With so many options on the market, changing your hair color is relatively simple nowadays. But all good things must end, and hair dye eventually fades away.
How long does hair dye last? There’s no easy answer to that. It depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the dye and your current color. On top of that, your daily habits may also cause your dye to fade prematurely.
Different hair dye formulas last longer than others. So if you’re curious to know how long your new look will last, keep reading. Here you will find out what impacts the longevity of hair dye and learn how to prevent your new color – and money – from going down the drain.
Factors That Contribute to Hair Dye Fading
How long does hair dye last? Unfortunately, dye results are different for everyone. There are different factors that may contribute to how long your color lasts.
Generally, hair dye can last 1-2 weeks for temporary color and 4-10 weeks for permanent dye. However, the following factors can impact that estimation:
1. Hair Color Type
What type of dye did you use? The hair dye type is listed on the box, or you can ask your stylist if you went to a salon. Hair color usually falls into one of these four categories:
As you may expect, permanent hair dye lasts the longest. For most people, it lasts until your hair grows out or you re-color your hair. Although some people experience fading that leaves the hair a different, often washed out, shade from what they started with.
These hair dyes are so long-lasting because you use full strength developer to fully penetrate the hair cuticle cortex. Doing this also changes the natural melanin of the hair permanently.
These hair dyes generally don’t need a developer or activating agent. Instead of penetrating the cuticle, the dye coats it with large color pigments. This gives your hair the illusion of color, but it only lasts 8 to 15 shampoos, though some can last up to 28 shampoos.
Demi-permanent hair dye lasts slightly longer than semi-permanent without the extra damage that permanent dye can cause. This is because it only partially penetrates the hair cuticle using a low-level developer. These hair dyes are typically a mixture of big pigment colors and smaller intermediate ones.
Vibrant fashion colors like blue, green, and pink are generally temporary dyes. They can last anywhere from a day to a week. Some dyes are designed to wash out after one shampoo, while others have more staying power.
These hair colors coat the hair cuticle instead of penetrating it, so they’re easy to wash out.
2. Color of Dye
What does your color have to do with it? As it happens, the dye color really does factor into how long it will last.
Dye colors are made up of different pigments. The more pigments a color has, the longer it lasts.
For example, a purple dye may have 8,000 pigments. However, a red dye may only have 3,000 pigments, and blue dye has even fewer at 1,000 pigments.
In general, darker colors last longer than lighter ones, especially if you need to “lift” or open up the hair cuticle to take the lighter hair color. You can lift your hair by bleaching or using a hi-lift color.
However, if you do need to open up your hair cuticle, it’s less likely that your new color will lock into the cuticle, which contributes to how quickly you lose the dye.
3. The Shape of Hair Pre-Dye
Next, your hair’s natural condition prior to coloring contributes to how long your color lasts. You may already know this, but the more damaged your hair is, the faster you’ll lose the color. This goes back to your hair cuticle health.
Even if you don’t lift your hair color, if your cuticles are abused with constant styling or past coloring, they become porous. This can cause your hair color to “leak” out easily.
4. Hair Color Care
Additionally, how you treat your newly colored hair contributes to the longevity of the dye.
Washing your hair using specially designed shampoo and conditioner for colored hair can help it last longer. Look for shampoos that restore pH balance and repair the hair cuticle. At the same time, stay away from harsh shampoos that can strip your color like those designed for oily scalp or dandruff treatment.
Furthermore, don’t wash your hair in hot water. Shampooing your hair causes your hair to swell, which can cause color leakage. However, more pigment escapes with hot water.
Do the elements contribute to fading? Absolutely. As such, you must make sure to grab a hat when you step out into the sun. Atoms, molecules, and free radicals can pull electrons from pigment molecules and contribute to fading.
If you can’t live without your hot iron, consider buying a good thermal protection cream for your hair. Heat styling including straightening, curling, and blow drying can further damage the hair cuticle. This, in turn, may make it easier for the color pigment to escape when you wash your hair.
Home Color vs. Salon: Which Lasts Longer?
Are you torn about where to go to color your hair? Coloring your hair at home may be easier and cheaper, but heading down to the salon may have more reliable results.
Home coloring has come a long way, but it still doesn’t have the professional staying power that salons have access to. Does that mean that salon-colored hair always last longer? Not necessarily.
Whether you use box color or go see a colorist, it still depends on the factors we have previously discussed. However, professional colorists can assess your hair condition as well as its type and color it in a way that’s best for you. Sometimes that means adding additional conditioners and treatments to further lock in color.
What to Expect from Hair Dye
How long does hair dye last? The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors. Hair dye type is certainly one of the key factors when estimating color longevity.
However, all hair color may be subject to premature fading without proper care. So make sure to buy the right products, be careful about heat, and grab a hat when going out. Don’t let your vibrant color fade because of bad habits.