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  5. Hair Toners: Why & How To Use?

Are you worried about retaining the shine of your colored hair? Try applying a hair toner to your colored mane.

Besides enhancing the unwanted tones of your colored hair, a toner strengthens your hair and adds volume to it. You can resort to natural hair toners to get your desired look.

In this article, we discuss what a hair toner is, how it works, and how you can use it.

Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks

“The Ayurvedic herbs that act as a natural toner are enlisted under Kesha ranjak Gana. They are Neeli (Indigofera Tinctoria), Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Madayantika (Henna or Lawsonia inermis) and Bhringaraj (Eclipta Alba).”

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix

What Is A Hair Toner And Why Do We Need It?

Apart from those who are born with naturally light blonde hair, everyone else has a red or orange pigment in their hair. So when you bleach your hair to color it, there are some unwanted warm and brassy undertones left behind that prevent you from having a uniform hair color throughout. This is where toners step in. They help in changing your hair’s undertone and neutralize your bleached hair, giving you a blank canvas to apply any color you want. Natural toners also replenish your hair’s natural hue or add shine to your already colored hair.

“Hair toning has been used since ancient times. The Ayurvedic herbs that act as a natural toner are enlisted under Kesha Ranjak Gana. They are Neeli (Indigofera Tinctoria), Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Madayantika (Henna or Lawsonia inermis) and Bhringaraj (Eclipta Alba),” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

When Is A Hair Toner Used?

Hair toners are usually when:

  • You need to adjust the brass tones in your hair after bleaching or hair coloring.
  • You need to restore or replenish the already colored hair or add shine to it.

Benefits Of Using Hair Toner

hairstyle of young woman after dyeing hair

1. Enhances Tone:

Your natural hair color is at times tinted due to damage caused by pollution or other hair colors.[1] Toners help in neutralizing the other tones in your hair, turning your entire hair into your natural color.

2. Helps In Hair Coloring:

Some trendy colors that we use these days need a two-step process. The first step is lightening your natural hair color and the second step is to apply the desired toner for the hair color you are willing to have.

3. Refreshes Hair Color:

If your highlights or hair color starts to fade, you can simply apply a hair toner rather than coloring and bleaching it again. A suitable hair toner will not only enhance the faded hair color but also add shine and strength to your hair.

4. Adds Dimension To Hair Color:

If you choose the right hair color and apply it to your bleached or colored hair, it can also alter the shade of your hair and you can have a brand new hair color without using hair dyes.

5. Covers The Greys:

If your hair has just started turning grey, you probably have a salt and pepper hair color. Toning can blend all the grey hair strands with the pigmented natural hair color. The difference between dyeing your greys and toning them is that toning makes your covered greys more reflective and adds dimension to them.

6. Adds Shine:

Sometimes all your hair needs is a refreshment and toners help you in doing that. Toners add shine and volume to your hair by making the hair cuticle appear fuller and sealing it to create shine.

Things To Know About Toners

Beauty box with bottles of natural cosmetics

Here are some things you should know before you decide to apply toners to your hair:

  • Toners cannot be used as bleaching agents. They do not remove your hair’s pigment; instead just neutralizes the undertones of your natural hair color.
  • Toners are not permanent. Based on the texture of your hair you might need to re-apply the toners on your hair.
  • If you have colored hair and need to wash it quite often, you will need a toner to maintain the color.
  • Toners fade fast if you are regularly exposed to sunlight for a long period.
  • Your hair will need extra moisturization if it is exposed to toners. [1]

What Are The Different Kinds Of Toners

1. Permanent Toner:

You can use this type of toner if you are looking to change your hair color completely. Permanent toners are long-lasting and alter the color of your hair as well as the nature of your hair if you are using it for a long time.

2. Semi-Permanent Toner:

If you want temporary highlights or mild coloring, you should use this type of toner. This is an ammonia-free toner that works best for damaged hair and helps in neutralizing the shade of your hair. Purple shampoo is a semi-permanent toner. They last for 10-12 washes.

3. Demi-Permanent Toner:

These are mostly ammonia-based toners used to neutralize yellowish colors, enhance your hair color and remove unwanted undertones. They last longer than semi-permanent toners.

How To Use Hair Toner At Home?

