How Long Should I Leave Wella T18 Toner in My Hair?

Cute white girl with bleached blonde hair with light yellow tones.

Wella T18 toner can transform your color-treated hair from a brassy mess to the beautiful ashy blonde hair you’ve always wanted, but only if you use it correctly.

One of the biggest questions people have when using this toner is, “How Long Should I Leave Wella T18 Toner in My Hair?” The truth is that it depends.

As annoying as that answer may be, we’ll clear everything up for you in this article. By the end, you’ll know how long to leave Wella toner on your hair, factors affecting the recommended processing time, and more! 

How Long Do You Leave Wella T18 On Your Hair?

You can leave Wella T18 Toner on your hair for up to 30 minutes. Wella Color Charm uses a 1:2 mix ratio, one part toning color and two parts 20 volume developer. Apply the toner to dry hair for up to 30 minutes, frequently checking for the desired color result.

Leave the toner on for approximately 8-10 minutes for lighter hair and up to 20-30 minutes for darker hair. This toner removes “brass” for perfect blonde hair. To achieve the best results, you should lighten your hair before applying the toner.

Key Takeaways

  • Wella Colour Charm Toners. Wella T18 toner is excellent for getting pale blonde hair. It works well to get rid of brassy hair and give you the ashy blonde shade you want. It’s essential to use the right toner to avoid unwanted color.
  • Exposure Times. Leave Wella T18 on hair for 8-10 minutes for lighter hair and up to 20-30 minutes for darker or more brassy hair. Pay close attention to exposure times to avoid over-toning, which can lead to unwanted grey tones.
  • Hair Preparation. Pre-lighten hair to the palest yellow (level 9) for best results with Wella toners. This step is crucial as the toner works best on lightened hair and helps lift unwanted tones more effectively.
  • Application Process. Apply Wella T18 to damp hair, using an applicator brush for even distribution. Before applying the toner to your hair, it is recommended to do a strand test. This will help you see how the toner affects your hair and ensure it works well with your natural hair color.
  • Aftercare and Maintenance. After toning, use color-correcting shampoos to maintain the shade. Wella T18’s effects typically last 4-6 weeks, depending on hair type and care routine. Regular touch-ups and using the right product can help maintain the pale ash blonde shade.
Natural blonde white female with type 1a towel-dried hair wearing a white t-shirt with flowers.

The Instructions on the Wella T18 Toner Packaging

When determining how long to leave Wella T18 on your hair, the first step is to look at the instructions on the packaging. But it’s important to understand that these instructions will not get everyone the desired results.

Wella T18 Directions for Use scaled
Wella Color Charm toners are ideal for creating pure double-process blonde hair color results. The directions recommend that you pre-lighten your hair to the required level before applying Wella T18. You then mix 1-part Wella Color Charm color with 2-parts 20-volume developer.

They are generalized and should be tweaked to suit the individual. If you review the instructions on the toner, they’ll say that you should leave the toner on for up to 30 minutes.

The “up to” portion suggests that you can leave it on for less than 30 minutes when appropriate. They also state that you should check your hair frequently to determine when you’ve achieved the proper level of toning. 

So, according to the instructions, we can glean that the maximum amount of time to leave Wella T18 on your hair is 30 minutes. However, if you leave it on for 30 minutes, your hair may get over-toned, so let’s dive a bit deeper into this.

Photo showing the box and bottle of Wella T18 Lightest Ash Blonde Color Charm Toner.

Factors Affecting Wella Toner Processing Times

Many things affect how long you should leave Wella T18 on your hair, including how brassy your hair is and the condition of your hair.

In the below sections, we’ll explore each of these and what it means for your toner processing time. 

Dark blonde female used Wella toner to create ash blonde shade light hair color.

How Brassy or Warm Your Hair Is

In case you weren’t aware, Wella T18 toner should only be used after you’ve bleached your hair to a level 9 (the palest yellow) or lighter, according to the Wella toner chart.

Due to variations in hair types and bleaching results, your hair at level 9 could look different in terms of warmness and brassiness than someone else’s. That’s why 30 minutes of toner processing will not work for everyone. 

If your hair is super brassy, you should leave the toner on your hair for closer to 30 minutes. This will give the toner enough time to open your hair shaft and deposit the pigment completely.

If your hair is only a bit brassy, leave it on for closer to 15 minutes. If you leave it on for longer than you need to, you could end up with over-toned, gray hair. 

