In Britain, women bleaching their hair once had negative connotations; such a woman might be thought of as a “tart”. Today, though, no one thinks such things, and a dyed or bleached hairdo raises no eyebrows. Now, coloring hair (whether temporary, with a colorfast spray or by harsher, more involved processes using ammonia or peroxide) becomes a matter of personal taste. Finding where one can buy hair toner in the UK boils down to just how colorfast one wants his/her hair and how much money one wants to spend doing it.

Hair Coloring History

There are many reasons why someone would want to alter his/her hair color. Highlights can make a natural blond “perkier”. And for many, the simple process of getting older literally takes the life out of one’s “crowning glory”, rendering it the silver or gray hue better known as the true sign of being among the elderly.

In the past women (and men) often changed their hair color to appear more youthful or more affluent. Dyes were normally derived from plant stems, berries, or leaves (as in henna, resulting in a popular, reddish, colorfast dye) and other substances occurring in nature. Chemicals were later developed (some with a lye base) that stripped the shaft of all its pigment allowing it to “take on” the newly desired shade more readily. These, however, were very rough on the scalp; without proper use many found their hair “fried”, melted in a sense and easily pulled out by the handful. Gentler bases were created to cut back on the harm to the hair.

Once upon a time getting a “permanent” (a style designed to stay set for several weeks) and a color job meant a trip to a chic shop or a neighborhood hairdresser (for the budget minded). Later, the products used for dyeing and to fix the color (and getting a conditioner to maintain it) became available not just from beauty supply stores but in one’s local supermarket as well. And many of today’s more transient toners can be applied as a shampoo that can be washed out the next day.

Inexpensive Colors vs. Longer-Lasting Ones

These days more people merely like the options available for changing their looks around. For the Brit who perhaps just wants to put an orange stripe down his/her head (to show support of a local sports team, perhaps) or yellow highlights to “punk up” a hairdo, or even going stark white, a cheap solution can be found either at the shop of the local chemist (in the US these are called “drug stores” or “pharmacies”) or the neighborhood grocer’s. And for casual use these over-the-counter products work just fine.

To get the best coloring, one that might look less artificial, though, requires stepping up to higher-grade brands. Professional grades usually cost more, but they are usually easier on the skin. They also may require more steps to apply and a greater time investment at home to get the look wanted. But, they last longer and appear more normal once finished.

Whether going for the less-costly toner or one of the more high-end ones it pays to read a review or two about them. That way, if a consumer reported a bad experience (or a good one) the buyer can make an informed decision before purchasing a particular thing. [And Amazon is a great website for having customer feedback posted.]

Where to Find Coloring Products

Locating any hair care items (whether quality materials or short-term colorations) for sale anywhere in the British Isles is merely a matter, again, of deciding what is wanted and how much one wants to spend.

Perhaps one of the more visible pharmacy chains is Boots UK, with locations scattered throughout England and Scotland. Almost any kind of hair processing material can be found in their stores. [This chain also carries its renowned “No. 7” line of skin care products, favorably rated elsewhere in the world as well as in Great Britain.]

Another good place is the discount outlet, Superdrug. This chain stocks a goodly supply of these items, and offers free delivery of online orders greater than £10 (UK only). For more professional grade materials, Sally Beauty Holdings (a boutique-style retailer founded in the US but with almost 250 outlets in the UK, servicing both the professional stylist and the general public) has an extensive line, though a bit more costly than what one might find in a neighborhood salon.

For those with a recent dye job but seeking a more “brassy” look (with illuminated highlights) a need to neutralize left-over natural color may be in order. Matrix (founded in the US in 1980) makes an easy-to-use shampoo called “So Silver” that does just that—highlights without stripping. This inexpensive wash is available in many retail outlets globally and can also be found online.

Choosing a tone for one’s coif is a personal decision, obviously, but with some thought and minimal research anyone can find a great look.