3 Types of Toners For Hair, which one should you choose?

brown and dark hair

  • There are three types of toners for hair.
  • The permanent toner is the longest-lasting one because it’s applied with 20-volume developer. It lasts between 4 and 5 weeks, and you can find it in all colors. For best results, it’s necessary to have coloring skills.
  • The demi-permanent toner is applied with a 9 or 10-volume developer and is used to neutralize yellow or orange tones.
  • Finally, the semi-permanent toner, also known as toning shampoo, neutralizes unwanted colors with each wash and is more convenient for damaged hair.


Toner is widely used in all beauty salons: they are the icing on the cake.

What do I mean?


  Usually, after a coloring or bleaching work, unwanted colors appear. 

That’s when toner is used because it neutralizes those unwanted colors.

Do you know what neutralization is?


To understand it, we have to refer to the color wheel, where each color has an opposite one that cancels or neutralizes it:

  • Green neutralizes red, and vice versa.
  • Violet neutralizes yellow, and vice versa.
  • Blue neutralizes orange, and vice versa


Therefore, if your hair has orange tones after bleaching, a blue toner can be applied to make the orange disappear.

However, the toner is not only used after a bleaching session. It can also be very useful after coloring the hair. For example, ashy dyes can turn to green.

In that case, it’s possible to correct the color with a red toner because it neutralizes the green.


 Although all types of toner have the same function, which is color correction, you have to know which one to use.  Each of them has different characteristics.

Do you want to know what they are?


Then, keep reading because I’ll tell you:

  • Permanent toner: only for expert hands
  • Demi-permanent toner: the best choice to neutralize orange or yellowish tones
  • Semi-permanent toner: the best alternative to neutralize damaged hair
  • Aftercare toner


Today you’ll learn all about which toner you should choose for color correction.

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Permanent toner is only for expert hands

from orange to blonde

Why do I say that permanent toner is only for expert hands?


Because it contains ammonia and is applied with a 20-volume developer. Both components are chemicals.


Let’s say you want to use a permanent toner after a bleaching session.

Have you looked at your hair, and do you know how the hair fiber is?


Although I can’t see it, I can guarantee that your hair has suffered during the process. It’s probably lost moisture.

Regardless of your hair health, if you use permanent toner without proper training, you’ll only damage your hair further.


If your fiber is very porous, you’ll have to check the toner’s application time carefully because it’ll absorb pigments more quickly. Therefore, you may end up with a completely different color in your hair.

If you’re going to use a permanent toner, which will last longer on your hair (between 4 and 6 weeks) I advise you to go to a salon.

Also, what color do you want to neutralize? Reds?


That’s one more reason to use permanent toner, but in professional hands, as reds are the most difficult colors to neutralize.

Did any yellowish colors appear in your hair? Then, the next toner option is for you.


Demi-permanent toner: the best option for neutralizing yellowish tones

tone on tone

Don’t you have enough experience with the toner?


 Then, you can use a demi-permanent toner, as its formula is softer because it’s applied with 9 or 10-volume developer. 

Then, it’ll have a lower impact on the hair fiber. Of course, it’ll also last less. You should allow two to three weeks, depending on your care routine. I’ll tell you about it later.


Who is the demi-permanent toner for?

  • People with low training with toner.
  • People who want to neutralize yellowish colors.
  • People who want to enhance the color of a dye or tone some unwanted highlights.


Finally, let’s see the widely used toner at home: toning shampoos.


Semi-permanent toner: the best alternative to neutralize damaged hair

for lightened and bleached hair

Semi-permanent toner is the easiest to apply. Why?


Because it’s a shampoo.

However, it isn’t just any shampoo. As it’s toning shampoo, it means that it contains pigments that neutralize those unwanted colors in the hair.

Why is it ideal for dry or weak hair?


 Because it doesn’t contain ammonia or developer. You simply apply it when you wash your hair. 

Also, it doesn’t affect or change your base color because it deposits a few color pigments on your hair fiber to neutralize unwanted tones.

brown hair

Which hairs is it best for?

  • Damaged hair
  • Hair that needs a very light coloring


This toner will keep your hair free of unwanted colors.

I recommend that you never leave it on your hair for more than five minutes, as overexposure can result in hair color change.


Now, some aftercare is common to all three types of toner. I’ll tell you about that next.


How to care for your hair after applying any type of toner

with shampoo and conditioner

To help all toner effects last longer, you have to carefully select the shampoo you’ll use.


If possible, make it sulfate-free because it won’t strip the hair fiber of the pigments you deposit with the toner.


  • Wash your hair less often.

Remember that no toner is forever.  The more you wash your hair, the faster the toner will fade. 

On the other hand, it would be ideal to wash your hair every three or four days to give the scalp time to produce its natural oils that protect the hair fiber.


  • Moisturize your hair deeply at least once a week.

Moisturized hair is healthy hair. The health of your hair should be as much a concern to you as its color.

Use a moisturizing mask for colored hair or coconut oil to improve the hair’s moisture levels.


  • Protect your hair from the sun.

There are hair protectants with sun filters that prevent the sun from damaging your hair color. Use them to make the toner last longer.



Today you learned that there are three types of toner: permanent, demi-permanent, and semi-permanent ones. They have the same objective, which is to neutralize unwanted colors and revitalize the color in your hair.

You have to choose the best for your hair, taking into account your colorimetry experience, what you want from the toner, and the health of your hair.

Knowing this, what type of toner will you choose for your hair?

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