Can I Tone Hair Without Bleaching First?
Have you ever wondered, “Can I tone my hair without bleaching it first?” If yes, then you are just like me!
If you are like me, you like to keep things simple. I mean, do you really NEED to bleach your hair first? The bleaching process is time consuming. Plus, it can damage your hair if not done correctly.
Can you skip a step and just use toner? Absolutely!
You can use toner to switch up the color of your hair at home. Or, you can use toner to remove brassiness without bleaching your hair first.
I recently used toner to cover up some SUPER bad roots.
Below are the steps for applying hair toner at home.
Want to Use Toner to Go Blonde?
If you want to go blonder or lighter, you will need to bleach your hair before using toner. Check out this article with step by step instructions for bleaching and toning your hair at home. I have strawberry blonde hair and used the Wella T18 toner to go ash white, so I’ve definitely bleached my hair prior to toning it plenty of times!
5 Steps: How to Use Toner without Bleaching Hair First
1. Buy Toner and Developer
Below are the products you will need to use toner at home without bleaching it first.
Products to Tone Your Hair at Home
- Applicator bottle. I use the $3 applicator bottle from Sally’s
- Wella Color Charm Toner. Wella sells toner in 8 colors. You can buy the toner from Sally’s or on Amazon.
- I use the 20 volume developer by Salon Care. Available on Amazon or at Sally’s.
What Volume Developer Should I Use?
I use the 20 volume developer. The hair developer lever refers to its oxidizing potential.
10 volume developer won’t “lift” your hair color (or lighten it). 30 volume developer is a bit strong for my taste. 20 volume developer is a happy medium.
What Color Toner Should I Use?
Wella sells a variety of toner colors. I used Wella T35 this time around. It worked well, but it’s a bit dark for my taste.
I’ve also used T18 and T27 in the past. Next time around, I’ll likely try T28 or T15.
Here’s a chart of the Wella toner colors for reference.
- Silver = T28 and T10
- Ash = T14 and T18
- Beige = T15, T11, T27, and T35
2. Go Easy on Your Hair for Two Days
Before you bleach your hair or use hair toner, go easy on your hair for two days.
- Avoid washing your hair with shampoo for a day or two.
- Don’t use a curling iron for a few days.
- Let your hair air dry versus using a blow dryer.
Why You Need to Go Gentle on Your Hair
You’ll be adding developer to your hair as part of the toning process. Developer contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong chemical.
You want your hair to be strong and your scalp to have oils on it, so give your hair and scalp a break prior to toning it.
3. Mix One Part Toner with Two Parts Developer
- Pour one bottle of the Wella Color Charm toner into the applicator bottle.
- Then fill up the toner container twice with developer.
- Add the developer to the applicator bottle.
4. Apply Toner to Hair and Wait 20 Minutes
Apply the toner to your hair. You don’t need to be super careful. Just wear gloves and don’t get it anywhere near your eyes!
Make sure to get the toner near the roots of your hair. Get the toner at the front of your face too near your forehead.
5. Wash out Toner with Conditioner
After 20 minutes, wash out the toner in the shower with warm water (not hot!) and rinse with a deepening conditioner.
Before and After Pictures of Wella T35 Toner At Home
My hair looked horrible before using toner. Look at the roots showing below!
The toner evened out my hair color and removed the orange hues and brassiness in my hair.
Hair Before Using Wella T35 Toner
Hair After Using Wella T35 Toner
Frequently Asked Questions about Using Hair Toner
Does Toner Get Rid of Brassiness?
Yes! Toner neutralizes brassy hair.
Does Toner Get Rid of Orange Hues in Hair?
Yes! Your hair may turn slightly orange or yellow a month or two after getting it colored. See the chart below for reference.
Toner will neutralize the ugly orange and yellow hues in your hair.
How Long Does Hair Toner Last?
Toner usually lasts 3-4 weeks.
Can I Use Toner on Dry Hair?
No. You should use toner on towel dried hair (so it’s slightly wet!).
Can I Use Toner Without Bleaching My Hair First?
Absolutely. I used toner on my hair this time around (see before and after pictures above) without bleaching it first.
Can I Tone My Hair at Home?
What’s the Best Color Toner?
It depends on the look that you are seeking!
If you have cool skin tones, you may want to try Wella T14 or T18.
If you have warm skin tones (think yellow or golden undertones), then you may want to try Wella T15, T11, T27, or T35.
How Long Should I Keep Toner on My Hair?
You can keep toner on your hair for up to 30 minutes. I’d recommend 20 minutes.
Should I Use a Purple Conditioner After Toner?
You don’t need to. You can rinse out the toner from your hair with any conditioner, preferably a deep conditioning treatment conditioner.
Two weeks after toning your hair, you should use a purple shampoo and conditioner to keep the brassiness at bay.
Should I Use 20 or 30 Volume Developer?
I’d recommend 20 volume developer. 30 volume developer is stronger and will lift (or lighten) your hair color by 5 shades. That’s a lot! Most women use 20 volume developer.
Want More Hair Tips?
Have fun changing up your look with your new hair color!