15 Essential Hair Toning Tips for Colorists


Aah, the elusive perfect shade — every colorist’s quest! Unfortunately, achieving perfection can be a rollercoaster ride of vibrant hues and unexpected brassiness. But fear not, color warriors! This article is full of essential hair toning tips to help you transform your clients’ locks from dull to dazzling.

Whether battling the dreaded orange glow in bleached blondes or struggling to maintain that cool, fiery red, we’ve got your back. From understanding the magic of purple toning shampoo to mastering the art of demi-permanent deposits, this article will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to banish brass and achieve the perfect shade.

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So, grab your toner wheel and let’s dive in! This is your roadmap to unlocking the secrets of hair toning. Prepare to unleash your inner color alchemist and witness the magic of proper toning.

1. Rely on the Purple Potion

The toning symphony begins with the magical notes of purple toning shampoo — a vital elixir in your arsenal. This vibrant concoction is a neutralizer, eradicating unwanted yellow tones for blondes and providing a harmonious base for your color masterpiece. If your client is brunette, consider a blue shampoo to combat brassiness for brown shades.

2. Know Your Developers 

Hair color developer plays a crucial role in hair toning, acting as the key that unlocks the door for color transformation. Just like a key must match the lock for it to work, you must choose the developer’s strength (measured in volume) based on the client’s hair and the desired toning effect.

3. Porosity Matters

Hair, like fabric, comes with its own porosity. Consider this characteristic when selecting your developer. Low-porosity hair craves a gentle touch, while high-porosity hair welcomes a more intense interaction.

4. Test, Test, Test

Before diving headfirst into a color adventure, do a strand test. Each strand has a story, and it is crucial to understand how it reacts to hair color’s touch. This preliminary exploration ensures you’re well-versed in the nuances of your client’s hair.

5. Dilute Your Developer If Necessary

In the delicate dance of color, sometimes less is more. Diluting your developer for a subtle lift is akin to adding a touch of watercolor to your artistic palette. The result is a natural-looking masterpiece, with colors that seamlessly blend and transition.

6. Understand The Rule of Opposites

Combatting unwanted tones is an art form that requires understanding the rule of opposites. Using colors on the opposite side of the color wheel creates a harmonious balance that elevates your work and removes unwanted tones.

7. Time Is of the Essence

Timing is an often-overlooked but essential aspect of hair toning. Precise timing ensures your masterpiece unfolds as envisioned.

8. Know Your Ratios

Knowing the exact mixing ratios of your color and developer ensures a consistent application. It’s the science behind the art, guaranteeing that each strand receives its fair share of chromatic brilliance.

9. Consider Your Sections and Strategy

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Divide and conquer — the mantra of any experienced colorist. Sectioning the hair is a practical approach and a strategic move to ensure every inch of your client’s hair receives the attention it deserves. 

10. Do a Temperature Check

Temperature plays a subtle yet significant role in the color absorption process. Like a warm embrace, a gentle heat source opens up the hair cuticle, enabling the color to penetrate deeply. It’s the difference between a surface-level coating and a rich, immersive hue.

11. Use a Barrier Cream

Like a painter shielding the surroundings from splatters, a colorist protects the skin with barrier cream. This simple yet essential step ensures that your focus remains on the canvas at hand, free from worries of unintentional color on the skin.

12. Know When Less Is More

In the world of color, restraint can be your greatest ally. Avoiding using an excessive amount of product ensures a natural, radiant finish. Each drop of color should be deliberate and contribute to the overall brilliance of your masterpiece.

13. Educate Your Clients

Knowledge is power, and as a colorist, you are the guide to empower your clients. Share insights on at-home care, emphasizing the judicious use of purple toning shampoo. Educated clients are partners in maintaining the brilliance of your shared artistic creation.

14. Color-Protecting Products

Extend the life of your color masterpiece with the right aftercare. Recommend color-protecting products tailored to your client’s needs. This personalized care routine ensures your creation remains vivid until their next appointment.

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15. Embrace the Creative Flow

Embrace the essence of your craft — creativity. Hair toning is not merely a process. It’s an art form. Allow your imagination to flow freely to transcend boundaries and create color masterpieces that leave an indelible mark.


As a colorist, your journey is a seamless blend of science and art, where a symphony of hues unfolds with each careful application. So, step into the world of vibrant possibilities armed with knowledge, creativity and a passion for the craft. Paint the world with hues that speak volumes about your dedication to the art of hair toning. 

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