How Long Should You Wait to Dye Your Hair Again?

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Did you get a little overconfident in your DIY hair coloring skills? Everyone who colors their own hair has been there at least once… or twice. You’re definitely not alone!

You messed up. Welcome to the club. Now what?

A dye job gone wrong tends to induce a state of panic, with the understandable gut reaction being to try to fix it immediately. You’re undoubtedly wondering – how soon can I dye my hair again to fix it?

While it’s no secret that hair dyes and bleaches can be damaging to hair, and it’s recommended to wait at least 2 weeks before re-dying, you’re probably wondering if you can get away with it. Just this once.

Keep calm. For every problem, there is a solution. Make sure your solution does not make the problem worse or cause irreparable damage to your hair.

Before you reach for another dye product for a do-over, read through this article to learn the answer to how long should you wait to dye your hair again. We’ll also discuss what will happen if you dye your hair again too soon, and how to manage your color mishap without having to re-dye it right away.

We’ll work it out together!


How Long Should You Wait to Dye Your Hair Again To Fix It?

Hair Dye

When the dye job goes well, you should look and feel like this. But sometimes it goes off the rails and you frantically search “I messed up my hair color how soon can I dye it again?

How soon you can dye your hair again will depend on a couple of different factors:

1.   Type of hair dye and developer

First of all, how long you need to wait will depend on the color you’ve used. Any temporary, or what’s referred to as a semi-permanent color, you can re-dye in the same day, no worries.

If you’ve used a permanent color, however, you will need to wait 14 days before you re-dye it.

Whereas semi and demi-permanent color just deposits color on the outside of the hair shaft and does not use a developer, permanent color uses a developer to open the hair cuticle to allow the color to penetrate the hair shaft for the longer-lasting color.

The developer is what’s damaging to your hair.

Permanent hair color developer comes in different strengths. The higher the number, the more damaging it is for your hair. Most box dyes use a 20-volume developer. Nowadays, more professional coloring products have become available to the masses and you can get separate color and developer, up to 40 volume.

If you’ve used a 30-40 volume developer, you may have to wait a little longer than if you’ve used a 10-20 volume developer. But this depends on the state of your hair.

While the idea of more professional products being available to the masses seems fantastic, the problem is that most people did not go to cosmetology school to learn how to use them properly! This is undoubtedly why “How Soon Can I Dye My Hair Again to Fix It?” is a very popular Google search term.

2.   Hair Damage

Hair damage is also something you need to consider. If your hair was healthy before you colored it the first time and it sustained damage from the dying process, you should wait at least 2 weeks to re-dye with permanent dye.

If your hair was damaged before you dyed your hair the first time, then you will need to wait a little longer – up to 4 weeks, or until your hair is healthy enough to re-dye.

During your wait time, you should be using a deep conditioning hair treatment to help the healing process.

What Happens If You Dye Your Hair Again Too Soon?

I know what you’re thinking: Two weeks? OMG! I can’t walk around for 2 weeks looking like this!

I know the temptation is there to just cross your fingers and re-dye it.

I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Surely it’s better than sporting a dye job fail for 2 weeks, isn’t it?

Re-dyeing it too soon is a really bad idea. Here’s why:

If you dye your hair again too soon, it will cause a sudden and noticeable increase in breakage. That breakage can happen anywhere along the hair shaft – at the ends, near the roots or anywhere in between.

This will result in rogue fly-aways all over the place where your hair has broken, and are especially noticeable when they break off short, near the scalp. Those tend to stick straight out.

If you dye your hair again too soon, it will cause a sudden and noticeable increase in breakage.

Your hair will also look and feel different. The extremely harsh chemical process of dyeing will cause your hair to become dry and brittle. It will lose its shine, and instead of soft shiny, manageable hair, you will have dull, unruly hair that feels like straw.

But fear not! You may have to wait a couple of weeks to re-dye your hair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t color correct in the meantime.

Read on for a few tips to try to rectify your dye mishap without using another dye.

How To Fix Dye Gone Wrong Without Re-Dying

Now depending on how you’ve screwed up your color and what end result you’re looking for will determine what options you have.

Whether you have an uneven color because you missed a few spots, your lighter color turned out brassy, or it’s just not the color you wanted, there are some quick fixes you can try to get a more desired result while you’re waiting to re-dye your hair again.

Uneven Color

This often happens when you are trying to do your own color at home because. It’s not like you have eyes in the back of your head! It can be hard to make sure you get all the spots.

Also not using enough product can leave parts of your hair unsaturated and result in an uneven, patchy finish.

