How long should a hair toner be left on highlights?

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A toner is a more transparent type of hair colour that is used to eliminate unwanted tones in hair that has been bleached or coloured improperly. For instance, bleached blondes may have unwanted brassy yellow colours or some reds have hints of orange tones.

In order to tone out the brassy colours, toners are applied to remove those unwanted colours.

Alters Hair Color

Choosing the wrong shade toner alters hair colour. For instance, if a green or blue based toner is applied to yellow blonde hair, the result ranges from a grey to green tint. Therefore, it is important to choose the toner correctly to tone out brassy tones while maintaining the overall hair colour.

Bottom Line

According to, toners should be left on hair for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Choose the appropriate colour and perform a strand test before attempting to apply the toner. Toners are not created equally and have different instructions for use. Therefore, follow the directions on the box or bottle of toner for the best results.