Can you use toner without developer? What effect does it have on your hair?

hair toning

Toner is applied with a 20 volume developer.

If you apply the toner without developer, you won’t achieve toning your hair since the color pigments won’t stick to the hair fiber. In other words, TONER WITHOUT DEVELOPER IS USELESS.


Toner is a tool used to fine-tune the shade of your hair.

Whether it’s after bleaching your hair or to revitalize the color you dyed it.


For example:

If you bleached your hair to blond and it became a baby-duck yellow, you should apply violet toner with 20 volume developer. That way you’ll be able to neutralize the yellow and achieve a perfect platinum blond.

It’s basic that you apply toner with a developer.

 If not, the toner won’t do what it needs to since it needs the chemical reaction from the developer to penetrate the hair fiber. 


Another important detail about using toner is that you need to apply it like a dye – but with one important difference.

Only let it sit on your hair for 5 to 10 minutes.

Do you know why?


Although toner is very similar to dye in the way you apply it, its composition is completely different.

The pigments in the toner are much stronger and more persistent.

That’s why you only apply toner with a 20 volume developer, and for 5 to 10 minutes. No more.


Let’s suppose that you want to turn off your yellow reflects like in the example I talked about earlier.

What would happen if you applied toner with a 20 volume developer for more than 10 minutes?

Your hair would turn violet and stay that way for months.

Do you want to go outside like that?


Another reason why you can apply toner is that you want to revitalize your color before you have to re-dye it.

In this case, the volume amount of the developer is more important than the time you leave the toner in your hair.

Why is that?


 If you apply toner with a developer of over 20 volumes, the only thing you’ll get is lighter hair. 

In this way, when the time comes to re-dye your hair, the base tone will have changed.


You’ll see that 20 volume developer doesn’t lighten your hair color, it just opens the hair cuticles so that the toner pigment can penetrate the hair fiber.

On the other hand, 30 volume developer will lighten your hair, and if you apply toner with a developer of that volume your hair can even lighten into two shades.

When you re-dye your hair, the result will be completely different.



What is toner’s function? What developer to use?

As I told you about at the very beginning of this article, always apply toner with developer.

Without a developer, toner won’t work.

But what purpose does toner have?


 Toner is a tool that hair coloring professionals use to correct colors in hair after bleaching it. 

When you apply a toner mixed with a developer on recently bleached hair, you can correct the tone of the hair.

Each hair tone has a color that turns it off or neutralizes it.

But, of course, you need to know which are which.


Here’s the list:

  • To neutralize yellow, you need to use violet toner.
  • To neutralize red, you need to use green toner.
  • To neutralize orange, you need to use blue toner.

In all of these cases, mix the toner with 20 volume developer.

Do you remember why?


The developer opens the hair fiber’s cuticles so the toner’s pigmentation can penetrate the hair.

Using toner without a developer would be like applying acrylic paints to your hair.

It would come off as soon as you wash it.


I can’t say it enough, that’s why you do always need to use 20 volume developer.

But you might be asking yourself, why only 20 volumes?


Earlier I talked to you about how 30 volume developer makes your hair lighter, which would become an absolute disaster if you’re trying to revitalize your color with a toner.

But what would happen if you used toner with a 10 volume developer?


Something even worse would happen.

10 volume developer won’t create the chemical reaction you need to completely open your hair cuticles.

This means that your hair would be only half-toned.

The color won’t completely change, nor will it stay the same tone as before.

It will stay something in the middle, pretty messy.


See? This is why I keep emphasizing only using 20 volume developer.

No more, no less.


Secrets to applying the toner correctly

Now that you know what color of toner to use and how many volumes of developer you need, I want to tell you some secrets about how to apply these so that your hair comes out exactly how you want it.

  • Unlike dye, toner can be applied to wet hair, this doesn’t affect the color.
  • You should leave the toner on for 5 to 10 minutes, no more! Like I talked about before, the concentration of pigments in the toner is much higher than in dye, so as soon as you apply it, you’ll start to notice a change of color in your hair after only a couple of minutes.
  • If your hair already took on the color you were looking to have before the 5 to 10 minutes is up, you just need to rinse your hair with room-temperature water, and that way you’ll stop the chemical reaction.
  • If you want to revitalize your hair color before re-dyeing your hair, you can apply a toner that’s in the same color range as the dye. For example, if your dye is ash-colored, you can apply a violet or blue toner.
  • You can apply toner every two weeks. This will keep your hair looking great until you re-dye it.


Keep my advice in mind when it’s time for you to apply toner to your hair.

Toner isn’t the same as dye, it doesn’t replace it, nor does it dye your hair. It only neutralizes or revitalizes tones.

It’s a very effective addition.

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