Do you put toner on wet or dry hair

By: | Last Updated: June 20, 2022

So you’ve decided to bleach your hair at home, and so far, everything is going well. You just need to tone your hair to achieve your perfect blonde hue.

But the problem is that you’re unsure how to apply the toner properly. You’ve heard some of your friends say to use it on wet hair, while others prefer it on dry hair.

So is it better to put toner on wet or dry hair? It’s an overlooked detail, but how you apply toner can make or break your final blonde result.

Read more to find out how to apply a hair toner properly.

What is hair toner?

What is hair toner

Hair toner is for correcting brassy undertones after bleaching or dyeing your hair. 

Through color theory, you cancel out the unwanted hues by depositing their opposite color on the color wheel.

For instance, use a purple toner if you want your blonde hair to look less yellow. If you’re going to reduce red under pigments, choose a green toner. Lastly, you’ll need to use a blue toner to get rid of orange shades.

To make your hair color look more natural, the key is to use the correct toner. So how should you use one?

Can you put toner on wet hair after bleaching?

Once you’ve rinsed the bleach from your hair, the only step missing to getting your most coveted blonde hair is to tone it.

But since hair is still wet, you’re not sure whether you should apply it now or wait for it to dry.

So, should you apply toner on wet or dry hair after bleaching?

To get the best results, it’s recommended to apply toner to damp hair, preferably when it’s 70% dry.

Applying toner on dripping wet hair will dilute its formula, so you won’t get the maximum effects of how it should look like.

Unless you’re using a toning shampoo, where you use it on wet hair to activate the formula, it’s best to apply toner on damp or slightly wet hair.

But if you’re using a toner that requires a developer, make sure to towel dry or air dry your hair a bit before applying.

What happens if you put toner on wet hair?

As mentioned above, applying toner on saturated ends won’t get the same results as on damp hair.

Since most toners contain semi- or demi-permanent hair color, applying them to wet hair will weaken the pigments you need to get rid of the brassy undertones.

Wet hair will also look darker than damp hair, so you’ll have a hard time determining when you’ve achieved your target shade. So you usually end up soaking your hair longer than you’re supposed to.

Lastly, wetting your hair will also alter the pH levels of your strands. This will open up more hair cuticles, risking the product sinking deeper into your hair cortex. So if you’re not careful, you could end up over-toning your hair.


What happens if I put toner on dry hair?

What happens if I put toner on dry hair

Applying toner to dry hair is a big no-no. Since your hair cuticles are not open, the toner will have difficulty absorbing into your strands. So the toner won’t last as long as it’s easier to wash out.

Besides, spreading it on dry hair is more difficult than on damp strands, so you might end up with splotchy results.

If your hair is highly porous, damaged strands will absorb the toner faster than the healthier parts, resulting in an uneven tone.

To combat this, you’ll need to dampen your hair to even out its porosity so it can absorb the toner equally.


Do I apply Wella toner on wet or dry hair?

Wella is a popular hair care brand known for its ColorCharm Permanent Liquid Toner line. 

So if you haven’t tried using their toner, their instructions suggest applying it to towel-dried hair for even application.

But out of curiosity, can you put T18 toner on wet hair? 

Yes, you can, but the end result won’t look as good as when applied to damp hair. As discussed above, using toner on wet hair will dilute the strength of its formula, so your hair won’t be as toned as it’s supposed to be.

In turn, you’ll need to do more toning sessions, damaging your hair in the long run.

How do you apply toner after bleaching?

How do you apply toner after bleaching

For natural-looking blonde hair, it’s essential not to skip the step of toning your hair. 

To do it properly, get a toner that matches your hair’s color level. If you’re aiming to get a platinum blonde, make sure to bleach your hair gradually until it gets to level 8.

Also, identify what under pigment you want to correct so you can get the appropriate toner color to neutralize it. Depending on your base color, yellow, orange, or red are the usual hues to come out after bleaching your hair.

To start, mix 1 part toner to 2 parts 10 or 20 volume developer using a non-metallic bowl. Apply the mixture to damp or towel-dried hair until it’s well saturated. To ensure the product is evenly distributed, you can use a comb to rake through your hair.

Let the toner sit for 30-45 minutes, but check it every 5 minutes to avoid over toning your hair.

Once you’re satisfied with the color, rinse your hair and apply a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

The bottom line

Toning your hair shouldn’t be as complicated as you think. But if done incorrectly, the process can end up doing more harm to your hair.

It’s often overlooked, but applying toner to damp hair will make a big difference in how your bleached hair will turn out. So if you thought you would save more product by using it on wet hair, you could end up with frayed ends instead.

Applying toner on dry hair won’t be any better as it won’t absorb the product as well, leaving you with uneven-toned hair.

So it’s important to do your research, read the manufacturer’s instructions, and ask professionals for advice if you’re unsure how to do the process.

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