How Long to Leave Toner In Hair?

Use it correctly with our simple tips and life hacks

Written by Kate Holmsy. Updated on How Long to Leave Toner In Hair

Those of you who are fond of frequent hair renovations or manipulations like dyeing, etc have definitely faced the issue of your tresses becoming dull and lifeless.

This is quite normal if your mane is often exposed to various chemicals like hair dyes or bleach. This is why using a toner is often mandatory if you want your locks to be glossy and smooth.

However, when it comes to applying toner, many of us have the same question: how long do you leave toner in your hair to make it work? In this article, we will do our best to give you all the answers you might be looking for.

ou will learn how much time a hair toner should remain on your tresses in order to do its job properly, Also, we will explain how toners work and how to use them correctly to not cause damage to your locks. You will also find out what types of toners exist and why you should use this product at all.

How Long to Keep Toner In Hair?

If you want to know how long to leave a toner in your hair so that the product has enough time to work, you should keep in mind that the time frame will vary. For example, if your hair has just been lightened, it is recommended that you leave your toner on your tresses for 30 to 45 minutes.

In comparison, when toning colored hair, 5 to 20 minutes are usually more than enough in order to correct the tones and make your hair look fresh and shiny.

Another point of concern includes brassy hair. There are three degrees of brassiness – yellow, orange, and red.

Depending on which of these types is currently present in your hair, you will need to choose the right toner color. You can easily do this by picking the colors that are opposite to yellow, orange, and red on the color wheel.

In case of brassiness, you should keep the toner on brassy hair from 15 to 35 minutes. The amount of time needed usually depends on the current state of your hair, the level of brassiness, and the result you want to achieve.

Also, we want to remind you that it is essential to not overdo it! If you leave toner for too much time on your mane, you may need to go to the salon to get it fixed.

This is why, in order to make sure that you are washing your hair at the right time, we recommend you wash a small strand and see how the color has improved.

How long to leave your toner |DIY toner for brassy hairHow long to leave your toner |DIY toner for brassy hair

How Long to Leave Toner in Hair After Bleaching?

Bleaching is a very harmful procedure for our hair. This is why toning is essential as an after-bleaching treatment. However, when talking about toning the hair after applying bleach to it, we want you to note that this job is better left to the professionals! Since bleached hair is already weak, you put it at high risk if you decide to tone it at home.

Nevertheless, just for you to know, it is best if you leave the toner for about 30 to 45 minutes on bleached hair. Pay attention though that this time frame may vary! It will depend on the color of your hair, as well as the final result that you are looking for.

How Long to Leave Toner in Hair After Bleaching
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What Is Toner And How Does It Work?

If you have never used a hair toner before, you might definitely want to know what this product is and what it is used for. Also, it will be good to know how it works. Like this, you will have a better understanding of the purpose of its use.

So, hair toner is a product that helps to achieve a natural-looking hair color that is not overly warm or overly cool for the person. Toner is used as the finishing touch to hair coloring treatments mainly for blonds.

However, toners may also be used if you need to correct the overall tonality of your hair for brunettes and those with red hair too. Toner does not lift any color off of the hair. In fact, it is used either on bleached or colored hair as a sort of hair color corrector.

To describe what toners are used for, try to remember the moments when you have seen shades of blond that are way too warm and yellow, or shades of brunette that are overly brassy. We bet you understand what we are talking about! So those are the examples of the cases when toners should be used in order to improve and perfect the finished hair color.

There are also different toners for achieving different results. Peachy toners, for example, bring warmth to the hair, whereas purple toners are used to make the hair more cool-toned.

When a Toner Should Be Used?

All right, now you know what a hair toner is and what it is used for. You even know how much time you should keep it on your hair to make the product work. But when exactly should toners be used?

Toner is used after bleaching the hair in order to neutralize any unwanted undertones. See, all hair colors (except for very light blonde shades) have warm pigments in them.

These pigments can be either red or orange. In the majority of the cases, bleach is not able to lift these pigments, especially when you are doing your best to not leave it on your tresses for too long. Since, as we all know, bleach is very harmful to our hair!

However, these precautionary measures are exactly what leads to your hair having those unwanted warm undertones after the hair lightening session! If this happens, toner becomes handy. When applied to the hair before coloring it, this product helps you to get the desired result on your locks.

Toners can also be used right after your hair is colored. If the result is not satisfying, the toner of the right shade is applied to bring the hair to a proper state. If you decide to dye your hair at a professional hair salon, you will see that the colorist applies toner to the hair to give it the glossy and “polished” look you can often see on hair dye boxes and fashion magazines covers.

