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Can you leave overtone on longer than 15 minutes?

Can you leave overtone on longer than 15 minutes?

Overtone is a semi-permanent hair coloring product that can be used to add fashion shades and vibrant colors to your hair without fully committing to a permanent dye job. Many overtone users wonder if it’s safe or effective to leave the product on for longer than the recommended processing time of 10-15 minutes for optimal results. Here’s a closer look at whether prolonging overtone’s processing time can affect the finished look.

What Is Overtone?

Overtone is a line of semi-permanent conditioning hair color made with vegetable-based dyes. It comes in a range of fun, vivid shades like purple, blue, green, red, orange, yellow, and more.

Unlike permanent hair dye, overtone coats the outside of your hair strands and washes out over time instead of chemically altering your natural pigment. It’s a gentler way to experiment with bold hair colors without damaging your hair or committing to a permanent change.

How Long Should You Leave Overtone In?

The brand recommends leaving overtone on your hair for 10-15 minutes before rinsing to achieve optimal results. This short processing time allows the color to thoroughly coat and temporarily stain your strands without over-depositing.

However, some users enjoy leaving overtone on for longer to try and achieve more vibrant, saturated results. The general guideline is that the longer you leave overtone in, the more intense your final shade will be.

Is It Safe to Leave Overtone on Longer?

Leaving overtone on for longer than 15 minutes is generally safe, as long as you closely monitor the process and don’t exceed 1 hour of processing time.

Since overtone is a conditioning formula free of harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia, extending its development time shouldn’t damage your hair. The vegetable dyes are deposited slowly and gently onto your strands.

However, leaving overtone on too long can increase your risk of over-depositing color and accidentally going darker than intended. It’s best to start with short 5-10 minute increments after the first 15 minutes. Frequently check your hair’s color development and stop once you’re happy with the intensity.

Limit your overall processing time to an hour or less to be safe. If your hair starts feeling overly saturated, dry, or damaged, rinse immediately.

Tips for Leaving Overtone on Longer

Here are some tips if you want to safely extend overtone’s processing time:

– Start with clean, dry hair for maximum color impact.

– Separate your hair into sections and use a tint brush to thoroughly saturate your strands with overtone.

– Put your hair in a shower cap after the first 15 minutes to trap in warmth and allow the color to further develop.

– Check your hair every 5-10 minutes, rinse and reapply overtone to any areas needing more coverage.

– Rinse with cool water when desired intensity is reached or after 1 hour max.

– Shampoo very gently 48 hours after coloring to lock in the shade.

– Use a good conditioner and avoid hot tools to maintain vibrancy. Reapply overtone as needed.

Can I Sleep with Overtone In Overnight?

It’s not recommended to leave overtone in your hair overnight, as over-processing for 8+ hours can lead to an overly dark or intense result. Your best bet is to rinse after 1 hour max.

Sleeping with damp, product-filled hair could also lead to irritation overnight. Overtone is conditioning, but not meant to be used as a leave-in treatment.

If you want to achieve a richer shade, apply overtone before bed and leave it in for 30-60 minutes. Then rinse, shampoo, and either reapply or wait until morning to see your results in better lighting.

How Long Does Overtone Last?

With proper maintenance, overtone can last 4-6 weeks before fading. Cooler shades like blues, greens and purples fade faster than warmer shades like reds, oranges and yellows.

Using a sulfate-free shampoo and limiting washes to 2-3 times per week helps extend overtone’s longevity. You can also mix some overtone into your conditioner for color refreshing between full applications.

No matter how long you leave overtone in initially, the color will still fade gradually over time. Plan to reapply within 1-2 months for vibrant results.

Can I Reapply Overtone Right After Rinsing?

It’s best to wait 48 hours after your initial overtone application before reapplying more color, especially if you already left it on for longer than 15 minutes.

Immediately reapplying overtone could overload your hair with too much pigment, resulting in an overly saturated or almost solid shade.

Let your first application fully oxidize and settle into your hair for 2 days. Then you can assess if you want to go darker with a second layer or not.

Can I Mix Different Overtone Colors?

Overtone’s versatile conditioning colors can be mixed together to create custom shades! For example, you can mix blue and purple overtone to achieve a pretty pastel lavender hue.

Follow the same processing recommendations when mixing overtone colors. Apply the desired ratio of colors all over or in highlights, leave on for 10-15 minutes, then extend the development time as needed up to 1 hour max.

Mixing colors allows endless creativity and more dimensional results. Just remember that combining darker pigments like blue and purple will result in a very deep, saturated shade if left on too long.

Do a strand test first to ensure the custom color blend comes out how you envisioned. Mixing overtone colors is a fun way to customize your temporary hair color!

Does Overtone Damage Hair?

When used correctly, overtone should not damage hair even when left on a bit longer than recommended. Here’s why it’s a gentle, low-risk coloring option:

– Uses natural, conditioning ingredients without bleach or ammonia

– Only temporarily coats the outside of your hair, doesn’t penetrate the cuticle

– Requires no developer to activate the color

– Has nourishing oils, aloe vera, and hydrolyzed keratin built in

– Won’t overly dry out your hair or cause excessive chemical processing

Of course, everyone’s hair needs vary. But in general, overtone results in less damage compared to permanent dyes when following the instructions. Extending its processing time up to 1 hour likely won’t compromise your hair’s health if you’re careful to avoid over-depositing.


It is possible to safely leave overtone in your hair longer than the recommended 10-15 minutes, as long as you carefully monitor the coloring and limit extended processing to 1 hour max. Going longer can achieve richer, more vibrant tones, but also risks unwanted darkness or dryness. Work in small 5-10 minute increments, checking frequently for your ideal intensity. Limit long processing times to occasional use, not every application. And be very gentle in the days following to ensure overtone stays conditioning and damage-free for your hair.

Time Effect
10-15 minutes Recommended for optimal color deposit
15-30 minutes Increased color vibrancy
30-45 minutes Richer, more saturated shade
45-60 minutes Very intense color results