Should You Apply Toner To Wet Or Dry Hair?

Pro tips on toning your hair the right way and reap its optimum benefits.

Reviewed by Ghanima Abdullah, Cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah Ghanima AbdullahCosmetologist facebook_icontwitter_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years

You just got your hair freshly colored, and it looks exquisite. But you know that the color will fade and turn brassy over time. Hence, you make a smart move and buy a hair toner. However, you find yourself wondering if you can apply toner on dry hair. Sounds familiar?

A hair toner eliminates those frustrating orange and brassy yellow hues on colored hair. It also stops any discoloration on bleached hair. Toners also shield your hair strands from damage and regulate the hair porosity level. One frequent question about toners is whether you should use them on dry or wet hair. Keep reading to know everything you need to know about hair toners and their usage.

protip_icon Did You Know?
There are different types of toners, such as glosses, demi-permanent colors, tinted shampoos, and conditioners containing pigments that can adjust the tone of your hair.

Should I Apply Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair?

Damp hair is useful for hair toner application
Image: Shutterstock

Your hair has to be a little damp or towel dried while applying a toner. To be precise, you should always use a hair toner when your hair is 70% dry.

You will achieve better results if you put toner on damp hair and not dripping wet or completely dry hair. Damp hair is more porous, which helps distribute the toner effectively and enables it to work effectively.

What Happens If I Apply Toner On Wet Hair?

Image: Shutterstock

Wet hair may dilute the toner and affect the longevity of the toner and its color. There is a good reason why it is recommended to use toner always on towel-dried hair. It all comes down to the color of your hair when it is wet and dry.

For example, if your hair is blonde, you may find it bright yellow when wet. On the other hand, the blonde may seem neutral or ashy when your hair is dry. If you apply toner on wet blonde hair, you may overcompensate for the color, and the result may seem flat or ashy.

You need to follow some steps to maintain the effect of toner on your locks. Here’s what you need to know.

How Long Does A Hair Toner Last?

Image: Shutterstock

Typically, the effects of a hair toner can last between two to six weeks. However, it also depends on your hair type and hair condition. If your hair is colored or bleached, it may be able to hold the toner for a lesser period than virgin hair.

Here are some tips to help you maintain your toner for a long time.

Tips For Long-Lasting Toning Effects

Image: Shutterstock
  • Hair Wash Routine

The longevity of your hair toner depends on how often you wash your hair. The less frequently you wash it, the longer the effects of the toner. The ideal routine is to wash your hair once a week after using a toner.

  • Shampoos

Do not use shampoos right after applying toner to your hair. It might nullify the effects of the toner before it has successfully penetrated your hair. It is recommended to wait for at least 48-72 hours before using a shampoo.

Rinsing your hair with cold water during this time will do just fine. Also, avoid hot water as it may wash away the toner pigments. Even after the waiting period, use only professional purple shampoos to prevent the hair toner from fading away soon.

Note: Do not leave the purple shampoo in your hair for more than three to five minutes. If you need to cleanse   your hair more than once a week, try a dry shampoo.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Purple toning products are suitable for blondes as violet cancels out the yellow tones and brassiness, while blue toning products are formulated for brunettes as blues cancels out orange tones.
  • Summer Care

Exposure to direct sunlight can damage your freshly toned hair. After toning your hair, ensure to cover it with a hat or scarf while stepping out. Limit your time spent in swimming pools and under direct sunlight at all costs.

  • Hair Styling

The frequent use of heat tools to style your hair can weaken the effects of your toner. Avoid subjecting your hair to styling techniques that require high heat and excessive strain. You can keep your hair nourished and protected by applying argan, coconut, almond, and grapeseed oils.

Note: Choosing the right hair products is important for maintaining healthy locks, especially when you are trying to correct color mistakes and damage done by hair dyes. It is also important to consider your hair length when selecting products and treatments. If you have very long hair, a small bottle of toner may not be sufficient to correct your hair color.

Infographic: Tips To Make Hair Toner Last Longer

Hair toners help remove excess brassiness from your hair and leave them looking smooth and lustrous. However, you must be diligent in taking care of your toned hair. Because the longevity of the toning effect depends on your hair care routine. While you can follow the tips discussed in the article, the infographic below summarizes the must-follow tips to make your hair toner last longer. Scroll down and take a look.

tips to make hair toner last longer (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

A hair toner removes that excess brassiness from your hair and makes it look shiny and smooth. However, putting toner on dry hair is not recommended as it causes an uneven deposit of toner. Hence, your hair must be towel-dried or a little damp to apply toner. Also, applying any hair treatment on wet hair may dilute it and affect its longevity and also can penetrate the strands more deeply. So, to get long-lasting toning effects, wash your hair less frequently, do not use shampoo right after applying toner, and avoid frequent use of heat styling tools to style your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you put toner on dry hair?

If you put toner on dry hair, it will not spread evenly over the hair shaft, making your hair look dull and dark.

How long do you leave toner on dry hair?

It depends on your hair color and desired results. For example, the toner can work in 10 minutes if you have light hair. However, it may take up to 30 minutes for darker hair.

What happens if you leave toner on for too long?

When left for too long, toners can strip away your hair’s natural pigment and nourishment, making it dull, lifeless, and with unwanted shades of blue or green.

Key Takeaways

  • Hair toners manage hair discoloration and minimize hair damage.
  • Applying a toner when your hair is 70% dry ensures maximum distribution.
  • Applying toner on wet hair may dilute its effect and longevity.
  • Depending on the hair type, the effect of the toner can last from two to six weeks.

Learn how to apply toner to your hair to get a beautiful, vibrant color! Check out this video for easy steps to get a salon-quality look at home.

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