Articles > Toning > 10 Toning Tips You’ll Need in 2023
Last updated: April 07, 2023

10 Toning Tips You’ll Need in 2023

close formula
Photo Credit: Instagram via @hairbychrissydanielle

10 Toning Tips: Boost Your Service Ticket, Save Time & More!

2022 was the year of toning: from expensive brunettes to timeless blondes, formulation was on everyone’s mind. With clients saving golden “teddy bear” blondes and all-over, glazed brunettes on IG nonstop, you’re going to need these glossing and toning tips to get you through this year. 


Keep reading to learn how to save time when toning, formulas from The BTC Team and more!


1. Reds Lacking Luster? Try This Trick! 

Auburn is one of the year’s top requests—but, we all know too well about how fast they fade! To spice up her client’s pre-existing auburn color, BTC Team Member Kristen O’Donnell (@kristen_o_beauty) applies Schwarzkopf Professional® CHROMA ID™ 7-77 and 6-88 in equal parts at the bowl for more radiant reds in only 10 minutes. This is the perfect way to quickly refresh dull midlengths and ends!


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hair Videos•Blondes•Education (@kristen_o_beauty)


Click here for more toning hacks to use on every type of client!


2. How To Transition From Blonde To Brunette

What if you didn’t need an extra step to fill—wait, what?! Here’s a trick: If you’re dropping down three levels or less, BTC Team Member and colorist Ashley Smith (@paintedbyashleymarie) says to formulate with Color Wear by Alfaparf Milano. Why? There’s no need to fill the hair!


Here are some of her go-to formulation rules:


  • Three levels or less: Skip the filling step and formulate with Color Wear. This will prevent lowlights from turning muddy or hollow. 
  • More than three levels: Fill the hair and add warmth to the formula, even if warmth is not the end goal, says Ashley. A few grams of warmth will keep the dark lowlights rich. 
  • Adding pigments: Ashley prefers to use warm or neutral tones for brunettes, especially if she is transitioning a client from blonde to dark. Blondes are lacking pigment and warmth, so replacing these tones will help create darker richness. 


Next, Ashley tones with Color Wear Gloss Toners.

The best brunettes have dimensional highs and lows, requiring bright (or subtle) ribbons of light. “I love 8N for slight pops of brightness in brunettes. It’s very muted and soft, next to the dark rich tones of a brunette,” says Ashley.


Click the beaker to get Ashley’s formulas!

expensive brunette filling the hair how to do lowlights and reverse foilayage to tone without going green alfaparf color wear @paintedbyashleymarie
open color formula
close formula
  • Formula A (lightener)

    Alfaparf Milano BB Bleach High Lift + 10-volume developer

  • Formula B (lowlight)

    Alfaparf Milano Color Wear 6.23 + 6 + 10-volume developer (1:1.5)

  • Formula C (melt)

    Color Wear 6.23 + 5.1 + 5-volume developer (1:1.5)

  • Formula D (gloss)

    Color Wear Gloss Toner 8.23 + 9N

Still obsessed with expensive brunettes? Learn how to create the trend here.


3. Zone Toning: Use This Placement Cheat Sheet

When it comes to formulating toners and placement for a root melt and gloss, you need this cheat sheet. @hairbychrissydanielle maps out the three zones to keep in mind when toning: 


  • Zone one (root melt): Apply the shadow root and melt (leaving out the money piece). On her client, Chrissy uses Redken Shades EQ in shades 07N, 07P and 07V.
  • Zone two (global gloss): Next, Chrissy applies a global gloss with Shades EQ Gloss Bonder Inside (still leaving out the money piece) 1 to 2 shades lighter: 08N, 08V and 09P.
  • Zone three (money piece): Lastly, gloss the money piece with 010N, 010VV and 010GI.


Pro Tip: After applying, brush everything together for the most seamless blend!

close formula


4. Add Gold For Bright Blondes

Color melting a cool blonde? Adding some warmth to your base formula to keep tones from turning muddy—no, seriously. “Knowing the color wheel is essential when melting. That’s why I love adding a splash of gold to my formulas to prevent the tones from becoming drab or muddy,” explains BTC Team Member Marina Sellecchia (@colorbymarina)


Ashley (@paintedbyashleymarie) agrees: “Adding gold to the base formula also cancels any exposed warmth in the transition area giving me a seamless blend,” she adds. 


