A hair emergency can happen to anyone — you wanted a chic platinum cut but find yourself walking away with yellowed strands instead. Your first instinct is probably to rush to the drugstore without thinking about how long you should wait to dye your hair again. It may be hard to hear, but you should put down that box dye because re-dyeing your hair too soon can actually make the problem worse.
In most situations, you’re going to need to wait two weeks before you can book an appointment to re-dye your hair. This is because overprocessing your hair can cause irreparable damage and can even change your hair texture. But you still have some other options to save your hair in a pinch. Keep reading to learn how long you should wait to dye your hair again.
How soon can you dye your hair again?
You should wait at least two weeks after your last dye session to re-dye your hair, regardless of the reason. If you’re maintaining your color, stylists recommend returning to the salon every four to six weeks for a touch-up.
If you’re using less damaging products, such as semi-permanent dye or color-depositing conditioner, downtime between treatments might be less. For other coloring services, it’s best to follow the two-week waiting period.
How soon can I recolor my hair if I don’t like it?
|Type||Wait time (before re-dyeing)||How long color lasts||Damage level|
|Color-depositing conditioner||None||Five to 10 shampoos||None|
|Semi-permanent hair dye||One week||Four to 12 shampoos||Very low|
|Demi-permanent hair dye||Two weeks||Up to 24 shampoos||Low|
|Permanent hair dye||Two weeks||Four to 6 weeks||Medium|
|Hair bleach||Two weeks||Four to 6 weeks||High|
If you’re not a fan of your new hair color, the time you’ll need to fix it depends on your hair concern and what services you’ve had. In general, you can head back to the salon for a second try in two weeks.
To prep for processing your hair again, avoid heat styling and give your strands some TLC with deep conditioning treatments. Check out our targeted tips below for your unique situation.
If your color went brassy
If you bleached your hair and it’s taken on a yellow or orange color, you can tone it after two to three days. Toner is less harsh than dyeing or bleaching your hair. It’s a purple treatment, usually in shampoo or conditioner form, that uses the power of color correction to give you a cool-toned blonde.
If you want to dye your hair after bleaching, it’s safest to wait two weeks. However, you may not need to wait as long because bleach affects everyone’s hair differently. Your stylist might feel comfortable dyeing your hair within a couple days if your hair doesn’t feel too damaged after bleaching.
If you botched your box dye
It’s tempting to dye your hair at home, but box dye is notoriously difficult to correct. If you tried to DIY your hair and have all the regrets, reach out to your local salon and ask if they have a color correction specialist. These specialists will know exactly what to do to save your hair and bring your color vision back to life.
If you used semi- or demi-permanent box dye, you won’t have to wait as long as if you used permanent dye. If you’re going to attempt a correction yourself, wait at least two weeks, but know that consulting with a professional might allow you to fix your hair without waiting as long.
If you dyed your hair black
It’s a common misconception that black hair dye will cover anything up. Unfortunately, this is not the case — it’s actually very difficult to achieve an even dye job for black hair. It’s common to have issues like patchiness or even green discoloration if your hair wasn’t dyed properly.
If you tried to dye your hair black and aren’t satisfied, there are a couple things you can try to lighten up your strands:
- Wash with a clarifying shampoo
- Lighten your hair with bleach
- Use a color-stripping product
Before trying any of these strategies, it’s always best to check with your hairstylist for their recommendations on how to fix your hair without causing further damage. If you’re still hoping to achieve those inky strands, it’s always best to get your hair dyed black by a professional.
If you want to strip your hair color
Hair color removers, also known as hair strippers, lift the cuticle of your hair and remove the color from the cortex. Many opt for this strategy because it can be less damaging than bleaching. However, the results can be patchy, so it’s best to leave hair stripping to a professional.
Why do I have to wait to re-dye my hair?
If you’re using demi-permanent or permanent hair dyes, it’s extra important to wait two weeks before re-dyeing your hair.
As a general rule, the longer a hair color change lasts, the more damage it causes. More temporary hair color techniques like a color-depositing conditioner and demi-permanent hair color don’t enter the cortex, so they cause less damage. The trade-off is that they aren’t as vibrant and don’t last as long in your hair.
Demi-permanent hair dye, permanent hair dye, and hair bleach all last longer because they permeate your hair cuticle and dye your strands from the inside out. Lifting the cuticle can cause damage, and that is why overprocessed hair can feel brittle and dry.
If you keep bleaching or dyeing your hair without a break, the cuticle can stay lifted, which leaves the vulnerable inside part of hair strands, the cortex, unprotected. Certain care tips like rinsing with cold water and using the right products can help smooth lifted cuticles, but if your hair is overprocessed, the best thing you can do is give it a break from bleach and dye.
When can I re-dye my hair for upkeep?
To maintain your current hair color, you can re-dye your tresses every four to six weeks. This time will vary a bit depending on how quickly your hair grows, but this is generally a good amount of time between dye sessions because it’s enough time for your strands to recover a bit without waiting so long that your color fades completely.
If you’re retouching your roots and your hair grows very quickly, you might be able to dye them more often. This is because grown-out roots are virgin hair, meaning they’ve never undergone processing. It’s like starting with a blank slate, so you’re good to go if you need to touch up your roots earlier than normal for a special occasion.
What happens if I re-dye my hair too soon?
If you dye your hair too soon, you can cause permanent damage to your hair cuticle, which will make your strands feel dry, frizzy, and rough. Common signs of overprocessed hair include:
- Drastic changes in hair texture
- Hair breakage
- Increased cowlicks and flyaways
- Increased split ends
- Hair loss and thinning
If you’ve overprocessed your hair, it’s important to head to a stylist you trust to come up with a plan to ride out the damage. If you’re experiencing multiple signs of overprocessing, your stylist might recommend a final dye session back to your natural hair color, give you recommendations for restorative products, and recommend you stick to protective styles until the damage has grown out.
Can I dye my hair twice in one day?
You shouldn’t dye your hair twice in one day because this doesn’t give your strands enough time to recover between processes. But there are some specific cases in which it’s okay or even necessary to dye your hair multiple times in a day.
For example, if you’re using at-home dye on your hair, you can dye it twice in one day as long as the total time the dye is on your head doesn’t exceed the maximum time on the instructions. Keep in mind that the longer the dye sits in your hair, the more likely it is to cause damage.
When you’re getting your hair dyed in a salon, your stylist might suggest a double process color. This means that the color takes two steps to complete, normally over multiple days. In a pinch, you might be able to bleach and dye your hair in a single day, but this method isn’t recommended and can leave you with extra hair damage.
How often can you dye your hair from a box?
Even though box hair dye isn’t as strong as salon dye, you should still wait at least two weeks before re-dyeing your hair. Although box dye is less harsh, it’s not being applied by a professional, so there’s a much higher chance of damaging your hair from user error.
If you’re tackling your hair at home, make sure to read the dye box instructions carefully for the smoothest dyeing experience.
It’s understandable to be upset if you tried for your dream hair color and the result isn’t what you pictured. You may be tempted to rush into quick fixes and re-dye your hair immediately, but oftentimes rushing the color correction process makes things worse.
While you wait to dye your hair again, grab your favorite hat, tie your hair up in a cute scarf, and give it a little TLC with a deep conditioning mask. When you can make an appointment with a stylist and get your hair re-dyed properly, it’ll be worth the wait.