How often should you dye your hair? And does it really matter? If you’re asking these questions, you’re not alone. But before you rush out and change the color of your hair, you should think twice about doing it too much.
How Often Should You Dye Your Hair?
Sticking to a schedule is an excellent general rule of thumb when dying your hair. It helps protect the hair from severe long-term damage. So, how long should you wait in between dyes before the next?
Ask a professional hairstylist, and the answer might be anywhere from three to eight weeks. But the most common answer is every four to six weeks. This helps you stay ahead of your root growth while also keeping your hair safe.
Why the Answer Isn’t So Simple
Although the general rule of thumb is every four to six weeks, it can vary depending on what type of hair you have, what dye you use, and more. Here are some of the factors that come into play.
Your Hair’s Porosity
Everyone’s hair has a different texture. One aspect is the porosity of your hair. Porosity refers to how effectively your hair absorbs and holds moisture.
The porosity of your hair factors into how quickly your dye job will fade. More porous hair remains vibrant and lustrous for longer, while less porous hair tends to fade more rapidly. Unless, you have high porosity due to excessive chemical treatments. Once the hair cuticle has been repeatedly opened through chemical processing, it doesn’t flatten again, which leads to super high porosity and color bleeding. This hair is just not able to hold onto color and is NOT suitable for more color treatments.
What Kind of Dye You Use
These days, there are many more options for types of dyes. The dye you select affects how long the dye job lasts and how often you’ll need to recolor your hair if you desire.
It’s not just a matter of your hair growing out. Different dyes effectively have different lifespans. In other words, they might fade and start looking less vibrant after a certain amount of time.
Permanent hair dye, as the name implies, permanently changes your hair color. It won’t wash out, though it might look a bit duller over time. To get rid of the color, you’ll have to either let it grow out, fully color over it, or cut it.
Semi-permanent hair dye lasts for a specific number of washes. This, obviously, will be affected by not only your hair type but also how often you wash your hair. If you wash your hair daily, you can expect to need a touch-up much more quickly than if you wash your hair once a week.
How Much Coverage You Need
There is a big difference between doing a complete recolor, lightening or darkening a previous dye job, or simply touching up your roots. Recoloring your entire head is the most damaging of these three, especially if you use permanent dye.
Because of this, you should avoid recoloring your hair too frequently. Thankfully, if you need to make some minor changes, much safer and gentler options are available.
At the most, you shouldn’t repeat a complete dye job more than every eight weeks. Avoiding over-dying your hair will prevent the most significant damage to your hair. A simple tonal change, on the other hand, can be done every couple of weeks.
As for touching up your roots, there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. It’s a subjective decision. Since hair grows half an inch per month on average, most people follow the four-to-six-week rule. However, you can visit the salon more often if your hair grows faster than that.
How Often Can You Redye Your Hair?
Because of the chemicals in permanent hair dye, you shouldn’t redye your hair more often than every eight weeks. Even then, make sure you’re treating your hair regularly to avoid damage caused by hair dye.
Keep in mind that a total recoloring isn’t the same as a tonal shift. You can do this with semi-permanent or demi-permanent dye, which doesn’t contain ammonia.
A visit using semi or demi-permanent dye is much gentler on hair and leads to damage less often. Because these dyes aren’t as damaging, you can use them more frequently. Basic common sense applies here.
How Long Does Permanent Hair Dye Last?
Permanent hair dye lasts until there is significant regrowth. This period varies based on how quickly your hair grows. In general, it isn’t supposed to fade or lose color over the long run but may end up looking less vibrant over time.
It also depends on the type of treatment you use in between dye jobs. Using a good color treatment can help your permanent dye continue to look healthy and lustrous for many months, even as your hair grows.
How Long Does Temporary and Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?
Temporary and semi-permanent hair dye vary significantly in how long they last. Depending on the brand and type of color selected, you can expect your color to last for just one shampoo or for many.
Temporary hair color lasts for one shampoo and consists of products that coat your hair shaft, making your hair appear a different color — think colored hair gel, hair paint and those sprays you use at Halloween.
Semi-permanent hair dye (and its sister, demi-permanent hair dye) uses a slightly different chemical makeup that binds to the outside of the hair shaft instead of penetrating it, this gives it a little more staying power over temporary dye. But it does mean that, eventually, you’ll be able to thoroughly wash it out.
Because semi and demi-permanent dyes don’t include harmful chemicals like ammonia, they don’t cause as much damage to your hair, and you can use them much more frequently than a permanent dye. However, you should still make sure you use products to hydrate your hair.
