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Home Beauty & Style Can You Dye Wet Hair? The Ultimate Guide

Can You Dye Wet Hair? The Ultimate Guide

In my late teens, I remember trying to change my hair color. Drawing inspiration from the poster girls in bands, I went forward and tried DIY. Back then, I began with a head of dry and dirty hair (as per the instructions on the pack) and used the then-popular peroxide bleach to create highlights.

I wasn’t very pleased with the outcome but I was pretty proud of my efforts. Years later, I know better. A better-informed mindset has replaced the mentality I had that I could not apply dye on wet hair.

Millions of men and women all over the globe change their natural hair color as a form of self-expression. A large percentage of this crowd doesn’t even need a valid reason to dye their hair, other than because they are bored with their current color.

Forget days when bleached locks were the in thing. Currently, there are numerous brands of quality hair dye to enhance your tresses. Methods of application have also been tweaked, which begs the question, “Can you dye wet hair?”

And what’s with all the fuss about hair dyes and wet hair? Let us take a look at some reasons behind the popularity of the age-old trend.

Top 5 Reasons Why People Dye Their Hair?

Studies reveal that 2 out of 3 women in the United States dye their hair regularly. Whether they prefer to visit the salon or perform a home treatment, the numbers continue to soar. Here’s why:

Keep Up With Trends

Every season comes with certain beauty trends. Some of which are actually amazing. Replicating styles that feature on runways is a terrific method of choosing a hair color that suits and appeals to you.

As soon as winter ends, we tend to see a lot of lighter shades. Hair and makeup artist, Nina Farrauto, says that most clients request lighter tones during spring and summer and darker tones for fall and winter.

It can be fun and creative playing around with trending hair dye whether you color your hair regularly or are a newbie to the art.

Change your Look

I once dyed my hair into a dark tone. Afterward, I noticed that my mane appeared fuller—a perk on top of having beautiful windswept tresses. If you have fine hair, a double process will add volume, avoiding a look of flatness. Color gives dimension to hair creating the illusion of fullness.

Suppose you just got a killer haircut. Adding a tinge of color complemented by subtle highlights could be what you need to make it pop. Get to show off your amazing hairdo to your girlfriends. However, if you adorn bangs, steer clear of multiple colors so you don’t end up with the zebra effect.

When done right, hair dye is an excellent option for people with dry, dull hair. In under an hour you can get attractive and glossy strands. Colored hair captures and reflects light in diverse ways. The end product is shinier, smoother hair.

Enhance your Facial Features

Hair, just like make-up, can be strategically applied to complement features on your face. For instance, someone with a round face can use darker lowlights making their face appear less round.

Nevertheless, older women can look younger because of their choice of hair color. A colorist can enhance their facial contours, making them appear younger.

To Hide the Grey

As people age, hair tends to turn grey. Most women (and men) like to hold on to their youth for as long as they possibly can. There are several DIY color kits that one can use at home. You do not have to visit the salon.

Elle magazine asserts that women (and men) of all ages can reverse signs of aging in natural hair. There are even shampoos that contain a black pigment in their formulas. They can be used on wet hair during showers.

For Self-Expression

You can use your hair color to define your personality. Take an example of rock stars from the 80s and 90s. They spotted colors to mimic the crazy lifestyle associated with their genre of music at that time.

Use hair color to express yourself. Nowadays, it is widely acceptable to wear brightly colored tones, unlike back when they were reserved for pop stars and celebrities. Therefore, go all out next time and try something new. Who knows, pink hair will probably bring out the beauty in you, boosting your self-confidence.

Can You Dye Wet Hair?

To wash or not to wash beforehand? The simple answer is – Yes, you can.

Experts at byrdie, a consumer education site on everything beauty, indicate that it all depends on the type of color formula used. Research indicates that freshly washed hair takes in dye better than dry, dirty hair.

But if you are applying a chemically harsh dye, such as peroxide, experts recommend starting with unwashed hair. The dirt and oils protect against bleaches, fillers, and other harmful additives.

Most permanent hair dyes contain hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Thus, when you apply on wet hair, the water may dilute the chemicals reducing potency. You risk ending up with a poor color payoff. This is why permanent hair dye performs badly on wet hair.

And when we speak of wet hair, we do not mean fresh out-of-the-shower hair that is dripping. Hair should be uniformly damp instead.

Whether you choose to DIY hair dye or visit a hairdresser, before you color your hair:

  • Choose a hairdresser who has expertise in handling wet hair dye applications.
  • Pick a hair color that compliments your skin tone and matches your personality.
  • Set a budget. You have to pay for services or purchase products, ensure you can afford to dye your hair.

