How Long to Leave Dye in Hair for Best Results?

DIY at-home hair dyes are very popular. But it is important to know how long to leave the dye in your hair. How long to leave dye in hair for the best results?

Most hair dyes should be left in the hair for a minimum of 30 minutes, and no longer than 45 minutes. The hair dye needs 30 minutes for the ammonia and peroxide to work its way into the hair cuticle to change the hair’s natural pigment. The last 15 minutes are for the dye to fully develop and permeate the hair.

You should not rinse off hair dye before 30 minutes, otherwise, you’ll just waste the product and end up with a color that is different from what you’ve expected, or some parts of your hair will have an uneven color. 

On the other hand, if you leave hair dye in hair for longer than 45 minutes, you risk damaging it, causing it to become dry and brittle. You can also end up with a hair color that is way darker than you expected.

How Long To Leave Color in Hair

How Long to Leave Dye in Hair

Dye should be left in the hair for about 30-45 minutes. The hair dye needs 30 minutes for the ammonia and peroxide to work its way into the hair cuticle to change the hair’s natural pigment. The last 15 minutes are for the dye to fully develop and permeate the hair.

Most hair dyes, if not all, have instructions written on the package that tells you how long to leave it in your hair. As mentioned earlier, hair dye should be left in the hair for about 30 to 45 minutes.

But sometimes, even if you follow the instructions perfectly, the results are not what you expect. Why is that?

The results of hair dye is affected by several factors. These factors can determine how long exactly you should leave the dye in your hair.

1. Your Hair’s Natural Color

If you look at the packaging of your hair dye, it usually has a part that shows you what your expected results will be based on your hair’s natural color. When checking, you should look at your hair’s roots to the ends. This will help in achieving the color you actually want

2. Your Current Hair Color

If you have you recently colored your hair, this will affect the results of your new hair dye. For example, you recently colored your hair dark, and this time you want to go lighter. Applying a light-colored hair dye won’t do anything; you need to remove the previous dye first before dyeing your hair.

3. The Percentage of Your Gray Hair

If you want to cover gray hair, you need to leave the dye on for 45 minutes. You will also need to use permanent dye because semi-permanent ones won’t do much to cover it.

4. The Thickness of Your Hair

People usually have three types of hair thickness: fine, medium and thick. Fine hair doesn’t mean there’s little to no hair – the strands themselves are fine. This type of hair can easily be over-processed and is more prone to damage. When dyeing fine hair, you should always keep an eye out on how fast the color is developing, and you may need to rinse it off earlier.

Medium hair is basically the normal hair thickness. This type of hair doesn’t need anything special before coloring. This type of hair usually gets great results from leaving hair dye on for 45 minutes.

Thick hair is the strongest type of hair but is also the hardest to treat. The strands are thick, and there’s usually a lot of it. Thick hair usually needs a little more time when being dyed, and also needs more product.

5. Your Hair’s Porosity

Yoru hair’s porosity is its ability to absorb moisture. If your hair has high porosity, it means it will be able to accept more of the hair dye. If you want to know if your hair is porous or not, simply take a couple of strands and place them in a bowl of water. If after a few minutes your hair sinks, it has high porosity. If it’s still floating, it has low porosity.

Hair with low porosity may prove to be resistant to hair dyes, and you’ll need to give it a full 45 minutes when dyeing. For high porosity hair, since it absorbs dye well, it may not need as much time and you also need to keep a close eye on the development of the hair color. High porosity hair can be susceptible to damage.

How to Prep Your Hair for Color

Choosing the right hair dye is just one of the steps to ensuring a great hair color. You also need to prep your hair before getting it dyed to achieve the best results.

To prep your hair for the dye, follow the below tips:

  1. In order to achieve great color, you need to ensure that your hair is in good condition to start with.
  2. Get a hot oil hair treatment 3 days before you get your hair colored. This will help prepare your hair strands for the process of coloring and strengthen it. Remember, getting your hair dyed is a chemical process and takes a lot out of your hair. This is why preparing your hair for this treatment is important.
  3. The night before dyeing your hair, avoid washing it. Ideally, get your hot oil treatment, and don’t wash your hair that night. Then color your hair the following day. What this does is that it saves your hair’s natural oils and gives you an even result.
  4. If you can’t avoid washing your hair, be sure to use a clarifying shampoo that will remove build-up from other products you’ve used on your hair. You should also skip using conditioner before you get your hair colored.

