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Can You Put Toner On Wet Hair?

Can You Put Toner On Wet Hair?

Several years ago, I decided to go blonde, and that would not be a big problem if my natural hair color isn’t black. 

Anyhow, you can imagine how messy that transition was. I needed to bleach my hair, and of course, I experienced brassy yellowish hair with a hay texture.

I was slightly depressed since I needed to color my hair every three weeks to get rid of those nasty undertones. My hair was in bad, horrible shape, and I knew I had to do something before completely ruining my strands.

I decided to try out toning my hair since everyone told me how light toners neutralize yellow and orange tones after bleaching. And oh boy, were they right! But because I am not so experienced in hair coloring, I had a dilemma – can you put toner on wet hair, or it has to be dry?

Do you want to know in detail how my toner adventure went?

Then keep reading and find out.

So Applying Toner On Wet Or Dry Hair?

Hair Color Wheel

Toners can come in a few different varieties, such as sprays, dyes, drops, and masks. To make one thing clear first toners only make small changes and subtly correct your current hair color.

The point of using a toner is to remove unwanted undertones without using strong hair dyes that can harm your hair strands if used too often.

In my case, blue toner helps me cancel that horrible yellowish undertone that appeared when I used bleach to go blonde. In the color wheel, you can see which toner to use to neutralize the unwanted shade; for example, purple toner will mask the orange tones, and blue will neutralize yellow.

There are a lot of different brands, and you can choose among them depending on how deep your pocket is, but remember you will get what you pay for, so choose carefully. Since my hair looked dull and miserable after bleaching and frequent coloring, I decided it is best to invest in some high-quality hair toner.

After the first toning, I was deeply disappointed, but I decided to give it one more chance. Of course, I had ups and downs when using toner since I was not so sure how to use it, so I experimented a bit and applied it first on wet than on dry hair.

Let’s see how that went.

What Will Happen When You Apply Toner On Wet Hair?

  • I am always very cautious when I use new products, especially when it comes to hair products. I always make sure I read instructions thoroughly, but this time there were no specific instructions; the manufacturer did not state if the toner should be applied on wet or dry hair.
  • So I decided to wash my hair since I was sure that it would help me open up my cuticles so they will absorb the toner better. I was dumb thinking that wet hair strand would be a better solution.
  • So after I finished washing my hair, I lightly dried it with a towel and decided that it was time to apply the toner. But things didn’t go as well I thought it would. My hair was a complete mess. There were yellowish strands, golden strands, ash strands; almost all possible yellow shades appeared on my head! But why did that happen?
  • First, I did not wait for the expected product exposure time. The second thing is that toner is a semi-permanent color that works differently when applied to wet hair. It is very easy to go wrong when your hair is wet since it is not the same color as it is when it’s dry, so eventually, you risk leaving toner longer on your hair than recommended.

Why Is It Better To Apply Toner On Almost Dry Hair?

  • After that fiasco with wet hair and toner, I decided to try once more on almost dry hair. I did a bit of research on the internet, and almost all girls said they use it on 70% dry hair. I waited two weeks before I gave it another shot to let my hair recover from the first time.
  • Since it was recommended to apply it on almost dry hair, I decided to wash my hair with shampoo then dried it with a towel until it was almost completely dry before applying the toner.
  • Now let’s talk about how long you will need to leave the toner on.
  • That depends on how much you want and need to neutralize your hair strands. If you are almost near the blond shade you desired, you only need to leave the toner on for about 2 or 3 minutes and no longer. 
  • For hair that is full of brassy hair, strands leave the toner for at least 5 minutes or as long as the manufacturer stated in the instructions.
  • After the recommended time has passed, rinse the toner out and apply the conditioner to nourish your toned hair. Never use shampoo on your hair after using toner since it can harm the new color! It can strip the pigment with ease!
  • Toner is a great product, and it can be an excellent ally for blondes when it is used correctly. We know all hair products come with certain instructions; there are always some secrets that will help you get the best out of it.

Related Read: How To Get Rid Of Brassy Hair Without Toner? Quick Fixes

How To Use Toner Correctly And Get The Maximum Out Of It?

Can I Put Toner On Wet Hair

I already said how there are a lot of different toners available on the market nowadays. Some are cheap, and some are insanely expensive. However, they all do the same job; the only difference is how good the end results are after use.

Still, there are some golden rules when it comes to applying hair toner, no matter which brand you choose. Here they are:

  • You must always apply toner on 70% dry hair so neither completely dry nor completely wet.
  • After the exposure time has passed, rinse your hair with plenty of water and apply your regular conditioner to nourish the hair strands.
  • Never use shampoo after toning because you run the risk of striping the toner pigments.
  • Try to rinse your hair with cold water, or as cold as you can stand since hot water can also damage the toner pigments.
  • When it comes to washing your hair after toning, wait for at least three days and always use a sulfate-free shampoo.
  • To extend the effect of toning the hair, use a purple shampoo or conditioner once a week.
  • Of course, read the instruction since not all toners work the same. Some will need to be left on hair longer than others, like gel toners that usually need at least 30 minutes to work. Anyhow if it Is not stated how long to leave it in, then never leave it more than three to five minutes on your hair since you will end up completely lilac.

Related Read: Can You Tone Your Hair Twice? How Many Times Can You Use Toner?


So to conclude, you should always use toner on almost dry hair if it is not stated differently by the manufacturer’s instruction.

Your hair is like a sponge, and it won’t be able to absorb the toner entirely if it is full of water. If you apply it on wet hair and in some magical way, it gives you the desired result; you must know that the color will fade away quickly.

Make a habit of reading manufacturers’ recommendations before using any product for the first time. Or even better, if you are in doubt, do not use the toner on your own, don’t risk disaster, and head out to your hair salon and do the first toning there. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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