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Last updated: May 25, 2021

Toning: 5 Tips For Balayage, Highlights & Bleach + Tone

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via Instagram @live_love_dohair

5 Time-Saving Toning Tips To Use ASAP

Problems with botched blends, dull blondes and harsh grow-outs? Most likely, the answer is toning. Make the most of gloss applications with five pro tips from BTC Team Members that will help you perfect every type of toning process!


Scroll down for tips on how to blend highlights, save time with foils and why a little heat goes a long way. Plus, we snagged trusted toner formulas you can start using NOW!


Click Here To Check Out The Full Range Of The Demi Toners By Paul Mitchell!


1. Create The Perfect Processing Environment With A Little Heat!

Avoid under-processed glosses by adding a controlled heat setting to help pick up the pace. When Melissa Maloney (@live_love_dohair) realized her toners weren’t as vibrant as they should be and the client’s hair was cold before rinsing, she came up with a mini-incubator process to help achieve longer lasting tones and speed up processing time. Here’s how:


  • After application, cap the hair with a loose plastic cap.
  • Use a multi-head heat lamp to gently warm up the cap. 
  • Remove the heat and cap five minutes before the end of the processing time to allow the hair to cool. 
  • Rinse and condition as normal.


Pro Tip: Melissa suggests leaving 12 inches between the heat lights and the head to avoid overheating.


Click The Beaker For Melissa’s Toner Formula Breakdown!

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  • Formula A (zone 1 gloss)

    Paul Mitchell The Demi equal parts 6R + 6OR + Paul Mitchell Processing Liquid

  • Formula B (zone 2 & 3 gloss)

    The Demi equal parts 9OR + 10NB + a splash of 6R + Processing Liquid 

via Instagram @live_love_dohair


2. Give Clients A Quick Glow Up With This Foil Placement + Time-Saving Toner

Clients looking to add “a little brightness” to their service (even if they didn’t book for it)? To add a pop of brightness without a full head of foils, Melissa uses a simple foil placement and the Demi Flash toners from Paul Mitchell for a quick processing time. Check it out below: 


  • First, babylight the crown, mohawk and face frame and let process.
  • Then, apply the Demi Flash toners for fast, luminous results that process in less than 10 minutes.  


Pro Tip: The Demi Flash Toners are available in three shades: Brass Free Blue, Brass Free Violet and Natural Beige, making formulating quick and easy. 

Check Out The Video Below To See Melissa’s Application!

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A post shared by Melissa Maloney | Balayage Edu (@live_love_dohair)


3. Formulate A Darker Base To Avoid A Harsh Grow-Out

A little formulation goes a long way for bleach and tone clients. Instead of applying a global toner application, BTC #ONESHOT winner Julie Holbrook (@headrushdesigns) creates a softer grow-out by formulating base toners slightly darker than the ends. 


Pro Tip: Julie applies the base toner first, allowing it to process for five minutes before she applies the ends. Blend the two together and let everything process for another 10 minutes for optimal results. 


Using the Demi Toners from Paul Micthell 9PA + 9V Julie bumped her base formula down one level applying 9PA + 9V at the root and 10PA + 9V on the ends allowing for a seamless blend. via Instagram @headrushdesigns


4. Blend Highlights Into A Dimensional Balayage With This Combo

Sarayah Politi (@hairbysarayah) transitions her client’s highlights to a blended balayage by taking babylights around the face and then melting lowlights throughout the rest of the head, creating a more blended, dimensional result.


Check Out The Video Below For Her Technique!

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A post shared by NJ Balayage | Sarayah (@hairbysarayah)


5. Clients Requesting Caramel Contrast? Check Their Base Level 

Visible contrast requires at least two levels of difference between the base and the balayage, Melissa explains. If a client is requesting caramel tones but has a Level 6 base, their color will require some extra steps.


“Level 8 is the turning point from light brown to blonde, so if the client is requesting caramel, toners shouldn’t be higher than a Level 7,” she adds. That gives you (and the client) two options:

  1. Darken the base
  2. Accept the blonde highlights


“A good visual always helps, so grab the swatch book and show them what you mean,” says Melissa. 

Melissa’s client had a Level 4/5 base, so she balayaged to a warm 7/8 and toned with The Demi toners 7NB and a splash of 7PA from Paul Mitchell to achieve a caramel melt. via Instagram @live_love_dohair.


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