Does Dyeing Your Hair Damage It?

Lots of people love to tell family stories about home hair dye jobs that went horribly wrong. While the most extreme of these stories are just exaggerations, it is rooted in a real fear: many people wonder, does hair dye damage your hair or follicles? Will it turn my curls into a frizzy mess?

So to set your mind at ease, let’s dive a little deeper into the truth behind hair dye damage.


Hair Dye Damage 

Most hair dyes have been known to use some unfriendly chemicals, like ammonia or peroxide, to change the color of hair. This process can range from simple coatings to full penetration from the follicles all the way up. While perhaps not that bad in small amounts, lots of repeated exposure to these chemical compounds can weaken hair and make it brittle – leading to the famous frizzes of “fried” hair that just can’t take any more. Eventually, the hair may even break.

However, over the years, a lot of research has been done regarding the chemicals and process involved, and it goes right down to the science of how the dye coats each strand and attaches to your hair. Needless to say, it seems that the days of harsh chemical-based dyes could be numbered – although at the moment, much of this new dye technology is only available in dark colors like black or brown.


Is Box Dye Bad For Your Hair?

Generally speaking, box dyes can be worse for your hair than professional jobs. Since they are off-the-shelf, they may have too much of one chemical or another, which you have no way of measuring when applying it to your own unique hair. Plus, home applications are usually not as even or expertly done as a trained stylist, meaning you might have too much dye in one area, leading to potential damage later.

Here are 5 other common questions about hair dye damage:


1. Is Black Hair Dye Damaging?

Relative to making your hair lighter, black hair dye is actually easier on your strands. It does not use a peroxide agent, so there isn’t as much opportunity for the chemicals to seep in and weaken your hair. If you’re intending to change things up for the long-term, going darker than your current color is a good choice.


2. Does Dyeing Your Hair Without Using Bleach Damage It?

This is similar to the black hair dye answer above – less bleach means less potential for damage (though it is very rarely none). In bleach dyes – usually used to lighten darker hair – the peroxide bleach completely strips the color away from each strand, and the lighter you go, the more of the chemical you will need. So, if you have the option, definitely go for a bleach-free version of your perfect color.


3. Does Dyeing Your Hair at a Professional Salon Damage It?

Professional salons will always have a better idea of what is best for your hair than any box off the store shelf. Stylists who spend hours every day working with hair will know exactly how much of each chemical you need, how to apply it, and how to rinse it at the right time. This will help you avoid unnecessary damage and get the look you’re after with minimal risk.

Does dyeing your hair at home damage it? It’s hard to say, but for what it’s worth, know that a professional salon will almost always do a better job than you can at home, and the price can even be less than if you aren’t happy with your own results and need them fixed.


4. Is Temporary Hair Dye Damaging?

This will depend on the exact type and composition of the dye. Most are very simple coatings that wash right out and hardly make an impact, and they don’t use chemicals like ammonia or peroxide to actually penetrate the hair itself. The color will not be as vibrant or natural-looking, but if you only need it for a short while, temporary hair dye is the safest type.


5. Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Damage Hair?

The next step beyond temporary dyes, semi-permanent hair dyes can add everything from gentle, subdued accents to full color treatments. These dyes do stain the hair itself, though not to the level that permanent dyes do, so be wary of using them too frequently without letting your hair recover. These dyes last for about 5-6 washes, so if you want something that lasts longer, go for something more permanent to avoid unnecessary damage.


How To Dye Hair Without Damage

So with all of that said – is there such a thing as non-damaging hair dye? What if you just want a plain hair color change, without the hair color damage?

There’s no perfect dye just yet, but that doesn’t mean you just have to wait and see what happens when you decide to go for a new ‘do. Part of extending your dye job’s life and keeping your hair healthy is proper care and maintenance, as well as selecting true, color-safe products and shampoos specifically designed for colored hair. With a bit of attention, the right nutrients, and awareness about what your hair needs to thrive, you can give it the boost it needs to look its best, no matter what color it is.

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