Can you dye wet hair?

Can you dye wet hair?
Can you dye wet hair? - photo by CasparGirl under C.C. 2.0


If you have ever picked up a couple different hair color boxes and read the instructions, almost certainly you will come across contradicting information whether to wash your hair before coloring or not. The decision to apply dye to wet, damp or dry hair, mostly depends on the results you want to achieve. If you hair is already damaged dyeing will have more unpredictable results. Certain foods can help your hair gain more quality, thickness and shine. But even if we assume that your hair is healthy, the question remains, can you dye wet hair? And if yes, how? To clear this up, let’s see how the dyeing process works on dry hair first.

Applying Dye to dry hair

Most of the permanent hair colors are supposed to be applied on dry hair. This is simply because of the fact that dry hair will absorb the dye much more readily. The product application will also go more smoothly as the dye is not being watered down. If you really have to wash your hair make sure you do it at least 24 hours before dyeing your hair, to enable the scalp enrich itself with oils and proteins. The sheet that your scalp develops will serve as a protective cover when you apply the hair color product. If you really have to wash your hair on the day, always be sure to gently wash your hair only (not the scalp and skin) and use shampoo only and no conditioners. After his carefully blow dry your hair. This process will completely deplete your hair of water, leaving it ready and thirsty. It will also heat up your hair, which in turn will increase absorption even more. Doing this can increase the amount of color you need, if your hair is thick or long enough, but this is only because your hair will take in more dye. The trick of having a nice equally saturated hair color is exactly this. Dry and hot. Any dampness present in the hair will only dilute the dye and the results may vary. Partial absorption is another problem when applying dye to damp hair. Water is a filler in damp hair that will limit the levels of dye that is absorbed by your hair, thus making you waste product.

Bonus tip – Hot Roots:

Many women dyeing their own hair come across the problem of ‘hot roots’. This is when the dye at the roots is a couple of shades lighter in color. This is simply because the heat of your head accelerates the color absorption. To avoid this, apply the color first at the tips and middle of your hair and only then apply it to the roots. It requires a bit more mastery, and products will work differently on different people, so don’t be let down if you don’t get it right the first time. Remember, everything is fixable.

Applying Dye to wet hair

Every once in a while, you come across the question. So can you dye wet hair? If you are going for a semi-permanent (12 washes) or demi-permanent(12-28 washes) hair coloring, damp is the way to go. Completely wet hair, however is practically impossible to dye. Wrap a towel on your hair after you wash it and keep it there for some good 20 minutes. This will take enough water out of it for you to apply product. The dye will apply more easily but the absorption process will be slower and on a smaller scale. You can similarly use permanent hair color on your hair while it’s damp to make it demi or even semi permanent, if you are OK with wasting hair color. Another problem that might arise from dyeing wet hair is that it will result in patchy coloring. Since different patches of your hair absorbed different amounts of water, they will have varying storage for hair dye left. To avoid this make sure that your hair is evenly damp, especially on the ends, since they tend to dry up last. Furthermore, if you are applying dye that reacts best with dry hair, you will change the saturation.


If you really want to use less product then apply the dye to your damp hair. Results however will vary.

Refreshing dye

Mixing half conditioner and half dye and apply it to your hair. Leave it there for some good two minutes and wash it. The conditioner will not allow the dye to absorb completely, hence refreshing your color. This is a handy little trick when you need a quick fix for an impromptu meeting or travel. The downside is that this refreshing will only last 2-4 washes so make sure you re-dye your hair afterwards.

Do not bleach damp or wet hair!

If your question was can you bleach wet hair and not can you dye wet hair, this word of advice is for you. Never, and I mean ever, apply bleach to damp hair. The metals in the water will react with the bleach and that can cause severe burns on the skin of your scalp. If you really have to wash your hair the same day you bleach it, make sure you do it as early in the day as possible and use only shampoo and under any circumstances no conditioner. Blow dry your hair if you are in doubt, since the burns produced by bleach can cause huge damage to your skin that will almost certainly cause dandruff.

So .. Can you dye wet hair?

  1. Check the product box, manufacturers have tested their product – follow insturctions
  2. Only do it with semi and demi permanent color
  3. Only shampoo no conditioner washing
  4. Make sure it’s evenly dry/damp, double check ends

And remember, anything can be fixed!

 

Healthead – Healthy Means Happy

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