Do You Put Toner on Wet or Dry Hair?

It’s a question that has plagued hair stylists and consumers for years: do you put toner on wet or dry hair?

Well, the answer may surprise you. In fact, there are a few things to consider before deciding how to tone your locks.

Read on to learn more about toner application methods and find out which one is best for you.

Can you put toner on wet hair?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Some people believe that you should put toner on wet hair in order to ensure better color results, while others believe that it is not a good idea because the hair cuticles are already open and the toner will not be absorbed as well.

So can you tone wet hair? In fact, you should not apply toner to wet hair. Toner should be used on hair that is approximately 70% dry (or damp hair).

Some believe they should tone their hair wet in order to distribute the product and achieve a successful conclusion, but this isn’t true.

Because water opens up the hair cuticles, it is thought that water can help distribute product better and ensure a good finish.

Nothing else can get into the hair shaft once your hair has absorbed all it can.

So, if you tone your hair while wet, the toner being effectively absorbed is unlikely, and the color results will be unpredictable.

What happens if you apply toner on wet hair?

When toner is applied to wet hair, it may become diluted, which reduces its effectiveness. This implies that applying toner to damp hair will yield unpredictable outcomes or no color development at all.

Another thing that could happen is that the effects of toning won’t last as long as you had anticipated.

Some customers claim that a toner supposed to last for 8 weeks lasts only 2 weeks.

tone wet hair

Another reason why toner and wet hair don’t mix is that the toner might slide down the hair as you try to apply it.

This is most likely to occur if your hair is drenched wet. Toner should not be used on wet, dripping locks.

However, if you’re in a bind and absolutely need to tone your wet hair, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of success:

  • Use less toner. Since the hair will absorb more product than usual, use half of the amount of toner you would normally use.
  • Make sure to apply the toner evenly to the hair.
  • Follow up with a color sealant. If you’re worried about the longevity of your color, consider using a color sealant after you’ve applied the toner. This will help lock in the color and prevent it from fading too quickly.

Should you put toner on dry hair?

Can you tone dry hair? Yes, but once again the best way to apply toner is on damp hair (not completely dry). This allows the toner to penetrate the hair shaft and gives you the most even and long-lasting results.

put toner on wet hair

When applying toner on dry hair, make sure that your hair is clean and free of any products.

You can either towel dry your hair or let it air dry. If you have time, it’s best to let your hair air dry a bit before applying the toner.

Start by putting on gloves and combing through your hair to detangle it. Then, using a bowl and brush or bottle, apply the toner evenly from root to tip.

Make sure that all of your hair is saturated with the toner.

Once you’ve applied the toner, leave it on for the recommended amount of time. This is usually anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Timing will depend on the type of toner you’re using as well as your desired results.

After the recommended amount of time has passed, rinse your hair with cool water until the water runs clear.

You may need to shampoo your hair once or twice to remove any residue. Follow up with conditioner and style as usual.

There you have it! Now you know how to tone your hair correctly.

Remember, the best way to apply toner is on damp hair. This allows for even and long-lasting results.

And if you have any questions about toner application, be sure to consult with a professional hair stylist.

tone hair before and after

When to tone your hair?

How often you tone your hair will depend on the type of toner you use as well as your hair goals.

For example, if you use a semi-permanent or demi-permanent toner, you’ll need to touch up your hair more often than if you use a permanent toner.

Permanent toners typically last anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, while semi-permanent and demi-permanent toners will only last 4 to 6 weeks.

This is because permanent toners deposit color into the hair, while semi-permanent and demi-permanent toners only coat the hair shaft.

If you’re using a toner to correct an unwanted color, you’ll need to touch up your hair more often.

This is because the old color will start to show through as it fades. Touching up your hair every 4 to 6 weeks should help you maintain your desired color.

toner wet hair

If you use a toner to enhance your natural color or add brightness, you can touch up your hair less often.

For example, if you have blonde hair and use a purple toner to counteract any brassiness, you can tone your hair every 6 to 8 weeks.

This will help you maintain your desired color and prevent your hair from becoming too dry.

How to make toner last longer?

There are a few things you can do to make toner last longer in your hair.

First, invest in a good quality shampoo and conditioner that’s specifically designed for colored hair. These products will help extend the life of your color and prevent fading.

You should also avoid washing your hair too often as this can strip away the color.

Washing your hair 2 to 3 times a week should be sufficient. When you do wash your hair, use lukewarm water instead of hot water as this can also cause color fading.

It’s also important to protect your hair from the sun.

This means wearing a hat or scarf when you’re outdoors for an extended period of time. UV rays can cause color fading, so it’s best to take precautions to prevent this.

toning dry hair

Finally, make sure that you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates are harsh cleaning agents that can strip away color. Look for shampoos that are labeled “sulfate-free” or “for colored hair.”

Toning your hair is a great way to enhance or correct your color. When done correctly, toner can give you the exact results you’re looking for.

Just make sure to follow the instructions on the product and take good care of your colored hair to extend the life of your color.

Do You Apply Toner to Wet or Dry Hair – FAQ

Should you apply Wella toner on wet or dry hair?

Apply your Wella Toner to damp, towel-dried hair. This will aid the toner in not “grabbing” at select strands of your hair. Which can cause some areas to be more toned than others.

Can you put toner on wet hair after bleaching?

It’s best not to tone wet hair. When your hair is just slightly damp, the cuticle layer of your hair is more receptive to the toner than dry hair would be. So, before applying a color treatment, towel dry your hair after rinsing out the bleach.

Do you wash your hair before toner?

Before applying toner, you should not wash your hair with shampoo or conditioner. If you put toner on your just-washed hair, it can irritate your scalp and cause damage.

Furthermore, the conditioning components in the conditioner might disrupt the toner’s adhesion. You may use a pH-balanced shampoo if you must wash your hair prior to applying toner.

When can I use toner after bleaching my hair?

After bleaching, use toner as soon as possible. Toner works best on hair that has already been bleached since it will lighten or darken strands that are already in the shade you desire. Washing your hair with shampoo after bleaching is necessary to remove the chemical.

Can you tone your hair too often?

Toning your hair too often can cause damage, so it’s best to use toner sparingly. If you tone your hair more than once a month, you may notice that your hair becomes brittle and breaks easily.

Furthermore, using toner too often can change the color of your hair permanently. If you want to avoid damaging your hair, use a leave-in conditioner or treatment instead of toner.


Toners should be used on dry hair to achieve the most even and long-lasting results.

Toners are available in both permanent and temporary varieties, and the amount of time they should be left on varies depending on the type of toner being used.

After the recommended amount of time has passed, the toner can be rinsed off with cool water until the water runs clear. Shampooing and conditioning the hair after using toner is recommended.

To make toner last longer, use a good quality shampoo and conditioner for colored hair, wash the hair 2-3 times per week, avoid hot water, protect the hair from sun exposure, and use a sulfate-free shampoo.

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Allyson Carter

Ally is a professional hairstylist with more than 6 years of experience, but hair has been her passion since early childhood. Here, at Hair Spies, she blogs about all things hairdressing, hair tools, and everyday hair care. Read more about Allyson here.

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