Is hair toner supposed to burn? Of course not woman!! Do this right now

woman with gray highlights clutches her head in fear

  • No, hair toner should not burn.
  • If your scalp burns when you apply toner, your scalp may be irritated. Therefore, you should rinse it immediately with cold water.
  • If your scalp continues to burn after you apply toner, I recommend you rinse your hair again with plenty of cold water. That will soothe the irritation or burning and remove any toner residue that may burn your scalp.


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To be clear,  when you apply the toner you should feel neither burning nor irritation. 


If you feel burning, irritation, itching, or even inflammation, you should rinse the toner immediately with cold water to remove it completely from your hair and scalp.

Because if you don’t, you may even injure your scalp.

I also recommend you wash your hair as much as possible with a special shampoo for sensitive scalps.

shampoo for sensitive or irritated scalp

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The most you should feel when you apply hair toner is a little more heat on your head or scalp.

Because after all, the toner generates a chemical reaction in your hair since you apply it with developer. And every chemical reaction generates heat. But that should be it.


Why can hair toner cause your scalp to burn?

neutralize unwanted tones

I can think of two reasons:

  • If you felt the toner burning when you applied it,  it could be that your scalp was previously injured or irritated. 


You may have scratched your scalp and caused a small injury. Then, when you applied the toner to that small wound, you felt a burning sensation. The same thing would happen if you disinfected a small wound on your arm or leg with alcohol. It will obviously burn.


If your scalp was irritated or sore before the toner was applied, when the toner comes in contact with the wound, you will feel burning, because the toner contains peroxide.

Also, if you’ve bleached your hair before applying the toner, your scalp may be more sensitive because it has already gone through a chemical process. So when the toner comes in contact with the sensitive scalp, you may feel burning and even unbearable itching.


  • If you felt the toner burning when you applied it,  it may be that you are allergic to some of the components. 

In that case, I advise you to perform a toner tolerance test before applying the toner again. I’ll tell you how to do this later on.


Regardless of the reasons why the hair toner has caused burning on your scalp,  my recommendation is always to rinse it immediately with cold water. 

Also, to alleviate the burning, you can apply cold gel packs and wear your hair loose. This way, you will avoid any tightness in the scalp that a tight hairdo can cause.

Most importantly, wait three to four days before reapplying the toner. And obviously, before doing so, do a tolerance test. Here’s how to do that.


Tolerance assessment or toner allergy test

toner tolerance test

You should perform this tolerance test on the skin on the inner side of your elbow. That’s the skin that’s most similar to the skin on the scalp.

  • In a small plastic container, place a small amount of developer and toner.
  • Mix them well.
  • Stretch out your arm, and with a brush or some non-metallic item, apply the mixture to the inside of your elbow.
  • Leave the mixture for twenty minutes and rinse it with cold water.
  •  If you feel any burning before 20 minutes is up , rinse the toner off immediately.
  • I recommend that even if you don’t feel any discomfort, wait 48 hours before you apply the toner to your hair. If you are allergic to the toner, you may start to feel some discomfort several hours later.


If you felt burning during the test, you may be allergic to one or more of the components of the toner. In this case, you will not be able to use this product.

If you wanted to use the toner to remove some harsh colors from your hair, try using a toning shampoo. Toning shampoos don’t contain peroxide or ammonia, so they’re unlikely to cause any discomfort or allergic reactions.



Hair toner should not burn when you apply it. If you feel any discomfort, burning, or irritation, you should immediately rinse the toner out with plenty of cold water.

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