Are There Any Benefits of Dyeing Wet Hair?

Easier Application

When you’re in the shower trying to change your hair color, all it takes is a few squirts from a bottle. You then gently use your fingers to massage your hair until it lathers and rinse it off. Easy peasy.

Compared to methods of application used on dry hair, starting with wet hair is less messy. For instance, the bowl and brush technique is prone to more spills and accidents, especially if you are doing DIY.

Saves Time and Money

Wet hair has more absorbency compared to when it’s dry. Consider this whenever you visit a salon to get highlights, your hair is washed during removal of the foils, then color is applied when hair is still wet. The science behind this has to do with the fact that wet hair is more susceptible to change.

If you apply products on wet hair, you tend to useless. The same principle applies to hair dye. The moisture encourages the even distribution of the colorant, saving quantity and time. Dry hair application takes more time as the dye takes longer to spread to every strand.

Therefore, you do not have to buy a large tub of hair dye. A little will go a long way. When you reduce the amount of hair dye you use during an application, you can buy smaller-sized packages.

This helps you save a dollar or two and minimizes waste (color mixtures can only be used once and the remainder is often discarded).

Better Results

Moisture enhances the absorption rate of hair substantially. The cuticles of moistened hair strands open up, meaning it absorbs liquids more readily. The color penetrates deeper than it would on dry hair.

Tips To Keep Your Hair Dye From Fading

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and neither will your hair day. You will need a touch-up to cover your roots and any growth. But before you head to your next session, there are certain things you can do to keep your color-treated hair from fading, such as:

  • Use a mild shampoo that won’t strip out the color.
  • Wash your hair at least 2 days after the coloring treatment to give the dye enough time to set.
  • Condition regularly to maintain moisture levels and glossiness.
  • Use hair products with UV protection or wear protective gear like hats. Overexposure to the sun is detrimental to the color pigment in your hair.
  • Avoid heat styling procedures involving tools like curlers and tongs. And use thermal protection if you must use a heat styling tool.
  • Purchase products explicitly designed for dyed hair.

Types of Dyes That Work on Wet Hair

Now that we know you can dye wet hair, you must familiarize yourselves with the types of dye applications available in the market.

Permanent Hair Dye

A permanent hair dye is just that – permanent! When you apply it to your hair, your natural hair color is replaced by the hue of the dye.

The permanent dye will last about 4 – 6 weeks before you revisit the salon or perform a home-based touch-up. Typically this is how long it takes for your hair to display significant growth, indicated by exposed roots.

I see a couple of websites purporting that there are ways to naturally reverse the effects of permanent hair dye. However, I am yet to try some of these ‘remedies’ to say that they work confidently.

Semi-permanent Hair Dye

On the other hand, as indicated by the name, semi-permanent hair dye doesn’t bind to your tresses permanently. You will successfully achieve a color change—however, it will wash out after a while. The fade-out process is sometimes beautiful and worth every wash.

The more you shampoo your hair, the faster the color fades.  Schedule to apply a touch-up color for hair every few weeks if you wish to retain the color. A semi-permanent application can last as long as 6 weeks, given there is the moderate use of shampoo.

Temporary Hair Dye

Also referred to as ‘wash out hair color,’ it has the shortest shelf life. It typically comes out with just one wash.

Temporary color does not alter the hair structure. It adheres to the surface of hair follicles instead of penetrating the cortex to modify melanin.

Are you thinking of changing your hair color for an event but still want to retain your natural tone? Then go temporary with a color rinse to add pizzazz to your strands.

Dirty Hair or Clean Hair: Should You Wash Before You Dye?

The next big issue is whether to apply dye to clean or dirty hair.

Most instructions on dye packets clearly state that we should avoid washing out hair before an application for the best results. I always wondered why this is. And I’m sure anyone who’s a novice in the world of hair coloring also wonders whether their hair should be clean for the hair coloring process.

Again, it depends on the type of dye you use and the application method. Clean hair has fewer oils compared to dirty. Therefore, if the dye is chemically-based, it would be best if you didn’t wash your hair prior. The dirt and oils reduce the adverse effects of the harsh mixtures. Sprinkle or spray a little water on your hair to moisten it before you begin.

But if you are using botanical dyes that contain less or no chemicals, go ahead and do a full wash before application.

Final Take

Dyeing your hair is an excellent way to switch your looks. It allows you to experiment with different hues or cover up those grey strands to achieve a fresher and youthful appearance.

Finally, whether you choose to wet your hair before dyeing is entirely up to you.



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