Do You Put Toner on Wet or Dry Hair – Read Before You Tone!

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

If you’ve ever wondered, “Do you put toner on wet or dry hair?” you aren’t alone. In fact, even many professional stylists debate this question, each with a good reason as to which of the two they prefer. So, what’s the answer to this often-posed question for toning hair? Keep reading to find out.

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Table of Contents

Do You Put Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair – Read Before You Tone!

What Is a Toner?

First and foremost, it is important to define what a toner is and why you should use it.

A toner is any product marketed to color correct or deposit pigments onto the hair. Applying a toner can be done utilizing toning shampoo, but it may also be sold in other forms.

Putting toner on hair after it has been dyed is helpful in the following ways:

  • Works to correct overly warm or brassy hues
  • Maintains color and vibrancy of colored hair
  • Strengthen the hair by filling the shaft
  • Depositing subtle color to the hair to make it appear a more natural shade
Do You Put Toner on Wet or Dry Hair

Does Toner Work Better on Wet or Dry Hair?

Whether or not toner works better on completely wet, dry, or towel dried hair is the question that many people find themselves asking. In all honesty, the answer to this question varies. Still, the consensus is that it works best on a slightly damp mane.

Can You Put Toner on Dry Hair?

Putting toner on dry hair is possible but not recommended.

When you place a good toner on hair that is bone dry, the toner will be difficult to cover the full hair shaft. Because of this, you may get shoddy results. Most toner pigments won’t fully absorb into hair that is dry. This can make it so that your toner may appear inadequate and may only last a short period of time.

Can You Put Toner on Wet Hair?

Having said this, if you choose to put toner on dripping wet hair, you run the risk of diluting the toner pigments. Hair toners work well on wet hair, but hair that is too wet won’t allow the color to absorb into the hair shaft. You may get uneven results this way or may even notice no color changes at all!

Should Your Hair Be Wet When You Tone It?

At this point, you’re probably confused. If you can’t apply toner on dry or wet hair, then what can you do? Don’t worry, we’ve got your answer!

Though we don’t recommend your hair be sopping wet when you apply toner, it should at least be damp. This is where the idea of applying toner to towel dried hair comes in.

If you towel dry your hair first, your toner reaps the benefits of being able to distribute evenly without having to fight through too much water to absorb into the hair shaft. In addition, having your hair slightly wet can yield the results you were looking for from freshly toned hair. Thus, applied toner must be on damp hair rather than wet or dry hair for best results.

Do You Put Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair – Read Before You Tone!

What Happens if You Apply Toner To Dry Hair?

Although some beauticians admit to applying toner to dry hair, we don’t recommend it. Those that have said they’ve done it say they do so because it yields bolder results.

Still, other beauticians state that they apply toner only after the hair has been towel dried. In either case, we only recommend that a professional apply toner to completely dry hair, as doing it at home isn’t likely to get you the color you’re looking for. In fact, it may make things a little worse!

What Happens if I Apply Toner on Wet Hair?

Applying toner to wet hair means that the toner may be unable to penetrate your hair shaft. Most importantly though, hair that is completely wet will dilute the toner and therefore may yield no color change at all. This will prove to be a waste of time, money, and resources.

Having said that, remember that leaving a bit of water on the hair is ideal when applying a toner. Most platinum toners, and other toners as well, will perform best on hair that is only slightly dry. Remember that after waiting the allotted amount of time that you should rinse with cold water to prevent carrying away pigments deposited from the hair dye.

Can You Tone Wet Hair?

You can tone wet hair, but take it from us, you may not get great results.

If your hair is saturated with water, it won’t be possible for the toner pigments to attach to your hair strands as you need them to. In addition, you may find the toner to become unevenly distributed which can ruin your look.

Your best bet is to simply add your toner to slightly damp hair rather than leaving hair dry or very wet. Apply toner to wet hair only when the hair is damp. The strands should never be totally saturated in water.

Why It’s Convenient to Apply Toner on “Almost” Dry Hair

Applying toner to wet yet almost dry hair allows the toner to distribute evenly. It also helps the toner penetrate the shaft for the best color correcting results. By applying your toner to hair that is totally dry or totally wet, you are negating the toner’s effects. This ultimately leads to wasting the product. Not to mention, your time as well!

How to Take Advantage of Toner’s Maximum Effects

For the maximum effect of using a toner, ensure that your hair is 70% dry. This means the hair should only be 30% wet.

Mix the toner with a developer at a 2:1 ratio (with the developer being two parts, and the toner being one part). The developer will work to open your hair cuticles to allow the toner to penetrate the shaft for the color correcting benefits you seek.

How Do You Apply Toner to Hair?

