{Hair Talk} Toning Routine

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Ever since I tried the ombre hair look (many lightyears ago), I have never been able to stray away from it for too long. I tried to go back to dark brown, burgundy red, a deep plum purple, and even jet black. But somehow, I always ended up wanting my ombre hair back. For some reason I just feel the most "me" with ombre hair, so regardless of whether or not its considered outdated/old news/out of style, I'm keeping it for me because it makes me happy. 

A huge part of having ombre hair is coming to terms with the fact that you won't typically have the healthiest hair on the block. Although it is SUPER low maintenance (you only have to re-lighten the ends as much as you want to, and regrowth at the roots is never an issue because its actually an integral part of the look), it still has it's set-backs in the shine department. But, if you're like me and simply never cut your hair (once a year if even) then your one-time bleach job can really last you a long stretch. Don't think you need to be bleaching your hair monthly or anything crazy like that! However, you will still experience slightly dryer ends and perhaps a bit of brassiness if you are naturally a dark brunette like me. 

I've found a simple enough routine with a small group of products that seem to do the trick to combat dry ends and get rid of brassiness!

***Disclaimer: I am not a hair stylist, esthetician, cosmetologist, etc. I am only sharing this because it's worked for me personally! Please remember that everyones hair is different in texture and porosity.***

I try to do this toning routine about once every 1-2 months. I don't mind a bit of brassiness, but sometimes it does go a bit too far for my liking. What is brassiness? It's when your naturally dark hair starts to turn shades of orange/red/yellow after using lightening products on it (such as bleach). 

The way to effectively combat brassiness, is by using something called a toner. It's very similar to hair dye, however, its created with the purpose of color correcting what you already have versus depositing new color. A bit of color theory now:


In terms of hair and toning, most people struggle with finding the perfect "fix" because they aren't actually taking a second to look at their problem before rushing out to find a solution. (BTW, I used to do this same thing so I know the feels!)

Most people think that purple shampoos and conditioners are ideal to help tone down brassiness in hair. But brassiness (orange tones) are actually remedied by products that have BLUE tones. Take a look at the color wheel and the opposite colors that are directly across from each other. 

If you have yellowish blonde hair as a result of bleaching, you need a purple toner. If you have an orange/reddish hint to your hair as a result of bleaching, you need a blue toner. In most cases, brunettes end up with orange/reddish brassiness rather than a yellow tint. (The yellow tint comes after MANY many bleach sessions, once the dark hair is reeeeally stripped of its pigment)

So after all this, I have found that the Wella Color Charm #T14 has a pretty substantial blue base that really helps take down the brassiness in my hair. 

Everything shown here is from Sally's Beauty Supply.

Everything shown here is from Sally's Beauty Supply.

- Wella Color Charm #T14 - Pale Ash Blonde
- Any cream developer at 20 volume (I use the Wella brand also but any will do)
- Beaker to measure
- Mixing bowl & tint brush

- Start by washing your hair (slightly wash it, not toooo clean. The reason why is because we won't be shampooing after the toning so if your hair is dirty to start off with, this is your only chance to get it clean before your next wash)
- Towel dry your hair a bit, but leave it somewhat damp.
- Mix the Wella Color Charm toner and 20 volume developer at the ratio of: 1 part toner to 2 parts developer. (Mix reeeeeeally well. You'll start to see the blue tones coming through)
- Section off your hair into fourths, or whatever feels the most manageable for you. 
- Start with the brassiest areas that need the most attention and then continue to apply the mixture throughout. NOTE: I don't bring this product all the way up to my roots. I only concentrate it on the areas of my hair that have been touched by bleach... don't want to add this to any virgin hair regrowth. 
- Let this develop for up to 30 minutes, checking your hair throughout. Now, in my case, I leave this in my hair for around 50 minutes to an hour. I also cover it in aluminum foil for the last 20-25 minutes to create more heat in those areas and really maximize the toning. I only do this because I've tried and tested this on my hair several times now and I know my hair can handle it. If it's your first time, please try to stick with the directions on the box as closely as possible and check your hair several times to make sure you're not over-processing.
SIDE NOTE: There IS a way to over-process or over-tone your hair with this product (it's happened to me), which means some areas that have the toner on for longer may turn slighty greyish/green.. but the good news is that it only lasts until your next wash, and then it does turn a nice ashy blonde color. It honestly doesn't bother me too much, and I'd almost rather end up over-toning than not toning enough. Just my personal preference. 
- After the time's up, jump back into the shower and rinse off the product. I don't like to shampoo or condition my hair at this point because I really just want to let the toner do its thing and not overwhelm my hair with more product on top. I'm not sure if this is right or wrong but its just what I like to do. Seems to work fine. My hair is left pretty soft and conditioned even without the normal washing. 

Hair Toning Collage.jpg

In between toning, I do like to still use a purple shampoo and conditioner if I have any around (just for lol's though, because we already established it doesn't do much for brassiness, but oh well! Any little bit helps.) Otherwise, I use a sulfate free shamp+conditioner. 

Another product I love to use every chance I get (after washing, before blow-outs, in between 2-3 day old curls, etc.) is this all-natural hair oil that a friend of mine introduced me to by Surface Hair:

It is super hydrating, intended for colored hair, and honestly smells like perfume for your locks. It's only sold through salons, but check out the salon locator on their website to see if you have any around your area. Ps- There's 2 in Miami, for my Miami readers :)


Hope this was helpful to someone out there who's looking for a toning solution!!
If you have ANY questions let me know below!! 

Xx Laura