They say that blondes have more fun. Is this true? Well, many do think so. However, when it comes to maintaining the right color locks, especially after bleaching, many blondes might say there’s not much fun to be had with that part of having blonde hair.
Part of this maintenance routine will include the use of hair toner (or toning shampoo), which is a necessary addition to the blonde’s toolkit for keeping their locks looking their best. But what’s the best way to use it?
In this article, I’ll share with you how to use hair toner after bleaching, so that you can correct the color and have the blonde lock you’ve desired.
How To Use Hair Toner After Bleaching
Unlike hair dye, which coats your hair’s cuticles with colored pigments to provide the appearance of darker locks, or even a complete change of color if you’re also using a developer, hair toners cancel out unwanted color tones that are left (typically) after the bleaching process.
Kind of like how a purple shampoo works to cool down blonde, silver, or bleached locks that have started to look ashy, brassy, or too yellow, hair toner can work to give you the appearance that you probably visualized in the first place.
Deciding on what you want as your final look will determine whether or not you want to use a toner, hair dye, or even a color-correcting shampoo after your hair has been bleached.
Note: see this article on purple shampoo and toner. If you’re DIYing your hair, unless you’re a certified cosmetologist or really know what you’re doing, you should be using purple shampoo, not a toner.
If you’re DIYing your hair, unless you’re a certified cosmetologist or really know what you’re doing, you should be using purple shampoo, not a toner.
For more on this, read our article Which Should I Use, Toner or Dye After Bleaching?, which goes into more detail about which product you may want to use to get the most natural looking blonde hair. [link]
However, in this article, we’re going to look specifically at hair toners, which are formulated to keep your hair’s current pigments, but get rid of any obvious shades that you rather weren’t there.
The Color Wheel
Correcting the base shade that comes through on your locks after bleaching your hair may seem kind of confusing, but it’s basically a play on opposites, just like the color wheel you played with in kindergarten.
Using a Hair Toner
If you don’t know what you’re doing (and if you’re reading this article, you probably don’t!) you should use a toning shampoo rather than a true toner… unless you love to experiment and aren’t afraid of bad outcomes. Skip down to the section on toning shampoos for more information.
Hair toner works to balance out this base shade, as well as brighten the tone overall. This product also works to help maintain the color you’re after for longer — about eight weeks.
Hair toners will even give your bleached blonde hair the benefit of nourishment, because they contain ingredients like botanical oils, and panthenol, which adds shine and moisture to bleach-damaged locks.
So for instance, if you want to add depth to brassy bleached blonde locks, which will have red, orange, or yellow base tones, then you would want to use a toner that has a violet or blue pigmented color.
On the other hand, if you want to add more warmth to your bleached blonde strands, then you would need to apply a hair toner with a gold or yellow base.
Of course, when you’ve bleached your hair, which lifts your hair’s cuticles in the process in order to get the pigments out of the strands, this makes them more dry, brittle, and susceptible to damage.
This is why if you’ve bleached your hair at home, it is best to wait at least 48 hours before using a hair toner. This is because your hair will already be over-processed from the bleaching, and using toner too soon afterwards can open up your cuticles to even more damage.
If you’ve bleached your hair at home, it is best to wait at least 48 hours before using a hair toner. This is because your hair will already be over-processed from the bleaching, and using toner too soon afterwards can open up your cuticles to even more damage.
You’ll also want to add the toner to your hair after it has been freshly washed and towel dried. This is because hair toner absorbs better and lasts longer when it is applied to damp hair, so wash your bleached blonde locks first.
And when we say shampoo, we mean only shampoo. That’s because if you condition your hair after washing it, it can leave residue behind that can also stop the hair toner from absorbing properly — even if you rinse it really well.
And if all of this is still rather confusing after you’ve consulted a color wheel, then you have another choice.
You could always choose to have your hair toned at a salon, then your hair colorist will know exactly what color you need to get the results you want for your bleached locks.
You should also be aware that hair toner generally lasts for no more than four to six weeks with regular washing, so this will need to become part of your overall haircare maintenance routine to keep the blonde color that you desire.
So, now let’s take a look at some hair toner options you can use on your bleached blonde hair at home to help it look its best for longer.
Bleached Blonde Hair Toner Suggestions
- Anti-Brass Hair Toner: This ammonia-free...
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L’Oreal Paris Feria Long-Lasting Anti Brass Power Hair Toner in Champagne Blonde is a one-step and ammonia-free hair toner that will get rid of brassiness, and unwanted yellow and orange base tones, to add a gorgeous coolness in just five minutes.
The Champagne Blonde will provide a soft beige finish, while the other Power Hair Toner shades, Ice Blonde and Pearl Blonde, offer an ashy and soft iridescent finish, respectively. Best of all, just one quick application will last for three weeks, and will also work on highlights and balayages.
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If you’re wanting a more sustainable solution, Bleach London’s Champagne Super Toner Kit has been specially formulated for bleached blonde hair, and will remove brassy yellow tones to leave behind an even beige champagne base.
This kit is cruelty free and vegan, while it is also free from sulfates that can make your hair even more brittle after bleaching. The brand also boasts a Rose Toner Kit, which will add a gorgeous and subtle baby pink to your bleached strands.
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Another option you may want to try is OGX Blonde Enhance Purple Toning Drops, which isn’t your usual kind of hair toner. These toning drops work by adding a highly pigmented and deep purple color to your favorite shampoo, conditioner, and/or cream-based styling product.
Its paraben and sulfate-free formula helps to color-correct unwanted brassy undertones, and includes ingredients like keratin, purple fig, and iris, which work to strengthen and nourish your locks.
The drops can also be rinsed out if you use them in your shampoo or conditioner, or left in if you add them to a cream styling product.
We’ve published quite a bit on how to use toning shampoos in various circumstances.
- Green Shampoo for Red Hair Tones: How Does It Help?
- Blue vs Purple Shampoo: Which One Do You Need?
- Purple Shampoo on Strawberry Blonde Hair: What Will It Do?
Can I Just Use Purple Shampoo Instead?
If you don’t want the hassle of finding the right toner to use to get rid of the brassiness of your bleached locks, or you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay salon prices to get the job done, then it is possible to simply use a purple shampoo instead.
And best of all, you can use a purple shampoo immediately after you bleach your hair, so you won’t have to wait a couple of days in order to correct your hair color.
Maintaining your locks is also easy, because you can use purple shampoo once or twice a week when your jump into the shower to wash your hair, and keep it looking its best.
Specially designed for those with bleached hair, D’Or’s Color Harmony Purple Shampoo and Conditioner work well to produce the luscious luminosity you want from your bleached locks, while still helping to eliminate any brassiness.
This powerful duo is also kind and gentle to your hair, because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, or silicones, but does include argan oil, biotin, keratin, and bamboo fiber to provide your hair and scalp with nourishing hydration.
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If you’ve never had bleached hair before, then you may be curious as to whether blondes really do have more fun. In my experience: yes! But maintaining that luscious blonde takes work!
Now you have the basics of how to use toner after bleaching. Again, stick to toning shampoos if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’ll have much more success.