Woman applying coloring shampoo on her hair

Various natural ingredients are easily available in every Indian household that can be used to make homemade hair toners. Ayurvedic herbs also make good hair toners that are safe to use. Some of such herbs include:

A. Kesha Ranjak Herbs

  • Neeli (Indigofera Tinctoria): This is an ayurvedic herb that carries strong blue pigments and can balance both Vata and Kapha doshas.
  • Take 100-200 gms of indigo powder and prepare a paste by adding warm water. Apply this paste as a natural toner to your hair and wash it off after an hour. [2]
  • Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis): Amalaki or Indian gooseberry is an ayurvedic hair toner that can be used with blonde and neutral hair dyes as it prevents brassy hair.
  • You can use 2-3 of amla powder to make a herbal paste by adding water to it. Apply this paste to your dyed hair and wash it after an hour of application. You can do this twice a week. [3]
  • Madayantika (Henna or Lawsonia inermis): Henna’s hair toning and coloring qualities are known to all and it still is one of the most popularly used hair toning ingredients by people.
  • Take 3-4 spoons of henna powder, that's usually enough for an average length of hair. Mix it with water and apply it to your hair and wash it after an hour.

B. Other Natural Hair Toners

1. Green Tea:

Green tea makes an excellent natural hair toner because of its green color.

How to use: Brew 3 bags of green tea in water until the green shade appears and apply the concoction to your hair. Wash your hair after 30 minutes with some lukewarm water.

2. Lemon:

Lemon combined with honey is a perfect hair toner as it not only neutralizes the tones but also conditions your hair.

How to use: Take ¼ cup of lemon juice, ¾ cup of water, and 2 tbsp of honey. Mix everything and store the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray your hair with the entire mixture and wait for about 2 hours. Later use a sulfate-free shampoo to wash it off. Use this at least thrice a month to see visible results.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar:

You can get rid of your orange and yellow tones with the help of an apple cider vinegar toner.

How to use: Mix 4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and some water. Rinse your hair with the mixture and let it sit for 15 minutes. Use lukewarm water to wash your hair after that. Avoid this if you already have dry and rough hair. [4]

4. Virgin Olive Oil:

Olive oil works best in darkening your hair pigments and balancing the brassy tones. It is best for Indian hair colors and can be used before coloring or bleaching.

How to use: Warm a bowl of extra virgin olive oil and massage your hair with it for half an hour and wash it with any herbal shampoo.

5. Chamomile:

Chamomile works best for adding shine to blonde hair.

How to use: Brew ½ cup of chamomile in water for an hour and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray your hair with this mixture and wash it off with cold water after 2 hours.

6. Hibiscus:

This natural hair toner is most beneficial for people with natural red hair.

How to use: Use ½ a cup of dried hibiscus leaves in water for an hour and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray your hair with the mixture, massage thoroughly and wash it off after 2 hours.

Vedix Tip: When you apply heat to style your hair it makes your brassy hair look even brassier. Hence try to avoid any hairstyles that involve applying heat.

How Long Does The Hair Toner Effect Last?

Usually, the effects of a hair toner last for 2-6 weeks so you need to keep applying it in that respective interval to maintain your desired hair color. Also, the effect will last depending on the frequency of your hair wash, the kind of hair products you use and the quality of your hair. Exposure to the sun and other harmful chemicals can fade the effect of the hair toner.

Safety Tips While Toning Your Hair

  • Do not leave the toner in your hair any longer than the required time.
  • Wash your hair properly after applying the toner. Make sure to clean it thoroughly to get rid of all the mixture.
  • Take precautions to avoid getting stains on other parts of your body as they are highly pigmented.
  • Never mix 2 or more toners.
  • Consult your dermatologist about any allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hair Toner

1. Is Toner Bad For Your Hair?

If you are using ammonia-based toners, then they can be damaging to your hair. Ammonia-free toners, ayurvedic toners, toning shampoos and conditioners, on the other hand, are less damaging compared to any other chemical toners.

Herbal or homemade toners are usually mild. However, one cannot say that it is 100% harmless. Since it is artificially altering the color of your hair, it will have some adverse effects.

2. Can Toner Cause Hair Loss?

Hair fall depends on how fragile, brittle, or damaged your hair is. Although toners cannot reach under your scalp and affect your hair follicles, it does make your hair rough. Due to the roughness of your hair, you may feel the need to comb your hair a lot which, in turn, causes hair loss.

3. Can You Use Toner After Bleaching Hair?

It is advised to use toners after bleaching your hair and before applying a hair dye. Although if you are using ammonia-based toners, wait for 2-3 days before applying a toner as your hair is already very fragile from the ammonia. On the other hand, if you are using natural toners, they will work best if you apply them immediately after bleaching.

The Last Word

Hair toners help you in personalizing your hair color as well as maintaining the quality of your hair at the same time. You can either use it to maintain the tones in your hair or make the existing tones appear more vibrant. But before you decide to use it, learn the know-hows. Also, choose natural toners for your hair to achieve desired results.

Know Your Dosha Now

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