Watch the video for Marina’s full cool blonding service & get her formulas below!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by MARINA 🧿 PA BALAYAGE (@colorbymarina)

Marina’s formulas:

Lightener: Paul Mitchell Syncrolift Lightener + 20-volume developer

Root Smudge: Paul Mitchell The Demi 5N + 5NB + Processing Liquid 

Overall Toner: The Demi 9V + 10P + Processing Liquid 


5. Save Time—Darken Roots & Lighten Ends Simultaneously

When you have a client who wants to blend out old foil lines and make their ends pop, try this technique from BTC Team Member and blonding expert Carly Zanoni (@the.blonde.chronicles).


1. Carly starts by applying a root melt to damp hair and combs every few sections for a natural blend.

2. Then, she applies wet balayage working in large sections, saturating so she can’t see the hair underneath the lightener.

3. Lastly, she allows everything to process for 15 to 30 minutes. By saving some time, she can get more clients in and out quicker. Genius!

Pro Tip: The key to avoiding a warm band is to not let the lightener touch the root melt.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by (@behindthechair_com)

Try Out Carly’s Formulas:

  • Formula A (root melt): Moroccanoil® Color Calypso Demi-Permanent Gloss 5.0+ 6.1 + 6.3 + Moroccanoil® Color Calypso Demi-Permanent Gloss Activator
  • Formula B (lightener): Moroccanoil® Blonde Voyage Powder Lightener + Moroccanoil® Blonde Voyage Clay Lightener + 30-volume developer


PSA—If you want more control and a better blend, you need to paint with a balayage board!


6. Formulating Warm Brunettes Without Orange Undertones

Keep in mind, brunettes are not limited to Level 2 or 3. Lighter brunette shades like this beautiful beige tone from artist and educator Kendra Alia (@iamkendraalia) was formulated to complement her client’s skin tone. 


If your client is hesitant to go several levels darker, keep this formula in mind for a mid-range warm brunette. You’ll notice the high level of color combined with the undertone hues create a rich brunette that does not pull too warm.


Click here for two more tips on how to avoid unwanted warmth in brunettes!


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kendra Alia | Hair Artist | Educator (@iamkendraalia)


7. Blondes Looking Muddy? Try This! 

“Toning with shades that have no background color creates a crystal clear, cool result,” Ashley (@paintedbyashleymarie) explains. “Not only does it achieve a beautiful finish in the salon, but the color fades naturally and the tones don’t shift because of underlying pigment.”


Applying toners that contain background or underlying pigments can alter the final tone. That’s why Ashley tones her cool blondes with The Demi Pearl Collection from Paul Mitchell.


Tight on time? Watch how Ashley uses The Demi Pearl shades for a flash toning service!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by AshleyMarie | Livedin Hair | New York (@paintedbyashleymarie)

Toner Formula: 

Global Gloss: The Demi 10P + Processing Liquid


Blondes turning brown often? Click here for 2 more tips!


8. Counteract Yellow Tones With BLACK Shampoo?!

Have you tried black shampoo? milk_shake® icy blond shampoo can be used for super light blonde and platinum hair to reduce yellow tones. This works different than a purple shampoo, which tones to a neutral blonde. So, if your client wants an ashy blonde look, black shampoo will do the trick.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by (@behindthechair_com)


9. Add Shine Without Lift

Do you want to quickly boost your service ticket without extended appointment times? Briana Cisneros (@brianacisneros) uses Wella Professionals Shinefinity Zero Lift Glaze to refresh color without lifting the hair.


Pro Tip: Briana can add a fast glaze to haircut services because of the fast processing time. “All in all, the cut and color was a 45 min. to one hour appointment! Shinefinity doesn’t lift the natural [base] whatsoever—just adds that shiny tonal quality,” says Briana.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Wella Education (@wellaeducation)

Related: 4 reasons to add clear gloss to your formulas!


10. Pre-Tone With A Purple Shampoo

To avoid yellow tones on blonde clients, BTC Team Member and ARC™ Scissors Team Member Rachel Williams (@rachelwstylist) uses Moroccanoil® Blonde Perfecting Purple Shampoo like a toner.  


Pro Tip: To get a clean, even canvas before toning, apply the purple shampoo at the bowl from roots to ends. This will completely saturate the hair, pre-toning the freshly lightened strands.


Click here for two more pre-toning tips!


close formula

Photo Credit: Instagram via @rachelwstylist