Adventures in at-Home Hair Toning
My most rewarding and challenging long-term relationship to date has been with my very damaged, bleached-within-an-inch-of-its-life hair. I recently spent more than 10 hours stripping all the dark brown color out to dye it gray and then chopping off half of it, so I feel it’s my duty to deep-condition and use purple shampoo every time I wash, unless I want my hair will break off or start to resemble a Flaming Hot Cheeto.
However, I also decided to take my at-home hair maintenance to the next level by trying my hand at toning my hair at home. My shade is currently a light gray—not unlike your grandma’s—and, unfortunately—unlike your mine is manufactured, so it’s very hard to maintain without becoming yellow/brassy/gross after a few washes.
In the past, I’ve remedied this by heading to the salon, where a quick gloss (which is a fancy way to say tone) restored my hair to its former glory, but seeing as how I never seem to have quite enough time or money for glosses as often as I would like, I figured at-home toning would be the easiest solution.
I consulted my colorist,Sherilynn Smartof Sherilynn Jade Salon, who told me the exact formula for what she used to tone my hair after my last color, but she cautioned against toning too much on my ends, since they would absorb more of the color since they were more processed than my roots—fair enough. I can usually tell that this is how she works on my application, since she spends way more time doing the roots than the ends, but half the time, my head is in the sink, so I can’t really see what’s going on that much. She also warned me to only keep it on for a few minutes, lest it get “muddy” looking.
I headed to Ricky’s (but you can get everything on Amazon, if you’re about that online life, which is usually my M.O.) with my toner recipe, then proceeded to purchase plastic gloves, Redken Shades EQ in and (which is basically dark blue, the key to maintaining pearly gray locks), a (slightly daunting!), and an , which basically looks like a fancy squirt bottle.
At home, I hopped in the shower and shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed as usual, then mixed my toner according to the directions my colorist gave me (actually, I adjusted it a little bit and put in only half of the amount of blue color into the toner because it looked so dark that it SCARED me…and I figured I could go a little lighter for the first try). After donning gloves, I used the squirt bottle applicator to put the color on my hair and massaged it into my roots and the top part of my hair, then put the excess gloss on my ends. After I guesstimated that my hair had been “toning” for about two to three minutes, I rinsed it out (this took a couple of valiant tries — the toner has a sort of soapy feel, so you’ll know when it is completely rinsed out) moving quickly, since I didn’t want to end up with some weird hair color from leaving it in too long.
After drying it, I took a peek in the mirror. It wasn’t exactly the fresh-from-the-salon gray color I was hoping for, but the brassiness had definitely diminished, which is all I really want in life, you know, aside from Leonardo DiCapriofalling madly in love with me. I think the gray color definitely would have had a stronger effect if I had actually put in more of the blue color the way I was supposed to (sorry, Sherilynn) and if I had left it on a little longer. Lessons for next time—which I can totally now do, since I still have tons of processor and color in my bathroom.
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