achieve a cooler and more even color.

  2. Enhance Hair Color: Toners can enhance the overall color of your hair, making it appear more vibrant and multidimensional.

  3. Achieve Desired Shade: Toners allow you to customize your hair color by adjusting the tone to your preference. The pigments in the toner play a critical part here. Whether you want a cool, ashy blonde or a warm, golden hue, toners can help you achieve the look you desire.

  4. Fix Uneven Color: If your hair has uneven or patchy color due to previous coloring or bleaching processes, toners can help even out the color and create a more uniform appearance.

  5. Long-lasting Results: The toners we are going to discuss here all work with developer. They all open up the hair cuticle and change the hair color from the inside. So they will give long-lasting results, ensuring your hair stays vibrant and fresh-looking for longer periods.

By understanding the basics of hair toner and why it is needed for yellow hair, you can effectively address the common concerns associated with yellow tones and achieve the hair color you desire.

In the next section, we will delve into the process of choosing the right toner for yellow hair.

Understanding Hair Toners and the way they work 

In order to choose the right toner, it is important to understand the different types of toner out there.

First off, let's talk about the overall strength of toners and their lifting ability.

Broadly speaking, there are 3 different categories of toners.

There are permanent toners with added lift.

Permanent toners with regular lift.

And demi-permanent toners which don't lift.

We will go into these 3 types of toners now.

Permanent Toners with Added Lift

Intense Pearl Blonde

Intense Pearl Blonde 100V used on pre-lightened hair. Hair by Elias B.

Thanks to special boosting ingredients (such as extra ammonia) these toners will lift the hair by 1-2 levels and tone them at the same time.

Meaning that if your client's hair is around level 8, it will take it to level 10 blonde.

Examples of such toners are intense pearl blonde 100V and intense silver blonde 100B

These toners are very useful when the hair has not been lightened as much as it should be.

Or when you want to get the hair super super white.

Permanent Toners with Regular Lift

Pearl Blonde 10V

Before and after using Pearl Blonde 10V. Hair by Elona Taki.

Note how well the hair was pre-lightened before toning.

Try and do this when you tone and you will get excellent results.

These toners also contain lift. But the lift is around 1 level. Meaning that if your client's yellow hair is around level 8, it will take it to level 9.

Where these toners excel is in the amount of pigmentation.

Such toners have strong concentration of blue, purple and ash pigments to neutralize yellow hair.

And produce a very precise targeted color result.

Example of such toners would be pearl blonde 10V and silver blonde 10BExtra cold ash blonde 10.1b and Extra Light Cool Blonde 10.2.

These toners should be your go-to toning products if you are looking to achieve white blonde transformation on lightened hair which is still yellow.

Demi-permanent Toners with no Added Lift


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

These toners don't contain ammonia.

But they do of course contain violet, blue and ash pigments to neutralize.

These toners are the perfect products to use for those looking for a quick gloss refresh to take away yellow.

Ugly Duckling makes these products both at level 10 and also at level 9.

Level 10 toners are for toning yellow level 9-10 hair.

Whereas the level 9 toners contain added pigments and will tone down very very yellow hair down to a medium blonde.

Examples of such toners would be Blondify toners.

Natural Violet Blonde 010V, Natural Ash Blonde 010A, Blue Ash Blonde 09B and Violet Blonde 09V would be examples of such toners.

Blue based toners, purple based toners and ash based toners

Blondify 010V

Hair toned with Blondify 010V. Hair by Elona Taki

In addition to the overall strength and lifting ability of the toner, you need to also ask yourself: which pigment should I be toning with?

As we saw, toners work by neutralizing unwanted yellow and unwanted warmth.

It so happens that there are three pigments which are particularly useful to a hairdresser.

Violet (or purple) will neutralize pale yellow.

Blue will neutralize bright yellow and orange-yellow.

And ash will neutralize yellow-orange.

So in addition to choosing the strength of your toner, you will need to make a choice as to the pigments you use to tone.

Level 10 toners and level 9 toners

Blondify 09B

Hair toned down from bright yellow using Blondify 09B - a blue based level 9 toner.

One more factor you will need to consider is the level of the toner that you use.

Level 10 toners are designed to be used on very blonde hair.

The pigments in these toners are typically more sheer.

That's just the way color works when you are at level 10.

But if your hair is not quite at level 10, you may be better off choosing a level 9 toner.

You will get a less light color, but the pigments in that toner will be stronger, and that way you will get a more consistent medium blonde color result.

How to choose your toner

Which toner should I use?

Toner selection chart

If you are new to toners, we would suggest you use the above chart to simplify your toning choices.

One the left you will find choices which will give you stronger, more lifting, more permanent results.

Whereas on the right, you will find solutions for quick toning and refreshing.