Toners can typically be applied all over the hair, from roots to the ends of the strands. As an option, this product may be applied in certain areas of your mane specifically in order to create a hair color that looks very natural.

When a Toner Should Be Used
AntonLozovoy via VistaCreate

What Types Of Hair Toners Exist?

Just like with any other type of hair care product, toners come in a wide variety of alternative options. And it is important to be aware of what each of those is about. Like this, you will understand way better what kind of hair toner you might need if you decide to have your hair bleached one day, for example!

So all hair toners that you can find on the market today can be divided into three groups. Below, you will find a more detailed description of each of them.

What Types Of Hair Toners Exist
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Permanent Toners

Permanent toners are a good choice for those of you who are looking for a long-lasting result. These toners are used when it is needed to completely remove the previous hair color and create a sort of “blank canvas” for the new color that is going to be applied.

However, since permanent toners need to be carefully chosen, it is recommended to refer to a hair professional for the application of them.

Permanent Toners
bodnarphoto via VistaCreate

Demi-Permanent Toners

Demi-permanent toners are ammonia-based. This type of hair toner is able to last for around 20 to 24 washes in general. Apparently, it makes a demi-permanent hair toner a good option for those who don’t have time to revisit a salon often enough.

These toners are more powerful than semi-permanent toners as well. In comparison, a semi-permanent toner has a lasting power of up to twelve washes. Also, you need to note that, if you apply a demi-permanent hair toner, the color will fade gradually every time you wash your hair.

Demi-Permanent Toners
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Semi-Permanent Toners

As for the semi-permanent toners, their distinctive feature is that they deposit color and don’t go into the hair shaft. So if you don’t want to have any unfortunate and unexpected experiences with hair toners, we would suggest you keep in mind that there are two major types of hair toning products.

One type is to only be used at salons, and another type of toning product is the one that you can use at home.

What is the difference, you may be wondering? See, toning products that are designed for at-home use (such as purple or blue shampoo or conditioner) are an efficient way of maintaining the right shade of your hair color in between your visits to the hair salon.

Unlike this type of toner, those that are used in professional hair salons are much stronger and more powerful, as well as more pigmented! So if you use those at home without the proper guidance of a professional stylist or colorist, you will likely end up with not quite the effect you are expecting.

With all this in mind, you will now be able to figure out more clearly what type of one you should opt for, depending on what effect you want to see on your hair. And of course, if you are still hesitant, you should make an appointment in a local hair salon and ask a professional hair colorist to have this job done for you!

Can Toner Damage My Hair?

This is quite a frequent question that is asked. Is it possible that a hair toner causes any damage to the tresses? You should know that toners are not damaging to the hair so long as they are ammonia-free and are mixed with a developer that is not too strong. Semi-permanent toners, for example, simply deposit color and don’t go into the hair shaft.

However, if you plan on using a toner that contains ammonia, we recommend you make sure that you give your hair some time after bleaching it. If you apply ammonia-based toners on hair that has been recently bleached, it may damage it.

Also, note that it is recommended to use a toning shampoo after the pre-lightening session. It is not damaging but still, it will be able to correct the unwanted undertones.

Can Toner Damage My Hair
serezniy via VistaCreate

How Do I Maintain Toned Hair?

It is not enough to just apply a hair toner to your mane to upkeep the perfect color. Toned hair also needs proper maintenance and care! Luckily, the maintenance rules are pretty simple to follow.

Once you have toned your hair, it is important to know how to maintain it in good shape. This way, you don’t need to repeat the procedure too often.

  1. Use hair care products that don’t contain harsh ingredients and won’t strip the color quickly.
  2. Don’t stay in the sun for too long.
  3. Don’t stay in chlorinated water for too long.
  4. Minimize the usage of hot styling tools. When using, make sure to protect your hair with heat-protecting products.
How Do I Maintain Toned Hair
IgorVetushko via VistaCreate

So, now you know all the necessary information that you may find useful for yourself regarding the use of hair toners. Now you know what this product is, how it is used and what its purpose is. Also, since you have been told about the types of toners, it will be easier for you to figure out which one exactly you might need in your particular case.
And since we told you how to maintain toned hair and gave some handy recommendations about this product application, you can be sure that using a toner will not cause any harm to your tresses.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Does toner damage hair?

No, usually hair toners are hair-friendly since they contain no ammonia. But there are toners that contain ammonia, so read the ingredients list carefully!

⭐Is toner bad for your hair?

Normally it is not. If your toner contains no ammonia, then it won’t cause any damage to the tresses.

⭐Will using a professional toner give better results?

Professional toners should be used by professional colorists only! These products are more potent than home-used ones, so they must be used with great care.

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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