Does toner damage hair? Unveiling the Truth + Tips to Prevent Damage

Does toner damage hair? Imagine walking out of the salon, hoping for gorgeous, platinum blonde locks, but instead, you end up with hair as yellow as a banana peel. Fret not, for the solution you’ll hear from your favorite hairstylist or find online is to use a hair toner to banish that brassy hue.

However, if your hair has already undergone intense bleaching, you might be understandably worried about its health. Will toner inflict damage upon your precious locks?

The truth is, yes, toner can be damaging to hair. Any chemical applied to your hair has the potential to cause damage, especially if it alters the hair’s structure. It’s essential to be aware that not all toners affect the internal structure of your hair in the same way. Compared to bleach or permanent hair dye, hair toners are less damaging.

Using hair toner comes with its own set of pros and cons, making it a rather complex product. To ensure you don’t exacerbate any existing hair damage, it’s crucial to educate yourself about toners before incorporating them into your hair care routine.

Will toner inflict damage upon your hair?

The truth is, yes, toner can be damaging to hair. Any chemical applied to your hair has the potential to cause damage, especially if it alters the hair’s structure. It’s essential to be aware that not all toners affect the internal structure of your hair in the same way. Compared to bleach or permanent hair dye, hair toners are less damaging.

Using hair toner comes with its own set of pros and cons, making it a rather complex product. To ensure you don’t exacerbate any existing hair damage, it’s crucial to educate yourself about toners before incorporating them into your hair care routine. Read Also How to get rid of greasy hair in seconds

Hair Toner 101

What is hair toner?

Hair toner is a crucial element in the process of dyeing your hair, much like applying a topcoat when painting a wall. Once you have lightened or colored your hair, the toner steps in to provide the finishing touch, helping you achieve the exact color you desire.

The primary function of a hair toner is to adjust the tone of your hair, effectively eliminating any brassiness or unwanted tones that may have appeared during the coloring process. Beyond that, some toners are utilized to add depth and create a more natural look for your hair.

In essence, hair toners play a vital role in delivering vibrant and lustrous hair after coloring.

Additionally, hair toner can even enhance the color further by bringing out the warm undertones in your hair or introducing a splash of vivid color for a unique look.

Which hair toner will damage your hair?

It’s important to understand that hair toners encompass a range of products; it’s not a single specific item that you can simply pick up at the store by saying, “I need a toner.”

Among the products considered as toners, you’ll find shampoos, conditioners, glosses, and color treatments. However, the key question is which of these products can potentially cause damage, and which ones are safe to use as hair toners?

Let’s differentiate the damaging from the safe hair toners:

  • Some toning products, especially those containing harsh chemicals or strong ingredients, may be damaging to your hair if used excessively or without proper care.
  • On the other hand, certain hair toners, specifically those formulated with milder and nourishing ingredients, are considered safer options and can be used without significant risk of damage.

When selecting a hair toner, it’s essential to opt for products that are gentle, specifically designed for your hair type, and preferably recommended by professionals to minimize the risk of any adverse effects.

There are three main types of hair toners

Semi-permanent or temporary toners

These toners are exceptionally gentle on the hair. Since the product does not penetrate the hair shaft, it doesn’t cause any damage. Instead, it coats the hair’s surface.

Due to this superficial application, it washes off relatively easily, lasting only about 3-6 washes. This type of toner is ideal for individuals who frequently switch their hair colors.

Common examples of semi-permanent or temporary toners include blue or purple shampoos and conditioners, as well as conditioner-based direct dyes.

Demi-permanent toners

Demi-permanent toners are designed to deposit color into the hair, making them longer-lasting compared to semi-permanent ones. They can remain on your hair for up to 12 washes.

People commonly use this type of toner to neutralize unwanted yellow and orange tones in their hair. Additionally, it serves as a gloss to enhance the color of highlights, giving them a more vibrant appearance.

Now, the pressing question remains: Does this hair toner cause damage to your precious locks?

The good news is that demi-permanent toners are applied with a low-level developer (typically 9-10 volumes). Since they don’t actually lift the hair’s color, their impact on hair damage is relatively low. This makes them a gentler option compared to other toners that involve more intensive chemical processes.

Permanent toners

Permanent toners serve a critical purpose in major color corrections, offering long-lasting results that can endure up to 20 washes. However, it’s essential to be aware that they come with a trade-off – they cause the most damage to your hair.

The key reason behind their potentially damaging effects lies in the presence of ammonia within the permanent toner. This, coupled with its use in combination with a 20-volume developer, leads to a lifting process that opens up the hair cuticles. Unfortunately, this lifting action weakens the hair, resulting in frizziness and dryness.

Given the potential risks involved, it’s crucial that permanent toners are applied only by expert hands. Professional stylists possess the necessary training and expertise to assess whether your hair is healthy enough to withstand the toning process safely. Trusting your hair to their skillful care can help minimize the damage and achieve the desired results effectively.

Do Toners Have the Power to Lighten Your Hair?

