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March 2, 2018

Toning: At The Bowl? Or At The Chair?

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Where do you tone your clients? At the shampoo bowl? At your chair? Why? Is it because it’s quicker to do it at the bowl? But, is it more professional to do it at the chair? (These are the questions we think about at night…🤔🌃)


To get a better idea, we reached out to our BTC fam on Facebook and Instagram for some insight. Scroll down for the reasons why some stylists stick to toning at the bowl and some bring it back to the chair.


Need some advice? DM us on Instagram and Facebook!



At The Bowl—Here’s Why
“Shampoo bowl kinda gal right here! Even if doing a shadow root, I feel like I’ve got more control over how it tones. That way, if it needed to be rinsed sooner than expected, I can do it immediately and with ease to my client.” – @hairbymeaganjeane


“At the shampoo bowl. 1.) It’s less back and forth for client. 2.) Toner can be messy, drippy. 3.) Let’s face it, some clients don’t need to see their hair until the end result.” – @sassy_assassin82


“Bowl because it’s relaxing for my clients to lay back and get their hair massaged longer than normal. It’s almost like another special service added on. Actually, one of my clients today was excited to get toned and said it was her favorite part. Thought it was funny because I never thought of toning as being relaxing.” – @mellieschrock


“I prefer to tone at the bowl…I mean, you just got done washing the color out, the toner should be applied while the hair is still wet, then you can rinse it right out and the client doesn’t have to keep getting up and out of the bowl.”  – Kimberly Dawn


“At the bowl. Clients don’t understand hair and if they see yellow they freak out, and sometimes toners can look darker or ashier when they are on. There’s nothing worse than clients looking at their hair going, ‘OMG! Is it supposed to be this dark or is it supposed to look this color?’” – Jodie Fitch


“I sit them up, but do it at the bowl. I like to watch it as it processes, and I see no point in going back to the chair if I don’t know how long I need it to process exactly.” – Danielle Dyer


“Usually at the bowl…it’s way easier to apply. I just clip up long hair and put a towel under their neck so they are comfortable, but I have done it at the chair in certain situations.” – Kim Jedlicki-Guy


“It depends on the toner used and how much you’re toning. If I use a gel toner and it’s not much surface area, I’ll do it at the bowl, no need to have them get up, walk to the chair and a minute later go back. If I’m doing the whole head and using cream toner, they go back to the chair.” – MiKala Kirk


“Shampoo bowl, most toners I use require it to be wet. At the bowl I can put it on quickly and comb it through. No point in wasting time trying to make it a “special service” when it doesn’t make a difference besides a few steps. But, it really does depend on what I am doing and what we are aiming for.” – Ella Scavarelli



At The Chair—Here’s Why
“It might be messy at the chair, but it’s totally worth it because you are showing your client that you are working as hard as you are charging and you’re not being lazy. If the hair is porous or damaged, I would do it at the bowl, but if doing a root shadow or any type of blending, then definitely at the chair. You want to show your client why they are paying for you and what makes you different as a stylist. If the client’s hair is really brassy or orange, leave them in the sink longer to pre-tone and with a towel under the neck, of course.” – @kierstinsparkles


“I will always tone at the chair. If I’m charging for a service, I’m making it a proper service. I want long-lasting results, and minimum process time is 15 to 20 minutes in our color range, so I will not have them stay at the bowl for that time, nor will I rinse it after 5 minutes because it ‘looks done.’” Kelli White


“So I understand the bowl situation, however I work at a salon with 2 bowls and 8 stylists. If you apply and walk away for 15 minutes, free up the space. I also agree that you can’t get perfect coverage at the bowl. Professionalism should be the priority.”  @chadfabulous


“Back at the chair. It’s an extra service I am providing and it is very important to me for the guest to feel as if their service was worth every bit, from professionalism to even saturation.” – @mydoesmyhair


“The chair. Lighting is better, client is more comfortable, application is easier, more precise and quicker. Plus, clients need to understand the value of toner—it’s expensive and without seeing what it looks like before, they don’t know how much they really need it.” – @angelandersen


“I prefer the chair because I’m always worried about missing spots in the occipital area. To each their own though!” – Stefanie Triantis Oxendine


“I tone at the chair. I have a lot of Level 3 and 4 clients, and I like for them to actually see what yellow looks like. Once the service is finished, then they say, ‘Wow, that looks so much better.’” – MeeMee Keophine



It Depends On The Service Being Done—Here’s Why
“First and foremost, no matter what I always towel-dry the hair so that it’s left in a slightly damp state and not soaking wet. I will apply all-over glosses and toners at the bowl, especially more liquid formulas such as Redken Shades EQ—it keeps the mess in the bowl, off my clients and the floor! Any time I’m doing something more precise, such as a shadow root or color melt, I will always do it in the chair to keep my application neat and tidy. This also allows me to charge for an extra service because when I bring my clients back to my chair, they view this as a whole separate process.” – @kayla_thehairwizard


“Both for sure, but I also charge differently for both. I’ll tone at the bowl for majority of clients and that’s included in their highlighting service. When a client shows me a picture of a balayage/color melt combo, and when they love the gradient and the goal is longevity, I take them back to chair. I’ll rough-dry and apply. They process for a full 30 minutes and are charged for an all-over color. It’s a double process, but it’s worth it. Clients are willing to pay to look like Pinterest and Instagram. I just have to educate them on their options and what that means for the future. It’s an extra $100 today, but they won’t be back for 6 months. The other option is complimentary, but I’ll need to see them again in 4 to 8 weeks depending on the integrity.” – @haircraftandmagic


“I think it depends on the hair type. I do both. With longer, thicker hair, I tend to go back to the chair to make sure it’s all saturated. In the bowl for shorter, thinner hair. – @alyssaroseeaton


“I think if you’re just toning out gold/yellow, do it at the bowl. But if you want to use toner to make a drastic change like silver or violet, do it dry and at the chair.” – Veronica Morgan