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Freshly-colored blonde hair is a sure way to turn heads. But nothing lasts forever and your gleaming, sun-kissed shade of blonde can turn brassy and dull quicker than you'd like. However, there is a solution for keeping your hair color vibrant and preventing brassiness and fading: toner, a haircare product tinted with pigments that boosts blonde shades and cancels out unwanted yellow or orange hues.
Our top picks:
"Using a toner will enhance or neutralize your color," explains Aura Friedman, Senior Colorist and Creative Director at Suite Caroline Salon in New York City. Hair can get brassy when your color starts to fade, which happens for many different reasons, including sun exposure, minerals in water, shampoos that strip color and the stress of heat styling. "By neutralizing hair color, the brassiness will be removed — and if you love your current shade, toner can work with your hair to keep the colors you like most and make them even more vibrant," she says.
You can have toner tailored to your specific hair color applied by a professional colorist in the salon, but if you don't have the time or the money, you can also try an effective at-home product. Here, the best toners for blonde hair — including masks, sprays, drops, treatments and conditioners — that help tame brassy blonde shades at affordable prices, according to hair color experts and enthusiastic online reviews.
You can read more about how we chose the best toners for blonde hair — plus everything you need to know to shop for and use them — at the end of this guide. Looking for more ways to make blonde hair shine? Check out our guides to the best purple shampoos and the best shampoos for color-treated hair.
How we choose the best toners for blonde hair
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scientists test hundreds of hair products every year, from shampoos and conditioners to hair masks, leave-in conditioners and every hair styling product on the market, including hair serums, mousses, hairsprays, dry shampoos and more. While the GH Beauty Lab hasn't yet formally tested toners for blonde hair in our Labs, these products on this list are a mix of Beauty Lab expert, editors and professional colorist-recommended formulas, along with top-rated picks from throughly vetted online reviews.
What to look for when shopping for the best toner for blonde hair
"Toner is a science," Friedman explains. "If you apply too much, hair becomes dull and dark, but if you don’t use it at all, hair can become brassy." Follow her guidelines to choose the right one for you:
✔️ Consider the formula. At-home toner options include rinses, drops, sprays, glosses and purple shampoos, but Friedman prefers toning conditioners, treatments and masks for their added moisturizing benefits.
✔️ Check the tint. You may notice that there are both purple and blue tinted formulas that can help tone hair. Purple formulas help cancel unwanted yellow or brassy tones, as purple and yellow are opposite on the color wheel and neutralize each other. Blue formulas are best for orange undertones and brassiness, and perform that same function. So choosing the right one for you depends on whether you have unwanted yellow or orange brassy tones in your hair color.
✔️ Take your hair type into account. If your hair is dry or damaged, a toning product that is more nourishing (like conditioners or masks) will be the most beneficial. Shampoos, drops, glosses, rinses and sprays are great for hair types that don't have as much damage and need more of a color and shine boost.
How do you use a toner for blonde hair?
Here are Friedman's pro tips for the best results when applying a toner for blonde hair:
✔️ Wait two weeks post-bleach before toning hair at home, she advises. If your hair is bleached in the salon, though, your colorist should use a toner immediately after for the best results.
✔️ Use the product once per week for maximum vibrancy and to extend the life of your hair color.
✔️ Pinpoint the brassiest areas of hair and apply toner only on those spots, she advises. Unless all of your hair is discolored, if you apply toner all over your head, the color of the brassy sections won't match with the rest of your hair.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Dori Price has over 15 years of experience researching and writing haircare and hairstyling stories, combining her knowledge with the expertise of top industry professionals such as hairstylists, hair colorists and trichologists. She is an expert in all hair product categories, from shampoos, conditioners, treatments, styling products and tools to hair color, professional services and more.
Dori Price is a New York City-based freelance writer and editor and beauty, style and wellness expert who was the Beauty & Fashion Director at Family Circle for 13 years before she joined Good Housekeeping, Prevention and Woman’s Day as a freelance beauty editor. She has also written for WomensHealthMag.com, Elle.com and HealthCentral.com.
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