Why Demi-Permanent Color Is The Best Choice For Versatility

Written by Matrix TeamJun 6, 2024

Read time 5 min

Matrix Toners

Clients love changing up their hair color for a fresh look, which is why demi-permanent hair color has been a game-changer in the hair industry. Not only does it make it easier to transition from one color to another, but it prevents colorists from spending excessive time performing color corrections while protecting their clients’ hair from extensive damage. 

Read on to learn more pro-tips on demi-permanent coloring from Matrix Technical Director, Leah Sterk (@leahsterk).

“Technology in the professional hair color category is better than it’s ever been before—it’s skyrocketing, thus giving colorists and clients the perfect option based on hair’s needs,” says Sterk. “For as long as we know, demis have been a go-to, only now that category has gotten even better. Traditional demis are great and multifunctional. They provide slight lift, therefore delivering toning, gray blending, color refreshing, and color correction. Matrix, being a leader in color, noticed the huge increase in lightening services, therefore driving up the need for toners like never before. By offering two different technologies in the demi category, they are enabling colorists to create a customized tailored look for every client without having to sacrifice tone, condition or health of hair for a desired look.”

Source: Courtesy of @tanarosehair

When it comes to toning clients’ hair, Sterk recommends two different options depending on individual hair needs and desired results: alkaline or acidic. Alkaline toner will deliver slight shift, which is a great asset to a colorist whether they’re blending grays or lightener hasn't been left on long enough, for example. They can be used for lowlighting as well. Matrix SoColor Sync Alkaline Toners work best on healthy or uncolored hair and can shift the base up to half a level to create a rich, deep color. 

Source: Courtesy of @chapter21hairsalonhairsalon

Acidic toner is formulated for deposit only and geared towards clients with pre-lightened or sensitized hair; it can be used for glossing, enhancing color, and darkening. Matrix Tonal Control Acidic Toners are ideal for achieving a sheer, dimensional color. Both toners are free of ammonia and feature 100 percent oxidative dye technology with zero direct dyes that penetrate hair’s cortex for longer-lasting results.

Source: Courtesy of @amieslayton

“When we tone, we are looking for a deposit only—no shifting,” says Sterk. “My product selection is based on a few factors. The current condition and level of the client’s hair, as well as what the desired goal and tone are at the time of visit. Both brands contain pre-bonder so I know the hair is being well taken care of before, during, and after the coloring process.”

Source: Courtesy of @tanarosehair

Sterk is a big fan of Tonal Control due to its ability to tone on all levels with no lift, and her preferred application method is putting it on towel-dried hair that isn’t soaking wet. “If mixing two shades together, I always make sure I mix the color together in the bowl first before adding the developer,” Sterk says. “This allows the color to properly mix and blend together before adding the developer. Remember that due to the gentle nature of Tonal Control, no shampoo is needed after processing. Simply rinse, condition, and style. It also lasts up to 24 shampoos. So, if you shampoo twice a week, your toner will last for 12 weeks.”

Source: Courtesy of @cassidymariehair

SoColor Sync and Tonal Control are available in a wide variety of shades, offering endless options for creativity behind the chair. Sterk’s favorite SoColor Sync shades are HD-RR and HD-RV, while her favorite Tonal Control shade is 9V.

“Those SoColor Sync shades are the most luxurious I have ever used in my career, they are simply breathtaking,” Sterk says. “They deliver the punch of red you’re looking for without crossing over to overly done fashion tones that look too vibrant and fake. Their longevity is like no other and they also blend gray—I have been using them on my own hair for over 10 years and I get stopped at least once a day by someone asking me what’s on my hair. When I say it’s demi, they can’t believe it. Tonal Control 9V is the perfect balance of a cool tone with the ability to neutralize unwanted warmth in the hair without compromising the level. Many other toners that are a level 9 tend to over tone and the look of the highlights gets lost in the depth, so it looks more like an 8. This shade gives me control, tone, and level every time.”

Sterk has one final piece of advice that colorists and demi lovers need to know. “Yes, they are both demi and deliver the most stunning shades on the market today, but they should never be mixed in the same bowl,” Sterk points out. “SoColor Sync is an alkaline technology and Tonal Control is an acid technology. They both have a clear shade that can be used simply for a gloss shine service or mixed with any shade to customize the level.”

Source: Courtesy of @thejillrae

Formula: SoColor Sync 7NV and 8WN + 6N and Tonal Control 6NGA and 10P Alkaline and Acidic

Matrix is also launching several new shades in the Tonal Control range this year. Sterk loves them and can’t wait for other colorists to add them to their salon offerings. “I don’t want to give away any secrets, but get ready to get your glam on and warm it up a bit,” Sterk says. “It’s where fashion meets function.”