How Often Should You Dye Your Hair?

Dyeing your hair? We have a tip. Here's how often you should dye your hair to maintain that color

Here's the lowdown on how frequently you should dye your hair

Millions of men and women dye their hair on a regular basis. Whether it’s because they don’t want to go grey or because they simply have a desire to try out a new look every so often, there’s no shortage of people dyeing their hair on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, hair dye does require a chemical process when applied to the hair, which can cause your hair follicles long-term damage. One major factor that plays a role in your hair’s health if you regularly color your hair is how often you dye it.

So how often should you be dyeing your hair? Even if you’re using the best hair dye with the least amount of chemical processing, you don’t want to be changing your hair color every other day. Read on to help yourself determine just how frequently you should be applying color to your locks.

Why Is Hair Dye Damaging?

Contrary to what some people may think, hair dye doesn’t simply stain your hair a new color. Rather, it has to break down your hair’s cuticle to make it to the shaft. The cuticle is the hair’s natural protector, so when you dye your hair, you’re weakening its natural defense. The cuticle is also the part of the follicle that gives your hair shine. When you dye your hair, the ammonia in the hair dye lifts up the cuticle to allow the dye into the hair’s shaft. Once the cuticle becomes lifted, your hair’s natural color proteins are stripped of their color, and the new color pigment brought on by the dye takes over and bonds to the cortex.

Even if you’re using an ammonia-free dye, the hair’s cuticle is still damaged. Monoethanolamine, which serves as the cuticle lifter in ammonia-free dyes, works similarly to ammonia, except in a liquid form (rather than gas), actually potentially causing the hair follicle more damage by remaining on the follicle longer.

Long story short, whether you’re using ammonia-free dye or dye with ammonia, the more you use it, the more you damage your hair’s cuticle layer.

How Often You Should Dye Your Hair If You’re Just Doing a Root Touch-Up

If you’re just touching up your roots when you dye your hair, rather than doing a full dye job, then you can relax. Because the dye is only being applied to your roots, and because that root hair is undamaged by previous dye jobs, you’re not going to end up with damaged-looking hair.

The average time between root touch-ups is four to six weeks. If you want to stretch it out a little longer, eight weeks is the maximum amount of time you should go without touching up your roots for the sake of aesthetics. As for doing a touch-up sooner than every four weeks, it’s not recommended, as the hair dyeing process is an intense one for your scalp and hair follicles.

How Often You Should Dye Your Hair If Your Doing the Full Head

While celebrities might make it look like a new hair color every week is a current trend, the truth of the matter is that most of those celebrities who frequently change up their hair colors are actually wearing wigs or using extensions. The reason for this is because dyeing your hair every week or every other week would lead to extremely damaged hair.

If you like to change up your look from time to time and plan on doing full head dye jobs, try to limit your time between dyes to at least eight weeks. The longer you can hold off, the better. Also, take notice of your hair’s condition. If you have healthy hair that hasn’t been dyed much in the past, you can probably get away with dyeing your hair more frequently. On the flip side, if you have severely dry and damaged hair, you’ll want to put off dyeing your hair for as long as you can.

The Final Verdict

The final verdict when it comes to the frequency of dyeing your hair is a personal choice. Depending on what you’re willing to sacrifice in terms of your hair’s health is up to you. What’s important to remember is that while coloring might give you a whole new look, it’s doing so at a cost. In the case of hair color, the longer you can go without it, the better; instead, focus on maintaining your hair color so it looks great for as long as possible. However, don’t let that stop you from giving your hair a color tune-up every four to eight weeks depending on your hair’s health and texture.

Resources— Bustle, Healthline, eSalon