Does Toner Damage Hair?

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Is your hair looking dull? Do you want to amp it up? There are many ways to do that. One of them is to use a toner for your hair. Toners negate unwanted tones, giving the desired shades room to shine. Many have gotten great results. What’s stopping you from doing it as well?

Like many others, you might be asking “is toner bad for your hair?” Does Toner Damage Hair?

Well, the answer will depend on how you use it, how often you use it, and what type of hair toner you use.

We’ll explain all of those in detail below.


What Is A Hair Toner?

Red Hair Toner

Before we can determine if toner is really bad for your hair. We first have to go over what a hair toner is.

Toner is a general term that is used for products that alter the tone of one’s hair.

Toners are available in different colors. These colors will cancel out the color in your hair that you don’t want to show.

It’s a bit counter-intuitive, we know. But this can help your hair to look more vibrant.

With the use of a color wheel, hair technicians (and ambitious DIYers) can identify the right shade of toner to use to cancel out unwanted tones.

Let’s say your hair is bleached and you’d like to be ashy blonde. Toner can be used after bleaching to help remove the yellowish tones on your hair. For that example, a purple-colored toner would be used.

The purple color cancels out the yellow color to achieve a better-looking blonde shade. 

Hair toners are different from hair dyes because they don’t completely change your hair color. They could change the hair’s undertone. This helps reduce the unwanted brassy red tones for shinier- and healthier-looking hair.

Many love using hair toners because of how they work.

Unlike hair dyes that change the color of your hair from within, hair toners are different. They could be considered as a “topcoat” for the hair.

That way, the product eventually washes out resulting in eventually fading of the results.

Types Of Hair Toner

Hair toners are acid-based, and they can help brighten your hair and adjust the tone. Most are topcoats and just affect the outer part of the hair strand.

However, there are also other types that open up the cuticle for a more efficient toning. Here are the most common types available:

Toning Shampoos

Purple Shampoo

If you’ve tried to have blonde hair, your hair technician will probably recommend that you use a purple shampoo . Some people consider purple shampoos as toners while others do not.

Regardless, they work the same way as toners by canceling out unwanted undertones like the golden or yellow ones. This helps you better maintain your blonde hair. 


Hair Gloss

Hair gloss is another type of hair toner. These toners help with hair color by depositing color onto the hair without lightening it. Usually, the results of this toner last for about 6-8 weeks.

This is a great way of changing up the hair color without drastically doing it or harming the hair due to the chemicals used in traditional hair dyes.

Ammonia-based Toners

No products found.

This type of toner is stronger than the others. It is usually combined with a developer, which opens up the cuticle. That would help the product to be better absorbed by the hair. Just like hair dyes, No products found. come in different strengths, the weakest at 10 and the strongest at 40.

Be careful about using high-strength products! a 20 volume would do well and is usually used.

However, if your hair seems weaker and more fragile, use the 10. It will also be effective and more powerful than the other toners but it won’t be as damaging to weak and damaged hair as those with higher volumes.

Purple Hair Dye

Purple Hair Dye

As the name implies, this isn’t really a toner but a purple-colored hair dye . However, some people use it to tone their hair.

This just helps neutralize the yellow undertones of bleached hair. Only use a small amount of purple dye mixed with the conditioner.

Use just enough to tone the hair but not too much to dye it purple.

Is Toner Bad For Your Hair?

As you can see, there are different types of toners. Some are more damaging than others because they are more powerful.

However, that isn’t only the basis for determining if toners are bad for your hair.

Much depends on the condition of your hair when you apply the different kinds of toners. And of course, you also have to consider the quality of toner that you use. 

Most of us who use hair toners already had our hair treated. Most of the time, the hair has been bleached. Bleaching can weaken the hair, especially when it isn’t done properly.

At-home hair bleaching  is possible but could seriously damage your hair. So you have to be very careful. 

You have to consider the damage your hair is in before choosing the toner to use. Select those that are gentler depending on the condition of your hair.

Some may also suggest postponing the use of the toner right after bleaching so that the hair can rest for a bit.

Apply your toner to damp hair, neither wet nor dry.

Also, check to make sure the toner isn’t expired or that it wasn’t opened ages ago.

Final Thoughts

Does toner damage your hair?

Toners will help your hair achieve the color you want by canceling out unwanted undertones. That will make your hair look more vibrant and in the color that you want.

They usually affect the outer layer of the hair strands, but there are also some that could open up the hair cuticle. 

The use of toner isn’t necessarily bad for the hair. Healthy hair shouldn’t get damaged due to a hair toner. But if the hair is already damaged, stronger formulas may add to the damage already present.

That is why it is important to consider the condition of your hair before selecting the toner to use. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).