Hair Toning Basics

Toners can only neutralise unwanted shades from your hair, but they alone do NOT lighten your hair, (except for a very minimal amount).

If you have dark blonde hair, for example, and you would like to go platinum blonde, you have to pre-lighten (bleach) your hair to a level 10 first. The bleaching will uncover the underlying pigment of your hair, which is pale yellow in this case. The final step is to use a violet based toner, for example Wella Color Charm T18 Lightest Ash Blonde, to cancel out the unwanted yellow tones.

If your hair a dark blonde/light brown level 6-7 and you would like a to get an ashy light blonde (level 8), you also need to pre-lighten your hair first. Aim to bleach to a level 8. The exposed underlying pigment will be yellow-orange. To neutralise the brassy shade, you can use Wella Color Charm 8A/740.5 Light Ash Blonde, for example. It is blue-based and removes the orange from your hair, with the result of a gorgeous ash blonde.

In conclusion, the key is to lighten your hair to the required level first, and then use a toner to neutralise the unwanted shades and get the beautiful shade that you were looking for.

Can you lighten and tone your hair in only one step?

Yes, you can, but you are not using an actual toner in this case.

If you want to skip the pre-lightening and only want to apply one product to your hair, try our L’Oreal Excellence HiColor Blondes for Dark Hair range, for example L’Oreal Excellence HiColor Blondes for Dark Hair H13 Natural Blonde. They lighten the hair 3-4 levels while colouring the hair in one step, without brassiness.

Keep in mind that it will only work on virgin dark hair. It will not be able to lighten your hair if you have artificial dark pigment left in your hair. If you need to remove artificial hair colour from your hair, read our guide Back to Blonde/Remove Artificial Hair Colour.