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Last updated: December 23, 2020

10 Of The Best Toning Tips We Shared In 2020

Laminate Toning Technique How To Redken Shades EQ Color Formulas Sean Godard Root Shadow Highlights and Lowlights Head Diagram
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One Good Thing To Come Out Of 2020? These Genius Toning Tips!

So 2020 was one dumpster fire of a year, but it wasn’t all bad! For example, it blessed us with genius toning education like how to tone in just five minutes or less, how to avoid over-toning curly and textured hair and a cheat for brunettes who get too dark, too quickly (just to name a few! 😉) So before we ring in 2021, let’s take a look back at the top 10 toning tips we shared this year!


1. Tone In 5 Minutes (Or Less)

With 2020 forcing salons to hit pause on double booking, saving time wherever possible is key to seeing more clients in a day. For faster toning at the bowl, Olivia Smalley (@omgartistry) recommends using Joico Blonde Life Quick Tone Liqui-Créme Toners because they only need up to five minutes to process.


Pro Tip: If there’s unwanted green in platinum blonde clients, a violet toner could be to blame. Instead, Olivia suggests using a beige toner like Blonde Life Quick Tone Liqui-Créme Toner Sand because its red violet undertone will create a bright, natural blend.



2. Money Piece Toning Quickie

The ’90s-inspired chunky money piece quickly became a top haircolor trend this year, so here’s a quick no-toner cheat from Montana Schmidt (@paintslikeschmidt) for the next client who requests it: After lightening the money piece, isolate the hairline section and apply Schwarzkopf Professional GOODBYE YELLOW™ to the blonde pieces for 10 minutes, then condition. Fast AF and zero mixing required!


Watch the video below to see how it’s done & get the finished look!

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A post shared by Montana Schmidt (@paintslikeschmidt)


3. How To Avoid Over-Toning Curly & Textured Hair

Curly and textured hair is more fragile and porous than other hair types, and it can become so porous that as soon as a Level 10 toner with all the clear in the world is applied (for example), it instantly turns gray. “It is because the cuticle is so open that when toning, the hair just sucks it right up,” explains Kara Williams (@haircolorkilla).


To avoid that, Kara uses Redken Extreme CAT Protein Reconstructing Hair Treatment Spray. It won’t clog the cuticle or manipulate the color, but it does help even out porosity, bring the pH level down AND close the cuticle, providing an even deposit when applying a toner.



4. A Toner Cheat For Brunettes

Do toners get too dark too quickly on brunette clients? PRO TIP: Adding PRAVANA Express Tones Clear to any PRAVANA ChromaSilk Express Tones After Dark formula will cut depth and bring in lightness so the color doesn’t get too dark too fast. Simply apply the formula to the base, then quickly comb it through. The tonality will pick up on some of the lightened hair as it’s pulled through to create a glossy blend.


5. Avoid This Common Mistake When Toning Icy Blondes

If icy blonde clients aren’t as white and bright as expected, you’re probably rinsing the foils too soon and toning a yellow blonde vs. a pale yellow blonde. Amy McManus (@camouflageandbalayage) says waiting until the client lifts to a pale yellow blonde (like the color of the inside of a banana), will make it easier to tone for an icy blonde finish.


If you choose to tone a yellow blonde, Amy says to tone one level darker to neutralize all the warmth or two full levels to achieve a true ash tone. However, it won’t create a true icy blonde hue because the hair will just be brassy again after a few shampoos. 


Peep the picture Amy shared below to learn the difference between a yellow blonde & a pale yellow blonde!

Amy McManus @camouflageandbalayage The More You Know Toning For Icy Blonde Hair Tone Blondes Blonding
Instagram via @camouflageandbalayage


6. Corrective Blonding On Curly & Textured Hair: Formulating A Toner

When color correcting a curly blonde with 8+ weeks of regrowth, Alfaparf Milano Master Colorist Jeannetta Walker-Rodgers (@watchmyhairbounce) says formulating a toner is always a case-by-case basis and will depend on the overall look and porosity of the hair. “Most times I am able to tone everything the same. But, depending on if there is any damage or if the cuticle is exposed, those factors determine how and what I use to tone,” she explains. “In a perfect world, you would be able to use one toner for the whole head, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. So pay attention to what the health of the hair is after lightening.” 


7. Pre-Tone The Root Area Only For Platinum Bleach Outs

Say it with us now: All 👏 Hair 👏 Lifts 👏 Warm 👏 “Even the whitest of white blondes have warmth in them,” says Chrissy Danielle (@hairbychrissydanielle). That’s why when doing a platinum bleach out, she will pre-tone the roots only with Moroccanoil® Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo before glossing. It prevents buildup of tone on the ends and helps neutralize warmth in the freshly lifted hair, providing an even canvas to gloss.


Check out the process below on a client of Chrissy’s to see the results of pre-toning the roots with Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo!

Platinum Bleach Outs Blonde Tips For Lightening Toning and Gloss @hairbychrissydanielle
Instagram via @hairbychrissydanielle



8. Timesaving Laminate Toning Technique

Looking for a super quick way to create soft dimension? Say hello to Sean Godard’s (@seangodard) laminate toning technique, aka sandwiching darker sections of hair between panels of gloss to create depth.


  • What Makes It So Fast: This technique allows for working quickly in large sections, plus it makes it possible to root shadow, highlight and lowlight in one service.


  • Sectioning: Working in large, diagonal-back sections will create softness AND help pick up the pace. That’s why Sean reaches for Redken Shades EQ when doing this technique—the consistency will be able to saturate thicker panels. 


Need a visual? Here’s a peek at how to do Sean’s laminate toning technique!

Laminate Toning Technique How To Redken Shades EQ Color Formulas Sean Godard Root Shadow Highlights and Lowlights Head Diagram


9. Do This For Longer-Lasting Gray Coverage

If you can lift clean and tone cool, Cassie Siskovic (@cassiskovic) says the grow out will be softer as the demi base color and toner begin to fade. To achieve this, she recommends doing the highlight service first and then base-and-tone separately at the same time after. This will prevent the excess warmth that comes with lifting and basing at the same time.


Place highlights above the regrowth line so they are visible (or even higher), then diffuse the line with the base and toner. As the color fades, the blonde and gray will marry to give the blended color more durability and longevity.


Pro Tip: Start the toner in the front hairline, then tap the base. If formulated correctly—not too ashy or dark—you shouldn’t have to worry about the hairline grabbing too much.


10. How To Avoid Demarcation Lines When Foiling Highly Textured Hair

To blend the root tap formula with the toner on the mids and ends, Jeannetta applies her mid formula a few inches below the root tap formula. Then, once the toner is applied fully to the mids and ends, she works the color upwards to blend into the root tap, avoiding a line of demarcation and creating a blended color melt. 


Pro Tip: To create more depth at the root, Jeannetta will bring her root tap formula down further in a few sections and then melt the second toner formula all the way to the ends.


Check out the below before & after to see Jeannetta’s seamless blend on very curly hair!

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Want even MORE toning education? Tap here to watch Larisa Love’s curly hair foil placement & toning technique!