Toner is one of the most important components of hair colouring, and yet people either don’t know what it is, so find themselves questioning if it’s bad for their hair or refusing it in a salon. In most cases, hairdressers will know the importance of toner, but find themselves having to persuade their customers of its benefits. That, or they’re tasked with trying to fix hair which has been damaged by hack-job toner sessions completed in a bathroom sink.
Toner is not bad for your hair when used in conjunction with a professional understanding of the colour wheel and colour theory, in fact it’s critical. It has the potential to damage hair if done incorrectly.
Given the benefits (and potential threats) of toner if you colour your hair, it’s important to know the ins and outs of what its potential to go wrong:
What Is It?
Loosely, there are three different types of people when it comes to toner. Those who know its value and get it done professionally to maximise their dye-job, those who know its value but try to do it by themselves and make a total mess of their hair, and those who have never heard of it and who are therefore prone to rejecting it in salons. This one, therefore, is for the latter camp of people.
For a lot of people, toner seems like that “add on” the salons push, and perhaps get a commission on, but that isn’t strictly necessary. This is not the case. Toner is a key factor in whether or not your hair ends up the exact colour you wanted it to be, rather than just the closest thing. Toner essentially creates the natural, personalised look that most people aim to achieve from a dye. If you think of a colour wheel, there are not simply block colours, but rather varying degrees of colour, and toner achieves this blending of pigment.
What About The Peroxide?
Toner is mixed with a peroxide activator, and peroxide is a strong chemical which can be particularly damaging for hair cuticles, causing dryness or split ends. However, this can be side-stepped by a few routine things. First and foremost, healthy hair will not be negatively affected by toner. If you are planning to start using toner, you should add certain beauty regimes to your hair-care in order to prepare it for the harsh chemicals to come, like using hair masks. You should continue these sorts of deep conditioning processes after having the toner applied, too.
If you’re set on doing it at home, then be sure to do so alongside guides who have done it before and who can warn you about the trickier bits. It’s most often when people do their own toner that damage is caused. If you’re having it done in a salon, you can put a certain degree of trust in your hairdresser, however, knowing what’s what can ensure you don’t end up with something you never asked for.
In conclusion, it’s safe to use toner on your hair provided it’s being applied by a professional, or provided you’ve taken all the necessary precautionary steps before application. Think of toner like the toner used in paint mixing. You add it to a pot of paint for the walls in order to mix it to the shade you want it. On its own, it’s pretty useless, but mixed correctly, it’s an invaluable element.