Recommended Toners for Yellow Hair

Here are some popular Ugly Duckling toners that are known for their effectiveness in combating yellow tones:

  1. Intense Silver Blonde 100B: This toner is highly regarded for its ability to lift hair and tone at the same time. This toner will give you an ultra white silver blonde result.

  2. Extra Light Cool Blonde 10.2. This probably the best toner to achieve a true platinum blonde result. It is packed with purple pigments for that purpose.

  3. Blondify Natural Ash Blonde 010A. For those not necessarily looking to go ultra white blonde but looking instead for a natural ash blonde color which would work well in most work or leisure environments, we would recommend that you use this toner. 

  4. Blondify Violet Blonde 09V. If you are looking to tone down hair from yellow-orange to medium blonde. Use this level 9 toner. 

Remember, these are just a few examples, and it's essential to choose a toner that aligns with your hair type, desired result, and personal preferences.

Experimenting and consulting with a professional colorist can also provide valuable insights into finding the perfect toner for your yellow hair.

In the next section, we will explore how to effectively apply toner to yellow hair, ensuring you achieve optimal results.

How to Apply Toner to Yellow Hair

Once you've chosen the right toner for your yellow hair, it's time to learn how to apply it effectively.

Proper application ensures that the toner is evenly distributed and achieves the desired result.

In this section, we will walk you through the steps to apply toner to yellow hair, from preparation to post-toning care.

Pre-Lighten the hair 

This is undoubtedly the most important step to get the toning result that you want.

If possible, lighten the hair using bleach and make sure that the hair is consistently up at level 9 or even ideally level 10.

The am should be to create a perfect blank canvas for your hair toner to work.

For that, a good quality lightener is key.

Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blondexx is a bleach that we would really recommend.

Not only does it lift 7 levels efficiently and quickly.

It also contains Bond Protect.

Meaning that the bleaching experience is gentle to your customer's hair and scalp.

Apply Toner on Dry Hair When Possible

It is not necessary to wash the hair before applying toner, and indeed color always works best on dirty, unwashed hair.

Also, if the hair is too wet and is carrying a lot of water, the efficacy of the toner will be reduced.

If you have just bleached your hair, of course you will need to rinse.

In this case make sure you towel dry the hair to get rid of as much of the moisture as possible.

Then you will be ready to apply your toner.

Mixing Your Toner

In general 20 Vol developer will work well with most toners, but it is important to respect the mix instructions.

WIth Ugly Duckling cream toners we recommend a mix of 1 part toner to 2 parts developer.

Whereas with liquid toners the mix is 1 part toner to 1 part developer.

Cream based toners need to be mixed in a coloring bowl using a whisk or a brush.

Whereas liquid toners can be mixed wither in a bowl or in a plastic applicator bottle.

Make sure you get a nice consistent mixture.

Section your hair

Divide your hair into manageable sections using clips or hair ties. This will ensure that the toner is evenly applied throughout your hair.

Apply the toner

Starting from the roots, apply the toner to each section of your hair using the tint brush or applicator bottle. Work the toner through the lengths and ends, ensuring full coverage.

Massage the toner in

Once the toner is applied, gently massage it into your hair using your fingertips.

This helps to distribute the toner evenly and ensures maximum saturation.

Let it process

Leave the toner on for the recommended amount of time specified by the manufacturer.

This typically ranges from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the desired result and toner strength.

Check the progress

After the allotted time, check the color of your hair to see if the desired result has been achieved.

If not, you may need to leave the toner on for a bit longer, but be cautious not to over-process your hair.

Rinse and condition

Once the desired result is achieved, rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water until the water runs clear.

You should preferably use an acidic hair shampoo or conditioner. These will help return the hair to its natural condition.

Use Ugly Duckling's Brilliant Blondexx Shampoo and Conditioner with Bond Protect where possible.

Post-Toning Care

After toning your yellow hair, it's essential to take proper care to maintain the results:

  1. Use sulfate-free, acidic products: Switch to shampoos, conditioners, and styling products sulfate-free and acidic. These products will help preserve the toner and prevent fading. They will also improve the condition of the hair and prevent split ends.

  2. Avoid excessive washing: Wash your hair less frequently to minimize color fade. Opt for dry shampoos or refreshers between washes to keep your hair looking fresh.

  3. Protect from heat: Limit the use of heat styling tools, such as flat irons or curling wands, as they can cause color fading. If heat styling is necessary, always use a heat protectant spray.

  4. Schedule regular touch-ups: Depending on how quickly your hair grows and the rate of toner fading, schedule regular touch-up sessions to maintain the desired color.

By following these steps and incorporating post-toning care, you can ensure that your toner effectively combats yellow tones and leaves you with beautifully toned hair. In the next section, we will explore how to maintain toned hair and prevent yellowing for long-lasting results.

Maintaining Toned Hair and Preventing Yellowing

After successfully toning your yellow hair, it's important to implement a maintenance routine to preserve the desired color and prevent yellowing. In this section, we will explore the steps to maintain toned hair and provide tips to prevent yellowing.

