Toner is a staple for bleached hair.
It’s pretty common knowledge that bleached hair requires a lot of care and maintenance for it to look great.
This includes taking care of its health by using deep conditioners and safe shampoos. But in this article, we’re focusing on products that maintain the color of your bleach blonde.
Over time, bleached hair can get brassy and orangey. This can be due to multiple reasons such as dye fading, red-toned stains from previous colors, or it could just be the natural red tones in your hair that come through despite the bleach.
Regardless of where it’s coming from, if you want to maintain a platinum blonde or wish to use your bleached hair as a base for other colors, brassiness is not a good look to have.
This is where toners come in handy.
If you’ve started looking into toners for bleached hair, chances are you’ve come across the Wella T18 and T14. Both of them are ash blonde toners. So, it could seem a bit confusing to pick between the two.
The simple answer lies in what you need. Do you have brassy hair? Or do you have light hair with yellow undertones?
Wella is a trusted brand, even by a lot of salon professionals. They are well known for the quality of their coloring products as well as supplementary products such as toners. So, quality-wise, there’s no question about whether or not Wella is a brand you can rely on.
However, the real clincher here between the Wella T18 and Wella 14 is a subtle tonal difference.
Toners usually have a blue or purple base. These colors best neutralize warm tones. At first glance, like any other deep-colored toners, both the T18 and T14 can look very similar at a distance.
But not all purple toners are created equal. Maybe you’ve already experienced this by getting the wrong one and being unsatisfied by some lackluster results.
So what's the difference between Wella t14 and t18?
The T14 or the Color Charm liquid hair toner in Pale Ash blonde has a blue-violet base. Meanwhile, T18 or the Color Charm liquid hair toner in Lightest ash-blonde has a base that is more purely purple.
You might also know them by alternative names–T14 was formerly known as Silver Lady, and T18 used to go by White Lady.
These old names can be really helpful to remember too! They give you a bit of an idea of what the end result would be if you used either of the two toners.
The T14 results in a more silvery or gray ash blonde, while the T18 would yield a very light shade that is closer to a true platinum or white blonde.
The names can cause a little confusion as they both promise you an ash blonde effect in the end. So, this is where we turn to the undertone to know whether the T14 would be best for your hair concerns or if the T18 would help you reach your hair goals more effectively.
Right out of the bottle, the T14 will appear a bit less dark than the T18. Applied to the hair, the T14 can also look lighter than the T18. It usually has a bit of a gray or silver look to it when you first apply it, while the T18 variant looks a lot more purple.
It wouldn’t be uncommon to see some shades of blue peek through when you use the T14 as well, as it is a combination of purple and blue.
However, the product's appearance right out of the bottle doesn’t necessarily tell you the end result.
You can’t really compare them directly as they’re both meant for different uses.
The blue in the T14 formula is best when you need to cancel out some colors in your hair, specifically very brassy orange tones.
Meanwhile, the T18 is best to use on very light hair that has yellow tones peeking through. The violet undertone cancels out the yellow, leaving you with only bright, platinum blonde.
Generally, the T18 is also best used on hair that is already very light. It works best on level 10 hair that only needs a bit of brightening and correcting.
So, now that you know the difference between the two Wella toners, would there be a problem if you switched them around?
For the most part, nothing will go wrong if you accidentally use the T14 instead of the T18 and vice-versa. The best-case scenario is that nothing happens to your hair.
If you use the T14 liquid toner on yellow hair, it’s likely that you won’t see any difference. The yellowing won’t be canceled out, but there typically won’t be any adverse effects either.
However, there can be some cases where discoloration can occur. If you use too much of the T14 on hair that has a very intense yellow undertone, it can brew up the perfect storm.
Basic color theory has the answer–blue and yellow make green. So, in the worst-case scenarios, using the T14 on yellow hair can cause an unsightly, murky green discoloration.
But don’t worry; as long as you follow the directions — mixing the toner and developer properly, leaving it in only for the recommended amount of time, and other similar instructions — then you don’t have much to worry about.
At least now you know to reach for the T18 for yellow hair.
What if you’re dealing with orange hair?
This usually occurs when you bleach a much darker natural shade into something lighter. The tones that make your hair black or brown often have warm orange bases that can show up after you bleach.
So, if you refer to the color wheel, blue is the complementary color to orange. This is the best color to use to neutralize the burnish shade and leave you with a more pristine blonde.
Therefore, between the two Wella liquid toners, go for the T14 as it has a blue undertone.
Maybe you have a bit of both concern at the same time. You want to cancel out brassiness and also take away the yellowing that keeps your hair from looking its best.
Could you get the best of both worlds from mixing the two toners together?
It may sound simple enough in theory, but it’s not recommended. The formulas out of the bottle have been precisely created in order to do only one function or the other. They either cancel out orange tones or work on yellow tones.
Mixing the two is not recommended because you can’t precisely measure the proportions. This means that you might just be gambling with mixing your products without any assurance that you’ll get the look you want.
So, leave the combinations to the professionals unless you’re okay with an uneven result.
So, between these two ash blonde faves, there’s an option out there for you to help you achieve your perfect blonde.
Cancel out brassy tones and get a nice silvery blonde with the T14, or go fully platinum if you have light yellowy hair to start with by using T18.
Then you’ve got the formula to get your hair shining bright!