Do You Use Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair?

A few handy tips that will make the performance of your toner much better

Written by Kate Holmsy. Updated on Do You Use Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair

Hair toners can become a great solution if you need to cancel the yellowish tint on your mane, which appears quite often after the bleaching procedure.

However, if you have never used hair toners before, or if you preferred to delegate the process of its application to professional hair stylists when you have to do it yourself, you might start wondering: do you apply toner to wet or dry hair?

In this article, we will do our best to provide you with all the necessary answers. You will find out whether hair toners should be used on dry or wet hair, how to apply toner to hair correctly, and what you could do in order to make the product last longer and perform better on your locks!

Do You Put Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair?

Well, to say it in general, you can put toner on your hair if the tresses are dry or if the whole mane is slightly wet. To be precise, you should always use toner on hair when it’s roughly seventy percent dry (or damp hair).


That means, it should not be completely dry but also it should not be completely wet as well. Also, before you start applying your toner, note that it is not recommended to tone soaking wet hair since it may lead to unpredictable results.

There is another thing that should be taken into consideration when it comes to hair toning. There are quite many people who think they should tone their hair wet because it will aid in product distribution and ensure a good final result. This idea comes from the fact that water opens up the hair cuticles.

However, there is a huge mistake in this logic! See, it is not a good idea to tone wet hair, and the reason is very simple: there is a limit to how much liquid your hair can absorb, which is about a third of its weight.

Once your hair has absorbed all it can, nothing else can penetrate into the hair shaft!

So, if you tone your hair while the strands are still wet, the chances of the toner being absorbed efficiently are very low. And besides, under such conditions, the color results will be unpredictable.

To get an even better idea of how it’s going, we have prepared a more detailed explanation below. Read on to find out what exactly could happen to your hair should you decide to tone it wet or dry.

Do You Put Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair
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What Will Happen to Your Mane If You Put Toner On Wet Hair?

As we have already mentioned above, there are quite many people who believe they should tone their hair wet because it can help distribute the product better, as well as make sure you get a good final result.

However, the truth is that, when you tone your hair while it is still wet, the toner can become diluted, which, as you surely understand, reduces its effectiveness. Simply speaking, when you apply hair toner to your wet chevelure, it can lead to uneven results or even no color change at all!

Another thing that could happen is that the results you get after toning wet hair will not last as long as you expected. For example, you may find out that a toner that’s supposed to last for 8 weeks will only last for 2.

Another reason why toner and wet hair don’t mix well is that the toner may slide down the hair even when you are trying to apply it. This is most likely to happen if your hair is dripping wet.

Ok, some of you may say, then it might work better if I try to apply my toner on dry hair instead, right?

This idea may seem to be reasonable to a certain point since the product will not slide off the hair or get diluted since the strands have absolutely no water on them.

But even though this solution does seem more reasonable, such a procedure also has certain disadvantages and is not recommended. Below, you can learn why.

What Will Happen to Your Mane If You Put Toner On Wet Hair
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What Will Happen to Your Mane If You Put Toner On Dry Hair?

You will be surprised to find out that dry hair doesn’t pair well with toner, either. That’s because dry hair is not receptive to this kind of product. Of course, technically, you can put toner on dry hair, but it won’t allow the toner to absorb fully.

What happens if you put toner on brown hair?What happens if you put toner on brown hair?

The result of such an application may be unpredictable. For example, your toner may perform inadequately or you will get a short-lived color result. But if you have to choose between toning your hair while it’s dripping wet or fully dry, we suggest toning it dry.

So, now you know whether you can use hair toners on dry and wet hair. Also, you have learned why it is not recommended to tone your mane while it is wet or dripping wet, and what can happen if you apply toner on wet or dry locks. Like this, you will be able to avoid the most common mistakes in using hair toners now.

What Will Happen to Your Mane If You Put Toner On Dry Hair
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Apply Toner Only to Damp Strands!

If it is not allowed to use toner on wet hair but it is also not recommended to apply it to dry strands, what shall I do then, you may be wondering? Don’t worry, there is still a way out for you.

According to hair colorists, your hair should be about 70% dry before toning. At this level of dryness, the toner can easily penetrate the hair and be spread up and down the hair shaft without any trouble. That means you should tone your hair when it is damp.

There is another benefit of this application method. In comparison to very dry locks, when your hair is just a bit damp, the hair cuticles are way more receptive to the toner.

So, after rinsing the bleach out of your hair, you should dry your hair with a towel before toning it. Doing so will make sure that the toner will be adequately absorbed and last as long as expected.

However, there is one thing we want you to keep in mind!