Regular Hair Care Routine

A consistent and proper hair care routine is essential for maintaining toned hair. Follow these steps to keep your hair looking vibrant and toned:

Use sulfate-free haircare products

Opt for shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that are sulfate-free. These products are designed to be gentle on your hair and help maintain the toned color.

Wash with cool water

When washing your hair, rinse with cool or lukewarm water instead of hot water. Hot water can strip the toner and cause color fading.

Limit washing frequency

Try to reduce the frequency of hair washing, as excessive washing can lead to color fading. Instead, use dry shampoos or refreshers between washes to keep your hair looking fresh.

Deep condition regularly

Treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment once a week to replenish moisture and keep your hair healthy. Look for products specifically formulated for color-treated hair to provide extra protection.

Protect from UV rays and harsh sunlight

Sun exposure can cause your hair color to fade and yellow over time.

Protect your hair from harmful UV rays by wearing a hat or using hair products that contain UV filters.

Recommended Hair Care Products for Toned Hair

Here are some recommended products that we would recommend:

  1. Ugly Duckling Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo and Mask. This haircare system contains purple pigments to keep away yellow. They are sulfate-free and are acid-based formulations.

  2. Ugly Duckling Brilliant Blondexx Shampoo and Mask. These products contain Bond Protect and have been designed for blonde and highlighted hair. They will keep hair strong and reduce breakage.

What else should I do?

  1. Minimize heat styling: Excessive use of heat styling tools can damage your hair and cause color fading. Limit the use of flat irons, curling wands, and blow dryers, or use heat protectant products before styling.

  2. Avoid chlorine and saltwater: Chlorine and saltwater can strip the toner and cause your hair to turn brassy. Before swimming, wet your hair with clean water and apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to create a protective barrier.

  3. Schedule regular touch-ups: As your hair grows, the toner will gradually fade. Schedule regular touch-up appointments with your colorist to maintain the desired color and prevent yellowing.

  4. Avoid smoking and pollution: Cigarette smoke and air pollution can contribute to hair yellowing. Minimize exposure to these factors as much as possible to keep your hair looking fresh.

By following a regular hair care routine, using recommended products, and implementing preventive measures, you can successfully maintain your toned hair and prevent yellowing.

In the next section, we will address common concerns and myths about hair toning to provide clarity and debunk any misconceptions.

Addressing Common Concerns and Myths About Hair Toning

When it comes to hair toning, there are often common concerns and myths that can create confusion or hesitation. In this section, we will address some of these concerns and debunk common myths surrounding hair toning.

Can Toning Damage Hair?

One common concern is whether toning can damage hair.

When done correctly and with the right products, toning itself does not cause damage to your hair.

However, it's important to note that the bleaching or lightening process that often precedes toning can weaken the hair if not done properly.

It's crucial to follow proper hair care practices, use quality products, and consult with a professional colorist to minimize any potential damage.

Should Toning be Done by Professionals Only?

While toning can be done at home, it's generally recommended to have it done by a professional colorist, especially if you're inexperienced or have complex color needs.

Professionals have the expertise to assess your hair condition, recommend the right toner, and ensure even application.

However, if you're confident in your abilities and have a good understanding of color theory, you can try toning at home with caution, following proper instructions and using reputable products.

Myths and Facts About Hair Toning

Let's debunk some common myths and clarify the facts about hair toning:

  1. Myth: Toner can completely change your hair color. Fact: Toner is designed to subtly adjust the tone of your hair, not drastically change the color. It helps neutralize unwanted tones and enhance your existing color.

  2. Myth: Toner will make your hair completely white or silver. Fact: While toners like silver or ash tones can create a cooler hue, they won't turn your hair completely white or silver unless your hair is already very light or bleached.

  3. Myth: Toner is only for blonde hair. Fact: While toners are commonly used on blonde or lightened hair, they can also be used on other hair colors to adjust undertones and enhance the overall color.

  4. Myth: Toner is a one-time fix. Fact: Toner is not permanent and will gradually fade over time. Regular maintenance and touch-ups are necessary to maintain the desired color.

  5. Myth: Toner will make your hair dry and brittle. Fact: Toner itself does not dry out the hair. However, improper hair care practices or using low-quality products can contribute to dryness. It's important to maintain a proper hair care routine and use moisturizing products.

By addressing these concerns and debunking common myths, you can approach hair toning with confidence and make informed decisions about achieving and maintaining your desired hair color.

In conclusion, toner for yellow hair can be a game-changer in achieving the perfect shade and combating unwanted yellow tones. By understanding the basics, choosing the right toner, applying it effectively, and maintaining your toned hair, you can enjoy long-lasting, beautiful results. Remember, if you're unsure or have complex color needs, it's always best to consult with a professional colorist who can guide you through the process. Embrace the power of toner and say goodbye to yellow hair!

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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