When should I tone my hair, before or after coloring?

  • Toner is always the LAST STEP in any coloring process. It’s done after coloring or after bleaching the hair.


  • If you bleached your hair, a toner should be applied IMMEDIATELY. It’ll be done both if you used a hair dye after bleaching or just lightened your hair a few shades.
  • Now, if you only dyed your hair, you should WAIT FOR AT LEAST THREE WASHES to apply the toner. That way, the color will settle in the hair fiber, and you’ll be able to identify the unwanted tones you want to neutralize.


after bleaching

The toner in a coloring process is like the icing on the cake. It’s the finishing touch to any coloring process.

Therefore,   apply it after bleaching and after coloring the hair. .


In the case of bleaching, it’s always applied immediately. At the salon, I apply the toner to all my clients right after bleaching.



Because, usually, unwanted tones appear after bleaching the hair.

Toner application is a must to remove them.  It is very difficult to keep the color achieved after bleaching. .


  • For example, your hair will be yellow after bleaching. You must apply a violet toner to remove the yellow and bring out the platinum if that’s the color you’re looking for.
  • The same will be true if you’re looking for a light ash brown 5.1. The toner should be applied right after the hair dye to deepen the ashy undertone of the hair dye.


 As you can see, toner is always applied as a color corrector at the end of the coloring process.  However, there’s something you should keep in mind.

If you color your hair and unwanted tones appear, you shouldn’t apply the toner immediately.

Do you want to know why?


Then, read on because I’ll tell you:

  • Why should toner be applied immediately after bleaching your hair?
  • Why should you wait a few days to tone colored hair?

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Why should toner be applied immediately after bleaching your hair?

neutralize unwanted tones

I’m sure that the color you get after bleaching is far from what you really want. Why?


 Let’s say that the hair fiber is like an onion. When you bleach it, the layers lose the darker pigments gradually until they reach the yellow color. .

That’s why, for example, in dark brown hair, the hair fiber goes through different shades with each bleaching. It goes from reddish, through orange, to yellow.


At that point, when you have reached the maximum bleaching level you want, you have to decide whether to neutralize the unwanted tones:


  • Apply a hair dye after bleaching the hair, and see if its pigments are enough to remove the unwanted tones. If it doesn’t neutralize them, you should use a toner.

neutralize green hair

For example, imagine you bleached your hair and want to go platinum blonde 10.1. If you apply the hair dye directly, you probably don’t need to apply a toner.

That hair dye already contains pigments that neutralize the orange tones.


The same happens if you bleached your hair to a blonde 7. The hair dye will cover any unwanted tones.

But,  as all hair is not the same, nor is the hair history within it, the unwanted tones may not disappear.  In that case, you should apply a toner to remove them.


  • Apply toner after rinsing the bleach mixture.

toning orange hair

If you don’t want to apply a hair dye after bleaching, you should apply a toner to neutralize the unwanted colors.

You should apply it immediately after you rinse the bleaching mixture. The toner has an instant effect.

 You should keep two things in mind: the color of the toner to apply and the exposure times. .


  • If you want to neutralize yellow tones, you should apply a violet toner after bleaching.
  • If you want to remove orange tones, the toner should be blue.
  • If the unwanted tones are red, the toner should be green.


Also, you’ll need to carefully control the exposure times of the toner. If you leave it on for longer than necessary, you may end up with green, purple, or blue hair, depending on the toner you applied.

Now, what if you haven’t bleached but colored your hair, and some unwanted tones appeared? That’s what I’ll talk about next.


Why should you wait a few days to tone dyed hair?

from yellow to ash hair color

Coloring is almost a secret science. When you buy a hair dye kit, and you look at the model’s photo, you fall in love with the color. Yes, they’re usually wonderful. However, there’s one small detail to consider.


 Your hair history is totally different from the model’s hair history. 

Therefore, the color that looks wonderful on her may mean unwanted tones for you.

What’s the catch?


Usually, those photos are modified. Besides, most hair dyes show possible results starting from natural hair.

Have you dyed your hair and got too bright a color? Does it have yellowish or orange tones?


First, keep calm.

Unbelievably, after rinsing out the hair dye, the pigments keep working in the hair. They need a few days to settle. (Here’s why the hair dye lightens as the days go by).

Can I apply a toner to remove unwanted tones?


Yes, but not immediately.

You should wait for at least three washes after coloring your hair to apply the toner.


If the unwanted tones are too bright, (you look at your hair under natural light and the unwanted tones are definitely there)  you could apply the toner after rinsing out the hair dye as a last resource. .


But  you should apply it with a 10-volume developer to minimize your hair damage. .

Don’t forget that you used a hair dye with a 20-volume developer. So, the cuticles of your hair fiber are still open. You don’t need to generate a big chemical reaction for the toner pigments to penetrate your hair.


Also, if you apply the toner using a 10-volume developer, the hair dye color won’t change. Instead, the unwanted tones will be neutralized. Remember that the 20-volume developer has lightening power, but you don’t want to lighten your hair. Instead, you want to get rid of the unwanted tones that have arisen after coloring.



Toner should always be applied at the end of any coloring process because it’s a color corrector.

If you bleached your hair, you should always apply a toner to remove unwanted tones. In some cases, it’ll even be necessary to use after coloring.

Instead, if you colored your hair, you should wait for three washes before applying the toner. That way, the pigments will settle better in the hair fiber. If you can’t wait, apply toner using a 10-volume developer to avoid altering the hair dye color or damaging your hair fiber.

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