No, toners do not possess the ability to lighten your hair. It’s essential to debunk the misconception that toning alone after bleaching can achieve silver hair with just a level 8 blonde.

The truth is, only bleach can lighten your hair. Toners do not act as a substitute for the lightening process carried out by bleaching.

Hair toners serve a different purpose, primarily focusing on refining and perfecting the existing hair color. Although the hair may appear brighter after toning due to cooler tones, it’s crucial to understand that toners do not actually make the hair lighter in shade. They work to enhance the current color rather than altering its underlying lightness.

Are toners used only for brassy hair?

Toners offer more than just neutralizing hair brassiness. For example, acidic demi-permanent toners serve the purpose of strengthening the hair’s cuticles and minimizing damage after the coloring process.

Additionally, certain toners act as gloss treatments, bestowing a delightful shine to the hair, enhancing its overall luster and appearance. So, toners boast a wide range of applications beyond addressing brassiness, making them valuable allies in strengthening and beautifying your hair.

Unveiling the Reality of Hair Damage Caused by Toning

Concerned about your hair’s health after undergoing various treatments? There are specific signs to look out for, indicating that your hair might need repair:

  1. Your hair struggles to retain color.
  2. It appears dull and lacks vibrancy.
  3. Your hair feels dry and fragile.
  4. Strands easily break off.
  5. You notice split ends.
  6. Your curls lose their bounce and vitality.
  7. The texture of your hair resembles straw.

Is Toning Hair Damaging?

Using hair toner alone typically does not cause significant damage to your hair. However, it is often wrongly blamed for damage.

The reason behind this misconception is that toner is the final chemical applied during the hair process, which can lead to the false assumption that it is the cause of any potential damage.

The truth often overlooked is that the true culprits behind hair damage are the toner’s accomplices:

  1. Bleaching
  2. Hydrogen peroxide
  3. Overprocessing

These are the primary factors responsible for any hair damage you may experience.

Research indicates that excessive bleaching and coloring can lead to the cracking of the hair cuticle, ultimately resulting in hair fiber damage. Furthermore, excessive toner use following bleaching or coloring can strain hair strands, leading to dryness and brittleness.

Permanent toners, containing peroxide, should always be mixed and applied correctly to prevent significant hair damage.

As mentioned earlier, hair toners are intricate products, and understanding the color wheel and color theory is crucial. For those unfamiliar with these concepts, it is advisable to seek professional assistance when using hair toners. However, if you prefer a DIY approach, semi-permanent toners like purple or blue shampoo can be considered as an alternative. Below is a helpful chart to aid you in determining the appropriate toner to use:

Blue ShampooPurple Shampoo
For orange tonesFor yellow tones
Blue-based or ashPurple-based or violet

When it comes to using demi-permanent or permanent toners, I strongly recommend seeking guidance from experienced hair colorists.

Without proper expertise, there’s a chance of over-toning your hair, potentially aggravating any existing hair damage. To achieve the best outcome and safeguard the health of your hair, consulting professionals is the best course of action.

The Wella Toners

et’s discuss the renowned permanent toner, Wella, and its potential impact on hair health.

Experts strongly advise against using Wella T18 for DIY silver hair projects. The primary reason is that Wella T18 is a level 10 toner, meaning it is most effective on level 10 blondes. If your hair is not at this specific blonde level, it may not deliver the desired results.

Furthermore, Wella toners contain peroxide, which can be damaging to your hair. Considering your hair has already undergone a drastic bleaching process, it has likely become porous and vulnerable.

Using this product incorrectly may push your hair to its limit and cause additional damage. Therefore, it’s essential to exercise caution and consider seeking professional advice before using Wella toners to protect your hair’s well-being.

Effects of Hair Coloring on Hair Health

Wondering how to repair your damaged hair?

No need to panic and resort to drastic measures like shaving it all off. You can still salvage your hair by following these helpful tips:

  1. Opt for specially formulated shampoo designed for color-treated hair.
  2. Avoid excessively lightening your hair; try to stay within three shades of your natural hair color.
  3. Shield your hair from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing a hat or limiting direct sunlight exposure.
  4. If considering perming or using a relaxer, seek advice from a professional to prevent potential long-term damage.
  5. Allow your hair ample time to rest between treatments like coloring, perming, or relaxing.
  6. After washing your hair, use conditioner and focus on applying it to the ends.
  7. Minimize the use of heat on your hair, including heat styling tools and hot showers.
  8. Select hair products that cater to your specific hair type and needs.
  9. Protect your hair from chlorinated or saltwater by wearing a swimming cap when swimming.

To achieve the best results when toning your hair, follow these tips

  1. Apply toner to damp, clean hair: This helps the toner spread evenly throughout your hair, ensuring a consistent color application.
  2. Exercise caution with major color corrections: For significant changes, it’s advisable to visit a professional hairstylist. Their expertise will help you avoid any mishaps and achieve the desired color.
  3. Trust your stylist: Sit back, relax, and let the professional handle the toning process. By doing so, you can leave the salon with vibrant and healthy platinum blonde hair, knowing you’re in capable hands.
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