Whether you color your hair for fun, fashion or to hide your grays, there is one simple rule you must know – don’t overdo it. I dyed my hair quite often and was unaware that re-dying your hair frequently could leave it damaged and dry. But exactly how often can you dye your hair?
Read on to find out the optimum number of days to wait before re-coloring your hair, and the reasons behind the wait. After all, you don’t want to make silly dying mistakes and see your hair fade away.
Optimum Frequency for Hair Dying
Every person’s hair is different. People with stronger, healthier hair may have the luxury of experimenting more liberally with their hair color in contrast to people with weaker, damaged hair, who need to be more conservative in their approach.
However, as a general rule of thumb, you should wait at least 6 – 7 weeks before re-coloring your hair. Even if you have really healthy and strong hair, it is highly recommended that you wait at least 5 weeks before going in for the next round of dying.
However, if the previous dying session has left your hair in a very damaged or fragile condition, don’t re-color you hair until you consult a medical professional. Even if your hair is in good condition, but your scalp has become more sensitive, it’s time to meet the medical professional. Please prioritize the health of your hair and scalp over its color.
To put it simply, dying your hair is a heavy chemical process. And not everybody’s hair reacts the same to all chemicals. Someone who has healthier and stronger hair can perhaps afford to re-dye his or her hair more often than a person with poor hair health.
However, the misuse of dyes over a period of time will hamper anybody’s hair, eventually. But how exactly can dyes hurt your hair if applied too often?
To understand this, let’s first take a look at how hair dyes work:
- Most hair dyes present in the market contain the chemical called ammonia. This chemical helps the hair dye to set for a longer time by breaking into the hair’s natural protection – the cuticle. Yes, dyes don’t just stain your hair with a new color – instead they break through the hair’s defense system at a molecular level.
- Once the cuticle has been lifted, the peroxide or bleach can now easily remove your natural color. This peroxide chemical is what causes a lot of damage to hair by drying it out. Your hair is now colorless and can receive new molecules for a fresh color.
- Now that the cuticle has been disarmed and the bleach has managed to oxidize the original hair color proteins, new dye molecules can bond to the hair cortex. New color molecules start out as small-sized monomers which transform into bigger polymers after penetrating the hair shafts. And once they become polymers, they become too big to be simply washed out of your hair.
What about Ammonia-Free Dyes?
If someone recommended ammonia-free dyes to you as an alternative to regular dyes to cause less damage to your hair, it probably wouldn’t matter much. Ammonia-free dyes also have to lift the hair cuticle, only they do it in a relatively gentler manner which causes the cuticle to swell a little less.
However, this means that the new hair color cannot settle in as well as it could in the case of ammonia dying. So, the color will wash out much quicker requiring you to re-dye more often. And re-dying more often will end up damaging your hair just as in the case of ammonia dyes.
Symptoms of Damaged Hair
So how exactly does repeated dying of hair cause damage to it?
- Frequent dying of hair puts your hair under a lot of chemical stress. The bleaching process strips moisture out of the hair, leaving it brittle and dry. Over a period of time, this will result in your hair losing its natural shine and luster. And ultimately, this will lead to you having to cut your hair short to battle damaged locks. So to avoid that dreaded haircut, learn to dye your hair at healthy intervals.
- Another common issue faced by people who dye their hair too often is dandruff. Since the cuticle is lifted and the hair’s main defense mechanism is compromised, it becomes easier for dandruff to settle and stay in the hair. To battle this, people end up using harsh anti-dandruff shampoos which are loaded with even more chemicals. This further damages the quality and health of their hair.
- Frequent application of dyes to the hair can also suck the moisture out of your scalp and leave it dry. This can cause the scalp to become sensitive and cause pain even upon light massaging of the scalp. A good way to battle this is to massage your hair and scalp with oil regularly. This way the scalp will remain moisturized and well nourished, keeping all issues at bay.
Some Important Facts & Tips
- Contrary to popular belief, lighter dyes cause more damage than bright colored dyes. This is because, in the case of darker dyes, color is merely deposited on the hair without having to strip out the natural color from the cortex. In the case of lighter shades, the natural color first needs to be stripped out before depositing the new color.
- Not all dyes are same. Make it a point to always read the instructions that come along with the dye. Wrong application of a dye can cause severe damage to your hair. If you have any doubts regarding the product, get in touch with the manufacturer or simply ask your hair stylist for advice.
- If you feel that your hair is not as strong and healthy as it used to be due to dying, then the best way to regain the health of your hair is to deep-condition your hair. In fact, it is generally a good habit to deep-condition your hair once every few days after the dying process.
- If you are going to re-dye your hair with the same color, you may not have to go for complete re-dying. If only the roots need to be re-touched, then dye just those parts of your hair. This way, the rest of your hair will not have to undergo the harsh chemical process unnecessarily.
- You can explore more natural coloring options like henna. Henna imparts a rich, dark color and does not damage the hair due to its natural goodness.
You need to wait at least 5 to 7 weeks before re-coloring your hair, no matter the health of your hair. If you encounter any of the symptoms shared above, then I strongly recommend that you consult a medical professional before the issue escalates further.
I hope this guide will help you take care of your hair while remaining fashionable. If you have any queries or suggestions to share, please feel free to use the comments section below. And do not forget to share this article with your friends!