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How to Apply Hair Toner After Bleaching: Step-by-Step Guide

Hair toners remove undertones in bleached hair to achieve the desired hair color. The process of using a toner after bleaching is straightforward but must be done right for the best results.

Bleaching your hair is a great way to achieve a lighter shade, but it often leaves yellow or brassy undertones. Hair toner can fix that issue. Applying a toner after bleaching can neutralize the unwanted colors.

In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to apply hair toner after bleaching to achieve the perfect shade you desire.

How to Apply Hair Toner After Bleaching

How to Apply Hair Toner After Bleaching

Mix the toner with the developer as per the instructions in the package. Wear disposable gloves and use an applicator to apply the toner on damp hair, starting with the bottom parts.

Let the hair process for 20-45 minutes before rinsing it with warm water. Follow with a moisturizing or purple conditioner, and rinse and style your hair as desired.

Below are the detailed steps for applying hair toner on bleached hair.

  1. After completing the bleaching process, wash the hair with shampoo to get rid of any excess bleach. However, do not condition the hair yet.
  2. Pat the hair with a soft towel to get rid of excess water. Do not dry the hair completely. Rather, leave it damp. A bit of wetness enables even distribution of the toner. However, you do not want the hair to be too wet, as the toner will drip on your skin and clothes.
  3. Wear plastic or latex gloves. Most toners stain hands and nails, and it can take several days for the stains to clear up. You may also want to wear an old T-shirt or apron to protect your clothes from staining.
  4. Mix the toner with the developer. Follow the instructions provided in the product packaging. Most manufacturers recommend mixing one part of toner with two parts of the developer. The amount to mix depends on the length of your hair, whether you are toning the entire hair strands or edges only, and your hair volume. If you have long, thick hair, mix the entire bottle of toner. Half of the bottle may be enough for shorter hair or edges only.
  5. Divide the hair into 3-5 parts and apply the toner mixture. Apply the toner one section at a time, beginning with the bottom-most part. Use an applicator brush to apply the toner from the root to the tip. Apply a generous amount on each part and ensure that the hair strands are fully covered. Let down the hair with toner and move on to the next part until you apply the toner on the entire head. If you want to tone the highlights or edges, apply the toner to the appropriate parts.
  6. If you have any leftover toner mixture, scrunch it with your hands and apply it on the hair, massaging it into the hair strands.
  7. Leave the toner on the hair for 20-45 minutes. The appropriate amount of time to let the hair process depends on the extent of the undertones and how much you want to lighten it. Do not leave the toner on the hair for too long, as it can damage or lighten the bleached hair color too much.
  8. Thoroughly rinse out the toner. Run lukewarm water over the hair to wash out the toner. Do not wash bleached hair with hot water. The heat causes the hair cuticles to open up, resulting in the color washing out. Also, do not wash out the toner with shampoo, as it may interfere with the final color of the hair. Once well rinsed, apply a moisturizing conditioner and then rinse.
  9. Style your hair as desired. You may go on to straighten the hair by blow drying or flat ironing. It is recommendable to use a heat protectant when straightening bleached and toned hair to prevent it from getting damaged.

Tips for Applying Hair Toner After Bleaching Hair

Here are some tips for applying hair toner that’ll help you achieve better results.

  • Apply the toner immediately after bleaching the hair. Although you can tone your hair at any point after bleaching, it is best to tone it immediately after bleaching—after washing the bleach off. Toning immediately removes the undertones and prevents the hair from changing color further.
  • You may have to tone your bleached hair more than once to achieve your desired hair color. You can do another toning cycle after a few days to remove any residual undertones. For instance, if you want to achieve a silver blonde color, your hair may turn greenish or yellowish after the first few toning cycles before it eventually lightens to silver blonde.
  • Once you have achieved your desired hair color, reapply the toner after one month to maintain the color. Or, use a milder toner such as purple or blue shampoo/conditioner in the subsequent washes.
  • Use ammonia-based toner for blonde hair. It is the most effective toner for blonde hair compared to demi-toners. However, expert stylists recommend waiting a few days after bleaching hair before applying an ammonia-based toner, as it damages your hair. Carefully adhere to the manufacturer’s mixing instructions. Typically, one part of ammonia-based toner is mixed with 20 parts of the developer.
  • It is best to have a hair stylist apply the toner on your hair, particularly for the first cycle. In most cases, the first cycle is done immediately after a bleaching session. Although the toner application process is not complicated, applying bleach is, and you may want to have both procedures done by an expert. The hair stylist will also be able to determine the best toner to use depending on the color of your hair and the extent of the undertones.

How to Care for Bleached and Toned Hair

How to Care for Bleached and Toned Hair

Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. A sulfate-free shampoo prevents the toner from fading too soon, resulting in undertones.

You may use purple shampoo to further tone the hair without lighting it too much. Only use the purple shampoo once a week.

Do not leave it on the hair for more than 10 minutes, as it can leave your hair looking dull. Follow up the wash cycle with a moisturizing conditioner to keep your hair hydrated.

Apply hair gloss on the hair once a month. The hair gloss helps keep the cuticles closed, ensuring that the color does not fade too quickly. It also gives your hair a shiny finish.

Rinse your hair with clean water and apply a conditioner before entering a pool. The clean water saturates the hair strands minimizing the amount of chlorinated water your hair absorbs. After swimming, wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.

Applying hair toner after bleaching ensures you achieve your desired hair color. Unless you use ammonia-based toner, the hair toner should be applied immediately after bleaching— after washing out the bleach with shampoo but before applying conditioner. The toner should be left on the hair for 20-45 minutes to process before being washed out.

You may have to apply multiple cycles of toner over the next weeks to achieve your desired hair color. Even when you achieve it, it is essential to use blue or purple shampoo weekly or biweekly or to reapply the toner after one month, to retain the bleached hair color for longer.

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