Toner or hair dye after bleaching? A hairdresser helps you choose the best option for your hair

neutralize unwanted tones

  • What will determine whether you should use a hair dye or toner after bleaching your hair is the tone or bleach level you achieve during the process. Also, the color you want your hair to be.
  • It’s impossible to bleach very dark hair only once to reach a very light blonde such as blonde 9 or blonde 10. Instead, your hair will be yellow or orange. In that case, you can use a toner to remove the orange or yellow shades until the following bleaching.
  • If you achieve the light shade you wanted, you can apply a permanent hair dye. It’ll neutralize the bright colors and give you the tone you were looking for.


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Choosing toner or hair dye after bleaching will largely depend on what color you want to dye your hair.

Also, whether the color you want is an intermediate step to another color or the final color you wanted to achieve.

It sounds like a tongue twister, but I’ll give you an example to make it easier for you to understand.


before applying to hair

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  • If your hair is dark brown 3, it’ll be at a  dark blonde 6 after bleaching.

Then, you can apply a permanent hair dye like a blonde 7 or light blonde 8 if you want a permanent color.

Alternatively, you can apply a blue toner to neutralize the orange. It’ll give your hair a beautiful ashy color. It’s one of the most requested ones in salons.


As the toner fades with washes, you can also apply it to make your color even after bleaching. You’ll look neat until the next bleach if that’s what you’re looking for.

Let’s see another example.


  • Let’s say your hair was a light brown 5 and, after bleaching, it turned light blonde 8.

In this case, you can also choose between applying a toner or a hair dye on your bleached hair. It all depends on your goals.


As regards toners, you could choose Wella T18 to turn your hair light ash blonde. It could also be Wella T10 to give your hair a light silver blonde.

However, remember that either of these options will give you a temporary solution because the toner fades with washes.


If you’re looking for a permanent option, you can color your bleached hair with a permanent very light blonde 9 or extra light blonde 10.

Do you understand the difference?


As the toner fades with washes, it allows you to:

  • First, change toner color in the future if you get bored or don’t like the color you initially chose.
  • Second, it allows you to bleach your hair in the future to achieve lighter shades.


So, my answer to whether you should choose a toner or a hair dye after bleaching   is that it’ll depend on whether you have reached the level you wanted and if you want to get an intermediate or final shade. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at each of these alternatives.

Tabla de Contenidos


Apply toner if you didn’t reach the bleach level you wanted. Alternatively, if you reached it, but want to tone orange or yellowish shades

toner, developer, bowl and brush

Toner is widely used in salons after bleaching because it neutralizes unwanted colors that may arise. Yes, you guessed it.

That ugly yellow or orange shade gives your hair a careless look.


Now, toner is applied with a 20-volume developer and fades with washes.

Therefore, if you start from very dark hair, you’re looking at several bleaching sessions. In turn, each session will give you temporary color. And that will take you to different bleaching levels.


For example, if your hair is black 1 and you want to go to extra light blonde 10, you won’t be able to do it in one bleaching session.

Instead, you’ll reach different bleaching levels. After each one, you’ll need to apply a toner to neutralize any unwanted colors that may arise.

Do you know the neutralization chart?


It’ll show you the colors that can neutralize those unwanted shades.

  • GREEN NEUTRALIZES RED (iridescent)


 So, whenever you bleach your hair and any of these bright colors appear, you can neutralize them by applying a toner. 

The toner fades with washes. So, after a few weeks, you can bleach your hair again.


I recommend that you allow at least three weeks between each bleaching session.

In the meantime, the toner will be your salvation. While you wait to reach the final bleaching level, you’ll be able to wear an even color.


Some of the most commonly used toners include:

  • Wella Blondor Toner
  • Pravana Chromasilk
  • Schwarzkopf Blondeme
  • Wella Color Charm


Now let’s see what the options are if you already reached the level you wanted.


If you bleached your hair and it’s less than two levels far from your desired color, you can apply a hair dye


Again, your bleach level comes into play.

If you have a color in mind, you’ll need to get as close as possible by bleaching to apply the hair dye.


For example, if your hair is dark brown 3:

  • If you want to apply a light blonde 8, you need a minimum bleach level of 6.
  • If you want to apply a blonde 7, you need a minimum bleaching level of 5


Alternatively, if your hair is light brown 5:

  • If you want to apply a very light blonde 9, you need a minimum level of 7.
  • If you want to apply a light blonde 8, you need a minimum level of 6


 That’s why before bleaching your hair, you have to decide what color you want to wear. That way, you’ll know what bleaching level you need to reach, i.e. how many bleaching sessions you need. 

This is what hairdressers call, “gradual and planned change of look.


Regarding hair color brands, you can choose the one you trust the most.

Just to name a few, brands like L’Oreal, Garnier, Wella, and Revlon have wide color palettes for you to choose from.



If you don’t achieve the desired color after bleaching your hair, don’t be discouraged.

Your hair sets the rules. Usually, it doesn’t lighten enough for you to apply the color you wanted.

However, if you did reach the desired level, you can use a hair dye afterward.

In the meantime, you can apply a toner to remove unwanted color until the next bleaching session.

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