Lady wearing a black dress, eye shadow, blush, and pink lipstick with golden brassy hair.

The Condition of Your Hair

After bleaching your hair to a level 9, it may be highly porous, dry, and even crunchy. If this is the case, you shouldn’t compound the damage with a long toning session.

While Wella T18 toner is nowhere as damaging as bleach, it does contain ammonia, which alters the hair’s pH and lifts the cuticle.

Any product that lifts your hair cuticles can be damaging – now imagine raising your cuticles after blasting them open with bleach. It’s a recipe for disaster. 

In addition, the porosity of overbleached or damaged hair can cause the toner to take unevenly. This can lead to an uneven, unattractive result.

For the above reasons, if your hair is not in the best shape post-bleaching, you’ll want to leave the toner in your hair for as short a time as possible – about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remember that the time suggestions referenced here are generalized. You should always check your hair during processing to make sure that you get the results you desire. 

Also, if you are making a dramatic change in your hair color, you will increase the likelihood of experiencing hair damage. For example, going from dark brown hair (or dark hair in general) to a very light blonde shade is a significant change.

If you’re in this situation, we recommend checking your hair frequently to ensure that your naturally dark hair isn’t damaged beyond repair.

A young white female with pale blonde hair used purple shampoo from Sally Beauty Supply to neutralize brassy tones.

Hair Toner, Over toned Hair, and How to Fix It

Over-toned hair is a nightmare that you should avoid, like the plague. It can totally ruin your hair, causing it to look grey and muddy.

It’s often caused by leaving toner in your hair for too long. You may get over toned hair if you leave Wella toners on your hair for longer than 30 minutes or on severely compromised hair. 

There are a few ways that you can fix over toned hair: 

  • Wash it – The least damaging way to fix over-toned hair is to wash it a few times with your favorite shampoo. You may find that this is all you need to reduce the unsightly dark or gray tones in your hair. If you have red tones, orange tones, or yellow tones, read this article to understand how to neutralize unwanted orange or yellow tones.
  • Try clarifying shampoo – If washing your hair with your regular shampoo didn’t work, up the ante with clarifying shampoo. It cleanses deeper and will remove more of the unwanted toner than typical shampoo. 
  • Bleach it (last resort) – As a last resort, if nothing else worked and your hair isn’t totally fried, you can use bleach. Here are the steps to follow: 
  • Prepare the bleach according to the instructions on the bleach container. Use a 20-volume developer for this to minimize the damage to your hair. 
  • Apply protective cream to the skin around your hairline and apply the bleach to your hair. Start at the ends and move up toward the roots. If you have just a couple of problem areas, focus the bleach on those areas.
  • Allow the bleach to process for about 5 to 10 minutes, and then rinse it out. 

*We urge you not to do all of this in one day or even over the course of a few days. Give your hair a break between potentially harsh treatments.

Also, bleaching your hair after toning it could leave you with some leftover brassiness that you’ll need to get rid of with another toning session. 

If you were hoping to get platinum blonde hair and ended up with orange hair, read the previously linked article correcting over-toned hair.

White girl with a nice warm blonde hair shade with smoky black eyes.

Do a Strand Test

To take the guesswork out of toning, do a strand test on your bleached hair. Immediately after bleaching, mix up a little bit of toner (Wella T18 + 20 volume developer) and apply it to a tiny section of your hair.

Leave it on for the recommended 30 minutes or less if you’d like, and then check your results. If your hair still appears brassy after processing, you should leave it in for longer. Reduce the time you leave it on if your hair turns gray.

When you do the strand test, you should also put a bit of the toner on your skin to see whether it’ll result in a skin reaction. It’s better to be safe than sorry! 

Pretty white girl with a naturally blonde shirt boy cut hairstyle.

How to Check Your Results While Toning

To get the best hair toning results, you need to monitor your progress as you tone. It’s pretty easy to do, but if you’ve never done it before, you may need some guidance. Here are the steps to follow: 

  1. After applying the toner, wait for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  2. Choose a small section in the back of your head and wipe away the toner. You could also rinse the toner off of the section and then towel dry your hair, though it will take a bit more time.
  3. Look at the section of hair very closely to observe whether the brassiness is gone. 
  4. If not, reapply the toner and allow your hair to continue processing. 
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to check again if you’d like. 

With the information presented in this article, you have everything you need to get perfectly toned hair using Wella T18 toner.