How Long Does Bleach Last?
Hair bleach doesn’t just cover your natural hair color — it penetrates through the follicle itself and pulls out your natural color pigment. That means that once your hair is bleached, it is bleached for good. You’ll have to grow it out or cover it over with permanent dye before you can have a significantly different color. Be warned that since bleach is very damaging to hair, your dye options might be limited by the amount of damage your hair has. Your colorist can walk you through your best options.
Bleach lasts as long as a hair dye in terms of how often you need to retouch. If you want to maintain your roots, you’ll need to get them touched up every four to six weeks, much like regular color.
Things to Consider
Hair dyes and bleach can wreak a lot of havoc on your hair, so keep these things in mind:
- Protect your hair from heat. When you heat-treat your hair (such as with a blowdryer, curling iron, or flat iron), you risk further damage, especially if it is already dyed. Reduce the risk by cutting back on how often you use heat treatments and use a protective spray when you do.
- Keep your hair hydrated. Dyes and bleach are one of the biggest causes of dehydrated hair. Make sure you take measures to add some moisture back into the follicles. You can do this with hair masks, a leave-in conditioner, and other hydration products.
- Use products designed for your hair. Using products made for fine hair when yours is textured or using products for thick hair when yours is fine won’t get you the care you need. Look for products that exist for your hair type. Doing this will help keep your hair and scalp much healthier and more hydrated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve answered the question of how often you can dye your hair, you might have a few related questions! Here are some of the top queries from around the internet.
How Many Times Can You Dye Your Hair Before It Gets Damaged?
There is no simple answer for how many times you can dye your hair. It depends on many factors, such as:
- Your hair texture
- The type and shade of dye you use
- The hair treatments you regularly use, including hair masks and flat irons
Hair texture plays a role in how much dye the follicles can handle. Some people can seemingly dye their hair over and over again without a change in their hair health. Others notice that their hair gets dry, brittle, and may even fall out without the proper maintenance.
You won’t necessarily know how your hair will react to multiple dye jobs (though you can probably make an educated guess based on your hair type and texture). It’s always better to play it safe and do what you need to protect your hair and scalp.
The type of dye you use will also affect how many times or how often you can dye your hair without damage. We’ve talked about the differences between permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, and temporary hair dye. The more permanent types of dyes are more damaging to your hair and cannot be used as often as the other varieties.
Believe it or not, the shade you’re dying your hair matters also. People who frequently dye their hair lighter shades are likely to notice more damage in a shorter time frame. That’s because, rather than adding pigment or layers of color, the dye is stripping color out using harsh chemicals like bleach. A frequent dye can cause dryness, thinning, and brittle texture.
We’ve also mentioned the importance of maintaining your hair between dye jobs. If you plan to dye your hair regularly, you must keep up a dedicated hair health routine. That includes using purple shampoo (if you have blonde or silver hair), hair masks, and avoiding excessive heat from tools like curling irons, blow dryers, and flat irons.
How Soon Can I Dye My Hair Again to Fix It?
It happens to us all: we get a dye job that turns out badly or just doesn’t suit us. Don’t worry — you’re not doomed to have a hair color that you hate for weeks on end.
If you used a semi-permanent dye, you could try washing it multiple times to see if the color fades more quickly. However, to make sure you don’t damage your hair, it’s best to wait at least two weeks before trying to cover your color.
Read Next: How to Remove Hair Dye
How Often Can You Dye Your Hair With Box Dye?
Just as if you were going to a professional hairstylist, dying your hair at home has some rules. Avoid dying more often than six to eight weeks if you’re using traditional permanent dye, as it can damage your hair.
On the other hand, if you’re using a semi-permanent hair dye, you can be a bit less rigid with the rules.
That’s because semi-permanent dye uses gentler chemicals and runs a lower risk of damaging hair follicles. If your hair is robust and you’re using semi-permanent dye, you can probably use it a bit less often than every four weeks.
How Fast Does Your Hair Grow?
Most people can expect to see about half an inch of growth every month. Not everyone is the same, however, and you might experience faster or slower-growing hair. This is where the four-to-six-week rule comes into play.
So, How Often Should You Dye Your Hair?
The frequency with which you can and should dye your hair depends on your hair quality, the type of dye you use, and other factors.
The general rule of thumb is that you can dye every four to six weeks when your roots have grown. The most important thing to remember is to treat your hair between dyes to make sure it stays hydrated and healthy.