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Pre-lightened hair level 10

13 Best Hair Toners and How Exactly To Use Them


What is a hair toner and how exactly does it work?

A hair toner corrects the tone or reflect of the hair.

They are usually packed with neutralizing pigments (typically violet or blue).

These pigments correct for yellow and orange and brassy hair.

Hair toners are generally combined with developer, just like color. However, mixes may be different.

Development times are also typically shorter than for regular color.

What are the best toners to get to blonde?

The four toners below are very good at achieving excellent white blonde results.

Ugly Duckling "Pearl" toners have a lot of violet pigments and will produce pearl-grey white blonde results

Ugly Duckling "Silver" toners have a lot of blue pigments and will produce pure silver white blonde results.

Use the "Intense" versions if there is still significant yellow left in the hair and you need to remove these.

Use the "No-lift" versions if lift is not really required that is to say, if the hair has only minimal yellow.

Also use the "No-lift" version for repeat toning applications and cases where you have a darker base underneath which you don't want to touch too much.

These toners are all best used with 20 Vol developer. 

Intense Silver Blonde 100.20 Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100.21 Intense Silver Blonde Toner 100B
Silver Blonde Toner Pearl Blonde Toner 10V (No-Lift) Pearl Blonde Toner Silver Blonde Toner 10B (No-Lift)


To see what a toner can do to your client's hair, watch this stunning white blonde transformation.

Products used: Ugly Duckling Bleach followed by intense pearl blonde 100V toner.

Hair: Elona Taki

What are the best toners & colors to get to ultra white blonde?

If your client is looking to get to ultra white blonde, the following colors and toners give excellent results. 

The Blue Based Blonde Colors, especially Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b, Very Light Cold Ash Blonde

Grey Based Colors: Silver Grey, Smoky Blue Grey and Metallic Grey

Violet Based Toner: 10.2 Extra Light Cool Blonde

These are all regular blonde colors, not toners. It is better to process these for the full 30 minutes, with a 1+1 mix.

You will get better color results that way.

10.1b Extra Cold Ash Blonde Extra Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1b Very Light Cold Ash Blonde 9.1b Silver Grey Silver Grey
Smoky Blue Grey Smoky Blue Grey Metallic Grey Metallic Grey Extra Light Cool BlondeExtra Light Cool Blonde 10.2

What are the best toners to tone blonde highlights over a dark base or lowlights?

If you need to tone without lifting the darker parts of your client's hair, whether it be a shadow root, or low lights, or a natural dark base, then we would recommend you use Blondify liquid toners.

These are ammonia-free gloss toners, and they process very fast - in just 10 minutes - and can be used with developer strength as low as 7 Vol.

Meaning that you will be able to tone your client's highlights without lifting or touching the darker parts.

Use them with 7 Vol, 10 Vol or 20 Vol developer, according to the lift desired. The mix ratio for them is 1+1, and you can mix them in an applicator bottle and apply them over your client's highlights straight out of the bottle.

Blondify Natural Ash Blonde Toner

Natural Ash Blonde Toner

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde Toner

Natural Violet Blonde Toner

Examples of Hair Toned with Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V.Can you show me actual examples of hair toned with Ugly Duckling toners and blonding colors?

Intense Pearl Blonde

Hair by Cody Darnell

Toned with 100V

Hair by hairbyjose

Example of Hair Toned with Intense Silver Blonde 100B

Intense Silver Blonde

Hair by Nina Sukhovetskaya

Examples of Hair Toned with No-Lift Pearl Blonde Toner 10V

Pearl Blonde Toner 10V

Hair by Elona Taki

Hair by Elona Taki

Examples of Hair Toned with Blondify Liquid Gloss Toners

Toned with Blondify Natural Ash Blonde 010A

Toned with Natural Ash Blonde - After

Toned with Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Toned with Natural Violet Blonde 010V

Can you recommend me a fool-proof technique to use a toner to achieve great color results?

Follow our 3-step blonding technique and you will be sure to achieve excellent blonding results.


First, lift any part of the hair that is too dark to a level 9 or level 10 before you do any toning. Good consistent pre-lightening is really essential for good toning.

Use our new Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Lightener with 20 Vol or 30 Vol. Developer (20 Vol only near the root).
Make a mix of 1 part lightener to 2 parts developer and really saturate the dark regrowth area or the whole head depending on what needs lifting.

Start applying at the back in case of full head applications.
In the case of regrowth applications apply on the dark regrowth first. Then stretch to other areas if you feel they also need further lifting.

The goal is to lift the hair evenly and consistently all the way up to level 10 for best results

See pictures below for hair that has been correctly pre-lightened)

A common mistake is to not lift sufficiently - don't do this or you won't get a really nice result!

