Skip to Content

How to Tone Hair After Bleaching in 4 Easy Steps

Toning your hair is an integral part of the hair dyeing process, especially after bleaching, as it color corrects the color of the hair. Read on to find out how to tone your hair after bleaching it, and some tips and tricks to find the best toner.

Bleaching and Toning Your Hair: A Summary

Bleaching your hair can be a time-consuming and arduous process, especially if you are trying to achieve a specific color such as platinum blonde, or even silver hair.

This is where applying a toner can help to add a hint of color to blonde strands while diminishing yellow and brassy undertones. Here’s what you’ll do.

The Short Version

  1. Rinse All the Bleach From Your Hair
  2. Remove Any Excess Water From Your Hair
  3. Apply Toner to Your Hair
  4. Rinse and Dry Your Hair and Let It Rest

How to Tone Hair After Bleaching in 4 Steps

Before you begin the toning process, ensure you have bleached your hair to the desired lightness. Otherwise, you won’t achieve the desired outcome. Always use quality bleach and follow the package directions. Do a patch test to avoid any allergic reactions or irritation.

1. Rinse All the Bleach From Your Hair

Bleach is tricky, as it can continue to develop or lighten your hair if it’s not rinsed out properly. You may think it’s best to wash the bleach out with hot water, but the hotter the water, the more it can cause hair to become brittle and break.

Bleach already causes hair to become fragile, so you will want to rinse it out with cool or lukewarm water at most. Make sure you get behind the ears and around the hairline for bleach remnants that refuse to budge.

You can also apply a quarter-sized amount of shampoo to help get rid of bleach and thoroughly wash the dirt and debris from your hair. Use a shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates but is rich in nutrients that will make your hair soak up the moisture, since bleach can be drying.

It’s important to remove as much bleach as possible during this process since any remnants of the harsh chemical can cause your hair follicles to weaken and break over time. Beyond that, lingering bleach can make your hair look dry and dull.

A few tips that may help your hair remain healthy through the bleaching process include:

  • Don’t use direct heat or hot styling tools on your hair 
  • Use a conditioning mask every so often to add back important oils to your hair
  • Avoid washing your hair every day to help build back natural oils and protectants

2. Remove Any Excess Water From Your Hair

After thoroughly removing any bleach remnants, ring your hair dry as delicately as possible. Grab an absorbent towel to pat dry any spots and wrap your hair with it. For extra dryness and frizz protection, a terry cloth towel works best.

While you want to remove any excess water from your hair, your hair should remain at least a little bit damp, although some toners will work on dry hair too. Check the package instructions on your preferred toner to see what it best works on.

Read Next: How to Plop Your Hair Using a Towel or Shirt

3. Apply Toner to Your Hair

Depending on the type of toner you decide to use, you may have to mix it with a developer or simply apply it alone directly to the hair. A good practice is to apply petroleum jelly around the ears and the hairline to prevent the mixture from bleeding and getting into your eyes.

Use an applicator brush or simply use gloves and add the toner to your hand before applying to each section of your hair. Follow the toner directions for the amount of time it needs to be left on the hair.

Rinsing it out too soon or too late may cause the color to come out too light or too dark and you’ll have to wait or use a color removing to try again.

ReadNext: How Long to Leave Toner on Brassy Hair and How to Get Vaseline Out of Hair

4. Rinse and Dry Your Hair and Let It Rest

Finally, you can rinse out the toner from your hair and towel dry it. It’s best not to use any heat on bleached and toned hair to avoid breakage and damage. For the next few days, avoid heat exposure, washing and drying your hair, and using any hair products that will cause further drying or breakage.

How Toner Works

Woman pouring purple shampoo into a glass jar for a piece on how to tone hair after bleaching


Bleached hair is often referred to in levels, depending on how light or dark the blonde color is. If you’ve started your hair journey as a brunette, redhead, or raven-haired, and tried to bleach your hair, chances are you are at a lower level.

The more bleached the hair becomes, the higher levels you can reach. However, you should always test the strands of your hair before fully committing to bleaching all the hair.

Hair toners can be used on all lightened hair. However, most toners work best on bleached hair that is above a certain level. You can check out each toner’s instructions and manuals to see what level it will work best on.

There are also ammonia-based toners that will help lift darker shades of blonde and brass. Toners work based on simple color theory. Each color on the color wheel has an opposite that counteracts it, and toners use this process to neutralize tones in the hair.

So if you have more orange tones left in your blonde hair, a blue toner will work best, whereas a purple toner works against yellow tones. There are various types of toners that work on different hair types and have conditioning properties as well as adding gloss and shine.

Some of the different types of toners for hair include:

  • Tinted shampoos specifically made to swap out your regular shampooing regimen
  • High-concentration toners that require a developer to mix in and applied to the hair as a mask
  • Color-refreshing gloss toners are available for all hair types and colors that add vibrance and shine

Read Next: How Long to Leave Bleach in Hair

Hair Toning Frequently Asked Questions

Image for a piece on toning hair after bleaching with a stylist pouring developer into a bowl


Here are some frequently asked questions about how to tone your hair after bleaching. 

How soon after bleaching can I tone my hair?

Toners are a great tool that many hair salons use, and thanks to more accessible beauty supply stores, you can use them anytime as well. Almost immediately after bleaching and rinsing, you can apply toner to your hair. If using a purple shampoo, simply use it every time you hop in the shower to refresh and reinvigorate blonde hair.

How many times should I tone my hair after I bleach it?

If using a highly concentrated toner mixture or a mask, a one-and-done application should be enough after bleaching your hair. Maintenance toners such as purple or blue shampoos can be used anytime you wash your hair. Typically, toner is safe to use on bleached hair. However, you should always use a toner based on the package directions to use it correctly.

Can I use a purple or blue dye to tone my hair?

Yes! Since a toner’s main function is to color correct the tone of your hair, you can simply use a dye to tone it as well. Mix a fraction of the color dye with a larger portion of conditioner and apply it all over the hair to create an easy-to-use, at-home toner.

How long do toners last?

Most average toners can last up to four to six weeks depending on the type of toner used and your regular hair care routine. Washing your hair frequently can cause the hair follicles to open, especially if you are washing with warm or hot water, and that can cause the toner or any type of dye to fade.

What kind of toner is best for my hair type?

The best type of toner for your hair is dependent on your level of blonde, how often you wash your hair, and whether you prefer gel or liquid. If you have a low level of blonde, you should opt for an ammonia-based toner. If you have a higher level, such as a 9 or 10, and want a toner that will aid in maintenance, a purple shampoo should do the trick.

So, How Do You Tone Hair After Bleaching?

Toners are an important step in getting the right color after bleaching your hair, so it’s a good practice to do hair strand tests to find the best fit for your hair.

After bleaching, ensure you rinse the hair thoroughly and ring it out so that it’s still damp before adding the toner of your choice. Avoid heat-styling tools and products that will further damage and cause breakage to your hair.

Toners come in various types such as gel, liquid, and shampoo for everyday maintenance, and can range in color from blue and purple to teal and green. With so many options, there is a toner for every hair type and need, so try out different brands and products to find one you like.