How long to leave the toner on yellow hair? Between 10 and 20 minutes

using purple toner on bleached yellow hair

  • You should leave the toner on your yellow hair for 10 to 20 minutes. I’ll tell you later why.
  • Also, after ten minutes, you have to check closely how your yellow hair reacts to the toner.
  • If you exceed the twenty minutes or the time your hair needs for the toner to neutralize the yellow, it could end up purple.


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What happens if you leave the toner on too long? Either one of these 3 things


I hate this kind of question! Do you know why?

Because they can only result in approximate answers.

What do I mean?


If you ask me what toner you should apply to your yellow hair, I’ll tell you to apply Wella’s T18 confidently.

But if you ask me  how long to leave the toner on your yellow hair,  my answer will depend on a lot of things.



Because you probably bleached your hair.

I can’t know the intensity of yellow in your hair or the state of your mane.

 Those are important issues to know how long you should leave the toner on your yellow hair. 


If your hair is dark yellow, you may have to leave the toner on for fifteen minutes. But if it’s a pale yellow, ten minutes would be enough.


But at the same time,  if your hair is seriously damaged and dehydrated after bleaching, it’ll absorb the toner faster. Therefore, it’ll get rid of the yellow faster too. 


However, don’t be discouraged.

Toner is the most effective tool for removing yellow from your hair.

You just need to be careful with the exposure times.


So, whether you’re about to apply the toner or have not yet prepared it, stay with me. Today, I’ll help you know how long to leave it on.

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Toner should be left on yellow hair for 10 to 20 minutes

from yellow to ash

Before we talk about time, I want you to know that  the toner has an immediate effect. Almost from the first minute you apply it to your hair, it’ll start to neutralize the yellow.

When will you start to notice the color change?


Approximately 7 to 10 minutes after application.

And from that moment on, you should watch your hair very carefully minute by minute.


 The moment you notice that your hair isn’t yellow anymore, you can rinse the toner out even if it hasn’t been twenty minutes which is the maximum time. 


If the unwanted yellow has disappeared from your hair after eight minutes, you can rinse it out and don’t have to wait for 20 minutes.

But, if it’s been 20 minutes, and your hair is still yellow, you should rinse the toner out immediately.


You can change color from one second to the next.



Your hair has been bleached, which is a chemical process. Therefore, its structure has been modified by removing pigments, which also cause damage to the hair fiber.

You’re now applying another chemical process to that bleached hair, which is toning. Why is it a chemical process?


Because the toner is mixed with peroxide to generate a chemical reaction to remove the yellow unwanted tones.

  • So,  if the toner didn’t neutralize the yellow after 20 minutes, your hair cannot absorb new products. 
  • Bleached hair is dehydrated and absorbs the toner pigmentation fast. If you leave it longer, your hair will end up purple.
  • If you notice that the yellow is gone after fifteen minutes, you should rinse the toner out immediately.


Is there any other way to know how long to leave the toner on yellow hair?

Yes, and I reveal it to you below.


To know how long to leave the toner on your yellow hair, do the strand test

determine how long to leave toner on orange hair

It’s foolproof and will tell you exactly how long it’ll take for the toner to remove the yellow tones from your hair.

It’s a simple process carried out in salons to check if a hair fiber will resist bleaching. Also, to know what color your hair will be after coloring.


Here’s the step-by-step.

  • Comb all your hair and gather it into a ponytail leaving only one strand loose, preferably at the back.
  • Prepare enough toner to apply to the strand.
  • Apply that small amount of toner to the strand you separated from root to tip and turn on your timer.
  • Watch your strand and  stop the timer when it reached the color you’re looking for. 
  • Rinse and dry your strand.

How long did the timer display?


That is the exact time you should leave the toner to your yellow hair. Therefore, you can apply the toner to the rest of your hair respecting the same time of the strand test.

But remember that if your strand hasn’t changed color after 20 minutes, your hair needs moisturizing before applying the toner.


In this case, I recommend that you start with a moisturizing treatment with masks or coconut oil twice a week for fifteen days. Then, do the strand test again.

Surely, if your hair is repaired, the strand test will tell you how long to leave the toner on your yellow hair.



If you want to be absolutely sure how long to leave the toner on your yellow hair, it is best to do the strand test beforehand.

But remember that you should never leave the toner on your yellow hair for more than twenty minutes, even if your hair is still yellow after that time.

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