A Color Correction Expert Shares Her Top Tips for Toning

photo via @cassandraplatinum(Cassandra McGlaughlin toning tips)

In her 10 plus years in the beauty industry, Cassandra McGlaughlin (@cassandraplatinum) has gracefully mastered the art of the transformation. A Redken and Salon Centric brand ambassador, McGlaughlin is frequently posting mind-blowing before-and-after photos on her Instagram feed and sharing helpful tips for how she achieved each of the looks. Recently, the color correction specialist dove deep into the importance of toning and the dramatic role it plays during color appointments. Here, she shares her top tips with us. 

1. If you want a true neutral, or icy tone you must lift past your desired level by a half to a full level. Creating more space in the hair strand allows you to formulate your toner to exactly the shade and level you want without having to formulate overly cool or dark. 

2.  Don’t forget about the hair outside of the foils. When there is a strong line of demarcation or a lot of unwanted warmth, you have to address it. For the photo above, I only foiled about 50-60 percent of her hair with FlashLift and 20vol and then used Shades 9b9p in between.⁣⁣


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3. Pre-tone for a lighter and more neutral end result. Sometimes using toners to neutralize our blondes can leave it a touch darker than desired, especially if you automatically reach for the Ash bases (guilty). Pre-toning helps get rid of warmth without adding darkness so your final formula can be as light a possible. In this case, I used Kenra Professional Rapid Toners Sv &Vp for 5 minutes. ⁣⁣

4. Formulation is king and switch charts are your best friend. It's crucial to know your color’s background, primary & secondary tones—know what they look like & what they are made of. For example, the N series from Redken Shades EQ has a tan to brown background with a blue/violet tone, but the color line used before Shades had a brown background and a yellow tone to the N series. The levels and the translucency were very different as well. But I paid attention, spent sometime studying and practicing my formulas so I could achieve the result I wanted. (Toner for this color: 5n6t blended into 7n7p blended into Clear, 9v9p). ⁣⁣

5. Create depth and richness when neutralizing. One way to do this is by mix different levels. When controlling excessive warmth (for instance, levels 7 and below), use different levels to create balance of tone. Use this formulation tip when you don’t want the ash tones to dominate your formula. For example, when toning a very warm level 7 (think orange), using a strong ash based level 7 (7t or 7na) alone may neutralize the orange but may leave you without depth, balance or additional tone. So, in this case, mixing with a level 6 N, Nb or Nw would give you much more depth and richness in tone.  

⁣RELATED: 5 Tips for Shadow Root Success