Articles > Hair Color > 4 Common Toning and Lightening Mistakes & @paintedhair’s Tips For Avoiding Them
Last updated: November 25, 2020

4 Common Toning and Lightening Mistakes & @paintedhair’s Tips For Avoiding Them

Painted Hair Toning Coloring Mistakes & Avoiding Them
close formula

Toning, ashing, blonding and going from light to dark are all color services that happen every day at the salon—so what are some of the biggest issues colorists run into when doing these common color applications? We went to @paintedhair for her take on the mistakes being made and how to fix them (and she has almost 700k Instagram followers so you definitely want to know what she has to say!). Scroll down for the deets!



Mistake 1: Toning clients lighter than their current level.

Why The Mistake Is Made:

  • You’re scared to make the client’s hair too dark, so you formulate toner for a level that’s lighter than what the client’s hair is actually lifted to.

How To Fix It:

  • Always tone on tone—meaning, whatever color/level the hair is lifted to is the level to tone at (never higher). This helps avoid any unbalanced warmth in the haircolor.


Mistake 2: Overcompensating or over-ashing the hair.

Why The Mistake Is Made:

  • You eliminate all gold and warm tones in the hair because you think this is how to achieve that cool, silver-like end result. 
  • In reality, when you eliminate all warm pigment, you’re essentially taking out any brightness the hair will have.

How To Fix It:

  • Always try to balance the warmth, instead of completely eliminating it.



Mistake 3: Forgetting to fill the hair when taking a blonde client back to brunette.

Why The Mistake Is Made:

  • You might think that filling the hair doesn’t apply to every client who is going from light to dark, but it does and it always needs to happen.
  • If you add dark color over a client’s blonde hair without filling first, it’ll result in a muddy, gray mess rather than a pretty brown.

How To Fix It:

  • Always fill the hair! Here’s what that means: If a client is at a Level 9/10, fill them with a gold at a Level 7/8 before doing anything else. It’s important to balance out the tones so that when the darker color is applied, the hair strands won’t completely absorb all the dark color and the end result won’t look muddy.


Mistake 4: Not getting clients on a lightening schedule.

Why The Mistake Is Made:

  • You’re nervous to tell your clients how many appointments it will take to get their hair where they want it to be because disclosing that info could scare them away.

How To Avoid Making It:

  • Always explain the process. @paintedhair has her clients come in every 4 to 6 weeks until they reach their desired lightness. Then, once the job becomes maintaining that color, clients can come in less often.
  • For example, a client with a Level 3/4 color who wants to go to a multidimensional Level 7/8 would need to come in every 4 to 6 weeks for 3 to 4 sessions, says @paintedhair. That’s just the reality of the process.  



Get four close-up color quickies from @paintedhair!


More from
Patricia Nikole