Can you darken highlights with toner? And using a dye as a toner?

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You got highlights and now you want to darken them with toner?


I have some bad news for you: you can’t.

You use toner, like its name says, to tone your hair.

If your highlights were really yellowy or orange, you could use toner to tone those unwanted shades.

But you can’t use toner to darken highlights.


Using toner to darken highlights is like trying to eat a soup with a fork.

Have you ever tried to eat soup with a fork?


You just can’t.

Soup is a liquid and forks aren’t made for liquids.


You can’t use toner to darken highlights because it’s made for toning, not darkening.

What can you do then?


 What you can do is darken your highlights using a normal dye and applying it just like you do the toner.  

Do you like that idea?


Applying dye as toner to darken your highlights has 3 advantages:

  • The application process is so simple my dog could do it
  • It’s affordable
  • And you can do it from the comfort of your own home


If you like the idea, stay with me a few more minutes.

I’ll tell you STEP BY STEP how to darken your highlights using a traditional dye, applying it like a toner.

Let’s get started.


The first step is knowing exactly what color you want your highlights to be.




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Choosing a new color for your highlights

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The first and more important thing to do before anything else is to think hard about what color you want for your highlights.

I’ll give you a FREE piece of advice.


 Let at least 15 days go by between when you do your highlights and the next time you color your hair. 

Color often takes some time to settle in, so after approximately 15 days, your color will be its definitive shade.


Oftentimes there are women that really don’t like their highlights, so they don’t even let five days go by before they dye their hair again. And that’s how they come to commit the worst sins in haircare that I’ve ever seen. So be smart and don’t make the same mistake.

Be a little patient and let at least 15 days go by between one color job and the next.


Once those days have gone by, you can make the decision to darken your highlights.

What color do you want to get your highlights to?

What color dye should you choose?


  • Most women choose highlights as their color technique of choice because they like blonde shades and/or they want to hide their grey hairs.
  • If that’s you, and your highlights are extra light blonde (10), then I’d recommend that you choose a shade that is no more than two shades darker, for example, a very light blonde (9) or a light blonde (8).
  • If your highlights are light blonde (8), then I’d recommend not going down more than 1 shade, to blonde (7).
  • If you go down more shades, then you’ll already be into the light brown (6) spectrum and you’ll lose the blonde of the highlights and you’ll be able to see your grey hairs quicker.


If you’re unsure about which color to choose and you don’t want to make a mistake that you might regret, go to the salon and they will have a solution for you.


Materials to darken highlights

Once you’ve decided the color that you want your highlights to be, the next step is to buy all the materials.

When it comes time to buy the materials, you have two options.

  • Buy the materials separately
  • Buy a color kit that comes with all the materials you need


In general, it’s much more practical and affordable to buy the kit, but, of course, everyone is free to do what they think is best. And if you want to buy everything separately, you can do that.


So, let’s have a look at the list of materials that you’ll need to darken your highlights. And then I want to clarify a few things.

  • Color kit in the color that you choose (or, dye plus 20-volume peroxide)
  • Dye brush
  • Gloves
  • A container to prepare the mix in


 IMPORTANT: Do not use more than 20-volume peroxide  

If you use more than 20-volume peroxide, it would be like dyeing your hair completely and that’s not what you’re looking for.

Instead, you’re trying to simulate the effect of toner to darken your highlights.


This is important: You can buy the dye and the peroxide separately in a hair care store or pharmacy or you can buy one of those classic color kits. If you choose to go with a kit, you should make sure that it comes with 20-volume peroxide.


Once you have all the materials, you can start to darken your highlights.


How to darken your highlights using dye and 20-volume peroxide in 6 steps

Like I said in the beginning, you always apply toner after bleaching. Of course, you’re not going to apply a toner, but we’re looking for the same effect as toner, but with dye.


Step 1

Brush your hair well and dampen it. Be sure that no knots remain.


Step 2

Once your hair is damp and detangled, it’s time to prepare the dye and peroxide mix.

Mix the tube of dye in the color that you’ve chosen and the 20-volume peroxide – remember no more than 20-volume – in a plastic container until smooth.


Step 3

And finally, the moment of truth.

With your gloves on, apply the mix to your entire head of hair, from roots to ends.


Step 4

Let the mix sit for 20 minutes. No longer than 20 minutes.

If you want, you can check on your hair every 5 minutes to make sure the color is changing in the way you want it to.


Step 5

Rinse with a lot of lukewarm water and wash your hair with your normal shampoo.


Step 6

Dry your hair on medium heat and apply an anti-frizz serum.

By now you should have beautiful highlights, darken than the ones you had before.



And that’s how you can darken your highlights with an application technique similar to toner.


Remember that toners are for toning, not for darkening.

The process that we just went through uses dye and 20-volume peroxide, and the application technique is the same as for toner.

Do you have any questions? Do you know which dye to choose?


You can leave your questions here in the comments section.

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