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Last updated: December 19, 2018

11 Of The Best Toning Tips We Shared In 2018

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The Top 11 Toning Tips We Shared Throughout The Year

Say it with us now—2019 is the year you’ll never hear the phrase, “I still see yellow!” again. But how can we be so sure? Because we gathered 11 of the best toning tips we shared in 2018 and put it in one place so you can be a toning master in the new year. Keep reading to find out how to neutralize warmth at every level, the secret to achieving ashy, cool-toned brunettes, how to mix more precise formulas and SO much more!


Do you really want to make sure your blondes stay yellow-free? Buy @josievilay’s livestream TODAY and learn how to achieve the perfect ash blonde!


1. Neutralizing Warmth At Every Level

When aiming for cooler shades, it’s super important that you’re toning with the right levels depending on what she lifts to. So Josie Vilayvanh (@josievilay) posted a helpful video to her Insta that breaks down how she neutralizes warmth in every level with Schwarzkopf Professional’s true-to-tone IGORA VIBRANCE® line. Watch the video below with the sound on to hear Josie’s explanation:


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A post shared by 📍Winnipeg Hair Stylist (@josievilay) on


And remember this:

  • If the hair is not a pale banana yellow, you can’t tone with the 9,5 series.
  • If she’s at a Level 8/low 9, tone with the same level for the best results.
  • For Level 7/8, tone with IGORA VIBRANCE® 8-11 for an ashy silver.
  • For Level 6, tone with IGORA VIBRANCE® 7-4 for a creamy beige blonde.
  • For Level 5/6, tone with IGORA VIBRANCE® 6-12 for more of a smokier hue.


2.  Toning Levels 3 & Darker

Want to spice up your client’s dark locks with a rich and reflective glow? Do what Carolynn Judd (@styled_by_carolynn) does and tone with Redken Shades EQ 3N and a yellow kicker. Not only does the yellow and gold combo perfectly reflect off the sun for a high-shine finish, but this is a great refresh service between appointments.


3. Quick Tip For Achieving The Best End Result

Wet strands and lack of lighting can make the hair appear darker than it really is, so to ensure her toning formulas are softer and more precise, Rochelle Golden (@rochellegoldenhairstylist) does the following process before she mixes:


  1. At the bowl, towel-dry the hair and comb it out.
  2. Then, take the client back to the chair where there is better lighting.
  3. Continue to towel-dry until her hair is 70 percent dry.


4. Pre-Tone With Color-Depositing Shampoo

You’d only apply color on a canvas that is clean and consistent from roots to ends, right? Well, sometimes that’ll require pre-toning to remove any underlying pigments. Because the lightening process can be harsh on the hair, Sami Schneider (@samihairmagic) likes to pre-tone her blondes with Tressa Watercolors Intense Shampoo Silver. It’s safer because it’s a color-depositing shampoo and she says it cancels out yellow like a champ.


A comparison Sami posted to her Instagram showing freshly lightened hair vs. hair toned with Watercolors Intense Shampoo Silver. // Instagram via @samihairmagic


Pro Tip: Working toward a specific fashion color? Pre-tone with the matching Watercolors Intense Shampoo on Levels 7 and up to establish the base.


5. How To Tone A Root Smudge

Does your toning formula pull too much warmth at the root? Watch the video below to see how Gina Bianca (@the_hair_doctor) tones a root smudge, then click here for the how-to! (Big fan of Gina’s tips and techniques? Click here to purchase her tape-in extension training course on BTCU!)


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6. The Secret For Mastering Ashy Brunettes

Do you struggle when trying to achieve a true cool-toned brunette? You’re not alone, and Farhana Premji (@xo.farhana.balayage) has a secret that can help—lift higher than the desired end result and deposit down at least two levels. She says this technique is almost like doing a tint-back without using a filler formula, so you’ll get a more matte result which is essentially what ashy, cool-toned brunettes are. 


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  • Natural/Starting Level:

    Natural Level 5 with pre-existing Level 8/9 blonde and about 5 inches of regrowth.

  • Formula A:

    Schwarzkopf Professional IGORA VIBRANCE® 5-0 + IGORA VIBRANCE Activator Gel 1.9%/6-volume

  • Formula B:

    IGORA VIBRANCE® 7-1 + IGORA VIBRANCE Activator Gel 1.9%/6-volume

  • Formula C:

    IGORA VIBRANCE® 8-46 + IGORA VIBRANCE Activator Gel 1.9%/6-volume

Farhana used the above tip to create this stunning cool-toned brunette! Want the formula deets? Just tap the beaker!


7. Tone While You Treat

They say time is money, which is why you should start treating your blondes while you tone. No matter how many levels you go lightening the hair is a harsh process, and that’s why Catherine Long (@catherinelovescolor) uses TRUSS Professional Deluxe Prime in Champagne Blond. Not only does it neutralize unwanted yellow tones but it also restores and repairs hair that’s just been lightened.


8. Create Dimension At The Crown

Try a zigzag parting around the head at the crown to build in automatic dimension. TIGI® Professional U.S. Technical Education Director Renée Valerie (@renee.valerie) says the zigzag circle creates high and low points of color while the top section acts as a veil over the bottom section for even more dimension.


9. Work With Damp Hair For A Better Blend

Cassandra McGlaughlin (@cassandraplatinum) likes to tone on damp hair, especially when using multiple formulas, because it’s easier to comb through, results in a seamless blend from roots to ends AND prevents over-toning when neutralizing ash. See what we mean in the slider below!


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Pro Tip: Do not go darker than a Level 6 when toning rooty blondes because it’s the sweet spot for adding depth and contrast without going into brunette territory.


10. How To Prevent Unwanted Tones On Blonde Hair

If blonde hair is pulling the exact tones you don’t want, like hints of green, purple or blue, Redken Ambassador Daniel Mora (@danielmbeauty) suggests using a porosity equalizer before toning to ensure you’re working off an even canvas.


11. Cheat A Gradient Result With 1 Formula

Want to create a subtle gradient from roots to ends without having to formulate three to four different toners? It comes down to processing times. If you want to use just one formula, Matrix Artistic Director Lenny Strand (@lennystrand) says to leave it on the base for 20 minutes, the midlengths for 10 minutes and the ends for just 5 minutes,



Did you save these tips? Good! Now click here for three toning tricks you HAVE to try in 2019!