Can Hair Dyes Damage Your Hair?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

  • How Does Dye Affect Your Hair?
  • Does Dyeing Your Hair Damage It?
  • Light Vs. Dark Hair Colors: Which Is More Damaging?
  • Does Semi-permanent Color Damage Your Hair?
  • Hair Dye Damage: How Your Hair’s Condition Makes A Difference
  • What Can You Do To Repair Hair Dye Damage?

How Does Dye Affect Your Hair?

Hair dyes consist of a cocktail of chemicals – developer or oxidizing agent, ammonia, and coloring agent.

Ammonia opens the hair cuticles, and hydrogen peroxide, a commonly used oxidizing agent, penetrates the hair shaft to strip its natural pigment. When your natural hair color is gone, the coloring agents get to work and dye your hair (2).

ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Thus, hair dyes can alter your hair color permanently. But can dyeing your hair damage it in any way? Check out the next section for your answer.

Does Dyeing Your Hair Damage It?

Yes, hair coloring makes your locks prone to damage. A dye does not merely stain your hair but penetrates the shaft to alter the natural hair pigment. Thus, frequent hair dyeing can strip the protective lipid layer from your hair, leading to roughness and damage.

Moreover, a hair dye’s damage extends beyond your tresses. The chemicals present in hair dyes can cause allergies, dryness, scalp itchiness, and redness.

Light Vs. Dark Hair Colors: Which Is More Damaging?

Both light and dark hair colors use hydrogen peroxide that oxidizes your natural hair color, increasing the risk of hair damage. The developer (hydrogen peroxide) removes as much of the natural pigments from your hair as necessary to dye it permanently. Although it should be targeting melanin, the developer also interacts with keratin molecules, making your hair weak and prone to damage.

For strong and hydrated hair

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Hence, choose a shade close to your original hair color while dyeing it permanently. This can be less damaging than darkening or lightening your hair beyond the range of its natural shades.

Is a semi-permanent hair dye just as damaging for your hair? Find out below.

Does Semi-permanent Color Damage Your Hair?

No, a semi-permanent dye is not as damaging as a permanent hair dye since it merely coats the hair with colors. It is free of peroxide and ammonia and does not bleach the natural pigments of your hair.

However, semi-permanent hair dye has its cons. You will only be able to darken the hair color and not lighten it with semi-permanent hair dyes. The color will fade after a few shampoo washes and requires frequent reapplication.

ishonest No.162 - Uneven Skin Tone

No.162 - Uneven Skin Tone

Dyeing your hair changes its structure, especially if you are using permanent hair color. But can the condition of your hair determine the severity of hair dye damage? Let us find out in the next section.

Hair Dye Damage: How Your Hair’s Condition Makes A Difference

Your hair changes the way it feels and behaves after dyeing. But the state of your hair at the time of your dye job also makes a difference.

Weak and fragile hair might not be able to hold the color. Also, coloring your weak hair can lead to breakage, hair fall, and frizz. Ideally, you should stop dyeing your hair if it is already fragile to prevent any further damage.

You cannot just apply hair color anytime. Your hair should be clean and free of any buildup for the color to stick to your hair. Hence, wash your hair 24-48 hours before dyeing it for effective results.

Volume and structure for your hair

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If you want to color your hair, first, test its condition – how healthy or damaged it is. Understand the impact hair color will have on your hair, and choose your options wisely.

Here are a few tricks to repair your damaged hair after dyeing. Read on!

What Can You Do To Repair Hair Dye Damage?

Hair dyes can deplete the natural moisture levels of your hair. Choose deeply hydrating products, such as conditioners and hair masks, that seal the natural hair moisture and help combat hair color damage. Moisturized hair can retain the color better, making it last longer. Also, a hair spa treatment every 15 days can help keep your colored hair strong and healthy.

Products meant specially for dyed hair prevent the hair color from fading and help prolong its life. They are usually sulfate-free and do not strip the essential moisture from your hair. Special shampoos, conditioners, serums, and hairsprays are available on the market for different types of hair dyes and shades. Choose one that matches your hair type and color for the best results.

ishonest No.232 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

No.232 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

Hair gloss treatments help prolong the life of your colored hair. They moisturize and smoothen your locks and reduce frizz. These treatments prevent dullness and add shine to your colored hair.

If you are in between coloring sessions and want to refresh your look, hair gloss treatments can come to your rescue. Indulge in this treatment if you want to tone your hair color and get rid of unwanted brassiness.

Heat styling can severely dry out your hair, especially if you have dyed it. Use heat protectants every time you grab your styling tools. This will prevent any thermal damage and keep your colored hair soft and healthy.

To Conclude

While hair colors can damage your hair, it is no reason to give up on dyeing. You can achieve perfectly hued tresses with some extra care and maintenance. Limit the use of permanent hair dyes and follow the damage control tips mentioned above to protect your gorgeous colored hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Activates the microcirculation of scalp and strengthens the hair follicles to stimulate hair growth

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Does dying your hair damage it forever?

Yes, frequent use of permanent hair colors can have long-lasting detrimental effects on your hair.

Does dying your hair without bleach damage it?

No. Bleach is an oxidizing agent that can damage your hair and make it prone to breakage.

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