Hair Colour

‘What is Toner?’ – How to Answer Your Clients’ Colour Queries

by akesha / last updated February 24, 2020

what is toner - hair professional advice

With a recent survey by Fragrance Direct showing that the UK’s most Googled beauty question is; “What is toner?” it’s clear that there is a slight disconnect between the hair colour services that clients are receiving and their understanding of the process to create their look. If you’re unsure about how to educate your clients then look no further.

Explaining – what is toner?

It’s easy to forget that the client is often completely reliant on you as the colourist to let them know the ins and outs of the process and the functions of each product you are using to create their desired look.

It would seem that clients, instead of asking their colourist what toner is, they have taken to Google which doesn’t always offer up the professional answers to questions.

“Toners are something that we use in 80-90% of salon colour appointments now. Thanks to social media and especially Instagram, clients are much more aware of finished shades and they want that refinement in the hair,” says Tracey Devine-Smith ASP global ambassador. “Toner gives us the ability to create bespoke shades for each client. I’m very careful when I tell a client how long a toner will last, because it varies so much from client to client. My advice is to make clients aware that toners are a semi-permanent fix and need top ups.”

How to breakdown the colour process to clients

If you aren’t explaining the different aspects needed to achieve the colour to your client you’re already undermining the expert service that you offer.

Clients are grateful to know the specific parts of the service, not only because they are trusting you with their hair but also because it’ll help them care for it after they leave the salon. “It’s really important to remember that often the client is looking to you as the expert to advise them on their hair and what will suit them best,” says Gareth Williams creative ambassador and colour lead at Headmasters.

Using photos and social media to educate also works well. “I also use before and after imagery I’ve created as examples to explain the process and this helps clients to understand the look. It’s also important to explain why particular add on services, such as additive and toners, are necessary to achieve their desired result, this also helps when it comes to pricing and the breakdown of the bill.”

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S E A M L E S S . What would you name this colour? . This was one of those satisfying colours where the hair textures is lovely, hair type is lovely, natural base is perfect! for So therefore you get that beautiful result using balayage! . I worked with a typical #frenchbalayage technique, with a heavy saturation towards the ends! I added a little pop of lightness at the front, which gives an instant boast! . I mixed 30g of #9levels 45mls 30vol with 8g of #smartbond honestly for me, that’s the consistency I love to use! . #toning / #glaze / #gloss I used #dialight 9.21 and 6vol! I wanted to keep some of that vitality, therefore didn’t go to hard with the ash! Let me know what you think? . Created @headmastersuk using @lorealpro @lorealeducationuki #balayage #blondebalayage #balayagelondon #londonbalayage #balayageeducation #balayagelove #balayagespecialist #blondespecialist #balayagespecialistlondon #haircontour #showmethebalayage #hairgame #behindthechair #naturalbalayage #commercialhairstylist #blondebalayage #instahair #haireducation #haireducator #balayageeducator 🥰

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This is something that Heffy Wheeler, OSMO brand ambassador, echoes; “When doing a colour correction, using inspiration, and reference pictures is a great visual way to explain the process of how your client will reach the end result, and also show different tones that are achievable.”

What clients need to know about aftercare

The aftercare is crucial for clients maintaining their looks at home, so often a high-street-bought care and style routine simply won’t cut it. However, if you aren’t explicit with the routine and products they need to follow they’ll feed themselves lost.

“With a high maintenance colour, such as a silver or a vibrant it’s ideal to discuss the need for products prior to carrying out the service and ensure client is committed to using these, as if not it may be favourable to advise another service,” says Heffy.

Warren Boodaghian, head of technical at HOB Academy, believes that putting the product into the client’s hands is the best way for them to discover their importance. “Home care is so important and as colourists we shy away from offering a complimentary toner to take home to ensure the colour results has a full life. This isn’t encouraging them to colour their own hair at home, but will keep their colour looking fresh between salon visits. We need to teach them the importance of using a professional shampoo and conditioner to maintain the vibrancy and life of their colour.”

Toner – Good for clients and colourists alike

“Toners are a great incentive to get clients to return to refresh their balayage,” advises Tracy Hayes global  head of technical training for Fudge Professional. “Often balayage client’s don’t refresh their colour for maybe 6 – 8 months, so a great way is to encourage to come in for a toner every 3 months to keep the colour looking fresh shiny and conditioned and of course a perfect time to talk about take home products such as conditioning shampoos and conditioners.”

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