How Often Can You Dye Your Hair? Get the 411 Here

 We decipher all your hair dye questions.

Whether you’re decorating your Pinterest board with acid brights, balayage, or blonde and brunette hues, experimenting with color has never been so easy. Before you think about jumping on the hair dye bandwagon, you may be wondering “how often can you dye your hair?” This is important to know so you can keep your hair as healthy as possible, while still having fun with your look.

Our experts break down the ins and outs of the chemical processes of dyeing your strands. They also reveal how to make sure your hair stays in its best shape, no matter what hair color you’re trying.

how often should you color your hair pink hair
How often should you color your hair without incurring damage? Photo credit: Roisin Murphy

How porous your hair is will have an effect on how vibrant your permanent or semi-permanent dye will look and last. As a general rule, permanent colors may fade but will have to be grown-out or dyed over if you want to change them. A semi-permanent shade is made to be washed out.

Generally speaking, experts recommend anywhere around four to eight weeks between coloring, given that proper care and maintenance is taken to ensure hair is protected from damage.

How long does permanent hair dye last?

If you’re ready to commit 100% to new hair color, you’ll want to opt for a permanent hair dye. This is a great way to get a lasting, rich color, especially if you’re trying to touch up roots or cover gray hairs. The results of semi-permanent hair dye compared to a more permanent solution are night and day.

Permanent hair dye—especially bleach—is made to last until regrowth and will have to be grown out of your hair rather than washed out. A semi-permanent hair dye, on the other hand, will gradually fade with each wash. So, if you’re looking to make a color change that will last, permanent hair dye is your answer.

How long do hair dyes last?

Generally speaking, permanent hair dye keeps its hue until new regrowth appears on your head. This can be any length between 0.4mm a day to 1/2 inch a month.

However, there are two main factors that will influence how long your hair dye lasts: the type of coloring treatment you use, and how you maintain your strands. With a wash-in-wash-out technique, the damage to the hair is lessened. It allows you more dyeing options without the permanent damage consequences.

How long does bleach last?

bleach blonde hair with bangs
Bleaching strands are 100% permanent.

Bleaching hair involves using chemicals to strip the strand of its melanin so it appears lighter in color. Because bleaching is a 100% permanent method and cannot be washed out, it will last until you get new regrowth. You cannot alter the color of bleached strands except for adding more color onto them, or, alternatively, by waiting for them to grow out.

The same is true for highlights, balayage, and ombré. All of these processes involve lightening or “lifting” the hair. You can do this with bleach or high-lift tint, depending on your base hair color and desired outcome.

How often can you dye your hair?

While it can be tempting to swap from one hair color to another on a whim, it’s important to acknowledge that dyeing your hair can have a serious effect on how healthy it looks. Four to six weeks is the general rule between appointments, but again, the less frequent, the better, and this cadence depends on how much care is taken in the interim.

“Whenever you bleach, dye, or chemically straighten your hair, you are causing significant damage to the fiber structure,” warns Peter. “All of these chemical treatments involve breaking a large number of the di-sulfide bonds, which are the chemical bonds that hold the protein strands together.” This effectively breaks down the hair fiber. It leaves holes in the cortex and cuticle, making it more porous. As a general rule, the more porous hair is, the more dry, coarse, and damaged it can appear.

The more you color your hair, the more protein you are losing from each individual fiber, making your strands difficult to comb, style, and maintain, with an increased likelihood of split ends and breakage.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

semi permanent hair dye pink
Try a bold color with semi-permanent dye.

If you’re not looking to make a permanent hair change, a semi-permanent hair dye could be the answer. This technique allows you to experiment with color without making a lasting change (think: festival-worthy pastels that you might want to wash out for the workweek).

A semi-permanent hair dye can last anywhere from one wash to a few weeks. It’s the perfect choice if you’re not ready to commit to a complete hair makeover.

Coloring Sprays

fishtail braid color spray
Add color to any style with color spray.

Usually a Halloween-centric option, color sprays come from a can. You coat the hair in a layer of pigment—but don’t expect a long-lasting solution. They usually come out with one wash if you have very fair or porous hair. However, be warned as they can stain strands.

Hair Chalk

pink and purple hair chalk
Hair chalk is a great temporary option!

Perfect for festivals or themed parties, hair chalk allows your hair to become a canvas for color—without the permanent consequences. Most chalks will fade as the day wears on. However, it’s important to read the instructions before applying so you don’t end up with any stains.

1. Pick a color-safe wash-and-care system.

When looking after the condition and vibrancy of your dyed tresses, it’s important to add wash and care products that are designed for the job.

We like Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Murumuru Butter & Rose Shampoo and Conditioner.

2. Always use a heat protectant.

Since coloring is a chemical process, it’s important to treat dyed hair with a lot of care. The first step? Applying a heat protectant to damp strands before you even think about picking up a hairdryer.

We love using TIGI Copyright Custom Create Heat Protection Spray to prep our strands and keep them safe from heat damage.

3. Keep strands moisturized with a hair mask.

After you’ve dyed your hair it’s important to make sure your hair stays hydrated. This will help prevent any breakage and damage.

We love Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Murumuru Butter & Rose 2-Minute Magic Masque because your hair stays soft for days after using it and your strands are also noticeable shinier after too.

4. Use a root spray.

As your roots start to grow back in there’s no rush to get your hair colored right away, because you’ve got root spray on your side. Root sprays are a quick and affordable way to give your hair more time in between dye sessions.

Try out Tresemmé’s Root Touch Up Spray, there is a range of shades to choose from, so you’re sure to find one for your color.

5. Try a hair gloss.

Another great option for freshening up your mane without dye is hair gloss. Use a hair gloss as a deep conditioning treatment, it helps revive your color and add a pop of shine. You can get this treatment done at home or at a salon, and it’s great for pushing off your next color appointment.

Knowing how often you can dye your hair and the differences between dyeing methods are so important when it comes to picking the best dye option. Whether you want a permanent bright blonde hue or just want to experiment with a fun color for a few days, there’s definitely an option for you!

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