How Often Can You Dye Your Hair?

by Empire Beauty School
How Often Can You Dye Your Hair

Highlights, lowlights, balayage, acid bright. There are so many options out there for coloring your hair now. How do you decide what look is best for you? There are as many questions to consider as there are color possibilities when it comes to dyeing your hair. But when you consider changing your hair color, it is important to examine the required upkeep of the color you choose. So you ask, “How often can I dye my hair?

The Answer

The answer to this age-old question requires considering many factors. But the short answer is about every 4 to 8 weeks to touch up the roots from an overall hair coloring job. But if you have had just highlights, lowlights, or balayage coloring, you can recolor as the shades grow out from your hair. However, it is important to examine all the factors involved in coloring your hair to keep in its best possible shape.

Here are some factors to consider when you think about how often to dye your hair:

Hair Color and Hair Color Brush

Discover the Overall Condition of Your Hair

The condition of your hair is a very important factor to consider when planning to dye your hair. Damaged, brittle hair will not take color or bleach well and even cause your hair to disintegrate if it is already in very bad shape. 

So how do you know if your hair is unhealthy? Here are a few tests that can help you discern the health & shape of your hair:

Do a Follicle Test

Hair Follicle Test for Color Service

To understand if your hair is healthy overall you need to check your roots first. Just do this:

  • Pluck one strand of hair but make sure to grip it as close to your head as possible to have the root still attached to the hair.
  • Examine the follicle. The normal root end of a strand should be bulb-shaped, so if you see this, your hair is healthy. If it’s skinny and without any bulb shape at all, your hair is weak and needs care.

Do a Sink or Float Test

Sink or Float Test on Hair

Healthy hair is solid while damaged hair absorbs liquid quickly. To perform the test, do this:

  • Pluck a few strands of your hair from different parts of your head
  • Drop the strands into a glass of water. Completely healthy strands will float, relatively healthy ones will go down a bit, and damaged ones will sink entirely.

The Feel Test

Strand Test on Hair

Feel the condition of your hair cuticle to see if it’s damaged or not. Do this:

  • Clamp a hair strand between your index and middle fingers.
  • Slide it through your fingers, from the top to the root. If it is rough and uneven, your hair is damaged. If it feels smooth, it’s healthy.

What are the Different Types of Hair Color?

Hair color can be permanent or semi-permanent. Permanent hair dye, including bleach, will have to be grown out of your hair rather than washed out. Hair grows about a half an inch a month so if you are unsatisfied with your permanent color results, you will be waiting a long time for it to totally grow out. 

However, semi-permanent hair dye will gradually fade with each wash until eventually, it will all fade away. Semi-permanent hair color is ammonia-free but it does have a small amount of peroxide to slightly lift the outer hair cuticle so that the pigment can take hold without lightening your natural color. As long as the hair cuticle is properly restored to its naturally flat and closed position (Follow the directions on the box), you should be able to safely re-color your hair as often every few weeks. Also, if you’re unsure about coloring your hair, you may want to start with a semi permanent dye to test out how pleased you are with the results.

There is another factor that will influence how long your hair dye lasts too.  How you maintain your hair color can have a significant effect on its longevity.

How to Maintain Your Colored Hair

Condition Hair

No one wants to spend lots of money and time on getting their hair dyed and then have the color fade in a matter of weeks. Getting the color you desire is only half the battle when it comes to dyeing your hair. If you want your color to last as long as possible, here are a few rules to follow after you color your hair:

  • Don’t wash your hair for 72 hours after coloring it. 

The color needs time to settle into your hair. So stylists suggest waiting 72 hours or longer to wash your hair after coloring it. If you absolutely cannot wait that long to wash your hair, try using a dry shampoo in between washes. 

  • Use sulfate-free, color-safe shampoos and conditioners
Shampoo Bottles

Sulfate cleansing agents tend to be too aggressive for colored hair and will cause your hair color to fade faster than if you use sulfate-free products. Make sure to use color-safe products that are less harmful to your hair. Look for products with ingredients like natural oils, collagens, and proteins that will deeply condition,  and strengthen your hair’s outer layer. 

  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Any type of coloring can dry out and cause damage to your hair. So it is important to re-hydrate by using moisturizing conditioners and masks to help your hair recover from being dyed. Using a deep conditioner once a week will keep your hair color looking new & vibrant. 

  • Minimize the Heat

Excessive heat can also cause damage and dry out the hair shaft. So, skip the blow dryer and let your hair air dry whenever possible. If you use heated styling tools on a daily basis, make sure you prep your hair with a heat protector spray beforehand to avoid further stress and damage to the hair cuticles.

Also, it is smart to turn down the temperature of the water when you wash your colored hair. Water that is too hot causes the hair cuticle to open up which makes the color molecules in your hair fade much faster. Washing in lukewarm to cool water will keep your hair in much better shape.


As you can see, there are many different elements to consider when deciding when to color your hair. Your hair is a part of your overall health and should be treated like you would treat any other part of your body that has acquired damage. If you broke your leg, you would not try to run a marathon the next day. 

This is why it is important to assess the condition of your hair before deciding to color again. If you do find that your hair is showing signs of major damage, it is best to wait. While you may not want to, waiting and trying some of the conditioning processes we suggested can heal the damage and give you much better results when you decide to re-color your hair.

With a little knowledge, preparation, and care, you can have beautiful, healthy colored hair. 

Learn more about what color does to your hair on our 8 commonly asked questions about coloring your hair post.

November 29, 2021

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