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Toning: Silver is the New Black

Toning for silvers often confuses a lot of people. Hell, toning in general confuses a lot of people. Toning, in essence, is adding just a hint of color to change the result. Usually, that means adding a teeny amount of purple to freshly bleached hair to make it appear less brassy. Silver, at its core is a very pale blue with a hint of warmth to make it murky. Toning hair extensions isn't hard if you understand the basics.

Color is predictable. Repeat that statement until you believe it. Color is predictable. Think back to when you were a kid. Dig out your imagination markers, paint and crayons. Think about when you tried to mix ALL of the colors together, thinking you were going to make one amazing super color!!! ... and it came out brown. :(
Here's the good news: it came out brown. Brown is the murky neutral in the color wheel. In order to tone, all we need to do is work in opposing colors. It goes a little something like this...
Yellows - tone with purple (its opposite)
Orange - tone with blue (its opposite)
Red - tone with green (its opposite)
... and vice versa
Want your purple to be brown? Use yellow.
Want your blue to be brown? Use orange.
Want your green to be brown? Use red.
Next, let's throw in levels.
Level refers to how bright your hair would appear if you were in a black and white movie. So Marilyn Monroe would be a 10, Marilyn Manson would be a 1.
To create any tone, all we need is an appropriate level (or brightness) and then a dose of it's opposing color. To create our silvers, we simply need to create a slight pull just past the murky color into a faint blue/hint of beige.
****(Sidenote for color nerds: When you lighten your hair, you will notice that some of the color tones go hand in hand with levels. Beyond darkest brown, you will come into reds between levels 3 and 6, oranges from 6 to 7, yellows from 7 and beyond. It's totally normal to have to correct the underlying pigment color. We all have it - and that too is predictable.)****
In order to achieve a true silver, you will need a very pale level.
The darker your level, the more gunmetal your color will become. A strawberry blonde will become a deep gunmetal. A platinum can become a pewter. Blue WILL make the hair appear darker, so start lighter than your goal.
To create your customized formula for silver, you will need to assess your before and after.
If you are starting with dark hair, you will need to lift it with lightener (bleach). In order to get to a deep gunmetal, you will need to lift to a strawberry blonde/orange level. In order to get to a pewter, you will need to lift to a pale yellow.
When your hair is light enough, the next thing you will need to do is determine what color it is. You will be toning with blue or purple (or both) becuase at this level, your hair will either have orange or yellow pigment as its undertone (that's just how bleach rolls).
Both Sparks and Special Effects brands carry a clear toner/mixer. Add a TINY drop of your opposing color to the mixer. Blend well. Do a test strand to check your results and adjust your formula if needed. Remember, you are trying to go just BARELY into a blue/beige tone which is just slightly passed the murky point.
If your base is orange - mix a drop of blue and toner.
If your base is yellow - mix a drop of purple and hint of blue toner.
If your base is between yellow and orange - mix a hint of blue and hint of purple into your toner.
If you accidentally added a slight bit too much, you can lift out a bit by doing a shampoo bleach. Mix 1oz powdered bleach, 1oz developer and 2oz shampoo. Use a clarifying shampoo for best results. In addition, you can tone out blue by adding a drop of orange - just go drop by drop. Adding color over color will eventually leave you with a darker level, so do this sparingly or you'll end up needing to lift again.
Here's some results...
Special Effects tiny bit of color cut with Morrocan Oil conditioner:


Round One - all mixed with conditioner (I could have used their mixer/toner, but I didn't):
A.) mix of purple and conditioner
B.) mix of blue and purple and conditioner
C.) mix of blue and conditioner


Results next to a swatch of the original weft.
Notice how none of these are exactly "silver" and how much darker the blue turned out. The reason that it isn't "silver" is that the tone isn't pulled into that warm murky area, and the color is too bold.

So let's shampoo cap a bit of the pigment out and see where we get...
(Shampoo, powder bleach and developer.)


We leave that on just long enough to break the color.

The result is the same color, just not as bold. Now to add just enough of the opposing color to pull it just BARELY toward brown, but still leave the cool tone... I'm adding a tiny drop of orange to these...


And the result is gorgeous!
I've laid the blue (now most silver of the group) over the original platinum so you can see just how much it darkens it. Next is purple, and after that is purple-blue.
Results: Adding orange - since blue is its exact opposite, it pulled it just slightly into a murky blue (which is silver - yay!), while orange is not opposite of the purpler (is that a word?) tones so they remained slightly warm. Pretty, but too warm to be called silver.


I hope that all of my examples make sense and that some light bulbs above some heads light up as a result. Lots of love to you! And happy toning!!


The Amazing Items Used for this Tutorial

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