How to Mix & Apply Toner to Brassy Hair

by Elyse James ; Updated September 28, 2017

When you bleach your hair it can develop a brassy tone – this is because some of the red or brown pigment is still left in the hair after the bleaching process. In order to get rid of the brassy look, stylists use a toner to color the bleached hair and even out the brassy tones in your hair. Mixing and applying toner to bleached hair is a relatively simple process if you have previous experience dyeing your own hair. Once mixed, toner is applied to the hair just as you would apply normal hair dye.

Mix one part of the toner dye to one part developing solution. The amount you use depends on how much hair you have to tone. You can always go back and mix more toner as needed so don’t worry if you run out of toner midway through the process – just make more.

Use a tinting brush to mix the toner and developer together in a plastic bowl. Never mix hair dye in a metal bowl as the metals in the bowl can have a negative reaction with the chemicals in the hair dye.

Use the tint brush and apply the toner to damp hair. Make sure you thoroughly saturate the areas that are to be toned starting with the roots, as these are harder to lighten because they are new growth.

Put a plastic hair dyeing cap on your head and let the toner process for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the hair during this time. You will be able to see the hair through the cap and determine when it has reached the desired shade.

Rinse the hair thoroughly using shampoo. If the areas are still a bit brassy, mix more toner and apply to the hair, concentrating on the brassy areas.


  • The ends of the hair tend to lighten much more easily than the roots because they are older growth. When applying toner to the ends, mix the toner with a bit of shampoo so the ends don't get too light.

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About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.