The above tips will help you prep your hair before dyeing it or adding color. They will help you keep your hair healthy throughout the whole process.

How to Take Care of Dyed Hair

How Long to Leave Dye on Hair

Now that you’ve successfully colored your hair and you’re happy with the results, you’ll need to take care of your hair to keep it healthy and keep the color vibrant. Follow the below tips for properly taking care of dyed hair.

  • Wait 48 hours (or more if you can) after coloring to wash your hair, so that the product has more time to settle and adhere to your hair strands. If you wash your hair sooner, you risk washing off the dye which hasn’t completely adhered to your hair strands yet.
  • Choose and use shampoo and conditioners designed specifically for color-treated hair. This will help you keep the color longer, and also keep it looking vibrant and bright. Alternate using a product designed for your specific hair color to give your color a boost.
  • Pick hair products that have extra UV protection to protect your color from fading due to sun exposure. These products will also help keep your scalp away from sun damage.
  • Be sure to use a deep hair conditioner and/or get a hair treatment once a week to help keep your hair and the color in great condition. If your hair is healthy, the color will be vibrant, last longer, and generally look better.
  • Be sure to use products that enhance shine if you dyed your hair a dark color. These will help make your hair and the color look awesome. Dark hair colors are best when they are smooth and shiny!
  • Since you colored your hair, it’s actually a good idea to use color glosses. Regardless of what shade you used on your hair, color glosses will boost any hair color. You can get a color gloss done in the salon, or you can do it at home! Color glosses can be bought where hair products are sold.
  • You should regularly color your hair to keep it looking good and healthy. You shouldn’t let the colors fade, or your roots will show a different shade. Since getting a professional hair color every few months is quite expensive, you should choose a hair color that is not too hard to maintain or go for a hair color that you can easily dye and maintain at home.

If you follow these hair coloring tips, you will be able to prepare your hair before coloring it, which will allow you to keep your hair healthy and get the most of your color. You can also choose a great hair color that you can easily keep and maintain, even with at-home coloring jobs.

What Is Hair Dye?

Hair dye is a cosmetic product that is used to color hair in either an extreme or subtle fashion. Some people want to color their hair in order to cover grey hair. Other people simply want to enhance their hair color or change their appearance. Whatever your reasons are, there are two kinds of hair dyes to choose from depending on what you want to achieve and which one suits your needs.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Semi-permanent hair dye washes off in about three weeks or so because it does not have any chemicals like ammonia and peroxide. This is ideal if you just want to try out a certain hair color without having to commit. However, most semi-permanent hair dyes don’t allow for extensive lightening or darkening, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you should choose permanent hair dye.

Permanent Hair Dye

What makes permanent hair dye last is that it involves chemicals – usually ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals open up your hair’s cuticle and deposit dye to change the hair’s color. Permanent hair dye is ideal if you want to cover grey hair, and if you’re looking to drastically lighten or darken your current hair color. This type of color lasts for about six weeks, and you’ll need to have the roots touched up.

As with using chemicals, some permanent hair dye can be a little rough on the hair and you will need to give your hair extra TLC.

Conclusion: How Long to Leave Dye in Hair?

Is it your first time to dye your own hair? Be sure you know how long to leave dye in hair to achieve the best results and avoid any unnecessary hair damage.

Hair dye should be left in your hair for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. The hair dye takes about 30 minutes for the ammonia and peroxide to work its way into the hair cuticle to change the hair’s natural pigment. Near the end of the 30 minutes, the dye fully permeates the hair.

Be sure to wait 30 minutes before rinsing the dye off, otherwise, you’ll end up with uneven color and results that are not what you expected.

If you leave it on longer than 45 minutes, you can end up with a color that is way darker than you wanted. Leaving the dye on for longer can also cause your hair to become brittle, dry, and prone to breakage.