Let me take you back to last summer when I first took the plunge and finally went full ash blonde with my hair. Since my hair is naturally a fairly light warm blonde, achieving the ash tone I wanted involved a long trip to top Sunderland hair dressers, Frances Marshall and a fresh supply of toning haircare products to maintain the look back home.
Back then, I opted for the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver range which is the UK’s No.1 purple shampoo that can brighten your blonde hair in just one wash! I’ve been using it on and off for many years now as an affordable way to maintain the desired tone of my blonde hair, from when I first started to get a full head of highlights to last summer when I went all ash blonde. Now I’ve tried out all of these products here and used the last drops so I thought I’d share with you what I thought about them and how I maintained my cool toned look.
The salon visit full head of pre-lightener with protecting Smartbond followed by an ash blonde L’Oréal Professionnel colour and then a toner to neutralise the warmth and a second toner to tone the hair ash and I was ready to leave the salon with the cool toned locks I’d always dreamed of… but that wasn’t going to be the end of my ash blonde hair care.
Despite being a natural blonde with relatively fair hair, the ash blonde is classed as a high maintenance colour for me because my hair kicks out so much warmth. Those warm tones need to be neutralised and usually, or so I found, that meant a return trip to the salon for a second colour and tone as often it could wash up after the first salon visit. This is to be expected when you’re dealing with hair thats been bleached as the cuticles are dramatically raised, making the hair more porous so it doesn’t retain the colour that’s then applied on top very effectively. Since the second colour is completed without any bleach, the hair usually grabs onto the colour with much better results.
|My hair when I first had a full head of pre-lightener and ash blonde from my post with TSB and Pride of Britain|
Maintaining the ash blonde tone doesn’t stop with a second salon visit as a full aftercare routine is needed at home to keep the brassy, warm tones at bay which is essential when you’ve spent so long getting your hair to that hair colour.
There are countless products on the market for toning the hair while cleansing and conditioning it and PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver is one of the more well known brands at the affordable end of the spectrum. I’ve been using their products on my hair for years, quite possibly longer than I’ve actually been blogging, as even when I only had highlights, I still loved my hair to be a cooler tone.
I bought my first ever bottle of Touch Of Silver from Boots on the recommendation of countless friends and my hairdresser at the time. Over the years they’ve expanded their range which is great to see and while I’ve tried out other brands, they’re definitely one that I’m happy to go back to, especially if I’m feeling the pinch and looking for more affordable hair care.
The Touch of Silver range can be used on blonde, platinum, white or grey hair to keep it looking bright and salon fresh. A lot of products that you’ll find that neutralise the yellow or brassy tones in hair are purple in colour and Touch Of Silver is no different. That’s because it works with the colour wheel and since violent tones are on the opposite side of the spectrum to the yellow, brassy colours, they neutralise them.
While I’m very familiar with the shampoos and conditioners this time around I used the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Pre-Toning Primer which is designed for very dry, damaged or bleached hair. While I do always have L’Oreal Smartbond applied when I have my colour done, if you’re having bleach applied to your hair, its going to encounter some damage that’s for sure so even if it looks healthy, it wont be as healthy as hair that hasn’t been chemically treated.
The Pre-Toning Primer is designed to be used as part of a three step routine with the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo and the Intensive Conditioner of which it is the first initial step. Application is simple, just spritz through the hair before shampooing.
It is designed to prepare the hair for the toning treatment that the shampoo and conditioner provides by smoothing the cuticles of the hair. I do find that the other products work just as well without this step so if you don’t want to go to the extra expense then I think that you can skip this product but it does have other uses.
The Pre-Toning Primer can also be used as a leave in conditioner as the last step in your in-shower hair care routine because it has a moisturising and strengthening formula that detangles, protects and locks in intense shine. It also helps to protect against the formation of split ends from the first use. I personally see the benefit of this much more as a leave-in conditioner than as a pre-toning treatment. So my suggestion would be to try it and do whatever works for you!
The PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo and Touch Of Silver Intensive Conditioner however do exactly what they say on the bottle. The shampoo contains violet pigments that do an incredible job at neutralising brassy yellow tones in the hair and literally work from the very first wash. I would apply this as I would do any shampoo but I’d leave it on my hair for a few minutes, perhaps while doing a body scrub, before washing it out.
