How long should you leave dye on your hair?

Updated: June 20, 2021

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With boxed kits available, dyeing your hair at home has become a thoroughly easy process. But you might not get the desired result if you don’t keep the dye for the right amount of time.

It is often mentioned in the product’s packaging, but usually, the hair dye should be left on the hair for at least 30 minutes and must not extend more than 45 minutes.

How to prep your hair before dyeing?

  • Ensure your hair is in a healthy stage and not dry and damaged.
  • Try to do a hot oil treatment 3 days before dyeing your hair
  • Do not wash hair the day before dyeing it; make sure there is a little oil left on your scalp as it will prevent any irritation.

Types of hair dye

Broadly speaking, there are mainly two types of hair dyes

Permanent dyes

This type of hair dye consists of chemicals, such as ammonia and peroxide, and lasts for around six weeks. It is ideal for covering grey hair or changing hair to a drastic darker or lighter shade.

Semi-permanent dyes

It doesn’t contain chemicals for which it lasts around only 3 weeks. It is ideal if you don’t want to stick to a particular hair color for a longer time.

How long to leave dye on hair to color it?

After applying the hair dye throughout your hair, the ammonia and peroxide present in the dye take a minimum of 30 minutes to open the hair cuticle and get absorbed in it to change the hair’s natural pigmentation. And then another 15 minutes for the dye to completely penetrate the hair. Hence, the most recommended time to leave the dye on hair is between 30-45 minutes.

To get to know the exact time necessary for your hair to change its pigment, make sure to do a strand test first before applying the dye all over your hair. It is so because the time varies from one hair type to another depending on the several factors of your hair.

Factors that determine the exact time for hair to change its color

Current hair color

If you have a darker shade of hair color that you want to turn lighter, it will take more time to change the pigment. However, if you have blonde hair, it will take less time.

Hair texture and thickness

Fine low-volume hair takes a minimum amount of time, whereas normal medium-volume hair takes more than 30 minutes. However, it is thick, coarse hair that is more challenging and needs the maximum amount of time to change its color.

Grey hair percentage

Grey hair is more resistant to color; thus, if you have more than 30% grey hair, it will take more time to change hair pigment and sometimes can extend 45 minutes.

What’s the best way to take care of dyed hair?

The best ways to take care of post-dyed hair are as follows –

  • Use sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner
  • Wash hair less often
  • When styling, use leave-in treatments to protect the hair color
  • Do a post-color treatment
  • Wait 6-8 weeks before coloring hair again

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