Toning Tips from Tina

by admin2 on January 8th, 2014 Category: News 24 comments

Following are toning tips from Tina Lankowski, Paul Mitchell Systems Color Coordinator for HairLines.


In order to tone hair properly you have to do so at the level it’s been lifted to.  For instance, if you see orange you are at a level 7, yellow orange a level 8 etc. Use the Paul Mitchell color map or pigment chart to help determine where you are.

You have to use a product with enough saturation to get it done. In essence the PM Ultra toners are only best for hair lifted to level 10 or above. (pale yellow) OCCASIONALLY hair darker may grab a bit more tonality with a light level toner but that is RARE.

PM Flash finish toners are very pastel and sheer in nature and designed for above a level 8, but really a 9. The stronger the brassiness left in the hair though, the more opaque the toner will need to be. PM color is a PERFECT choice with 5 volume for hair that did not quite make it to blonde as even the UTs tend to be more pastel than level 10 or below in PM color.

·        Yellow orange level 8 (school bus) best toner is 7P and 9A with 5 Volume

·        Strong yellow level 9 (phonebook) 9P with 5 volume

·        Paler yellow Level 10 (Splenda packet) UTP with a ribbon of 9P or 2 Violet shots with 5 volume

(All of these are done on damp hair and check at 10 minutes-- if ready take off, but can leave on up to 20 minutes)

For the most part toning tends to be on damp (not wet) hair. You can tone on dry hair just know it will grab a bit more in areas which are very porous. The dampness in the hair helps equalize the porosity. But if too wet, you will dilute the end result.

Remember, toners work well if the hair is evenly lifted. If the hair has multiple levels of lift, more than one toner should be used.

ALSO texture plays a part in toning;  fine hair, less cuticle will tone quicker and with less saturation needed but coarse hair will need a stronger more saturated toner.


Shines XG is a powerful choice for toning as well as PM the color as it is opaque.  But remember that awesome opaqueness can result in OVER-TONING and you will go past your desired result so really think about your level and tone choice. Also, it should be left on the full 25 minutes.


PM Shines is an excellent choice -  it is more translucent than PM color and Shines XG and requires 20 minutes to process, no less. AND you need to use the darkest level left in the hair, so if you stopped at  level 8 (yellow-orange) you need to take a 6 and dilute with clear to make an 8 (example; 1 oz. of 6BV, 1 oz. clear and 2 oz. processing liquid to dilute two levels)

With the PM color you can leave on for 10 minutes, check and if it’s ready, take it off making it my favorite choice for quick perfect toning when flash finish is too pale/sheer to get the job done.

MOST IMPORTANT… you have to tone with the DARKEST level left in the  hair.


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