Once you have done this, you are ready to tone.

Here is a client whose dark regrowth we lifted and prepared for toning:

Before Bleaching & Toning: Very Dark Regrowth, Blonde Ends

 Bleach Hair Level 10

After Bleaching, Before Toning: Dark Regrowth lifted and equalized with ends. Hair is at Level 10.

Hair Before & After: Ashley



Choose your Ugly Duckling toner from the Ugly Duckling toners above
Ugly Duckling toners are very very fast acting, and typically neutralize in around 10 minutes. So you do need to be alert and watch while they are on processing and be prepared to rinse when done.

Only use 10 Vol developer if you have really lifted well and you are confident that there is minimal yellow left.
Otherwise, use with 20 Vol developer for best results. You will get better release of yellow pigments and better toning that way. 

Apply on towel dried hair. It can be still wet. Just make sure there is no excess moisture. 

If you are using an Ugly Duckling toner, mix 1 part of your chosen Ugly Duckling toner with 2 parts developer.

If you are using a regular Ugly Duckling blonding color, mis 1 part hair color with 1 part developer.

Section the hair starting from the back, using fine sections. 
Start applying wherever the hair is the most yellow or the most brassy.
Work fast because the toner works fast and you want to give your whole head an even processing time.

Leave out the last inch nearest the roots when you apply, and return to this section at the end. Hair processes faster on the root area due to the heat of the scalp.

As you apply, you will see the hair turn grey with a purple or grey or blue hue.
This is normal, it shows that the toner is doing its job of neutralizing yellow and brassiness. 

Normally 10-15 minutes is enough.
Once again, remember to watch the roots in particular carefully - do not over-process there.

Ugly Duckling Toner Mix

A mix of Ugly Duckling Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V and 20 Vol. A fairly runny mix will allow you to work faster. Which is what you need.



  • Rinse hair with Purple Shampoo, massaging thoroughly for 5 minutes as you do.
  • Then apply Purple Mask.
  • Leave the mask in the hair for 10 minutes.
  • Ugly Duckling's Purple Shampoo and Mask contain very intense pigments.
  • These will neutralize any remaining yellow and take your hair to ultra white blonde.
  • They are also low pH and will help to close the hair cuticle after the lightening and toning process.
  • Only use Purple Shampoo and Mask after toners, not after regular blonde colors (10.1b, 9.1b, Silver Grey, Smoky Blue Grey, Metallic Grey, 10.2 etc)
  • This is because you will lose the unique vibrancy of the above colors if you put purple shampoo on top!

Purple Mask

Learn More About Ugly Duckling Purple Mask Here


Afer toning

After toning: Hair by Ashley

Toner Used: Extra Light Cool Blonde 10.2

This is the same model after bleaching and toning.


Use the chart below to figure out which Ugly Duckling toner to use:

Hair Color Level

  • Ugly Duckling has 2 types of permanent toners: Intense Toners and No-lift toners. We also have demi-permanent liquid toners: Blondify.
  • If your hair is either level 9 or level 10 it means that there is minimal yellow left. In which case you can use use Ugly Duckling No-Lift Permanent Toners
  • If your hair is either level 7 or level 8, it means that you still have yellow in your hair which you need to get rid of. in this case, it would be better to use Ugly Duckling Intense Permanent Toners.
  • If you have low lights that they wish to keep, and you want to tone just the highlights and not the base, then use Blondify liquid toners.
  • Use Blondify Natural Ash Blonde if the hair is yellow-orange (level 7-8) and use Blondify Natural Violet Blonde if the hair is yellow with no orange(level 9-10).
  • If your hair is darker than level 7, eg level 5 or level 6, it means that your hair is too dark and brassy to use any toner directly. Use Brilliant Blondexx Bleach first, then tone with the most appropriate toner.


Silver GreySmoky Blue GreyMetallic Grey

Silver Grey, Smoky Blue Grey & Metallic Grey

  • Intense Violet Blonde 7.22
  • Purple Grey
Purple GreyPurple Grey 7VV/7.227VV/7.22

 Pearl Blonde and 7.22 Mixed

Pearl Blonde 10V Mixed with 7.22

Purple Grey

Purple Grey 

What Developer Should I Use with Toner? What is the developer mix ratio?

We generally recommend 20 Volume developer with Ugly Duckling toners, mixed in a ratio of 1 part toner to 2 parts developer. This will allow you to open the hair cuticle more, kick out more of the unwanted yellow, and achieve color vibrancy and long lasting ashy results.

Only use 10 Vol developer when you have lightened the hair to very very pale yellow, level 10. (see below). Here, 10 Vol would be enough. Otherwise, stick with 20 Vol.

