Do you get a hair toner at your hair appointment? I’m Meg Ann Lee, a hairstylist in the Eau Claire area and the question “What is a toner?” is seriously one of the most common questions I get while working in the salon. So, let’s talk about it!

What is a toner?

 First, “toning” is a service not a product. A “toner” is just hair color. Depending on what is needed for your desired color, your hairstylist will pick a semi, demi or permanent color to “tone” or to “color” your hair.

Brands that sell “toners” as products, aka “Flash toners” “glosses” “glazes”… IS STILL JUST A HAIR COLOR. If you figure out the alkalinity of the hair color, it is either categorized as a demi permanent or a permanent color. Knowing the alkalinity of your toners is so IMPORTANT! But that’s for your hairstylist to figure out. It’s what you are paying them for.

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Why I always tone hair and why you should add a “toner, gloss, or glaze” to your hair service.

Using an acidic hair color on your hair can offer softer, shiner and overall, more manageable hair

Acidic color balances your hairs pH.

Acidic toners help balance the pH level of the hair and scalp. Hair typically has a slightly acidic pH, around 4.5 to 5.5. Acid toners work to maintain this acidic environment, which is crucial for hair health. After you bleach hair the pH is higher as lightener (bleach) has a ph of 8.5 to 10.5 .

Does it “Seal” or “Close” the hair cuticle?

This is a hard one to prove and from all the info I have gathered the answer is no. Even though brands love to advertise that it does. The more you swell the cuticle the less it can constrict back to its original state. However, it does help temporarily “constrict” the cuticle which creates smoother, shinier  and more manageable hair. Damage is on going so your treatments should be as well. Right now I am loving K18 for damaged hair!

What is the hair cuticle?

The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair shaft, and when it’s constricted, it locks in moisture and protects the inner layers of the hair from damage. In opposition things that swell the hair cuticle are permanent color, lightener, perming solution, or anything with a higher pH than the hair.

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An Acidic Toner Adds Shine and Enhances Color

By smoothing the hair cuticle, acidic toners create a sleek surface that reflects light, resulting in shinier hair. If you go in for a root touch up add a gloss to your ends to refresh and enhance your hair color!

Reduces Porosity and Creates Fullness

Acidic toners can reduce the porosity of the hair, especially for hair that is overly porous due to damage or chemical treatments. By filling in gaps and holes in the hair cuticle, acidic toners make the hair less prone to absorbing excess moisture, which can cause frizz and damage. Filling in those cuticle holes also creates fullness in our hair! And who doesn’t want that?

In summary, acidic toners work by balancing your hairs pH, enhance color and improve manageability while preventing breakage. If you are a hairstylist, understanding the science behind our services is SO important. If you’re a client, I hope I gave you some insight on how adding a toning service can be beneficial to your hair health and appearance <3

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