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Are your highlights more brass than sass? Toners, the quick fix of the hair color world, generally neutralize unwanted red, orange or yellow shades in your highlights. How the toner specifically affects your highlights depends on the shade of your highlights and the color of toner you use. But you can darken those streaks, zap that brass or tone down those icky yellow hues in no time flat.
What Exactly is a Toner?
You might think toner is just another word for hair color, but toners are like the sheer drapes of the hair color world. Unlike hair color, which completely overcomes your natural hair color, translucent toners allow your hair's own shades to shine through. Though you can only go darker with a toner, that's usually what's required to tone down highlights anyway.
Gotta get rid of some serious orange tones in your hair? Use a blue-based toner to tame unwanted brass in both your highlights and brown hair. Just let this toner sit on your hair for 20 minutes and then rinse it out to reveal a more neutral-looking brown and highlights free of brassy orange tones.
To nix the sickly yellow hues in your blonde highlights, grab some violet-based toner. Yellow and violet are opposite on the color wheel, so when you mix these two shades, you end up with a stunning neutral blonde. It also helps calm down excessive gold tones in brown hair, though these light toners have a subtle effect.
A toner's job is to turn not-so-fabulous highlights into stunning streaks. What they're not supposed to do is cover your highlights completely. In order to make sure you don't erase your highlights you need to use a toner that's at least two or three levels lighter than your base hair color. Here's a salon tip: if you're looking for a subtle change in your highlights, use a toner that's one shade lighter than the level of your highlights. The toner will nix the unwanted tones without darkening the overall color of the highlights.