How Long Does Hair Dye Last ? Why Does it Fade Quickly?

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How Long Does Hair Dye Last

No one really wants some ugly faded hair color, especially if you are trying to curate the perfect Instagram feed. This therefore begs the question, how long does hair dye last?

Generally, a permanent hair dye lasts between 6 to 8 weeks before it starts to fade. And as the name suggests, it lasts longer than semi-permanent/temporary hair dyes.

A Semi-permanent dye on the other hand lasts anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks before it starts to fades out.

This duration can be longer or shorter depending on several factors.

In this article we will look at these factors as well as things you need to do in-order to keep your hair dye looking vibrant for long while protecting your hair from potential damage.

Factors Affecting How Long Hair Dye Will Last

Several factors affect how long your dye will look good as we shall see below:

1. Type of dye  

Hair dye, how long does hair dye last

Permanent hair dye lasts longer than semi-permanent ones, that is from 6 to 8 weeks.

This is because permanent hair dyes contains chemicals that allow the color to penetrate deeper into the hair shafts. This allows it to look vibrant for a longer time.

You’d think because of their name, permanent hair dyes should last forever but there is fading that happen as a result of washing and exposure to the sun’s rays or other fading elements.

Also, as new roots grow out, then it’s time to think of a touch-up.  

Semi-permanent hair dye does not have chemicals such as ammonia, thus stays for a shorter time.

This hair dye is perfect for people who love a variety of hair colors and can change it more frequently. Since the temporary hair dye fades faster, it will not look as good as the permanent one.

2. How often you wash your hair

Washing dyed hair frequently makes it prone to leaching out the dye. For hair dye, it’s more important to prevent the dye from leaking out than it is to let it “set” in your hair initially.

Each hair strand is surrounded by the cuticle, which is what traps the dye.

When you wash your hair, especially in hot water, you risk opening up the cuticle and letting the dye bleed out hence why it’s better to wash colored hair in cooler water.

This way your hair cuticle will stay closed keeping the hair color trapped inside the strands of hair.

3. The products you use

The types of products you use on your hair contribute hugely to how long dye will last on your hair.

Steer off from clarifying shampoos for instance.

Whilst these shampoos are good at deep cleansing the scalp of any excess dirt and grease, they have chemicals such as silicones, sulfates, and parabens that will fade the pigment and tone of your hair dye.

To ensure your hair color is maintained choose shampoos that are sulfate-free or color-safe- free.

You should also use color-pigmented conditioners that usually maintain the fresh color and tone that you will love.

When you invest in high-quality hair care you are investing in overall hair health and in your hair color.

4. The color of dye

Pink Hair dye, how long does hair dye last

Darker colored hair dyes will last longer than the bright colored ones.

For the darker color dyes, the hair dye penetrates the cuticles easily and you do not need to bleach the hair when applying the dye.

However, for the lighter hair dye colors, you have to open the cuticles to apply the color. Due to opening the hair cuticle, lesser color is also locked into the hair. Most of the time, bleach is applied but that too is quite harmful to your hair.

How long your hair dye looks good also depends on the natural color pigments in your hair.

Warm darker colors tend to stay longer on Asian hair. This is because higher levels of melanin are retained in their hair, giving it its color.

5. The texture of your hair

Fine hair usually takes hair dye faster because it is thinner and less dense.

Coarse hair texture on the other is much thicker and therefore will take more chemicals and time to achieve the perfect hair color.

Curly and kinky textures have rough cuticles that are more porous and more likely to take color faster.

Wavier textures tend to have a smoother cuticle and are more likely to be more resistant to color unless there has been some chemical processing to cause a looser curl pattern to be more porous.

6. How well the dye is applied

When the dye is applied properly it will last longer and look good as well.

You need to ensure your hairstylist uses the appropriate products to maintain your hue for longer.

Well-applied dye also means you have to make an extra effort by ensuring you moisturize your hair often, and avoid excessive water. This goes a long way to making your dye look good.

7. Exposure to sunshine and seawater

You should avoid direct exposure to sunlight for long periods as this will strip the dye of its color making to slowly fade away.  

To keep your color looking great for long, use an SPF for hair and can also wear a hat when going out to the sun.

Seawater contains salt which depletes your hair of moisture leaving it dry and brittle. Chemicals and chlorine are known to strip hair color.

This means you should ensure your hair is covered when swimming whether in the ocean or swimming pools.

How to Keep Hair Dye Looking Vibrant for Long

Here are the tips to keep dye in your hair longer.

  • Minimise the frequency of washing your hair. A dry shampoo is a great way to keep your hair clean if you can’t wash your hair frequently.
  • Avoid hot showers. Take lukewarm showers instead
  • Limit the use styling tools such as blow dryers, hot irons, and curling wands as this opens hair cuticles
  • Protect your hair with shower caps when taking showers or swimming
  • Use sulfate-free, salt-free and detergent-free shampoos and conditioners
  • Avoid sun exposure and use products with SPF
  • Use styling products designed for colored hair
  • Use a leave-in conditioner on your hair before swimming
  • When washing your hair deep condition it to ensure it is moisturized enough

In summary …

Permanent hair dyes last between six to eight weeks while the temporary hair dyes last from four to six weeks.

These factors will affect how long hair dye will last;

  1. Type of dye 
  2. How often the hair is washed
  3. Types of products used
  4. Color of the dye
  5. Hair texture
  6. How well the dye is applied
  7. Exposure to sunshine and seawater

Lastly, always ensure you do your homework before you decide to dye your hair. Ensure you are using safe hair dyes and as with everything in life, take a balanced approached when it comes to using hair dyes. [1]

A great alternative to synthetic dyes is using natural hair dyes such as Henna.

BTW, did you know hair porosity plays a key role in hair growth? Take this simple hair porosity test to determine if your hair is HIGH, LOW or NORMAL porosity.

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