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

leaving the toner for longer

If you leave the toner on too long, three different situations can happen according to the time you leave it on and your hair’s characteristics:

  • Your hair can turn blue or violet.
  • Your hair will be saturated with pigment and will shed out the color for weeks when you wash it. On top of that, everything your hair rubs against, like towels, sheets, and clothes will be stained and ruined.
  • In the worst-case scenario, your hair will end up so damaged that you’ll need to trim several centimeters to recover it.


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He who plays with fire gets burned, and he who plays with toner leaving it too long can ruin their hair.

Pay attention because I don’t mean your hair color. Instead, I mean your hair health.


Coloring is a chemical process.

Therefore, you’ll use peroxide to do it.

  It leads me to ask you, why would you want to leave the toner on longer than instructed by the manufacturer?  


I can think of two reasons:

  1. You think that if you leave it on longer, your hair will become ashier.
  2. You have a chemist’s soul, and you think your hair is steel.


Either of these two reasons will ruin your hair.

  All toner manufacturers agree that application times should never exceed 20 minutes. 


If you exceed that time, the result will be a disaster.

  • At best, you’ll need to use certain products to remove excess toner.
  • At worst, you’ll have to cut your hair to remove the damaged parts because the toner will have burned your hair.


I don’t want to scare you or give you a heart attack.

  However, years of working as a colorist have taught me that people usually underestimate the chemical reaction of certain products.  

This mistake always takes its toll on hair.


That’s why fear paralyzes and leads to nothing.

However, information is a valuable tool that will help you avoid ruining your hair if you were thinking of leaving the toner on longer than twenty minutes.


Therefore, for you to understand the consequences of exposing your hair to toner for longer, I invite you to imagine three different stories in which you are the main character.

I hope that, in the end, you can make the right decision to rewrite your own story.

Tabla de Contenidos


Story 1 – You left toner on too long, and your hair changed color

hair turned violet purple after bad toning job

In this case, our main character didn’t have much experience in hair coloring.

However, after watching a few videos on YouTube, she thought, “If they can do it, so can I.”


Very determined, the main character bought the toner and peroxide, mixed them, and applied the bleach. Unlucky her, one of her best friends, who lives abroad, called her via Whatsapp.

She couldn’t stop talking with her friend because they hadn’t been in contact for a long time.


So, she forgot about the toner and the time.

When the call ended, her happiness was immense, but it didn’t last long.


  Suddenly, she remembered that it had already been thirty minutes since she had applied the toner.  Oh my God!

She ran to the bathroom and stuck her hair under the water, praying that nothing would go wrong.


However, the hair Gods are relentless. When she looked in the mirror, all her hair was blue because she had applied blue toner. In addition to letting the toner on too long, she had used a professional toner.

There are two types of toner on the market:

  • Professional (pure colors)
  • Home and professional use (limited pigmentation)


  If you leave a violet, blue, or green professional toner on for longer than 15 to 20 minutes, your hair will reach that color quickly.  

On the other hand, if you use a home-use toner, its pigmentation is limited. Therefore, if you exceed the recommended exposure time of twenty minutes, your hair may end up with a slight pigmentation.

We could say that these toners are “milder” or “subtler.”


Therefore, our main character was paying the consequences of two mistakes.

Not only had she left the toner on longer than recommended, but she had also used a professional toner without the slightest idea of coloring.

Was there a solution?


Yes. Our main character can use a color remover such as Color B4 or Color Oops to remove the toner.

How can you tell the professional from the home use toners to avoid making the same mistake?


Here’s what you need to know!

  • Schwarzkopf Blondme Professional Toner (professional and home use)
  • Wella Color Charm Toner (home use)
  • Pravana Chromasilk Vivids (professional use)
  • Ion Icy White Toner (professional and home use)

Now, please, no Whatsapp when applying the toner.


Story 2 – I left the toner on for twenty minutes, and my hair is still staining everything after a few days

toner saturated hair

In this case, our main character followed the manufacturer’s instructions and left the toner on her orange hair for a maximum of twenty minutes.

There was nothing left of the orange in her hair. However, as the days went by, she began to notice things that made her uneasy.


At first, her hair had lost its softness.

Although it looked the color she wanted, which was incredible ash, her hair had no shine at all.

What was worse: she had ruined the collar of her favorite white shirt by staining it blue. When she finished drying her hair, the towel was also stained blue.

Where did that blue come from?


If you’re wondering the same thing as our main character, think no more. I’ll answer: her hair is saturated with color. What does this mean?


  When you overload the hair with pigmentation, it starts to expel the excess because it can’t absorb any more.  

Did the main character let the toner on for the time indicated by the manufacturer?


Yes, and that’s where the confusion lies.

The manufacturer recommends leaving the toner on for a MAXIMUM of twenty minutes.

However, our main character’s hair was a light orange color. So, she didn’t need to let the toner sit for twenty minutes.


Five to ten minutes would’ve been enough.

The color intensity you want to neutralize is also important when it comes to toner exposure times.

In this case, is there a solution?


Yes. However, like all hair products, you should be careful.

You can use a clarifying shampoo to remove the remains of toner, creams, or chemicals.

Nevertheless, it’ll also dehydrate the hair. Therefore, you can’t use it every day. Using it up to twice a week will be enough, and you should always nourish your hair with moisturizing masks.


You can choose from several brands, such as Nexxus Clean & Pure Shampoo or Neutrogena Clarifying Shampoo.

Now let’s move on to the next story, which could be called a horror story.


Story 3 – I left the toner on longer than recommended, and my hair was ruined

cut too much

In this case, our main character faces the worst of fates because her hair has no recovery.


After applying the toner, which she left on for thirty minutes thinking that her hair would be platinum blonde, she realized that her hair was dry and frizzy. Washing and untangling it was agony.


Our main character hadn’t taken two things into account.

  • First, her hair was damaged before she applied the toner.
  • Second, by leaving it on longer, the peroxide finished ruining her hair.


  Faced with damaged, not to say burned hair, there is only one solution left: removing the damaged parts. In other words, a haircut.  


Then, it’s time to look for a haircut that suits your style:

  • If your hair is straight and long, you can ask your stylist to give you a straight cut
  • If your hair is short, you can ask your stylist to give you a bob cut
  • If your hair is curly, your stylist can cut it in a V cut to eliminate damage


What do you think of these stories?

I’m sure you don’t want to star in any of them. They only lead to one thing: weakening your hair.



Leaving toner in your hair too long can have serious consequences, such as having to cut your damaged hair.

You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding maximum exposure times. Also, take into account the color intensity you want to neutralize. For example, dark orange is neutralized with a different process than a light orange shade.

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