Feb 14, 2022

"How soon can I dye my hair again to fix it?" + Other hair dye questions, answered

Find out how long you need to wait before fixing a bad dye job

Formulate user Robin has some serious hair dye questions:

I tried dying my hair myself earlier and it was awful. So bad. It looks nothing like I wanted it to look. I need to do something about this ASAP. I've heard that it's possible to dye your hair again on the same day, just that it's risky. Is that true? Like, what's the worst thing that could happen if I dyed my hair less than 24 hours after I first dyed it? I know that my hair could look fried, but it can't look worse than it does right now. And if a day is too soon, what's the earliest that I can fix my hair? I really need to do something about this. I'm considering using semi-permanent hair dye in the meantime to hold me over, will this work/are there any better alternatives? This is seriously a disaster, I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for writing, Robin! We're sorry to hear that you're in such a haircare pickle. We'll do our best to help you out by answering your questions one by one.

"How soon can I dye my hair again to fix it?"

Melissa Gilbert, beautician at Fantastic Services, says that you don't want to be in too much of a rush to re-dye your hair (yup, even if it looks really, really bad). "Experts advise waiting at least 2 weeks (technically 15 days) before dyeing it again. However, this is the minimum amount of time and, in some cases, you may need to extend that period to 4 weeks. Damaged hair, no matter how it was damaged, needs an extended period of time to rest and recover." This waiting period is crucial - attempting to dye damaged hair could result in your hair basically disintegrating in your hands. Sometimes, it's best to wait longer than 4 weeks. Ghanima Abdullah, licensed hairstylist, writes, "How soon you can re-dye your hair really depends on the original condition of your hair and its condition after you finish the first process. If it was damaged before you started and is now dry, or in any state less than ideal, you should probably wait six to eight weeks before trying to fix it." 

What are some less damaging ways to fix a bad dye job?

If you truly can't stand the way your hair looks, you've still got options. If your hair is too dark, Abdullah recommends that you try a clarifying shampoo that's not color-safe."If you want to strip the dye out of your hair, a regular clarifying shampoo can take it up at least a shade." If your hair is too light (and is in good condition), you can wait about a week and get a slightly darker shade from the same brand. (Adbullah recommends you leave it in for only half the time to reduce the amount of accrued damage - even if your hair doesn't appear to be in bad shape before you dye it the second time, it very well might be afterward.) If you want to darken your hair but it's too damaged for another round of dye, you can try using a henna blend. Per Abdullah: "Henna only coats the hair instead of playing around with the disulphide bonds inside of it. Choose a shade of brown that you think might blend well with your hair color as it stands in order to make the color darker. It should be at least two shades darker."

Can you put semi-permanent dye over permanent? What happens if you do?

Abdullah says that semi-permanent dye is far less damaging than permanent dye, and can be applied on top of already dyed hair. Adbullah explains, "Since semi-permanent hair dye only coats the outside of the hair shaft and is used to darken the strands, it can be used over permanent hair dye. Permanent dye lightens the hair from the inside of the hair shaft and deposits color there. So the two processes work with different parts of the hair. Because semi-permanent coat the hair, it might even reduce some of the damage caused from a permanent dye by sealing in areas of damage." Try using a semi-permanent gloss if you wish to add color over a permanent dye job. It will bring more shine to your hair than a regular semi-permanent color. Professional hairstylist Laura Roncagli says that you should also consider the color of your semi-permanent dye, and if it will clash with the color that's already been applied: "If the colors are similar, the result will be a darker or lighter version of the same color. If the colors are different, the result will be a muddled mess."

Can you dye your hair twice in one day? What are the consequences if you do this?

If you've read any of this article thus far, you won't be surprised that our answer is a resounding NO. Gilbert, who unfortunately has personal experience with dyeing hair twice in one day in her pre-beautician life, shares "Your hair will most certainly start to break. When I did this, my hair started to break off by simply putting my fingers through it. It would fall out at any point during the day. This happened in all areas - from the roots to the tips. There was also a noticeable change in the way my hair felt and looked. It was very brittle." Yikes - don't let this happen to you. 

Wanna learn more about the world of skin and hair care? Here's your next read:

Frizzy Curly Hair Care 101

How to defrizz your curls and get 'em back into shape!

Hot Rollers Vs. Curling Irons

What's the difference between hot rollers and curling irons?

Difference Between a Mole and a Freckle

What's the difference between a mole and a freckle?

Moisturizer vs Lotion: What's the difference?

Can you use body lotion on your face?

Tips For Washing Hair In Hard Water

This is your guide to washing your hair in hard water

Minimalist Hair

Welcome to the wonderful world of minimalist hair

Type of Combs: Materials and Shapes

Your complete guide to picking out a comb

Caroline Schmidt