To Properly Apply Toner to Hair

  • Mix your developer and toner together at a 2:1 ratio (developer is two parts and the toner is one).
  • Using an applicator brush, work the freshly mixed solution into your hair. You should focus most on the areas with the most unwanted undertones.
  • Leave the mixture in your hair for about 45 minutes before rinsing. Afterwards, wash with a moisturizing shampoo and follow up with a deep conditioner for added nourishment.
  • Keep the color of your hair vibrate by repeating the toner process every 6-8 weeks. This is especially if you’ve gone blonde!

For Toning Hair With a Toning Shampoo

  • Wet your hair.
  • Apply the toning shampoo to your locks and work into a rich lather.
  • Rinse.
  • Note: If your hair is particularly brassy, feel free to leave the shampoo on your strands for an additional 3 minutes or so to help neutralize those undertones.

How to Tone Hair With Color-Refreshing Glosses

  • Start with freshly washed hair.
  • Squeeze a dollop of gloss into your hand (a quarter size will do).
  • Apply the gloss to your tresses from roots to tip.
  • Ensure your hair is evenly saturated. This may take up to 4-5 applications of gloss.
  • Leave the gloss on your stands for about 4 minutes before rinsing.
  • Note: Always follow the instructions on the package of any type of toner before taking the advice mentioned here. Some toners come with specific instructions that need to be followed for best results.

How Long Do I Leave Toner on My Hair?

The amount of time you need to leave the toner on your hair will depend on what kind of toner you are using. For example, if you are using a regular toner that is mixed with a developer you can expect to leave the toner on your stands for about 45 minutes.

If, however, you are using a toning shampoo, you may only need to leave the shampoo in for 3 minutes before rinsing it out. In fact, you may not have to wait at all! Some shampoos will work immediately. It will depend on the type you buy, as well as your intended results.

Lastly, if you are using a color-refreshing gloss, plan to leave the gloss on for about 3 minutes.

It is important to note that though we are specifying times to use each of these types of toners, you really should follow the directions on the package. Some types of toner may have different instructions and thus, may require you to follow a different set of directions.

Always use products as specified by the manufacturer for best results.

A Few Tips To Make Your Hair Toner Last Longer

Looking for a few good tips to make your hair toner last even longer? We’ve got you. Check out the following advice to keep your mane looking great for even longer than you’d expect!

  1. Wait on the Wash: After toning your hair, it’s best to wait 1-2 days before washing it. This allows your hair cuticles time to close back up. If you wash your hair too quickly after having toned it, it is possible that your cuticles will still be open. This means the toner could get washed away and affect the toner’s results.
  2. Avoid Heat Tools When Possible: Hair can be fragile, brittle, and dry after dying, bleaching, or toning hair. Thus, it is always best to wait a while before using heat tools. The types of heat tools you should avoid include straighteners, curling irons, and blow dryers. Try avoiding these for at least a few days (if not a few weeks) to give your hair a chance to recuperate.
  3. Step Out of the Sun: Much like using heat tools, staying out in the direct sunlight too long can put stress on your tresses. If you must be outdoors, try wrapping your head in a scarf or placing a hat on your head. This will protect your mane and its color to keep it happy and healthy after your fresh tone.

Do You Put Toner on Wet or Dry Hair After Bleaching?

This may surprise you, but some stylists strongly recommend you wait until your hair dry before adding a toner.

The reason? Because dry hair shows the results of the bleach much faster. This can help you know whether or not it is best to use a toner to correct yellow or orange tones. When hair is wet the color often appears darker. Thus, it can deceive the eye, and toning it this way may yield undesirable results.

Do You Put Toner on Wet or Dry Hair

Can You Put Toner on Wet Hair After Bleaching?

Put toner on dry (not wet) hair after bleaching. If you want the best results, don’t do it the same day. Because both bleach and toner use developer, doing it all in the same day could lead to fried, unmoisturized, and brittle hair.

Instead, apply toner to dry hair about a week after your initial bleach job. This will give your hair a bit of time to recuperate between each coloring job.

Do You Put Toner on Wet or Dry Hair?

Remember that you should you should only tone damp hair. This means you should never try to apply toner to soaking wet or dry hair that isn’t at least partially damp. By doing this, you allow the toner a chance to distribute evenly on the hair. It also allows the hair toner to penetrate the shaft easier without too much or too little water on each strand.

We hope this helps answer the question, “Do you put toner on wet or dry hair?” See you next time!


How long do you leave toner on your hair?

It will depend on the type of toner you use. If you’re using a traditional toner with a developer, you may need to leave it on for about 45 minutes. However, you should always follow the instructions on the product for the best results.

Do you put Wella toner on wet or dry hair?

Apply Wella toner to damp (not dry, but also not too wet) hair.

Do you put Virgin Snow toner on wet or dry hair?

This toner usually suggests you apply it to dry hair. As always you should follow the directions on the label of the product.

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