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Toner + Semi + Demi

I get asked very often what is the difference between a toner, semi, Demi and permanent?

  • toner: a toner is like a filter. A toner neutralizes (shifts) the tone of bleached hair. It’s a quick fix, and short lived. Most articles I read claim toners will last 2-8 weeks with proper care. Personally, I did not find that statement to be true. The best comparison for a toner is colored shampoos. A purple shampoo creates a temporary color shift to your lightened strands. If you’re blonde is revealing golden tones, use a purple shampoo for a temporary fix until you can come in for a semi-permanent toner. If you’re a painter or watch a painter, a toner is the base color painted on the canvas to achieve the desired tones for the final image.

  • Semi: semi-permanent color lasts longer than a toner. It will last 2-8 weeks depending on the porosity and care of your hair. A semi-permanent toner is a stain. With each shampoo, it lightens and eventually will disappear. Did you or a friend ever have violet or silver hair? It only last approximately two weeks, but the underlying toning effects are still in effect for about another 2-4 weeks. A semi-permanent color does not alter the color of natural hair. It only affects the pre-lightened hair. It’s a fun way to try pastel shades of pink or violet on your level 10 blonde hair without the permanent effects.

  • Demi: Demi-permanent hair color will affect your natural color and color the pre-lightened strands too. It is more of a translucent effect and not as opaque as a permanent color. The color will fade as it grows out to not leave a line of demarcation. This is a great option for wanting to deepen your natural tones without the permanent decision. It will tint your silver strands without making them fully disappear. Keep in mind, color does not lift other colors. If you want to go lighter, you will have to bleach your hair. A Demi-permanent is an excellent choice if you want to deepen your blonde to caramel hues without the potential risk of damaging your hair if you decide to go lighter again in the summer. Demi-permanent color will last anywhere from 3-6 months with proper care. Of course roots grow out every day and root maintenance should be scheduled according to your stylists recommendations.

  • Permanent: permanent is permanent. It’s like death. I would say marriage, but being a product of divorce, we know it’s not permanent. It is an opaque finish. It’s monochromatic. One color. One tone. All over. With proper hair care, it should not fade.

I highly recommend going to a reputable stylist for any of your color decisions. They will be able to best advise what would be the least damaging for your hair and will know your hair history for future appointments. Do not attempt to color your own hair because if it goes wrong, most stylists charge $100/hr or more for color correction.


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