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Last updated: November 12, 2020

Toning: 5 Timesaving Tricks + Techniques

Laminate Toning Technique How To Redken Shades EQ Color Formulas Sean Godard Root Shadow Highlights and Lowlights Head Diagram
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Try This Toning Technique To Pick Up The Pace
Real talk. Time is money behind the chair. 💸 So, why not maximize your toning services? That’s why we’re sharing a technique that will help you create a root shadow, highlights and lowlights at the SAME time 🙌 that we learned at the Redken Artist Connection (RAC) 2020 in Miami—a bi-annual gathering where 900+ artists learn new techniques, trends and facilitation skills. Plus, some juicy timesavers and toning tips from Redken Master Artist Sean Godard (@seangodard) using NEW Shades EQ colors (omg!), so read on and get glossy with it. 


Products Used


1. Laminate Toning Technique
The laminate technique is a super fast way to create soft dimension by ‘laminating’ the hair—aka sandwiching darker sections of hair between panels of gloss to create depth.


  • Here’s Why It’s Fast: This technique allows you to work quickly in large sections, plus you can root shadow, highlight and lowlight in one service.
  • Sectioning: Working in large, diagonal-back sections will create softness AND help you pick up the pace. That’s why Sean reaches for his Redken Shades EQ—the consistency will be able to saturate thicker panels. 


The result? Super soft dimension with natural highs and lows.



2. Learn The The Step-By-Step Breakdown

  1. Start in the center-back, move two inches up and take your first thick section.
  2. Split the large section into three subsections. Start by clipping the top away, then take a slice and weave–so the top is the weave and the bottom is the slice.
  3. Take the middle section and lay it on a foil. Apply the darkest color, then fold the foil into a ‘taquito’ shape. 
  4. Then, take the bottom subsection and apply the next color, starting at the mids and ends then blurring for softness.
  5. Drop the top section onto the same foil (this creates overdirection) and apply the same color as the bottom to the mids and ends and blur.


Pro Tip: In the top section, leaving some extra space between the retouch area and laminate toning area will create a little reflective glimmer at the base.


Wrapping the middle foil up into a small taquito shape.
Dropping the top section onto the same foil used for the bottom creates overdirection.


3. Apply Root Shadow + Toner At The Same Time 👏
Tone AND root shadow at the same time? Why not! Just apply the root shadow formula first, then go in with the laminate technique and blend the roots and mids. Process to perfection and BOOM, you’ve accomplished two services ASAP. 


Pro Color Tip: Looking to create a matte finish on natural tones? Redken just dropped news that they are launching Redken Matte Shades EQ colors and here’s the tea:

  • Brown to tan background color with a blue/green tone.
  • Available in Levels 2, 4, 7 and 9.
  • Matte doesn’t mean no shine. It creates a natural matte finish of the color tone.


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


4. How To Avoid Lines Of Demarcation
Major 🔑: Hold the brush vertically to soften at the top, or blend the root together on that seam. This will help blur out any harsh lines that can sometimes happen with thick sections.



5. Use This Technique To Lift, Cover Gray & Tone Curls

Same steps, different tools! Here’s three ways to use this technique for multiple services.

  • Lift: Apply the base color to the roots, lowlights to the mids and lightener for brightness on the ends.
  • Gray Coverage: Apply gray coverage to the retouch area first, then continue with the classic laminate method on the mids and ends.
  • Tone Curls: Apply the base color (or leave their natural base), highlift color to the ends and Shades EQ in between. Instead of over-foiling, less is more with curly textured hair. Instead, paint bigger and bolder pieces for higher impact.


For a more dramatic effect, Sean left negative space between the retouch area and color on the mids to ends.

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