Level 10 lightening

A case where 10 Vol developer would be enough

How do I apply toner to hair?

Applying Permanent Toners (Cream based)

  • Once you have made a mix in a bowl, apply on the hair using a brush, starting with the part that is yellowest or brassiest first.
  • Apply on dry or wet hair. If wet, make sure to towel dry to remove excess moisture.
  • That way you are giving that part a longer processing time.
  • Work fast because Ugly Duckling toners process very fast.
  • Aim to segment the hair properly in order that the toner gets everywhere.
  • Be very generous with product - that way you will get good product penetration into the hair & good results.
  • Watch carefully and rinse when done.
  • Last point: watch the root area very carefully if the hair is very fine or very lightened there. Typically it will develop there the fastest. Rinse when that part is done.


Applying Demi-Permanent Toners (Liquid)

  • Pour the toner into an applicator bottle.
  • Pour in an equal part of developer
  • You can use 7 Vol, 10 Vol or 20 Vol depending on the degree of lift required.
  • Shake and apply on hair straight out of the bottle.
  • Apply on dry or wet hair - if wet, make sure to towel dry to remove excess moisture.
  • Remember to saturate the hair very well.
  • Rinse after 10 minutes


Can I Use Toner Without Developer?

No you can't. All Ugly Duckling toners require developer. Without that you can't open up the cuticle, get rid of yellow and lift and tone the hair correctly to neutralize unwanted reflects.

Of course you can use Purple Shampoo and Mask as described above. These don't require developer.

However, Purple Shampoo and Mask will not lift the hair.

As such, they are best used after your regular bleaching and toning is done.

They are also great as maintenance products to stop the hair reverting to yellow.

Can I Use Toner with a No-Lift Developer?

If you have low lights or a dark base that you don't want to get lifted, use our Blondify liquid ammonia-free toners with 7, 10 or 20 Vol developer. These toners do not lift and will just tone the highlighted areas.

Blondify toners are given below, Use the Natural Ash Blonde Toner for yellow-orange hair and use the Natural Violet Blonde Toner for yellow hair.

Natural Ash Blonde Toner

Natural Ash Blonde

Natural Violet Blonde Toner

Natural Violet Blonde

Can I Use Toner with a No-Lift Developer?

No, toners - both permanent and demi-permanent, do require developer. Without that, you can't open the cuticle and get rid of yellow, lift the hair, and retone successfully.

You can of course use purple shampoos and purple mask (see above). But these products won't lift the hair and they are best used after your heavy lifting bleaching and toning is done.

I Only Want to Tone my Highlights Without Touching My Dark Areas. What is the best toner for me?

Here also we would recommend Blondify toners. 

Use them with low strength developers and you will be able to tone and refresh highlighted areas in just 10 minutes without touching the rest.

Do you apply toners on wet or dry hair?

You can apply Ugly Duckling toners to wet or dry hair. If you have bleached your hair prior to toning, no need to blow dry. Just towel dry to get rid of any excess moisture.

How often do you need to apply toner?

Ugly Duckling colors are quite vibrant, but all hair color fades.

Ugly Duckling permanent toners will easily last 6 weeks.

So very probably your toned hair will also fade and require re-toning every 6 weeks or so.

You may just need a no-lift toner or a liquid toner (Blondify) at this point in time rather than an intense toner.

Of course, your roots will need proper lifting and toning.

Can't I just use your Purple Shampoo and Mask to tone?

Yes purple shampoos and masks do tone, but they are really more correctly viewed as maintenance products.

You will get better results if you tone first, then use Purple Shampoo and Mask. 

Can I mix a toner with a regular color?

Yes you can do that. All Ugly Duckling colors are inter-mixable.

I want to bump up the level by one when I am toning. What should I do?

Use our intense toners (either pearl or silver) with 20 Vol and mix in Clear with it 50/50.

Do hair toners damage the hair?

Not if you use them correctly.

Which is the best toner for orange hair?

If your client's hair is orange, it means you have not bleached enough, and if she is looking to go blonde, you should not use toner at this point.

You should instead bleach first and get the hair up to pale yellow. 

Then tone with any violet or blue based toner.

We would any of the following products for the hair at this point, depending on your shade preference:

What is the best toner for yellow hair?

If even after bleaching your client's hair still has a lot of yellow in it, we would recommend intense pearl blonde toner or intense silver blonde toner. These toners have an extra booster which are great at kicking out stubborn or resistant yellow. They are also intensely pigmented. 

The intense pearl blonde toner contains a lot of purple pigments. It produces a pearl/grey white blonde result.

The intense silver blonde toner contains a lot of blue pigments. It produces a silver/natural white blonde result.

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.