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How Long To Leave Toner On Your Yellow Hair?

Just had your hair bleached a few days ago, and it has now taken on a cringe-y yellowish shade? Yikes. Don’t worry—it’s nothing a good toning session can’t fix.

While toning may seem simple, you need to answer this question to do it right—how long to leave the toner on yellow hair?

Well, we have the answer below, along with everything you need to know about toning yellow hair.

How Long to Leave Toner on Your Yellow Hair?

To neutralize yellow tones in your hair, you should leave the toner on for 10 to 20 minutes. The duration may vary depending on your current hair color and your target hair color.

As a rule of thumb, the darker your current hair color, the longer you should leave the toner on (i.e., 15 to 20 minutes if it’s dark yellow and 5 to 10 minutes for pale yellow).

To accurately determine how long to leave the toner on your yellow hair, it’s highly recommended that you do a strand test.

Can I Tone My Hair Twice?

To do this, apply the toner on a thin strand of your hair and time how long it takes for the strand to reach your target hair color. After that, you can apply toner to the rest of your hair following the amount of time you’ve determined using the strand test.

What Happens if You Leave the Toner on for Too Long?

What Happens if You Leave the Toner on for Too Long?

If the hair is left on for longer than it needs to, your hair might absorb the pigments in the toner and will end up taking on the toner’s color.  

Because of this, it’s essential to monitor your hair color during the toning process and follow these guidelines:

  • When it no longer has any yellow tinges, rinse the toner out immediately.
  • Even if your hair is still yellow after 20 minutes, wash your hair immediately.

Everything You Need to Know About Using Toner on Yellow Hair

To ensure that the toning process will go successfully and smoothly, here are some things you need to pay attention to:

Toner Color

Since it’s located on the opposite side of yellow in the color wheel, purple is the best toner color for neutralizing yellow tones on hair.

Toner Type

Things Know About Using Toner on Yellow Hair

When choosing a toner type, you must consider maintenance and ease of use.

Toners are categorized into 3 different types, and these are as follows:

  • Semi-Permanent Toners (Toning shampoos and conditioners) take only 1 to 3 minutes to apply and last for 12 washes.
  • Demi- Permanent Toners (Hair Gloss) take only 5 to 15 minutes to apply and last for up to 24 washes.
  • Permanent Toners (Hair Dyes) take the longest to apply and deliver the longest-lasting results—up to months.


How often you should tone your hair depends on the toner type you use. Here are the guidelines to follow:

  • Toning shampoos: once a week
  • Hair Gloss: every 4 to 6 weeks
  • Permanent Toners: every 6 to 8 weeks

Related Topics:

How to Remove Yellow Tones from Blonde Hair Safely?

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if your hair is still a bit yellow after toning?

If the hair remains yellow after toning, it may indicate that there are still traces of bleach left in your hair. To solve this, rinse your hair well and reapply the toner after two days. 

Does toner damage hair?

Ammonia-free hair toners won’t cause any damage to your hair. However, you need to be careful in using ammonia-based toners. Applying this type of toner on recently bleached hair may cause hair damage, so give your hair time to rest before doing so.   

So, How Long to Leave Toner on Your Yellow Hair?

You should leave the toner on the yellow hair for only 10 to 20 minutes. Then, to prevent the hair from taking on a darker shade or absorbing the toner’s pigments, rinse the toner when:

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Claudia Riordan

Claudia, a hairstylist and senior editor at hairdohairstyle.com, has been featured in Elle and Vogue. With years in hairstyling and color, she's your go-to for hair advice and trends.