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While you can technically dye your hair as often as you’d like, it’s more a matter of how often you *should* dye your hair so that you can minimize damage and maintain your hair’s health.
How often you decide to dye your hair depends on a few things, especially the kind of dye you’re using and how healthy your hair is at the start.
Temporary and semi-permanent dyes can be used more often. In general, the recommended time frame is at least 6 to 8 weeks for dye upkeep if you’re using demi-permanent and permanent hair dyes. These dyes use harsh chemicals and can damage your hair if used incorrectly.
We tapped hairstylist Ashley Mitchell and licensed cosmetologist Leah Spearman to give us all the details on exactly when — and how often — you’ll want to dye your hair. Here are all the factors to consider.
The kind of dye you use will play a large role in determining how long your hair color lasts and how often you can dye your hair.
Temporary dye lasts the shortest amount of time and will typically come out after your first shampoo.
If you’re into temporary hair dye, these dyes are not harsh or harmful to your hair, and you can use the dye as often as you want. Dye to your heart’s content!
Semi-permanent dye will last up to 3 to 6 washes.
“A semi-permanent hair dye can be done every week, since it does not penetrate your hair,” Mitchell notes.
Spearman adds that semi-permanent hair dye doesn’t “lift” (aka lighten) your natural hair color.
This is because semi-permanent dyes don’t contain any peroxide (unlike demi-permanent and permanent dyes). So while they can darken your color, they can’t lighten it — in other words, they can take you from a honey blonde to brunette, but they can’t take you from brown to blonde.
Demi-permanent dye will last up to 20 washes.
“This is a low-level peroxide dye and should be done every 6 to 8 weeks,” Mitchell says.
Demi-permanent dye deposits color, and it cannot lift hair color, Spearmen explains. But the peroxide is what allows it to penetrate your hair shaft, in contrast to semi-permanent dye, which essentially “sits” on top your cuticle.
That’s why demi-permanent color lasts a little longer than semi-permanent.
Permanent dye is the longest lasting dye. Generally, it’s safe to re-dye every 6 to 8 weeks.
Permanent hair dye lightens the hair and deposits color.
This is the only type of dye that will cover grey hair, Spearman explains, and it needs to be used in tandem with what’s called developer, which is a product that helps the hair dye sink through your hair’s cuticle and deposit color.
Bleach is used to lighten hair by stripping it of its color. It’s not technically a dye but is often used when coloring your hair (especially if you’re going from brunette to blonde), and it’s permanent.
Bleach is very harsh on your hair, which is why experts caution against using it too often.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re not bleaching hair that’s already been bleached. This means you’ll definitely want to wait until your new hair has completely grown out before you bleach again, generally at least 8 to 10 weeks.
Ever heard the phrase “stay on shade?” The expert consensus is that choosing a color within three shades of your natural hair color will be easier on your hair.
More shades than that, and you have to use bleach or permanent dyes with peroxide. Those are harsher on your strands than temporary or demi-permanent options.
No — tempting though it might be, you run the risk of damaging your hair even more.
If your hair is feeling particularly dry, crunchy, frizzy, or dull-looking, treat it to some TLC by waiting at least 8 to 10 weeks between dye jobs and conditioning it every time you’re in the shower.
If this is the first time you’ve ever dyed your hair, you’ll likely be able to dye it more often than someone who’s a frequent dyer. This is because your hair is less likely to be dry or damaged than someone who dyes their hair every 2 months.
That said, no matter what condition your hair is in before you dye it, it’s still important to give your locks a break between dye jobs, especially if you’re using permanent dye.
Somewhat. It can impact how well your hair holds onto color. Depending on your hair’s porosity, you may find your color fading faster than you’d like.
What is hair porosity?
Porosity is exactly what it sounds like: It refers to how porous your hair is, and it determines how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture, which may impact how well your hair retains color.
Mitchell notes that, if you have low-porosity hair, it means your hair cuticle is very tight. This means your hair doesn’t absorb moisture very easily, but it does retain it.
High-porosity hair is the exact opposite: Your hair easily absorbs moisture, but because the cuticle is looser, it is harder to retain that moisture.
What does it mean when it comes to dyeing your hair?
- For low-porosity hair: Your color will need to stay on a bit longer, and it may be best to use a high developer with your color to better penetrate the cuticle.
- For high-porosity hair: You don’t need to keep the dye on as long, because your hair can more easily absorb it. However, your color is likely to fade faster than those with lower-porosity hair.
Generally, no — especially if you’re trying to go from brunette to blonde.
The exception, again, is temporary dye, because it’s not too hard on your hair.
Use a color-safe shampoo
Color-safe shampoos are shampoos that are specifically designed to be used on color-treated hair, so hair does not become dull or stripped of the color.
Biolage ColorLast Shampoo is a good option. The paraben-free shampoo has a low pH that’s supposed to prolong the vibrancy of your hair color.
Use a heat protectant
Because color-treated hair can be fragile (thanks to the chemicals in the dye), a heat protectant is a good idea if you find yourself reaching for your blow-dryer every morning.
Try Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray. It’s an internet favorite.
Keep your hair moisturized
A good way to do so is by deep conditioning.
Deep conditioners can be bought over the counter, or you can make a DIY deep conditioner using olive oil or coconut oil. (Here are some good recipes.)
Start with once per week — more than that could lead to product build-up on your scalp.
Try a color gloss
Color glosses are used to moisturize and keep your color looking bright and vibrant.
The L’Oreal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step Toning Gloss collection has a variety of colored glosses to help keep your color fresh. And they’re good for all hair types and textures.
Dyeing your hair is a great way to revamp your look, but how often you should do so will depend largely on the kind of dye you’re using.
When in doubt, give your hair a break between dye jobs, try color-safe products to protect your tresses, and if you have any concerns, go to a professional — they’ll be able to answer any questions you have and make sure your hair is in tip-top shape.
Morgan Armstead is a senior at Johnson C. Smith University and former intern with Healthline, writing beauty and wellness material.