How long should you leave toner in your hair? From 20 to 30 minutes

from yellow to ash

  • In general, toner should be in the hair for 20 to 30 minutes. The exact time varies according to the toner brand and type, and the results you want to achieve.
  • If you’re using a homemade toner, such as Wella Color Charm, you can leave it on for up to 30 minutes.
  • If you’re going to use a professional toner, the maximum exposure time is 20 minutes.
  • I’ll tell you how long to leave it according to your color level.



YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: What happens if you leave the toner on too long? Either one of these 3 things


When it comes to toner, I always give my clients the same advice, “Don’t buy any toner.”


Even though you can get it on the web, many toners are for professional use.

It means that their pigments are stronger and therefore,  you’ll have to carefully control the exposure time. 

What happens if you don’t?


Your hair can go from a light blonde to violet in a matter of minutes. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, your hair won’t stay purple forever. Then, you’ll have to use clarifying shampoos to remove the purple pigments and wash your hair more often.

Eventually, after seven days, you’ll hate everything about toner.


Yes, toner is a fantastic tool to neutralize unwanted colors like oranges or yellows in your hair.

However, you must use them correctly and strictly respect the time you leave them on your hair.


I can guarantee that if you leave the toner on for four or five minutes longer than necessary, unwanted shades will appear in your hair.

So, let’s start with the most important thing.

Tabla de Contenidos


What’s the difference between professional and home-use toners?

toning dyed hair with box dye

Toners for home use have a pre-formulated color such as platinum blonde (T10) or ash blonde (T18).

They work on bleached hair without changing the hair color.  Therefore, they can be left on the hair for up to 30 minutes. 


Toners for professional use, in turn, are pure pigments that represent the neutralization wheel. The wheel describes the colors to apply to remove unwanted shades.

If you apply a professional toner to remove yellow, you should not leave it on for more than 20 minutes. Otherwise, your hair will turn purple or blue.


 You should also take into account the color of the hair on which you’re going to apply the toner. 


Toning a very light blonde 9 with violet isn’t the same as toning light brown with blue.

The lighter your hair is, the less time you have to let the toner act. The time is even shorter when using professional toners.

Don’t worry. I’ll give you all the details to avoid making mistakes.


How long to leave the homemade and professional toner on according to your hair color

Violet toner exposure times for light blonde 8, very light blonde 9, and extra light blonde 10

match roots with the rest of the hair

I can imagine how you feel. It must be awful to have bleached your hair to get to the blonde you wanted but to notice that it’s not neat. It’s closer to the color of a chick than what you dreamed of.

Don’t worry. The toner will remove that unwanted shade.


First, you have to follow the rules of neutralization. In this case, since your hair is yellow, you should use a purple toner.

 Light blonde 8, very light blonde 9, and extra light blonde 10 have yellow as their main pigmentation. The higher your color level, the paler the yellow will be. 

So, let’s see the times of the home and professional toner:

    • Wella Color Charm T10 or T28 should be on for up to 30 minutes.
    • Color Brilliance Ion Icy White Ultra Violet should be left on for 30 minutes.
    • Schwarzkopf Blondme T-Ice -Irise should be left in your hair for only 20 minutes.
    • Pravana Chroma Silk Violet should be left on your hair for only 20 minutes.


Blue toner exposure times on light brown 5, dark blond 6, and blonde 7 hair

hairdresser applied a dye too dark

In this case, you should use a blue toner because you probably want to remove orange colors.

You should control the toner exposure times according to the intensity of the orange.


Let’s say your hair is dark orange and that you bought a professional toner. You know that it should be on your hair for up to 20 minutes.  It means that 20 minutes are the maximum exposure time. 


So, if you apply the toner on your dark orange hair and you notice that the orange disappeared after 15 minutes, you should rinse your hair.

Often, the hair porosity can make the toner act faster. That’s why manufacturers talk about maximum times.

The same applies to toners for home use: we always talk about maximum times.


Let’s look at the toners and their exposure times:

    • Wella Color Charm T14 and T18 should be left on for up to 30 minutes.
    • Color Brilliance Ion Icy White should be left on for 30 minutes.
    • Schwarzkopf Blondme Steel Blue should be left on for up to 20 minutes.
    • Pravana Chroma Silk Ash Blue should be left on for a maximum of 20 minutes.


Green toner exposure times on dark brown 3 and brown 4 hair

takes several bleaching sessions

In this case, you should use a green toner because your hair is dark and its main pigmentation is red.

Why are black 1 and brown 2 not included?


As their pigmentation is black, which has no opposite color, those shades cannot be toned.

Therefore, they aren’t neutralized.

Green toner is quite difficult to get, especially if you’re looking for a home use toner.

Therefore, I recommend choosing Pravana Chromasilk Ash Green, which you should leave on your hair for a maximum of 20 minutes.


If you can’t get the green toner, you can always use a green depositing shampoo like Matrix or Celeb Luxury Viral, which will neutralize the reds in just two applications.



Before toning your hair, you need to decide whether you’ll use a toner for professional or home use. The exposure times will depend on it.

Check your hair’s reaction to the toner minute by minute. Manufacturers always describe maximum application times.

If your hair absorbs the toner pigments quickly because it has a high porosity, the toner will act faster.

Deja Tu Comentario