Pro Tip: If you have really long and/or thick hair and you are using box dye, get 2 boxes next time you color to be sure you have full coverage. If you are using a separate color and developer, mix enough. Don’t skimp. When you color your hair, you need to saturate every strand.

Until the next time you use a permanent color, you can even out your current color using a semi or demi-permanent dye.

Just a few notes about using semi and demi-permanent dyes:

  • Neither use a developer, so they are safe to use on newly dyed hair.
  • As the name suggests, semi and demi-permanent dyes will not last as long as permanent dye. Demi-permanent dye lasts about 30 washes, and semi-permanent dyes lasts about 5 washes.
  • You cannot use a light semi or demi-permanent color over darker hair. They do not lift (lighten), they only deposit color.

To even out a spotty hair color, choose a semi-or demi permanent closest to the color you have now, but a shade darker. This will even out the overall color.


Your Hair is Too Dark

If you colored your hair and it just turned out much darker than you wanted, then there are a couple of all-natural hair lightening hacks you can try that will not damage your hair.

Fair warning though – do not expect drastic results.

These methods will only slightly lighten your hair a shade or two, but you can give them a try.

Method #1: Baking Soda & Dandruff Shampoo

You will need baking soda and dandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulfide. This is the active ingredient in most dandruff shampoos. But read the label. The selenium sulfide is what will turn your baking soda into a natural lightener.

  1. In a bowl, add enough dandruff shampoo to fully saturate your hair.
  2. Add enough baking soda to form a thick paste.
  3. Apply paste to wet hair and put on a shower cap
  4. Wait 5 minutes
  5. Rinse out. The baking soda will require a lot of rinsing to get it out, so rinse thoroughly.
  6. You can repeat this process if needed the next day.

Pro Tip: Baking soda has a pH of 8, which is much higher than your natural hair and scalp’s pH, which is at about 5. So overuse of this method can leave your hair feeling a bit ‘crispy’. Don’t use this method more than 4 consecutive days. Always follow up with a deep conditioning hair mask or treatment.

Method #2: White Vinegar Hair Mask

Whereas baking soda is alkaline and has a high pH, vinegar is at the opposite end of the spectrum being acidic. It’s vinegar’s acidic properties that help it get into the cuticle layer of your hair to loosen the bonds of dye color to your hair. 

Vinegar will oxidize and fade dye color. Each time you use it, it will fade the color a little more.

  1. Mix one part white vinegar with one part hot water in a container you can easily pour from. Make sure there’s enough to coat your hair completely.
  2. Pour the vinegar and water over your hair to fully saturate it.
  3. Cover your hair with a shower cap and wait 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse the vinegar mask out completely. And don’t worry, the vinegar smell should fade as your hair dries.
  5. Repeat the process the next day to get more noticeable lightening results.


Your Hair Is Too Brassy

Purple Shampoo

Unwanted brassy tones can often result from warm or golden toned hair colors and your hair’s natural undertones. If you’ve found yourself with brassy yellow or orange tones you don’t like, the good news is that this is an easy fix . Enter – blue and purple shampoos.

If you have brassy yellow tones, use a purple shampoo.

If your unwanted brassy tones are more on the copper/orange side, opt for a blue shampoo.

Tip: The next time you want to use a permanent dye – opt for a more ashy/cooler tone of the color you want, rather than going for the warm, golden tone.


Your Hair Turned Green!

Red Boosting Shampoo

Hair turning green can be the after-effects of bleached/lightened hair not properly absorbing brown dye.  The process of lifting (bleaching) hair color strips your hair and affects the way it absorbs color. Applying a cool shade of brown (i.e. anything ashy) on bleached hair can cause it to turn green because your bleached hair has no red pigment.

The base colors of ash toned brown dyes are yellow and blue.

Blue and yellow make green, if there is no red pigment left in your hair to balance it out.

This too is an easy fix.

To neutralize green tones in your hair, you need to use a red shampoo, like John Frieda Radiant Red Boosting Shampoo  or Joico Color Infuse Red Shampoo .

Color-depositing shampoo is not meant to replace your regular shampoo. It’s only meant to be used once or twice a week at the most.

Take Away

The last thing you want to do is damage your hair by re-dying it too soon.

If we haven’t covered your hair color calamity above, maybe it’s time to let the professionals take this one over and pay the salon a visit. Yes, coloring your own hair at home is cheaper.

But if it means you’re ruining your hair and not getting the results you want, getting your hair professionally done is well worth the investment.

Or while you’re waiting that two weeks to re-dye, you could always get yourself a nice hat!

Nice Hat

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).