September 7, 2014

DIY Hair Toner Adventures


I've been on a bit of a (overindulgent phrasing alert!) hair journey as of late, and en route from my trademark red mane to wherever I may land, I ended up somewhere I will kindly refer to as Orange Hair, USA. Okay, "orange" is sort of alarmist and panicky, but let's just say that where I was expecting to see golden sands, I instead got citrus groves.

Delicious, yes, but decidedly less appetizing growing out of your head.
In my years of hair dye adventures, I'd never allowed my hair to take the driver's seat, instead insisting on calling the shots and lead-footing all the way to burgundy, teal, purple, brown, blonde, clown red and every ill-advised stop at blue-black in between. This time, however, I'm suddenly carefree about where my hair may end up and have decided to just see how it reacts to processing. The only certainty is that it needs to no longer be red. I'm finally, after nearly a decade of on-again/off-again business, over red hair. (Mostly I just never want to clean up a bathroom that looks like a crime scene ever again.)

Maybe I'll see how close I can get to my childhood platinum, or maybe I'll go deep brown and look like I'm actually related to my family. My first step was simple: soap cap. A soap cap, or bleach bath, is a gentler way to lighten your hair than processing with just bleach. It involves mixing a batch of bleach and developer according to package instructions (I like Kaleidocolors in Violet and Salon Care 20 Volume Creme Developer), and adding an equal part, or more, of shampoo.

My preferred bleaching setup.
This mixture lightens hair without the harshness of normal bleach processing, but it also gives less effective results. I kept the soap cap on my hair for about 45 minutes (watching Blossom reruns, which is way darker/weirder than I remember, FYI), then waited another week to do the same (sans Blossom). I needed long process times because I'm lightening several shades and battling deep red box dye, which fades and bleeds right until you actually want it gone, and then decides to buy a 3-bedroom ranch style home and move in on your head. It won't budge! One more week and I did a third process, followed by Wella Color Charm T-18 Toner.


I figured by this point I'd be blinded by my flossy white locks, but was instead annoyed to see the aforementioned citrus groves, and planned to end it all with some ash brown dye. On a whim, I thought maybe I'd tint my brassy blonde with some DIY hair toner made from stuff I had around home. I know that sounds like the beginning of a horrifying anecdote (instead of the middle of a self involved hair essay!), but it actually worked out pretty well.

Purple tones neutralize yellow or brassy blonde because purple and yellow are complementary colors. I didn't want to chemically process my hair again just yet, and also didn't want to leave my apartment, so I whipped up a batch of what I hoped would be homemade purple hair toner.

The color wheel: not just for ninth grade art class!
In a perfect world this would've been more of a blue-ish purple since my hair was more orange than yellow (and blue and orange are complementary) but this is what I had on hand:


WHAT YOU NEED
+ Purple Hair Dye (ion Color Brilliance in Lavender)
+ White Conditioner (cheap is fine)    + Mixing Bowl    + Tint Brush

HOW TO DO IT

Dump a bunch of conditioner in a mixing bowl and add a random blob of purple dye, like so:




Mix it all up until it's a lilac shade (I ended up making twice this much for my hair length).



Put it all over your hair - make sure to get it everywhere! Let it sit until you like the shade and then rinse well. I left mine on for 2 hours. Since "fun" color hair dyes are not really damaging (tons of people sleep in them!), my hair was fine afterwards.

I sectioned my hair to make sure I got it everywhere except my white-ish bangs, which would've turned purple.


My original strand test: after on the left, before on the right.

This stuff isn't going to lighten your hair, but it'll adjust the warmth. It probably won't affect SUPER brassy hair, but it made my hair feel like a real shade of blonde rather than an obvious work in progress. Plus, a total stranger got out of line at the grocery store to tell me that my hair color is, and I quote, "super pretty!" Honestly, that helped me feel better about my hair so if nothing else I encourage you to compliment strangers whenever the mood strikes because you could be saving them from dropping $18 on hair dye later that day.

Have you ever played hair chemist in your bathroom? Do you cut and/or dye your own hair? Can you believe how much I have to say about my hair? Please, shut me up by talking about your hair in the comments!


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50 comments:

  1. This is funny because I was JUST thinking about writing a post like this. I dyed my hair bright red again a couple of weeks ago and it came out SUPER orange this time, so I ended up doing the DIY toner thing to avoid looking like an insane carrot-Ronald McDonald hybrid. Same exact process except I used purple Manic Panic because I already had some on hand.

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  2. Well done! Do you have a purple shampoo? Goldwell makes this really great brass-neutralizing creme mask. I LURVE. I don't use it though, because my hair is copper, which kind of needs to keep the brassiness in hahah. I love your after result, you did an awesome job. Can't wait to see more!! PS; if you're done on the hair dye journey, one way to keep the lilac toner from fading is to lock everything in with a clear demi!! It makes your hair feel and look super lovely and keeps everything locked in for a little longer ;) ;)

    Much Love,
    -Stephanie Eva

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  4. Good post!

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  5. My hair is red ish right now and I want to get rid of it..do you think this process would work using ions mint color on red?

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  6. You'd need to use a green toner on the colour scale to remove the red and bring it to a brown. If I was you I'd a) either use a darker, cool tone hair colour, or b) bleach your hair to an 8-9 base and then use a blue toner. It really depends what your base is right now and whether you want to go darker or lighter.

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  7. Hi I was just wondering if you think adding a developer would make it more purple or help take out yellow tones?

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  8. i want the ends of my hair purple so can I use food coloring for the dye?? I have dark dark brown hair and I don't know if it will look like purple.



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