When you are going to use a toning shampoo, make sure you apply it to the hair that is wet! Then, lather it up, and let the shampoo sit for the period of time recommended on the packaging. This is the only exceptional case where applying toner to wet hair can be considered a good idea!

How to Apply Toner to Hair?

Now you know why you shouldn’t tone your hair dry or wet, and why applying this product to damp tresses is the best way to do so. But there are several other things you should do to make sure your toning session is successful.

  • Make sure your hair is light enough for the type of toner you choose. For example, if you want to use a toner designed for blonde hair, your own locks should be lightened to at least a level 8 or 9
  • Start with 70% damp hair. If your hair has just been washed or rinsed, dry it with the towel delicately to remove the excess moisture
  • Mix up your toner according to the instructions
  • Get your toner ready. To get a permanent effect, you might want to mix the toning solution with a 20-volume developer using a 1:2 ratio. For a semi-permanent effect, mix the toner solution with a 10-volume developer using the same ratio
  • Divide your damp hair into four sections or more. Doing so will make your hair easier to work with.
  • Start applying the toner, using a tinting brush to ensure that the product is evenly applied
  • Allow the product to sit for approximately 45 minutes. You need to see that the color is changing to what you desire
  • Rinse the toner out after time’s up, using lukewarm to cool water to preserve the color result. Rinse out all the toner since the chemicals in it are not meant to be left on the hair.
  • To repair some of the damage caused by the ingredients in the toner, condition your hair afterward
  • After 24 hours allow the toner some time to set, and shampoo your hair, using a gentle shampoo so that your hair won’t fade
  • Condition or deep condition your hair after shampooing it

It can happen that you want to speed up the process of hair toning. In this case, you can do it by putting on a special processing cap. This cap will insulate the heat from your scalp and thus speed up the time needed for the product to work.

But if you decide to use a processing cap, remember to be careful if your hair is damaged! In that case, you should try your best not to overprocess your hair.

How to Apply Toner to Hair
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How to Make Your Hair Toner Last Longer?

Even if you have mixed the ingredients of your toner correctly and you apply your hair toner on your mane while it is still damp, it can still happen that the desired effect will not be as prominent as you expected.

This is why, in order to help you out, we have collected a few useful and simple tips and life hacks that will allow your toner last longer on your locks.

How to Make Your Hair Toner Last Longer
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Set Your Own Routine For Washing Hair

How often you wash your hair affects the amount of time your hair toner will last on your mane. The longer the toner’s effects last, the less frequently you wash it.

This is why after using a toner, you should wash your hair once a week. Also, remember not to wash your hair immediately after applying toner since its effects may be negated


A simple rinse with cold water will suffice during this time. Toner pigments may also be washed away by hot water. The hair toner will not fade away as quickly if you use only professional purple shampoos after the waiting period has passed.

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Skip the Very Hot Showers

A hot shower might feel nice to relax after a busy day, but it can also easily ruin your hair color! This is why when washing dyed or toned hair, it is recommended to use water that is cooler in temperature because it will help prolong the brightness of the color.

Switch Your Favorite Products

To extend your toner lifespan on your mane, you might want to consider changing your cheap and over-the-counter hair products in order to maintain your newly dyed locks.

That’s because these products often contain ingredients that remove the color from your hair! Instead, sulfate- and alcohol-free products should be preferred. They are just as effective and will help your hair retain its color.

Well, now you are aware of how to use hair toners correctly to get the best effect you ever wanted. Also, we have told you whether it is allowed to apply this product on wet hair and on dry locks. In addition, you learned why it is not recommended to use toners on hair when it’s too wet or dry.

With all this in mind, you will now be able to easily figure out how to apply hair toner on your mane to achieve the best effect, and moreover, you will be able to avoid the most common mistakes that people often make on the way to the perfect hair color.

Switch Your Favorite Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Do you shampoo before applying a toner?

Yes, it is recommended to shampoo beforehand and towel dry your hair. It will help the toner absorb better.

⭐Do you put Wella toner on wet or dry hair?

Wella toner can be put on damp hair since wet locks will not absorb the product properly. Make sure the hair is not dripping wet though!

⭐Do you put your toner on wet or dry hair after bleaching?

Ideally, it’s best to apply it when the hair is damp. Dripping locks won’t absorb the toner well enough.

Written by
Kate worked in "The Fashion Magazine" for four years as a freelance writer and loved to consult and help people with their style. How to create your own style, how to look beautiful, and select trendy colors for your hair - these are just a few of many issues Kate will happily explain in Beezzly Beauty blogs!
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Should You Tone On Wet, Towel Dry Or Dry Toning HairShould You Tone On Wet, Towel Dry Or Dry Toning Hair