A cute white female with golden hair after using a blue toning shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about using the Wella T18 Toner for that perfect blonde shade? Dive into our FAQ section, where we answer your most common queries, helping you achieve the best results with ease.

Do You Put Wella T18 Toner on Wet or Dry Hair?

Wella T18 toner should be applied to freshly washed and towel-dried hair. Avoid washing your hair or getting it wet before rinsing the toner out, as this can affect the final results. After the recommended processing time, rinse the toner thoroughly from your hair and follow up with a conditioning treatment.

Will Wella T18 Work on Orange Hair?

Wella T14 and T18 are toners for neutralizing brassy tones in lightened hair. T14 is a violet-based toner best for neutralizing orange undertones, resulting in a cooler, ashier look. T18 is a neutral toner best for yellow tones, producing a more natural white-blonde result. Both are effective, but T14 is better for orange hair than T18.

What Developer Do I Use With Wella T18?

The recommended developer for Wella T18 is Wella Color Charm 20 volume developer. The 20-volume provides the right amount of lift to deposit the toner onto the hair and neutralize orange tones. It’s important to follow the recommended mixing ratio, which is typically 1 part toner to 2 parts developer, to ensure the right consistency and to avoid over-toning.

Can Wella T18 Work With 10 Developer?

Wella T18 toner can be used with Wella Color Charm 10 volume developer, but it’s generally less effective than 20 volume developer. 10 volume provides a lower level of lift and is better for toning hair that has already been lightened to a pale blonde. For a more intense and longer-lasting toning effect, use a 20-volume.

Do You Put Wella T18 Toner on Wet or Dry Hair?

Wella T18 toner should be applied to freshly washed and towel-dried hair. Avoid washing your hair or getting it wet before rinsing the toner out, as this can affect the final results. After the recommended processing time, rinse the toner thoroughly from your hair and follow up with a conditioning treatment.

Does Wella T18 Damage Your Hair?

Wella T18 toner can cause some damage to your hair, as any chemical treatment can. The toner contains ammonia and peroxide, which can weaken the hair shaft and cause breakage, and over-toning hair can increase the risk of damage. However, the damage can be minimized by using a good quality conditioner and limiting the frequency of toning.

Is Wella T18 a Good Toner?

Wella T18 is a popular and highly-rated toner among many hair colorists and consumers. It is known for neutralizing yellow and brassy tones in lightened hair and creating a white-blonde result. The toner is easy to use and has a gentle formula that helps to protect the hair from damage.

Is Wella T18 Blue or Violet?

Wella T18 is a violet-based toner. It is designed to neutralize yellow and brassy tones in lightened hair and create a cooler, whiter-blonde result. The violet pigments in T18 counteract the yellow and orange undertones in lightened hair, leaving a more natural, ash-toned result.

Does Wella T18 Lighten Hair?

T18 is not formulated to remove or lighten existing hair color but rather to enhance and refine the tonality of lightened hair. If you want a lighter shade, you will need to use a hair-lightening product. That being said, sometimes the hair will have a brighter appearance after applying Wella T18 because it neutralizes brassy tones.

Will Wella T18 Tone Yellow Hair?

Wella T18 can help tone yellow hair because its violet pigments are specifically designed to counteract yellow undertones in lightened hair, resulting in a cooler, white-blonde color. However, it’s important to note that the final result will depend on the starting shade of your hair and the amount of yellow tones present.

Does Wella T18 Turn Your Hair Gray?

Wella T18 is designed to neutralize yellow and brassy tones in lightened hair, resulting in a cooler, white-blonde color. However, if the toner is left on for an extended period of time, the pigments can continue to develop and cause the hair to turn gray. To avoid this, it’s important that you don’t leave the toner on for longer than necessary.

Should I Use Wella T11 or T18?

Both are toners used to neutralize brassy tones in lightened hair. T11 is a toner for pale yellow hair, resulting in a creamy, natural beige color. T18 is for very light, yellow-toned hair and produces a more ashy white-blonde result. The choice between the two depends on your desired result and the shade of your hair beforehand.

How Do You Use Wella 050 With T18?

To use Wella 050 with T18, mix equal parts of the two products in a bowl or color bottle until well combined. Apply the mixture evenly to your hair and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and follow up with a conditioning treatment. Always do a test strand first to check the color.

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If you have questions, we recommend that you reach out to a local stylist or Wella directly. We hope that this article is helpful to you as you experiment with at-home toning!

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