Tone it Up: The Ultimate Blonde Toner Guide

by laurahusband / last updated March 25, 2020

blonde toner

Blonde clients are known to be one of the most challenging and discerning so read on to find out how to use blonde toner to keep them looking on-point from the moment they sit in your chair until their next appointment in the salon.

The ‘blondes have more fun’ saying demonstrates societal attitudes towards this iconic shade. Blonde hair is seen as playful, carefree and fun and has subsequently become a hair colour we associate with the warm summer months. In recent years blonde hair has taken on a plethora of guises. There are so many variations that each colour brings its own set of connotations, ranging from the mystery associated with the ice blonde and the fashion-forward aesthetic of the platinum blonde to the rule-breaking attitude of the dirty blonde. If you are receiving an increase in requests for shades of blonde that can be worn all year round, we’ve got the lowdown on the best ways to help your clients to maintain it.

Blonde toner and winter woes

Traditionally, blondes have been discouraged from dyeing their hair lighter during the winter months, as the grey skies, and cold nights tends to deplete strands of moisture and can make the shade appear dull. With more customers opting to maintain their blonde colour throughout the colder months, how can you ensure you’re providing the right treatment care and advice to your clientele? “Blonde hair is a fickle creature and is very susceptible to environmental pollutants and oxidative stress, which will turn your client’s once perfect blonde hair into something that’s not quite right,” states Jason Hogan, colour expert at Josh Wood Atelier. “Seeing my clients every six to eight weeks allows me to assess their hair and see what it needs to keep that blonde looking fresh and luminous. Most of the time it will be a gloss to give exceptional shine which can sometimes be hard to achieve with blonde hair,” he adds.

Keep Brassiness at Bay

Convenience is key for most of your clients. Whether your client is trend-driven or a creature of habit who seldom veers away from their regular style, most customers prefer to keep their salon visits down to the bare minimum when it comes to colour maintenance. Yet, it’s still important to educate your clients about the benefits of having a professional hair toning service to maintain their bespoke shade of blonde.

A good toning product will help to correct or enhance your client’s colour when it morphs into a different shade during the changing seasons. “When it comes to blonde hair, there will always be some upkeep,” admits Leandro Santos Santana, Owner of Decode Hair by Leandro. He adds: “This does not mean a client needs to come into the salon every month to have their highlights topped up. A toner or glossing service every few months can help to keep blonde hair looking fresh between appointments and will enhance your client’s natural hair colour and will give it a healthy finish full of shine. Leandro believes we will see a lot less bleaching and full heads of blonde colour this year. Instead, he expects to see more subtle, fine highlights and babylights, as well as balayage. “These services are great as they avoid a very obvious regrowth and will give the hair a more natural appearance. For blondes in the salon I always use Wella Blondor mixed with Wellaplex to ensure hair is kept in its best condition.”

A Complete Toning Service

A blonde toning service is a quick and easy way to generate more revenue for the salon and it also encourages your blonde clients to check-in with you between colour visits. Salon Success technical education consultant Victoria Panting who works with Paul Mitchell, Kenra and #Mydentity recommends adding this service to your salon menu, price list and social channels. “A lunchtime colour and blow-out for example, using Paul Mitchell the Demi is perfect because it has a 20-minute process time.”

She explains that honesty is the best policy as blonde toners require upkeep so make sure you set your clients up to win by explaining how their colour journey will look with examples on moodboards.

You will also need to dispel the myths surrounding toners. Many clients will assume toners are only used when a colour has gone wrong as opposed to enhancing the blonde tones within their hair. “If you point out early on in the consultation that a toner will be required to refine the end result it won’t be seen as you trying to fix something or trying to get more money at the end of their appointment,” points out Victoria.

There are a number of benefits to offering a professional blonde toning service in your salon. “The key word here is professional as we’ve all seen those disaster videos online of people lightening their hair at home and losing a few inches due to the hair snapping,” points out Paul Watts, Joico European color design team member. “Offering a blonde service in the salon benefits the client hugely as we have everything at hand for any unwanted warmth coming through and we are also able to neutralise and double-tone if we need to do so.”

Client Home Care

Toning is only one factor to consider when advising your clients about how to keep their blonde looking healthy and on-point for 365 days of the year. Making sure the texture is full of lustre and shine will also require care, and this is something that clients should be encouraged to do at home as well as in the salon. Colour shampoos formulated for blonde hair and treatment masks are just a few ways in which dry and delicate strands can receive reparative care from the cold weather combined with central heating. “You need to remind clients that blonde hair can look dull and it can sometimes go brassy,” points out Lyndsey Ford, IdHAIR UK head of education. To avoid this, it’s crucial to always advise clients to buy professional blonde or coloured hair shampoos and conditioners that are designed to keep brassiness at bay and to prevent the hair from looking ashy.

Crazy Color ambassador Sophia Hilton goes as far as to say there’s no excuse for not giving your clients a professional haircare routine to follow at home. She says: “If a stylist is saying goodbye to a client that doesn’t have a take-home colour in their bag I will want to know why. For me a good service is the client’s ability to keep their colour looking fantastic until their next service.”

She adds: “I’ve ramped up the home care for our super ash/silver blondes this winter. I’m taking it one step further with Crazy Color’s No Yellow range. Instead of getting the client to use it when they wash, I get them to paint it (lazily) on their roots and leave it in for 30 minutes, pulling it through to the ends in the last ten minutes on dry hair, then rinsing it like a toner. It’s super strong and as long as your client is happy with the grey/violet vibe it will blow your client’s mind.”

milk_shake ambassador Andrew Smith always conducts thorough consultations and ensures every client is committed to maintaining their blonde between salon visits. “Every blonde client (in fact, every client) deserves your professional opinion on how to care for their hair colour and to have the knowledge to maintain the desired tone between salon visits.” He believes failure to educate your clients that being blonde is a journey and not a destination will lead to disappointment and clients returning with bad hair colour, which is not good for your reputation.

Andrew is a huge fan of the milk_shake Silver Shine Shampoo and Conditioner to instantly remove brassiness and to keep the hair tone cool. However, he also says weekly at-home treatments are vital. “It’s
so important to remind blonde clients in particular about the need to have an intense weekly treatment as this will rehydrate and replenish the hair with vital nutrients and moisture.”

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