The bottle does say that you can leave it on for up to 5 minutes which I have tried before and the effect was a lot more intense and I had some gorgeous silver tones in my hair afterwards but the look that I usually go for is a less silvery grey and more ash blonde. While the bottle suggests 2 times a week use, this was too much for me and I’d use it on every third wash which is more like once a week or just over for me and that was more than enough to maintain my colour.
The PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Intensive Conditioner is a great follow up to the brightening shampoo because it contains restorative proteins that target dry, damaged and colour treated hair to leave it smoother and more nourished. It has a nourishing blend of anti-ageing properties, optical brighteners and a keratin complex that aims to rebuild the hair and protect its structure to make it healthier and shinier. I would leave this conditioner on for far longer than the shampoo, say for 5 to 8 minutes while I shave, and it would leave my hair soft but not weighed down once I’d washed it out. It isn’t a conditioner that is intense enough for me to use alone, I still need to use a hair mask once a week and my Smartbond treatment but it is a great every wash conditioner.
Together, these two would leave my hair looking bright, shiny and super ash blonde!
For the days when you’re not using the other shampoo and conditioner, the brand have developed the daily use PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Colour Care Shampoo to cleanse and care and the Colour Care Conditioner to moisturise and shine.
The shampoo is designed to gently cleanse the hair to keep the colour looking bright and to prevent dulling and colour build-up, ultimately protecting the look achieved with the other shampoo. It contains anti-oxidants and optical brighteners that boost shine and the formula works to safeguard your hair colour by protecting it against environmental pollution. The result is clean hair that feels renewed without any stripping feeling whatsoever.
|My ash blonde hair after the second colour and tone in an image from a Yours Clothing outfit post|
The PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Colour Care Conditioner is the perfect accompaniment to the shampoo as it moisturises the hair right to the tips which helps with damage by smoothing the texture and leaving it with a silky finish. This product also contains optical brighteners to boost the shine and vibrancy of the hair colour, further preventing dulling. After I use this conditioner, my hair feels soft and looks in great condition.
I would use the two together once a week say on every second wash, with the intense shampoo and conditioner on every third and then on the other wash and condition in my rotation, I’d use a really nourishing shampoo and my Smartbond treatment or hair mask. The cycle of one wash and condition to nourish and treat for healthy locks, one to remove the brassy tones and give me the colour I love and one to maintain that colour seems to really work for me.
While I’m very well accustomed to the shampoo and conditioner from Touch Of Silver, last summer was my first time trying out something new that I hadn’t used from them before; the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver Intensive Keratin Treatment Shots.
They come in a pack of three and can be used either as a one-off pick me up or as part of a regular hair routine. I intended to use these once a week but I found that they didn’t work well with my hair so stopped using them after the first shot.
The Intensive Keratin Treatment Shots are designed as an intensive rescue to repair damaged hair leaving it softer, smoother, straighter and easier to style. However I found that this product did the opposite to my hair and it left it feeling dry and a little brittle which wasn’t easier to style. I find that dryness is indicative of a lot of Keratin treatments so whether they just don’t work for me, I don’t know but I wouldn’t recommend the shots on the back of this. Plus using the shots is a bit of a faff on as you have to mix the solution with warm water, whereas I do prefer products that are already mixed and ready to go. However I do think that the shampoos and conditioners are great for toning ash blonde hair on a budget.
If you want to keep your locks more of a cool, ash tone then you really do need a purple/violet/silver (or whatever you want to call it!) shampoo and conditioner and if you’re on a budget or not wanting to spend a lot of money on your haircare, especially as salon visits are usually so pricey, then the PRO:VOKE Touch Of Silver range is a great option to go for.
If you’re looking to compare purple/silver shampoos and want to check out some of my other reviews, then let me point you in the direction of the following:
- Charles Worthington Colour Enhancer Violet Shampoo and Mousse
- Fudge Clean Blonde Toning Shampoo and Conditioner
- Schwarzkopf Professionnel BC Bonacure Colour Freeze Silver Shampoo
- Lee Stafford BLEAch BLondes Shampoo, Conditioner and Tone Correcting Conditioning Spray
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What are your favourite haircare products? Do you maintain the tone of your hair at home? I’d love to know what you use!